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Ramanand Sagar

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Ramanand Sagar
Chandramauli Chopra

(1917-12-29)29 December 1917
Died12 December 2005(2005-12-12) (aged 87)
Alma materUniversity of the Punjab
  • Director
  • producer
  • writer
Years active1949–2005
SpouseLeelavati Sagar
RelativesVidhu Vinod Chopra (half-brother)
AwardsPadma Shri (2000)

Ramanand Sagar (born Chandramauli Chopra; 29 December 1917 – 12 December 2005) was an Indian director, producer, and writer. He is best known for making the television show Ramayan (1987–1988).

He is best known for his contribution in the mythological serials Ramayan and Krishna, which broke several viewership records globally.

Early life[edit]

Sagar was born at Asal Guruke near Lahore. His great-grandfather, Lala Shankar Das Chopra, migrated from Lahore to Kashmir. Ramanand was adopted by his maternal grandmother, who had no sons, at which point his name was changed from 'Chandramouli Chopra' to 'Ramanand Sagar'.[1] After Sagar's biological mother died, his father remarried and had further children with her, including Vidhu Vinod Chopra, who is thus Sagar's half-brother. Sagar worked as a peon, truck cleaner, soap vendor, goldsmith apprentice etc. during the day and studied for his degree at night.

He was a gold medalist in Sanskrit and Persian from the University of Punjab in 1942. He was also editor of newspaper Daily Milap. He wrote many short stories, novels, poems, plays, etc. under names like "Ramanand Chopra", "Ramanand Bedi" and "Ramanand Kashmiri".[1] In 1942 when he caught tuberculosis he wrote a subjective column, "Diary of a T.B. patient", about his fight. The column was published in a series in the magazine Adab-e-Mashriq in Lahore.[1]


In 1932, Sagar started his film career as a clapper boy in a silent film, Raiders of the Rail Road.[2] He then shifted to Bombay in 1949 after India's partition.

In 1944, He acted in Punjabi film Koel, Directed by Roop K. Shorey,made in Lahore released on Friday,24 November by Film Company Shorey Pictures.

In the 1940s, Sagar started out as an assistant stage manager in Prithvi Theatres of Prithviraj Kapoor. He also directed a few plays under the fatherly guidance of Kapoor.[3][4]

Along with other films that Sagar himself directed, he wrote the story and screenplay for Raj Kapoor's superhit Barsaat. He produced and directed films like Bazooband and Mehmaan which bombed at the box-office .

Due to his unsuccessful career in Bollywood. Sagar shifted to Madras and start working for Gemini Studio. He wrote story, screenplay and dialogues for Gemini classics like Insaniyat (1955), Raj Tilak (1958) and Paigham (1959), the 1959 classic featuring Dilip Kumar, Raaj Kumar and Vjyanthimala fetched him Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue. Sagar's collaboration with Gemini Studio proved to be fruitful for his career. Gemini's owner SS Vasan was impressed with Sagar's professionalism and advised him to directed films again. Under the Vasan's tutelage, Sagar directed Ghunghat (1960) and Zindagi (1964) for Gemini Studio which were successful commercially and critically. He even wrote Shammi Kapoor and Sadhana starrer Rajkumar (1964) for another South Indian banner. Ghunghat and Zindagi's success gave him the confidence to re-start his career as a producer and director. Sagar moved back to Mumbai and re-christened his Production House as Sagar Films. The first film under the Sagar Arts banner was Rajendra Kumar, Sadhana and Feroz Khan starrer Arzoo, which became a blockbuster. He won Filmfare Best Director Award for his spy thriller Aankhen.[5] His films in the early 1970s were not successful like Geet and Laalkar. He directed one of the top five grossing films of 1976, Charas, starring Dharmendra and Hema Malini. In 1979, his directorial venture Prem Bandhan starring Rajesh Khanna, Rekha and Moushmi Chatterjee was successful commercially, becoming the sixth highest-grossing film of that year. In 1982, he directed Baghavat starring Dharmendra, Hema Malini and Reena Roy which turned out to be a huge hit.

In 1985 he directed 'Salma' which was unsuccessful at the box office and though the music of the film romance was popular, the film did not perform well at box office.

In 1985 Sagar turned towards television with Dada Dadi Ki Kahaniyaan which was directed by Moti Sagar and produced by Ramanand Sagar. Then his Sagar Arts began producing serials based on Indian history. His directorial venture Ramayan aired its first episode on 25 January 1987.[6][7] His next tele-serials were Krishna and Luv Kush which were both produced and directed by him. He also later directed Sai Baba. Sagar also made fantasy serials like Vikram Aur Betaal and Alif Laila.

The Ramayan series was initially conceptualized to run for 52 episodes of 45 minutes each. Owing to popular demand it had to be extended thrice, eventually ending after 78 episodes.

Sagar made a Luv Kush episode after receiving a call from PMO.[8]

Based on his experiences of the Indo-Pak partition, Sagar published the Hindi-Urdu book Aur Insaan Mar Gaya (transl. And The Human Died) in 1948.

The government of India honoured Sagar with the Padma Shri in 2000. Sagar died on 12 December 2005 aged 88 at his home in Mumbai after a series of health problems.

In December 2019, his son Prem Sagar launched a book on his life, An Epic Life: Ramanand Sagar, From Barsaat to Ramayan. This book is a biography of Ramanand Sagar depicting his life struggles and his journey from a clerk to one of the greatest filmmakers of all time.[9][10]

Personal life[edit]

He was married to Leelavati, with whom he had five children, four sons (Anand, Prem, Moti and Subhash) and a daughter (Sarita).[11]



Year Title Director Writer Producer
1949 Barsaat No Yes No
1950 Jan Pahchan No Yes No
1952 Sangdil No Yes No
1953 Mehmaan Yes No No
1954 Bazooband Yes Yes No
1956 Mem Sahib No Yes No
1958 Raj Tilak No Yes No
1959 Paigham No Yes No
1960 Ghunghat Yes No No
1964 Rajkumar No Yes No
Zindagi Yes No Yes
1965 Arzoo Yes Yes Yes
1968 Aankhen Yes Yes Yes
1970 Geet Yes No Yes
1972 Lalkaar Yes Yes Yes
1973 Jalte Badan Yes Yes Yes
1976 Charas Yes Yes Yes
1979 Prem Bandhan Yes No No
Hum Tere Ashiq Hain No Yes No
1981 Armaan No No Yes
1982 Baghavat Yes No Yes
1983 Romance Yes No Yes
1985 Salma Yes No Yes

Acting credits[edit]

Year Title Role Note
1943 Koel Un­known Film; Punjabi language
1987-1988 Ramayan Narrator Television series
1993 Shri Krishna
2000 Jai Mahalakshmi


Year Title Director Writer Producer Editor
1985-1986 Vikram Aur Betaal Yes No Yes No
1986-1987 Dada Dadi Ki Kahaniyan Yes Yes Yes No
1987-1988 Ramayan Yes Yes Yes No
1988-1989 Luv Kush Yes No Yes No
1993-1997 Alif Laila No No Yes No
Shri Krishna Yes No Yes No
1997 Yeh Hai Mere Apne Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jai Ganga Maiya Yes No No No
1999 Aangan Yes Yes Yes Yes
2000 Aakash Yes Yes Yes Yes
Shree Brahma Vishnu Mahesh Yes Yes Yes Yes
Jai Mahalakshmi Yes Yes Yes No
2001 Chingaari Yes Yes Yes Yes
Sansaar Yes No Yes Yes
Jai Jai Jai Tridev Yes Yes Yes Yes
2002 Saanjhi Yes Yes Yes Yes
Bhagat Singh No No Yes No
2003 Arzoo Hai Tu Yes No No No
2005 Sai Baba Yes Yes No No

Awards and honors[edit]

In 1996, he was honored with the Sahitya Vachaspati (Doctor of Literature) by the Hindi Sahitya Sammelan in Allahabad.[12] In 1997, Jammu University presented him a honoris causa doctorate (Doctor of Literature).[12] In 2000, he was honoured with Padma Shri by the Government of India.[13] In 2004, he received a special award for his contribution to Indian Television at the Indian Telly Awards.[14]

Filmfare Awards
Year Category Work Result Ref.
1960 Best Dialogue Paigham Won [15]
1966 Best Story Arzoo Nominated [16]
Best Director Nominated
1969 Aankhen Won [17]
Best Story Nominated


  1. ^ a b c "Early Life". Sagartv.com. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  2. ^ "Film Making". Sagartv.com. Archived from the original on 26 April 2012. Retrieved 29 December 2011.
  3. ^ "Shashi Kapoor". Junglee.org.in. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  4. ^ Anuj Kumar (25 July 2012). "Familiar turn". The Hindu. Retrieved 7 May 2013.
  5. ^ "Top Earners 1960–1969". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 3 January 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  6. ^ Lutgendorf, Philip (1991). The Life of a Text: Performing the Ramcharitmanas of Tulsidas. Berkeley, California: University of California Press. p. 12. ISBN 0-520-06690-1.
  7. ^ "Ramayan – Block Buster in the History of Indian Television". Archived from the original on 19 February 2012. Retrieved 30 December 2011.
  8. ^ "Ramanand Sagar had to make Luv Kush episode after receiving a call from PMO". India TV. 22 April 2020. Retrieved 22 April 2020.
  9. ^ "Life and times of Ramanand Sagar". The Week. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  10. ^ "A son's tribute, with a pinch of realism". Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  11. ^ "Ramanand Sagar (Indian filmmaker)". Britannica Online Encyclopedia. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Ramanand Sagar is dead". DNA India.
  13. ^ "Padma Awards" (PDF). Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India. 2015. Retrieved 13 September 2017.
  14. ^ "Ramanand Sagar: END OF LEGENG". TellyChakkar. 14 December 2005. Retrieved 19 March 2018.
  15. ^ "Filmfare Awards 1958 - 5th (Fifth) Filmfare Popular Awards". Awardsandshows.com. Retrieved 12 November 2013.
  16. ^ "Filmfare Awards 1966". IMDb. Retrieved 19 June 2022.
  17. ^ "Filmfare Awards 1969". IMDb. Retrieved 9 June 2020.

External links[edit]