Dr. Ramanand Sagar, a man behind the making of popular television serial Ramayan was known for his apt understanding of filmography. Sagar, whose career spanned over 55 years, won many awards including Padma Shri, Sahitya Vachaspati (Doctor of Literature) and Filmfare awards for his contribution to the film industry. During his lifetime he made many mythological serials including Luv Kush, Vikram Aur Betaal, Krishna, Sai Baba etc. He passed away on 12 December 2005 at the age of 87 in Mumbai.
Born on 29 December 1917 as Chandramauli Chopra in at Asal Guru Ke near Lahore, he was renamed Ramanand by his maternal grandmother who adopted him. His great-grandfather, Lala Shankar Das Chopra, migrated from Peshawar to Kashmir. For his vocal criticism for the prevalent dowry system he was disowned and had to fend for himself. The young Ramanand worked as a peon, truck cleaner, soap vendor, goldsmith apprentice during the day and studied for his degree at night. He won a gold medal from Punjab University (in Pakistan) and the title of Munshi Fazal in Persian. After partition he came to India and made Mumbai his new home.
Sagar tasted first success of his life in 1933 at the age of 16 with the publication of prose-poetry Pritaam Pratiksha for the Srinagar-based Shri Pratap College's magazine. Though impressed by the work, still the editor attached a footnote that 'the editor could not vouch for the originality of the article'.
He joined Daily Pratap and rose to become the news editor of Daily Milap, a leading newspaper of Punjab. A prolific writer he many short stories, novel, and plays. In 1942 when infected with TB he described his ordeals and wrote a subjective column "Diary of a T.B. patient" about his fight. The column was published in Adab-e-Mashriq -- a highly rated magazine in the 1940s. He also penned down Jwaar Bhata (High and low tide) in 1943, Ainey (Mirrors) in 1944; Jab Pahle Roz Baraf Giri (The first day when it snowed), Goura in 1948 for a stage play enacted by thespian Prithviraj Kapoor among others. After partition he along with his family moved India.
In India he worked for Prithvi Theatres under the fatherly guidance of Prithvi Raj Kapoor. He wrote the story and screenplay for Raj Kapoor's superhit Barsaat. After working long he founded his own Sagar Films (Pvt. Ltd.) a.k.a. Sagar Arts in 1950. It was a film and television production company. In years to come he produced and directed many successful films. In 1960 he won Filmfare Best Dialogue Award for Paigham that starred Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala and Raaj Kumar in lead roles. Other milestone in his life was spy-thriller Ankhen starring Dharmendra and Mala Sinha. The blockbuster movie earned him the Filmfare Best Director Award in 1968 and was amongst the Top 10 Hindi films of the 1960s.
After his long association with Bollywood industry he tuned to try his hands in television industry also. In 1985 he started focussing on the making of soap operas for audiences at large. After years of hard labour he came up with Ramayan which was a mythological tale. The serial remembered till date was first aired on 25 January 1987. It was very popular amongst the masses and brought his production company Sagar Arts into limelight. The serial won numerous national and international awards and felicitations. He continued to entertain his audiences with various other tele-serials like Krishna, Luv Kush, Vikram Aur Betaal, Alif Laila that received good responses. He published Hindi-Urdu book Aur Insaan Mar Gaya in 1948 based on his experiences of Indo-Pak partition. The government of India honoured Sagar with the Padma Shri in 2000. Ramanand Sagar died at the age of 87 on December 11, 2005 leaving his fan and followers behind.
Children: Subhash Sagar, Prem Sagar, Anand Sagar, Moti Sagar
(FAN OF Dr. RAMANAND SAGAR)
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