Monday, October 13, 2014



JEEVAN ( 1915-1987)

His father died when he was barely three years old. He had twenty two brothers and a sister . His mother died when he was born. So Omkar Nath Dhar ( 24th October 1915 -- 10th June 1987 ) who came to be known as Jeevan in films , was brought up by uncles and Aunts. He had his early education in Srinagar and Lahore. 

Jeevan's father Durga Prasad Dhar  was Wazir e Wazarat of Gilgit during the rule of Maharaja Partap Singh  . His  family had Business interests at  Srinagar, Pahalgham   and Lahore . His mother Champa Devi was from a well off Sapru family and daughter of Rai Bahadur Jai Krishen Sapru . And jeevan had married kishen ( Kishni )  a kashmiri Pandit Girl from Razdan family.

Fascinated by  films and photography coupled with  a  long college vacation of three months in Srinagar  , he decided to go   to  Bombay  for some time for a change . With   just twenty six rupees in his pocket, this  young  boy of  18 years  arrived in  Bombay  to learn Photography   so that once back home,  he could help his family in that  business    .  Incidentally , his elder brother  known as  Dhar Kashmiri  lived in Bombay at that point of time who   introduced him to Late D N Madhok ( 1902-1982) .  DN Madhok was a reputed Lyricist , screen Play writer , Director and Dialogue writer of Hindi cinema . Dhar Kashmiri wanted   his young  brother  to try for some acting roles  in Hindi Films.

It was D N Madhok's intervention that paved way for his joining   a film studio  Owned by Mohan Sinha . For some time  Nothing happened that could change his luck. He got no chance to learn  Photography nor did any person offer any role to him.  He was  constrained to work  as Reflector Boy . His job was to carry the light reflectors and focus them as per the direction of the cameraman / Director. He saw Diwaker Divecha( Highly skilled cameraman of Sholay fame ) also working as Reflector boy. And then sometime in 1935 , Mohan Sinha offered him a role in his film “Fashionable India “ and thereafter there was no looking back for this talented artist. Offers kept pouring in from many reputed film makers. Some of his memorable films are Kanoon, Mela , Taraana , Ghar Ki Izzat , Sab se Bada Rupaiyaa , Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya ,Roti, Jeet , Laawaris , Do Phool , Phool Aur Pather , Gambler , Shareef Badmaash , Aaj Ka Mahatma ,Deewar,Amar Akbar Anthony,Johny Mera Naam,Kohinoor,Dharmatma, Taj and Bulundi etc. He acted in more than 350 films and as NARAD MUNI in more than 60 films


Jeevan played villain in a large number of  Hindi films during the 60s and 70s. His unique nasal twang  , Body language and dialogue delivery placed him in the category of elite artists of Hindi cinema . Almost all his negative roles ( performed in his inimitable style ) as Cunning Munim or Lala , Deewan sahib ,Mamaji , Village Sarpanch, Landlord etc. were widely appreciated by cinegoers . 
As artist , he was extremely Punctual and discplined . Essentially a family man , he was a close relation of another kashmiri artists D. K Sapru or Sapru. Infact for quite some time , both families lived as neighbours at Bandra . 

He was devoted to his family , a loving husband and an affectionate and liberal father . His children studied in Boarding schools . His son Kiran Kumar graduated from FTII Pune and joined films . Kiran married Noted Gujrati Actress Sushma Verma . His second son Bushan kumar ( Jeevan Bushan ) also joined films .
Jeevan liked good food and enjoyed his quota of two pegs of whiskey ( One large and another small ) everyday. He Liked kashmiri Kahwa which he would prepare for his wife and children as well. 

He loved cooking his own food and going on picnics and hunting expeditions with his family and friends . Kashmir remained his first love  though his engagements in Bombay left little time for him to make desired trips to the place of his birth. 

 Dilip Kumar , Cinematographer Diwakar Divecha , B R Chopra and Manmohan Desai were  his close friends .

Dividing  his time between family and studio , he  rarely attended film parties . He was an avid radio listener and would never miss listening to BBC News and Chhaya Geet from AIR. 

This October , jeevan would have been 99 . He died a contended man . Peace be to his soul...

( Autar Mota 13.10.2014 )

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