Thursday, October 15, 2015



This blue eyed Man is none other than Chander Mohan wattal (1904 - 1949) the GREAT ACTOR of Indian cinema during 1930s and 1940s . He was a star of that period . 
When V Shantaram saw him for the first time , he is reported to have said ,

“ His looks are Regal. I want to have him at any price .”

  • And V Shantaram offered him the key role of Rajguru in "Amrit Manthan," a movie that was released in 1934. It was followed by "Dharmatma."and “ Amar Jyoti “ both produced by V Shantaram. His acting in “ Amar Jyoti” won him all India Fan following. His name became a sure shot guarantee at the box office especially after he  worked in Sohrab Modi's "Pukar" in 1939. His successful films at Box office include "Geeta" (1940) , "Roti" (1942 singer Begam Akhtar then Akhtari bai Faizabadi also acted in this movie) , "Taqdeer" (1943), "Shakuntala" (1943),’ Naukar “ (1943), “Raunaq “(1944 ) ,Panna Dai" (1945), "Humaayun" (1945), “Mumtaz Mahal” ( 1945 ), “Shalimar” ( 1946 ) “Shaheed" (1948) followed by Raambaan" and “Dukhiyaari" etc .. Chandramohan was fluent in Marathi and he acted in 3-4 Marathi movies as well.
Chandert Mohan belonged to a well off kashmiri Pandit family , originally from Allahabad . His father , Pandit Jagannath Sahai Wattal moved to Gwalior around 1900, where he got employment with Maharaja Madhav Rao Scindia (first) . Pandit Jagan Nath Sahai wattal was a cousin of Sir Tej Bahadur Sapru. He was married to a girl from Mushran, family of Gwalior and young Chander Mohan was brought up at his Maternal Grandmother’s house as his mother died when he was a child . His maternal grand mother lived at Narsingpur (MP).

In 1935, #Babu Rao Patel , who published the only English film magazine in India before 1947 known as :” FILM INDIA” , devoted one issue of his popular Magazine to this star . He also published his own interview with this star . I quote some portions of the interview ,
“ Mr Babu Rao , My grand father was Dewan of Kaurauli state and my father was a member of Gwalior Darbaar .I did not marry because it meant losing my individuality . I never work for money but for satisfaction of the artist within me .I read a lot of poetry in urdu and I love to read English literature . By the time I grew up, I had lost my parents . So only guardians were there to take interest in my life .I ran away from my home in 1930 , joined a Cinema House in Delhi as its manager and then moved to a film distribution company. One day I got a chance to visit Poona for some job assigned by my employers and there I met V Shantaram at his” Prabhat Films” office .I dislike men who try to be goody goody . Man is a mixture of Good and Bad . if he is not that way , he is not a man . Horse racing is my passion. I would like to work with Buster Keaton in any comedy.”
And Babu Rao Patel concludes the interview with his own comments as under ,
“ At a monthly salary of 3750 rupees , He is the highest paid actor in the industry today. Take it from me , this swash buckling black sheep of numerous films , may not be exactly modest but is a fine fellow and a wonderful actor. ”
..It is pertinent to mention that in 1945, K. Asif had originally signed Chandramohan for “MUGHAL E AAZAM “ to play the role of Akbar . But due to partition of the country in 1947, The producer of the movie, Hakim Shiraz Ali decided to go to Pakistan. The movie remained unfinished. Later on, when the determined K. Asif revived this project in 1951-52, Chandramohan was no more.
A Bachelor , Chander Mohan’s close friends included Ulhaas , K N singh, K L Saigal, Prithvi Raj Kapoor ,Rajan Haksar and Moti lal. He was fond of buying race horses, betting and drank best quality scotch whisky. His horse racing friends included Maharaja Harisingh of Kashmir and the Maharaja Jeewajirao Scindia of Gwalior.
 Actor Ulhaas and Rajan Haksar were kashmiris whom he patronized . Ulhas (M N Kaul) was from Ajmer. It was Chandramohan who had got him his job in Prabhat Film Company and a role in the movie "Wahan". Ulhaas respected Chandramohan like an elder brother. He would visit Chandramohan at his house (16 Bilkha House, Churchgate) even during his bad times. Chandramohan treated Rajan Haksar like his own younger brother .
Mrs Shiela james ( a Christian lady who was his house keeper ) , Mohammed his life long cook and Mr Patel his secretary remained obedient and attached to him till his death.

I end up this post with a couplet of Ghalib..

“Rekhte ke Tum Hi Ustaad Nahin ho Ghaalib ,
Kehtein hain agle Zamaane mein koyee Meer Bhi thhaa.. “

(Autar Mota )

 Babu Rao Patel was editor of a very popular and successful Film Magazine of  30s,40s and 50s of the last century. This magazine named FILM INDIA , was published in English from Mumbai. Urdu writer Saadat Hassan Manto also worked with Babu Rao Patel's" weekly URDU Newspaper CARVAAN published from Mumbai during that period. Manto also edited Nazir Ludhianavi,s Urdu film Magazine MUSSAVIR published from Mumbai during those days.

Creative Commons LicenseCHINAR SHADE by Autarmota is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.
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1 comment:

  1. I am would be keen in knowing more information about Mr Ullahas (Mr M N Kaul) my maternal uncle who lost his father at a very early age came to Mumbai with his mother and a younger brother, he was a good friend of my uncle Shri Mohan Kichlu whose wfather was a government servernt at Allahabad, in fifties left his house came to Mumbai to make his name, both of them started as spot boys Mr Kaul grew in acting while my real uncle became assistant editor and worked in several studios for 20 years, Mr Kaul lived in Goregaon till his death at an early age of 56 dedicated his entire life to films and acted in few memorable pictures in 50′, 60′, and 70’s he was worshiping his mother like god his younger brother Joined murchent navy and younger sister merrier to a doctor living in London U.K.,
    He was a dedicated and hard working individual dedicated his entire life for films and his family


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