Syed Amir Haider Kamal Naqvi, better known as Kamal Amrohi, was an Indian film director and screenwriter. He was born on 17th of January, 1918, in Amroha, Uttar Pradesh. He was a Shi'a Muslim and used to write Urdu and Hindi poems. He is very well-known for some popular Hindi movies like Pakeezah, Mahal, and
Razia Sultan. He established Mahal Films in the year 1953 and Kamalistan Studio in the year 1958 in Bombay. In the year 1938, he left his hometown Amroha and went to study in Lahore. There he was discovered by K. L. Saigal, a well-known singer, who took him to Bombay. He started working for Minerva Movietoon Film Company which was owned by Sohrab Modi.
He worked on films like Bharosa, Pukar, Shahjehan and Jailor. He later directed his own movie ‘Mahal’ starring
Ashok Kumar and Madhubala. The film became an instant success because it had songs sung by the famous Rajkumari Dubey and
Lata Mangeshkar. He directed three more films after Mahal, one of them being ‘Daera’, which had
Nasir Khan and
Meena Kumari in the lead roles. Razia Sultan was the last film he worked on. He also wrote dialogues for one of the famous films of all time, ‘Mughal-e-Azam’, in 1960. He was awarded the Filmfare Award for his outstanding work in that film.
He wanted to make a movie called ‘Aakhri Mughal’, but it could not see the light of the day due to his death. There were plans to resuscitate the movie, first in the 1990s and then in the year 2007, but it never materialised. In the year 1958, he came up with his own studio called the Kamal Amrohi Studio for his banner ‘Mahal Films’. It was located in Jogeshwari East in Mumbai. Till date the studio runs, with movies like
Amar Akbar Anthony, and more recently, Dabangg 2, being shot there. Kamal Amrohi married thrice and had three children.
His first wife was Bano and his second wife was Mehmoodie. He had three his three children with his second wife, of which he had two sons. Both of them worked along with him in the movie Razia Sultan. He later met Meena Kumari on a movie set and fell for her. They got married in the year 1952 and mutually separated in 1964. His grandsons
Bilal Amrohi and Mashboor Amrohi are also well-known actors. Kamal Amrohi died in the year 1993 on 11 February. He was laid next to Meena Kumari in Rehmatabad Qabristan, which is an Iranian graveyard in Mumbai.