indian cinema heritage foundation

Keki Mistry

  • Died: 11 February 1983
  • Primary Cinema: Hindi

Veteran cinematographer and director, Keki Mistry is known for films such as Tower House (1962), Kismat (1969), and Ek Phool Do Mali (1969). From starting work as a cinematographer in the early 1930s, he continued till the early 1980s, spanning five decades. He worked in Hindi and Gujarati cinema, often collaborating with Sagar Movietone. Cinematographing more than 65 films in the course of his career, he is also credited with the trick photography for Palki (1967). He directed Meri Kahani (1948) and Pyaar Ki Manzil (1950).

Born in 1911, among the films he cinematographed early in his career are Grihalaxmi (1934) directed by Sarvottam Badami, and the Badami-directed Ver Ni Vasulat (1935) which starred Sabita Devi, Sitara Devi and Mehboob Khan

He cinematographed Be Kharab Jan (1936), written by Chimanlal Luhar, starring Shobhana Samarth, Motilal and Lala Yaqoob. He worked through the early decades, providing the cinematography for Lagna Bandhan (1936), Jagridar (1937), Gramophone Singer (1938), Seva Samaj (1939), Nirdosh (1941), and Parakh (1944), among several others.

In the 1950s, he cinematographed films such as Aadhi Raat (1950), Aankhen (1950), Ek Nazar (1951), Naaz (1954), Noor Mahal (1954), Paisa Hi Paisa (1956). The 1960s brought entertainers such as King Kong (1962), Ganga Ki Lahren (1964), Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi (1966), Spy in Rome (1968), and Ek Phool Do Mali (1969), which he cinematographed.

In the 1970s, he provided cinematography for Ek Mahal Ho Sapno Ka (1975), Aadmi Sadak Ka (1977), and Do Musafir (1978) among others, followed by Sau Din Saas Ke (1980), Rishta Kagaz Ka (1983), and Ek Chitthi Pyar Bhari (1985). 

Among the key films he cinematographed were Tower House in 1962, Kismat (1969) and Ek Phool Do Mali (1969). 

Tower House, directed by Nisar Ahmad Ansari, starred Ajit Khan, Shakila and Nisar Ahmad Ansari. Belong to the horror thriller genre, the plot revolved around the mystery that surrounds the ruins of an old tower house where, on select nights, a woman comes out wailing a song, amidst people committing suicide by throwing themselves off the tower. 

The action adventure film Kismat, which he cinematographed, starred Babita and Biswajeet Chatterjee. Directed by Manmohan Desai, it revolved around a guitar-carrying musician and a rebellious runaway wealthy woman who go on the run from organised gangsters.

The family drama Ek Phool Do Mali, directed by Devendra Goel, was based on the book Do Kadam Aage by Sampat Lal Purohit. The film was a blockbuster and the second highest grossing film of the year. 

The family drama Palki saw him provide trick photography for the film directed by Mahesh Kaul and S U Sunny. Starring Rajendra Kumar Tuli, Waheeda Rehman and Rehman Khan, the plot revolved around a poor poet who lives a modest lifestyle with his widowed mother in Lucknow, and the events that transpire after he wins a poetry competition hosted by a nawab. 

Making his debut as a director in 1948, he directed Meri Kahani, a drama genre film written by Waheed Qureshi and starring Surendra, Munawar Sultana and Pratima Devi. Two years later, he directed Pyaar Ki Manzil starring Rehman Khan. 

Keki Mistry passed away on 11 February 1983 in Mumbai, India.


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