indian cinema heritage foundation

‘Manzil Ki Dhun Me Jhoomte’ - Prem Adib

14 Apr, 2020 | Beete Hue Din by Shishir Krishna Sharma
Prem Adib. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

It is well known that the only film Gandhi Ji saw in his lifetime was Ram Rajya (1943). This mythological film, released in 1943 was a Prakash Pictures production, directed by Vijay Bhatt with lyrics by Ramesh Gupta and music by Shankar Rao Vyas. The actor who played Lord Ram along with Shobhna Samarth (as Sita) in this film was Prem Adib, a name that is still afresh in the memories of Hindi Cine buffs of that era. Prem Adib started his acting career in the mid-1930s with social films but reached new heights of fame with his work in mythological films in the 1940s. During a span of 25 years, he acted in 67 films but his flourishing career came to an abrupt end due to his sudden death. After a lot of effort, I recently met his wife Mrs. Pratima Adib and she willingly shared information about him.
Bharat Milap (1942) from Cinemaazi archive

Originally from Kashmir, Prem Adib’s forefathers migrated to the city of Faizabad in Awadh (now Uttar Pradesh) during the rule of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah (of Awadh). His grandfather’s name was Devi Prasad Dar. His father Ram Prasad Dar shifted from Faizabad and settled in Sultanpur, where Prem Adib was born as Shiv Prasad Dar on 10 August 1916. According to Mrs. Pratima Adib, Dar family was conferred with the title Adib by Nawab Wajid Ali Shah, the title derived from Urdu term Adab which means politeness, thus Adib became their family name.
Prem Adib in Bharat Milap (1942). Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din
Since childhood, Shiv Prasad was inclined towards cinema. With the advent of Talkies, Kolkata and Lahore had also emerged as the centers of film making along with Mumbai. One fine day he left home with a desire to become an actor and reached Kolkata. But all his efforts and struggle went futile thus compelling him to try his luck in Lahore. Finding no success in Lahore as well, he finally moved to Mumbai.
Police (1944) from Cinemaazi archive
His debut film, Romantic India was released in the year 1936. This Rajputana Films production Romantic India was written and directed by Mohan Sinha. Music was composed by the well-known actor of his time, Pandit Badri Prasad and Prem Adib’s co-artists were Noorjehan, Snehlata, Shyam Sunder, Pandit Badri Prasad and a young man from Kashmir named O K Dar who is now well known as Jeevan. Mohan Sinha gave him his screen name, Prem and thus Shiv Prasad Dar became Prem Adib.
Prem Adib in Police (1944) Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

(It is said that the actress Vidya Sinha is Mohan Sinha’s daughter but according to composer Omi Ji of Sonik Omi fame, Mohan Sinha was Vidya Sinha’s maternal grandfather. Vidya Sinha’s mother passed away at the time of her birth, Vidya Sinha was not only brought up by her maternal grandfather Mohan Sinha but was also given the same name Vidya as her mother’s. Vidya Sinha’s father’s name was Sardar Man Singh Rana who produced film Parwana (1947) in partnership with producer Mr. Haldia with the name Comrade Pratap Rana and Vidya (1948) and Jeet (1949) as an independent producer. Jeet was his first wife’s name who died very early. Later he married Mohan Sinha’s daughter Vidya. Comrade Pratap Rana was Omi Ji’s maternal uncle thus Vidya Sinha is his cousin.)
Chandrahas (1947). Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din
Prem Adib continued to play small parts in his next few films like - Dariyani Production’s Fida-e-Watan (1936), Pratima (1936) and Insaaf (1937), Minerva Movietone’s Khan Bahadur (1937) and Talaaq (1938). General Films’ Production, Industrial India released in 1938 saw Prem Adib in a leading role. This movie was also directed by Mohan Sinha and Shobhna Samarth was his leading lady. With films like - Vishwakala Movietone’s Ghoonghatwali (1938), Sagar Movietone’s Bhole Bhale and Sadhna (1939), and Hindustan Cinetone’s Saubhagya (1940) Prem Adib’s career started gaining momentum.
in Khan Bahadur (1937) with Naseem Banu. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

In the 1941 release, Darshan marked the beginning of a long association between Prem Adib and Prakash Pictures. Darshan was one of the initial films of composer Naushad, who hailed from Awadh (Lucknow) thus Prem Adib and Naushad developed a deep bond of friendship. Prakash Pictures Bharat Milap (1942) gave Prem Adib a new kind of recognition. In the same year, Prem Adib acted in Prakash Pictures Chooriyaan (1942), Station Master (1942), and Hindustan Cinetone's Swaminath (1942). The 1943 release Ram Rajya made under the banner of Prakash Pictures became a glittering name in the history of Hindi Cinema.
in Ram Rajya (1943). 
Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Prem Adib got married on 26 February 1943. According to Mrs. Pratima Adib, the same year in the month of August Vijay Bhatt organized a show of Ram Rajya at Birla House situated at Juhu-Mumbai. Around the same time, Gandhi Ji was present in Mumbai and he accepted Vijay Bhatt's invitation to be present on the said occasion but only for 10 minutes due to his tight schedule. After 10 minutes passed, Gandhi Ji's secretary reminded him but he was so engrossed in the movie that he asked his secretary to cancel all the appointments for the day and watched the complete film.
with wife Pratima Adib. Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Later on, Prem Adib acted in Bhagyalaxmi (1944), Chand (1944), Police (1944), Amrapali (1945), Vikramaditya (1945), Maharani Minal Devi (1946), Subhadra (1946), Urvashi, (1946), Chandrahas (1947), Geet Govind (1947), Kasam (1947), Mulaqaat (1947), Sati Toral (1947), Veerangana (1947), Actress (1948), Anokhi Ada (1948), Rambaan (1948), Bholi (1949), Hamari Manzil (1949), Ram Vivah (1949), Bhai Bahen (1950), Preet Ka Geet (1950), Bhola Shankar (1951), Lav Kush (1951), Indrasan (1952), Mordhwaj (1952), Raja Harishchandra(1952), Rami Dhoban (1953), Hanuman Janm (1954), Mahapooja (1954), Ramayan (1954), Shaheed-E-Azam Bhagat Singh (1954), Bhagwat Mahima (1955), Ganga Maiya (1955), Prabhu Ki Maya (1955), Shri Ganesh Vivah (1955), Dilli Darbar (1956), Rajrani Mira (1956), Ram Navmi (1956), Adhi Roti (1957), Chandi Pooja (1957), Krishna Sudama (1957), Neel Mani (1957), Ram Hanuman Yuddh (1957), Gopichand (1958), Rambhakt Vibhishan (1958), Teesri Gali (1958), Samrat Prithviraj Chauhan (1959), Bhakt Raj (1960) and Angulimal (1960). He also produced 2 films Dehati (1947) and Ram Vivah (1949) under his own banner Prem Adib Productions but kept himself away from acting in Dehati. Prem Adib also sang few songs in the films – Talaaq, Industrial India, Bhole Bhale, Sadhna, Saubhagya, Darshan (1941), Chooriyaan (1942), Station Master (1942) and Police (1944).
Prem Adib in Station Master (1942). Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

Mrs. Pratima Adib's grandfather Visheshwar Nath Kaul was the first Indian to become a Deputy Superintendent in Railways. Originally from Kashmir, few generations back the Kaul family migrated to Lucknow and were serving for Railways for 4 generations. Mrs. Pratima Adib was born on the day of Janmashtami on 13 August 1922 as Kishan Kaul. Her father Rajeshwar Nath Kaul's last posting before retirement was in Lahore and post-retirement he decided to settle in the same city. Kishan Kaul, who was the youngest among 6 sisters and 2 brothers shifted from Lahore to Mumbai as Mrs. Pratima Adib post marriage.
in Lav Kush (1951). Image Courtesy: Beete Hue Din

During that time many actors of Kashmiri origin like Sapru, Jeevan, Ulhas and Chandra Mohan were well-known names in Hindi Cinema and all of them were good friends of Prem Adib's. Ulhas, who hailed from Ajmer was closely related to one of Mrs. Pratima Adib's sisters. He was her brothers-in-law (husband's elder brothers), son. Mrs. Pratima Adib's eldest sister and Indira Gandhi's maternal aunt Sheela Kaul is a well-known Congress leader. She was a minister in the central government. Currently 97 years old, Sheela Kaul resides in Delhi. Actor Chandra Mohan was from a Madhya Pradesh based Kashmiri Wattal family. According to Mrs.Pratima Adib, Chandra Mohan's earlier life was spent in Gwalior. Chandra Mohan instantly got success in films but he could not retain it for long. Unfortunately, he died very soon in the state of penury.
Angulimala (1960) from Cinemaazi archive

According to Mrs. Pratima Adib, during the making of the film Ram Vivah (1949) Prem Adib met with a car accident that caused damage to his kidneys which badly affected his blood pressure. On 25 December 1959 when he was attending the birthday party of Mrs. Pratima Adib's elder sister at her Worli, Mumbai residence, his blood pressure suddenly shot up resulting in brain hemorrhage resulting in his death. He was just 43 then.  Angulimal was his last film which released in 1960 after his death.

Today, 90 years old Mrs. Pratima Adib resides at Azad Lane, Andheri (West), Mumbai with her daughter Damini and Son in law Shailesh Sohoni, a renowned name of the Ad-world.

[part of Shishir Krishna Sharma's Beete Hue Din blog series]


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