RAM DAYAL:A Forgotton Hero and producer of Pakistan's first film

SARDARI Lal was then the general manager of Pancholi Pictures,Lahore that controlled two studios,three cinima halls and Empire Talkies Ditributors. Later Dewan Sardardarilal started his his own film production company and produced a film titled Barsat Ki Ek Raat starring Pran. Ram Dayal joined his father's business as Production Chief and also handled he camera department. After the partition,while many had to leave Lahore,Ram Dayal stayed back till 1950. In 1948, his father and Ram Dayal produced independentPakistan's first film Teri Yaad starrring Nasir Khan. Till 1950, Ram Dayal had the privilege ofHaving been associated with stars likeRagini,Neena, Swarn Lata, Nazir,Charlie, Sabia, Santosh Kumar, Darpan, M.Azmal andmusicdirector Ghulam Hyder andChisti. Later in 1950He came to India leaving his parents in Lahore. In 1956, Ram Dayal's parents migrated to India.
Coming back to Bombay in 1950, Ram Dayal started working as a press photographer and also in the camera department. In the same year, he launched his own production company alongwith his brother Darshan who already was in Bombay working asa Pro for actress Shyama. From 1952 to 1990, Ram Dayal produced 25 films besides directing two and photograhing more than 25 films. Ram Dayal had the privilege of being the GM of the Famous Studio at Caddel Road in 1956-57 and then in 1958-59, hewas in charge of the now defunct Kardar Studio.
Ram Dayal made all kinds of films in various genres. For children,he made Bazigar,Star and Dog & Horse. He made fantasy films like Alibaba Ka Beta,Tatar Ka Chor andGulbahar, one magial movie Jaadu Nagri as well as a science fiction Superman. Ram Dayal was credited for having made a bold film Do Raha starring Anil Dhawan and Radha Saluja. He also made two very well-known comedy films namely Aplam Chaplam and Shrimanji.He didn't spare the spy movie genre when he made Akalmand. Ram Dayal made Prabhat that dealt with the life of a prostitute,produced a family film Do Number Ke Amir, made action films Baghi and Zor.Formula films were Ram Dayal's forte and he made four films in this genre namely Hasino Ka Devta, Param Dharam, Takdeer Ka Badshah and Karam Yuth.He also made a film on national integration namely Veeru Ustad.
Ram Dayal has also had the honour of bringing about many changes and improvements in the field of cinema viz:
  • Initiated daily payment to artistes
  • Brought into existence the concept of "action films" repalcing 'stunt' films.This he did because earlier social and stunt films had separated status as producers,artistes,studios andtheatre owners used to look down at stunt films. Then there were a few third-grade theatres earmarked for stunt films. Famous artistes ofsocial films like Pradeep Kumar were roped in by Ram Dayal for his action film Baghi.Says Ram Dayal,"I am proud to say that Homi Wadia, the king of action moview then showered praise on me andmy stardard of making such a film." It was in 1958,that Ram Dayal made the hit film Baazigar, starring Jairaj and Nirupa Roy. This film was shot at the Kardar Studio that was earlier not available to shoot action films.
  • It was only after the stupendous success of Baazigar that the overflow system for action films were taken into consideration. Till 1958,there was no overflow system.
  • Stunt picture producers, till 1957, used to go up to China Creek to shoot their films. It was Ram Dayal who started to shoot outdoor productions in Khandala,Jamnagar,Simla, Delhi,Jaipur, Jagadari,Srinagar andFatehpur Sikri. Location shooting outside studios was also initiated by Ram Dayal. In 1956, Ram Dayal went location shooting of his film Ustad, starring Ashok Kumar and Anjali Devi in hotels and Bungalows. Forst time in the history of Hindi films artificial lights were used for shootingthis film. The photography,by Ram Dayal himself,was the film's highlight and brought kudos to him. It was from Ustad that night shooting was brought into vogue. Previously many "A" grade film producers used to dupe their night scences.
  • It was after Ram Dayal's initiative in Do Raha that producers started recruiting artistes andtechnicians directly from the Film Institute in Pune.
  • Ram Dayal has theprivilege of introducing film personalities like Rakha in Hasinon Ka Devta,Prem Chopra in Spane,Shakti Kapoor in Veeru Ustad and the famous Indo-Pak writer Qatil Shaify in Teri Yaad.It was Ram Dayal who tood thescreentest of actor Manoj Kumar and photographed him in a small role for Fashion.He had earlier screen tested Ameeta for Thakur. He also has the honour of introducing Ram Vidhani,managing director of Excelsior Theatre and president of Theatre-owners Assosiation to the film industry. He intoduced directors like Sikandar Khanna,Feroze Chinoy andRadhakant and re-introduced Roop K.Shorey who directed his Akalmand andAplam Chaplam and director B.Subhash for his film Takdeer Ka Badshah.Robin Bhatt was also introduced by Ram Dayal when the former was asked to helm the affairs by the latter for his Zoro.
  • Ram Dayal is the first producer who started shooting at Bhalla House at Pali Hill,Bandra,Citizen Hotel at Juhu andH.S. Raail's bunglow where many pictures are still shot. He shot his film Hasin Ka Devta at Maharaja Palace at Mysore.
  • Ram Dayal is also credited for having produced a film on a very delicate subject viz 'life of a prostitute' in Prabhat with a new girl Jai Kaushalya and a new director Sikandar Khanna.
  • There was a time when Hindi films were not allowed to be exhibited in South India. In 1968,an all-India agitation was launched for not allowing South Indian films to be shown in North India. The agitation continued for a month at theend of which the issue was amicably settled at a meeting held in Madras.
  • He was the first man to promote old films for videos.In 2980, he tied up with video company 'Esquire' and purchased more than 400 odd films of which the production sector earned several crores.
  • At his insistence film makers like B.R.Chopra and Ramanand Sagar startedmaking films exclusively for video. He made them have a tie-up with Esquire. And on the request of Prem Vachani, he introduced Gulshan Kumar of T-Series to the Bombay market. Later he assigned his film Karam Yudh to T-Series on an outright basis. These days most producers and music companies are working on this pattern.
  • He was the first to inroduce designer Manish Malhotra's costumes in his film Param Dharam.
  • He had the privilege to work with Suraiya, Madhu Bala, Meena Kumari,Nirupa Roy, Usha Kiran, Pandari Bai and Anjali Devi (of South),Parveen Babi,Kimi Katkar, Sangeeta Bijlani,Shammi Kapoor, Shakila, Nigar Sultan, Mahipal, Sheikh Mukhtar, Prem Nath, Ajit, Jayant, Rehman, Navin Nishchal,Rekha, Bindu, Helen, Amrish Puri, Anita Raj, Ashok Kumar, K.N.Singh, and many others.
  • He has had the privilege of doing business through Shreechand Hinduja of the Hinduja group. Hinduja was instrumental in getting his film Baghi sold for the Iran territory and received a cheque of Rs.1350 as service charges.
  • He is founder of the Film Producers' Council. He is an active member in the executive committees of Indian Motion Pictures Producers Association(IMPPA),Producers Guild of India and Guild of India,Film Makers Combine, All India Film Producers Council and Film Produers Guild.He is the Hon. General Secretary of Charitable Trust of F.P.G. of India,Chairman of ilm Producers Guild Trust.
In his days as a producer,Ram Dayal employed the services of renowned music directors like Khayyam,Chitragupt,S.N.Tripathi, Sardar Malik,O.P.Nayar,Kalyanji-Anandji, Laxmikant-Pyarelal,Sonik-Omi,Bappi Lahiri and Sardul Kwatra and made them dish out melodious music. Recalls Ram Dayal "Those were the days when music used to be the life of films. I remember an istance when a music company paid as high as Rs 8 crores for a film's soundtrack.Now music companiespay one crore for a film's soundtrack. Because those were the days of records of78rpm. HMV used tosend its representatives to the recording studios. Upon hearing all thesongs, they used to select a minimum of four songs that would be put on its records".
On piracy Ram Dayal is of the opinion, that the film industry should give up its fight against piracy The reason , not a single person has been convicted in the act of piracy that has been going on since the video cassette days. What the police andother related organisations have been doing is an eyewash, he adds.


Unknown said...

Great man.

Camaal said...

Wonderful information. I had the privilege to see him and meet him on a daily basis while working with his son Sumeer Sabharwal (Dimppyji) when he was making Numbri Aadmi with Mithun Chakraborty & Kimi Katkar way back in 1990.

Alok Bajpai said...

What a persona..... I had the privilege of meeting him on several occasions including film festivals, conferences... His knowledge & zeal for films was Incomparable. Grateful to him for introducing myself to Dimppy, his son who has inborn talent in the Entertainment Industry.