Remembering Ramanand Sagar
Ramayan’s Lakshman aka Sunil Lahri’s BTS photo with director Ramanand Sagar, Ram Arun Govil goes viral | Image Source: Twitter/Sunil Lahri
Ramanand Sagar (29 December 1917 – 12 December 2005) was a producer, director, and writer. He’s best known for the Ramayan TV show, a 78-part adaptation of the ancient Indian epic of the same name starring Arun Govil as Lord Ram and Deepika Chikhalia as Sita. The TV serial was then widely watched and liked across the country. He got the Padma Shri from the Indian government in 2000.
Childhood and early life
Rajesh Khanna was born on 29 December 1917 in Asal Guru, near Lahore. Chandramauli Chopra was his first name. Lala Shankar Das Chopra, his great-grandfather, migrated from Lahore to Kashmir. His maternal grandmother, who didn’t have a son, adopted Ramanand. He was then renamed Ramanand Sagar instead of Chandramouli Chopra
Sagar’s father remarried after his mother died, and they had more children, including Vidhu Vinod Chopra, Sagar’s half-brother. Sagar worked as a peon, truck cleaner, soap vendor, goldsmith apprentice, etc. during the day and studied at night.
In 1942, he won a gold medal in Sanskrit and Persian at the University of Punjab. He also edited the Daily Milap. Among his works are short stories, novels, poems, plays, etc. under names like “Ramanand Chopra“, “Ramanand Bedi” and “Ramanand Kashmiri“.
During his battle with tuberculosis in 1942, he wrote a subjective column, “Diary of a T.B. patient”. The column was published in Lahore’s Adab-e-Mashriq magazine.
Sagar started out in 1932 as a clapper boy in Raiders of the Rail Road. After India’s partition, he moved to Bombay. Sagar started out as an assistant stage manager at the Prithvi Theatres of Prithviraj Kapoor in the 1940s. He also directed a few plays under Kapoor’s tutelage.
In 1950, he started Sagar Films (Pvt. Ltd.) a.k.a. Sagar Arts. He produced and directed Bazooband and Mehmaan, both of which failed.
He won the 1960 Filmfare Best Dialogue Award for Paigham which was directed by S. S. Vasanand starred Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala and Raaj Kumar.
In 1985, he turned to TV with Dada Dadi Ki Kahaniyaan, directed by Moti Sagar and produced by Ramanand Sagar. Then Sagar Arts started making serials about Indian history. The first episode of his directorial venture Ramayan aired on 25 January 1987.
It was Sagar who directed Vikram Aur Betaal in 1988. He did Sai Baba and Alif Laila, fantasy dramas.
Awards and Recognitions
Sagar got the Padma Shri from the Indian government in 2000.
For Paigham, he won the Filmfare Best Dialogue Award in 1960. He also won the Filmfare Best Director Award for Aankhen in 1969.
Sagar died on 12 December 2005 in Mumbai, aged 88, from a series of health problems.