Kamal Swaroop

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Kamal Swaroop is a dual National Award- and Filmfare Award-winning film, television and radio director and screenwriter. In 1974 he graduated from the Film and Television Institute and even his student works met with unusual international acclaim. He continued with postgraduate studies at the Institute. He assisted the director Richard Attenborough in the filming of Gandhi (1982). He made documentary as well as feature films. He is currently working on a full-length documentary titled The Battle of Benaras, produced by Medient. Famously banned, a formal experimenter, Om-Dar-Ba-Dar (1988) is his master work.

Early life[edit]

Swaroop was born in Kashmir. His father was a teacher and palmist and mother, a homemaker. The family moved to Ajmer, where he graduated in biology before moving to Pune to study film direction. He had a brief stint at ISRO, where he used Russian fairytales to teach science to kids, and then took filmmaking classes in a remote village in Maharashtra.[1]


On a grant from the India Foundation for the Arts, IFA, Kamal Swaroop began tracing the life of Dadasaheb Phalke through workshops all over the country. One such workshop in Benaras was the foundation for his path-breaking documentary film Rangbhoomi, re-telling the story of Phalke's life in the holy city.

The film premiered at Rome Film Festival in the official competition section and eventually went on to win the National Award (Golden Lotus) for best non-feature film, Kamal's 2nd national award.

Om Dar Ba Dar[edit]

The restored version of Kamal Swaroop’s Filmfare Award-winning debut film Om-Dar-Ba-Dar was released on 17 January 2014. Made in 1988 with the help of NFDC, the film made it to the festival circuit and then shuffled out into obscurity.[2] This film was a major attraction in the festival circuit and premiered at the Berlin Film Festival but never got a theatrical release in the country.[3]

One of the most unusual independent films of the 1980s, Kamal Swaroop's debut film is set in a mythical small town in Rajasthan and tells the tale of the boy Om growing into adolescence. Son of a fortune teller, Om's major problem is that, riddled with guilt about his voyeurism, he believes himself to be responsible for everything that happens around him. Meanwhile, his elder sister Gayatri, who is being courted by Jagdish, dreams of a future in which she can ride a bicycle or sit in the men's section of a movie theatre. Many of Om's fantasies about sexuality and death are graphically realised in remarkable song sequences: the science teacher dissecting a frog expands into a felliniesque "Rana Tigrina" number or the moonwalk on a terrace on the night that Neil Armstrong landed on the moon. This double-edged satire acquires a further dimension with the entry of Phoolkumari, whose sexuality sends out beguiling yet horrifying message. The war is declared as Diwali firecrackers become real explosions. His father's diamonds, hoarded for black market reasons, are swallowed by frogs. In the end, Om atones by enacting the traditional legend of Brahma's descent to earth.

This film was a major attraction in the festival circuit and premiered at the Berlin Film Festival but never got a theatrical release in the country.[3]

The idea of Om Dar-Ba-Dar came to him on the crowded sets of Richard Attenborough's Gandhi, on which he was an assistant director. He said, "I managed the crowds and told stories to keep them entertained. One of it was about a boy who skips school and runs away from home when the results are due. He then discovers that he can make a living by holding his breath for a really long time, just like the frogs".[1]


As director:

As writer:

  • Tracing Phalke (2013) [4]
  • Private Detective: Two Plus Two Plus One (1997) (dialogs)
  • Salim Langde Pe Mat Ro (1989) (researcher) (script consultant)
  • Salaam Bombay (dialogs)

As production designer:

  • Siddeshwari (1989)

As second unit director or assistant director:

  • Gandhi (1982) (assistant director)


[4] [5] [6]

  1. ^ a b "Richard Attenborough: 'I never wanted to make an Amitabh Bachchan-starrer' | Hindi Movie News - Times of India". articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  2. ^ "Rushes: Pink wink - The Hindu". thehindu.com. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  3. ^ a b "dearcinema.com/news/pvr-release-om-dar-ba-dar/3004". dearcinema.com. Archived from the original on 16 January 2014. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  4. ^ "Kamal Swaroop - IMDb". imdb.com. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  5. ^ bgsug. "The Hindu : Metro Plus Bangalore / Entertainment : Subversion on the screen – Kamal Swaroop interview". hindu.com. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  6. ^ "Kamal Swaroop interview". indianauteur.com. Retrieved 24 February 2017.