Sircilla-born Jairaj still remains unsung in film industry

Not many people from State know about the legendary actor who got the Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1980.

By   |  Published: 12th Nov 2017  12:05 amUpdated: 12th Nov 2017  1:26 am
LEGENDARY ACTOR: Though Jairaj was a Telugu, he did not act in a single Telugu movie in his seven-decade career.

Karimnagar: People of this generation may not be aware of several old-time film personalities — right from the silent era to modern day cinema — who ruled the film industry for decades together.

Paidi Jairaj was one among the few legendary silent era heros who left their mark on the Indian film industry. Besides acting as a hero in several Hindi, Urdu, Marathi and Gujarati movies, he also directed and produced films.

Born in Sircilla, Jairaj made an indelible mark on Indian celluloid. Recognizing his services made to the film industry, Jairaj was presented the most prominent movie awards, the Dadasaheb Phalke award in 1980. Jairaj passed away on August 11, 2000, at the ripe old age of 91, leaving behind a rich legacy.

The salient features of Jairaj’s career could find a prominent place in the annals of the Indian film industry. Though he acted in 300 movies and played the role of a leading man in 11 silent era and more than 156 talkie films, till today, nothing is recorded properly about him.

To record his journey in the film industry in a proper way, Chandralekha Tele Films is making a documentary on the life history of Jairaj, who was popularly known as ‘Papaji’ in Bollywood.  

Bilingual documentary

Movie critic and Nandi award winner Ponnam Ravichandra, who is producing the documentary, told Telangana Today that with the need for a proper historical perspective and to pay respect to the Telangana film icon, he had taken up the project, which would be completed before the World Telugu Mahasabhalu. The shooting of the bilingual documentary, in Telugu and English, has already begun and some of the scenes were recorded at Tower Circle, Khamman and Lower Manair Dam in Karimnagar town.

Stating that the voice of the well-known Telangana movie personality, Narsingha Rao, was already recorded, they were planning to record the voice of Tollywood producer Vijayendra Prasad and Director of Telangana Language and Culture Department Mamidi Harikrishna.         

They are also trying to record the opinion of Jairaj’s grandson, Rajansha, who lives in Mumbai. He thanked the Telangana government’s decision to constitute a national level award after Jairaj.  

Jairaj, who was the nephew of M Govindarajulu Naidu, husband of India’s nightingale, Sarojini Naidu, was born in Sircilla on September 28,1909. His family had shifted to Hyderabad in his childhood and he pursued his education in Nizam College.

Passionate on movies, Jairaj migrated to Mumbai in 1928 by not heeding his elder brother Sundara Raj’s advice to become an engineer and settle in Hyderabad. He, first acted in a movie produced by a famous producer Mavarerkar. However, the movie was not released. Later, he played a supporting artiste’s role in ‘Jagam Gathi Jawani’ directed by Nagendra Mazumdar.

For the first time, he played a hero’s role in Rasseri Rani, which was based on an English novel

‘The Prisoner of Zenda’ wherein a famous actress Madhuri played the heroine’s role.   

In league of legends

‘Shikari’ was Jairaj’s first Urdu talkie film wherein he played a Buddhist monk’s role in 1931. With his movie ‘Mahasagar-No-Mothi’ becoming a big hit, he secured a place beside famous heroes such as Billimoria, V Shantaram, and Prithviraj Kapoor.

‘Hathimthai’ was the only fantasy movie in which he acted. The song ‘Parwar digar-e-aalam’ sung by Mohamad Rafi became very popular after the seventh Nizam took a liking for it and watched the song for ten times, it is learnt.

Besides famous movies such as Chandrasekhar Azad, Prithivraj Chowhan and Tipu Sultan, he also acted in Bhabi, Bijli Mala, Prabhath, Nayi Dunia, Nayi Kahani, Hamari Bath, Rajputani, Shajahan, Rana Pratap, Amar Singh Rathod, Veera Dhurgas and others.  

Jairaj married a Punjabi, Savitri, in 1939. Though he was a Telugu, he did not act in a single Telugu movie in his seven-decade career in the film industry.

Karimnagar Film Society advisor N Srinivas opined that a majority of the people were not aware about Jairaj as well as other old-time movie icons of Indian film industry. Instead of organizing children’s film festival once a year, it was better to form film clubs in every school and screen movies of award winning and famous film personalities, he opined.