1st Edition

Pre-Partition Punjab’s Contribution to Indian Cinema

By Ishtiaq Ahmed Copyright 2023

    This book traces the contribution of Punjabis born before the Partition of India in 1947 to Indian cinema. It examines the story of their contributions at three centres of Hindustani-language films: Bombay, Calcutta and Lahore.

    This book is co-published with Aakar Books. Print edition not for sale in South Asia (India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, Pakistan and Bhutan)


    1. Themes in Punjab’s History That Shaped Its Music, Popular Consciousness and Cinema

    2. Historical and Cultural Context for Punjab’s, Especially Lahore’s, Participation in the Film Industry

    3. The Lahore-Bombay Film Linkage

    4. Punjabi Artistes and Professionals Establish Themselves in the Indian Film Industry

    5. Historical Factors That Shaped Punjab’s Significant Role in the Music of South Asian Cinema

    6. Contribution of the Legendary K.L. Saigal to Indian Cinema

    7. Punjab-Born Stars Who Shone Brightly in the Bombay Film Industry

    8. Two Towering Personalities of the Bombay Film Industry: Shyam and Balraj Sahni

    9. Dilip Kumar: Mega Star of the Bombay Film Industry from Punjab

    10. Raj Kapoor: The Legendary Showman

    11. Dev Anand and Lahore

    12. Two Prominent Punjabis in the Bombay Film Industry from Chakwal and Jhelum: R.C. Talwar and Sunil Dutt

    13. Pran Personifies the Lahore-Bombay Film Link

    14. Om Prakash: Yet Another Lahori Who Shifted to Bombay

    15. Kamini Kaushal: Lahore is Home

    16. Shyama’s Arain Roots in Lahore

    17. Other Pre-Partition Punjabi Heroines in the Bombay Film Industry

    18. Where the Rafi Saga Began...

    19. The ‘Bell’ Who ‘Sang’ Mellifluously: Shamshad Begum

    20. Role of Three Lahori Directors in the Indian Film Industry

    21. Other Prominent Directors and Producers

    22. Punjabis Who Shaped Songwriting in the Indian Film Industry

    23. Two Great Songwriters: Rajinder Krishan and Sahir Ludhianvi

    24. Punjabi Storywriters and Scriptwriters of the South Asian Film Industry

    25. Magical Song-Music Collaborators: Madan Mohan and Raja Mehdi Ali Khan

    26. Some Other Pre-Partition Born Punjabi Lead Artistes, Character Actors, Comedians and Villains

    27. I Met Raj Babbar and Naqsh Lyallpuri

    28. A Visit to Bombay in February 2013

    29. Post-Partition Lahore Film Industry

    Editor’s Afterword



    Ishtiaq Ahmed is Professor Emeritus of Political Science at Stockholm University, from where he also holds a PhD. He has published several books including the award winning, Jonnah: His Successes, Failures and Role in History, 2020. His book, The Punjab Bloodied, Partitioned and Cleansed: Unravelling the 1947 Tragedy through Secret British Reports and First-Person Account won the Best Non-Fiction Book Award at the Karachi Literature Festival, 2013 and at the Lahore Literary Festival, 2013.