Sohrab Modi

Profession: Actor , Director, Supporting Actor
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Personal Details

  • Also Know as :- Sohrab Modi
  • Profession:- Actor , Director, Supporting Actor
  • Gender :- male
  • Birthdate:- 02 Nov 1897
  • Status:- Married
  • Debut Year:- 1935
  • Active Years:- 28 Jan 1984

Physique Details

Family Details

Though Sohrab Modi was known for his historical movie but the milestone movie in his career was Mirza Ghalib (1954). It was actually a social drama based on a factious love story of legendary Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib. The movie was a box office hit and brought laurels to Modi as it won the prestigious National award. What’s more Sohrab Modi is the Only film producer (Till date) to win both the President of India’s Gold and Silver award i.e National Film Award for Best Feature Film and National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi. Death Sohrab Modi died of cancer in 1984 at the age of 86 on 28 January 1984

Sohrab Modi was born in Mumbai on 2nd November, 1897. He was the eleventh child of the family. He was born in a rich Parsi family. His father Merwanji Modi worked as a superintendent to the Nawab of Rampur state in the central Provision of India. His mother died when he was three year old. Since his father was mostly on tour to Africa and other foreign countries for his office work hence young Modi was brought up by his maternal uncle ‎and aunt in Mumbai. During vacations Modi used to visit Rampur, where he got the opportunity to read a huge number of books at the vast library of Nawab of Rampur. It was after reading these books he developed a command over Urdu and English language. How dislike for History turned into likening During his school days he was an average student but was good at exercise and extracurricular activities. Interestingly though Sohrab Modi made ‘Historical’ movies it may come as a surprise to readers that Modi was very weak in History subject in school and did not like the subject. But once he happened to watch a Hollywood historical film and was left dazed. In an interview he informed, “When I saw the film I realized the excitement and thrill of History and decided that if I venture into films I would make films on historical legends in such fascinating style that students like me who dislike the subject will be attracted to History.” How school Principal’s prediction for career turned true He completed his matriculation (Class X) from New High School in Mumbai. After his studies Modi was in dilemma over his career. Hence he took advice from his school Principal Mr. Mazban. Recalling the incident Modi narrates, “I had great admiration towards my principal hence I asked him to guide me in selecting my career. He took a keen look at my personality and appreciating by outstanding voice he told me that I could do better either in drama or Politics. I opted for drama and did fantastic.” True to Mr. Marzban’s prediction the audience went crazy listening to Sohrab Modi’s stunning baritone. His majestic ‘Dialogue’ delivery became his key forte. To add cheery on cake his dialogues were penned brilliantly by writers who used punches, paradoxes, synonyms and puns. Such was his craze among movie buffs that even ‘blind’ people thronged cinema halls to hear his mind blowing dialogues! Later many actors tried to follow Modi’s iconic dialogue delivery style. To a certain extent some even succeeded like the late actor Raaj Kumar or Shatrughan Sinha, but none could match the stature of Modi.

Sohrab Modi was married to Mehtab Modi, a yesteryear actress born into a royal Muslim family. She was 20 years younger to him. Since she was a Muslim, Modi’s family did not approve the marriage hence they had a quite civil court marriage on 28th April, 1946. According to Mehtab, his wife, Sohrab Modi was less romantic but was dedicated to his profession. He was absorbed in his passion of making movies. He also was adamant. He was a staunch disciple of Vivekananda. Hence when he was advised operation for cataract he did it in Vivekananda’s ashram despite his wife requesting him to get it done by famous surgeons in Bombay but he declined and as a result lost one eye due to his stubbornness.

Sohrab Modi began his career as a drama artist as per the advice of his principal. His first play was Khoon ka Khoon (1935) was an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s iconic play Hamlet and was an instant hit. Hence he experimented his second play based on Shakespeare's King John called Saed-e-Havas (1936). Both were huge hits. Soon he developed the reputation as a Shakespearean actor as he was highly inspired by Shakespeare and usually performed Shakespearean play along with his brother. Both the brothers traveled throughout India enjoying the tremendous sense of fulfillment every time the curtain came down and the audience clapped. However since 1931 with the advent of the sound film, theatre was declining. To rescue this dying art, Modi launched a Film Company called Minerva Movietone in 1935, its banner had a roaring lion as its emblem, which symbolized the roaring voice of Sohrab Modi on screen. Under Minerva Movietone’ Modi made movies based on sensitive social issues like alcoholism in Meetha Zahar (1938) and Talaq (1938), voicing the right of Hindu women to have divorce. But both movies failed to reap in dividends hence Modi shifted gears and decide to make a historical movie. His first film in the genre was Pukar (1939), which dwelt with the timeless story of Mughal emperor Jehangir's legendary justice; how he offered himself to be killed when a washerwoman demands justice after her husband is accidently killed by an arrow of the queen. The success of the movie infused energy in Modi and he later made Sikander (1941), the braveheart story of Indian King Porus, who confronts the mighty Alexander the Great, played by the legendary actor Prithviraj Kapoor. The confrontation of Sohrab Modi and Prithviraj Kapoor was like a clash of titian’s on the silver screen. The patriotic theme of the movie played an inspirational role in motivating the Indians who were battling for freedom. The British censor board had even tried to ban the film in few cinema houses but in vain as the movie was a huge hit among the people. In fact years later when the film was released in London, the British media was bowled over and showered huge applause. One of the newspaper called it a ‘Masterpiece Movie’ and equated it with Hollywood’s classic silent epic drama ‘Birth of a Nation’ directed by D. W. Griffith’s. After this Modi never looked back and opened a floodgate for historical movies and gave hit after hits like Prithvi Vallabh (1943), Raj Hath (1956), Nausherwan-E-Adil (1957) etc. The success of these movies won him the title of - Master of Historical cinema in India.’ Introduced India’s First Technicolor film Sohrab Modi was the first filmmaker not only to introduce Technicolor in Indian cinema but to make film in collaboration with foreign technicians (As is common today). In 1953 Modi made his career’s most ambitious film ‘Jhansi Ki Rani’ staring his beautiful wife Mehtab in the lead role. But alas in an attempt to make a gigantic epic Modi spent huge sums on precise costumes, settings, location shooting, and on foreign technicians and colour equipment but the movie failed at the box office! Sohrab Modi made a comeback Modi however bounced back with Mirza Ghalib (1954). In fact India's then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was so moved with the gazals rendered by Suraiya that he paid her the ultimate compliment by telling her she had brought Mirza Ghalib to life. (Tumne Mirza Ghalib ki Rooh ko Zinda Kar Diya).

# Released Date Type Credited As Movie
1 16 Sep 1983 Film Supporting Actor Razia Sultan
2 01 Jan 1982 Film Supporting Actor Daulat Ka Nasha
3 01 Jan 1982 Film Supporting Actor Rustom
4 01 Jan 1981 Film Actor Ganga Maang Rahi Balidan
5 01 Jan 1979 Film Supporting Actor Ghar Ki Laaj
6 01 Jan 1979 Film Director Meena Kumari Ki Amar Kahani
7 01 Jan 1975 Film Actor Tanariri
8 15 Sep 1971 Film Actor Ek Nari Ek Brahmachari
9 01 Jan 1971 Film Actor Veer Chhatrasal
10 01 Jan 1971 Film Actor Jwala