indian cinema heritage foundation

Hirabhai Patel

Art Director/Production Design
  • Real Name: Heera Patel

Art director and actor Hirabhai Patel (also credited as Heerabhai Patel) is known for films such as Kavi Kalidas (1959), Sinhal Dweep Ki Sundari (1960), Razia Sultana (1961), and Kunwari (1966).

While he is credited with acting in the film Do Nambar Ke Amir (1974), by the name Heera Patel, he served as art director for approximately seven films. 

Among his earliest films was Kavi Kalidas, released in 1959, for which he provided art direction. A musical drama directed by S N Tripathi, it starred Bharat Bhushan, Nirupa Roy, and Anita Guha. The film revolved around Kali, an upper-caste but naive and dim-witted Brahman, who lives with his stepmother and her son. He has fallen in love with Pushpavali who is of a low caste. Kali's mother does not approve and, on the next small pretext, throws him out of the house. The villagers do not show any sympathy for Kali. Kali and Pushpavali decide to leave the village. Princess Vidyotma hears Pushpavali singing and invites her to the palace to be her maid. Vidyotma is not married and will only marry a man more intelligent than her. She has humiliated and defeated many men, and no man is able to match wits with her. A sage decides to bring her arrogance to an end, and asks the naive Kali to accompany him to see the princess. Kali does so and, through the sage’s help, defeats the princess. The princess marries Kali and is aghast to find that he is illiterate, and dim-witted. Kali gets humiliated by the princess, and decides to educate himself. His true love is still Pushpavali. But he is now married, and the princess will definitely not let him leave for a low-caste woman… The film was written by Vishwanath Pande.

With Sinhal Dweep Ki Sundari, he provided art direction for a fantasy film directed by Shantilal Soni. Written by Vishnu Mehrotra (story) and Shantilal Soni (screenplay), it starred Nalini Chonkar, Daljeet, and Anand Kumar

In 1961, he art directed the romance film Razia Sultana, directed by Devendra Goel. Written by K B Pathak, it starred Nirupa Roy, Paidi Jairaj, and Nisar Ahmad Ansari. The historical film revolved around Razia, who was chosen by her father Sultan Altamash as his successor to rule in the 13th century. She was the only woman to have sat on the throne of Delhi. 

He provided art direction for the 1963 film Laagi Nahin Chhute Ram, a story of an educated boy who falls in love with a village girl. Directed by Kundan Kumar, the film starred Ashim Kumar, Baijul and Garibdas

The 1963 film Bidesiya, for which he served as art director, was directed by S N Tripathi. Written by Ram Murti Chaturvedi (dialogue and screenplay) with story idea by J L Sharma, the film starred Kumari Naaz, Sujit Kumar, and Jeevan Dhar. A Bhojpuri film, it was based on a play of the same name.

In 1966, he provided art direction for Kunwari, a drama film directed by S N Tripathi, and starring Ameeta, Mumtaz Begum, and Prem Chopra. It tells the tale of Chhaya who, despite being married, is fated to remain ‘unwed’ through her life.

Naag Mere Saathi was the fantasy film for which he worked as art director in 1973. Directed by Shantilal Soni, the film was written by Pandit R Priyadarshi (story). It starred Sujit Kumar, Sanjana, and Yunus Bihari