Born Kidar Nath Sharma
12 April 1910
Narowal, Punjab, Pakistan
Died 29 April 1999 (aged 89)
Occupation Director, screenwriter, actor, producer, lyricist
Years active 1935–1998
Spouse(s) Raj Dulari
Kidar Nath Sharma, also Kedar Sharma (12 April 1910 – 29 April 1999), was an Indian film director, producer, screenwriter, and Lyricist of Hindi films. While he had great success as a director of such movies as Neel Kamal (1947), Bawre Nain (1950) and Jogan (1950), he is often most remembered for starting the acting careers of Bollywood greats Geeta Bali, Madhubala, Raj Kapoor, Mala Sinha, Bharat Bhushan and Tanuja.
Kidar Sharma was born in Narowal in what was then the Punjab region of India and grew up in a life of poverty. Two brothers, Ragunath and Vishwa had died as infants and his sister, Taro, died of Tuberculosis at an early age. A younger sister Guro survived as did a younger brother, Himmat Rai Sharma, who would later work with Kidar on films before establishing himself as a successful Urdu poet. Kidar attended the Baij Nath High School in Amritsar where he became interested in philosophy, poetry, painting and photography. Upon completion of high school, he ran away from home to pursue a career in cinema in Mumbai but was unsuccessful in gaining employment. He returned to Amritsar and attended the Hindu Sabha College where he founded a College Dramatic Society which would later give him his first break in film.
The head of a local Temperance movement would attend one of Kidar's plays and hired him to produce a silent film depicting the evils of alcohol. Using the money he earned from this project he would receive his master's degree in English at Khalsa College, Amritsar before joining a local theatre group that earned him limited acting success in 1931. He was married in 1932 and painted to earn income. Upon seeing an early talkies film Puran Bhagat (1933) by film director Debaki Bose, he left for Calcutta hoping to get his big break at New Theatres Studios, where Debaki Bose worked. After many months of unemployment he managed to meet a then-unknown actor of New Theatres, Prithviraj Kapoor (where he would meet Prithviraj's eight-year-old son for the first time, Raj Kapoor). Prithviraj Kapoor introduced Kidar to his neighbour, then-unknown Kundan Lal Saigal, who through an acquaintance allowed Kidar to meet Debaki Bose. Debaki Bose hired Kidar initially to become the Movie stills photographer for the film Seeta (1934) but would give Kidar his first part in the creation of film with that of a backdrop screen painter and a poster painter for the film Inquilab (1935) where Kidar also had a bit part. Kidar would continue to work with New Theatres on films such as Dhoop Chhaon (1935) and Pujarin (1936) but a big break would come when Kidar was asked to write the dialogue and lyrics for the 1936 adaptation of Devdas starring his friend Kundan Lal Saigal. Devdas was not only a hit, but songs from the film such as Balam Aaye Baso Moray Man Mein and Dukh Ke Ab Din Beetat Naahi became feverishly popular throughout the country, giving Kidar Sharma acclaim by the press and public. Kidar would later say, "Both Bimal Roy and I got our first big break in Devdas. He as the cameraman and I as the writer."
An outstanding poet, Sharma wrote some of the most memorable songs including Balam aayo baso more man mein, Dukh kay ab din beetat nahi, Khayalon Mein Kisike (Bawre Nain), Kabhi Tanhaiyon Mein Bhi (Hamari Yaad Aayegi) and Teri duniya mein dil lagta nahi. Kidar would continue to contribute as a lyricist and to write and direct films through the 1990s. Ironically, many Indian film critics and historians argued that he deserved the highest cinema award from the government of India but he died a day before he was to receive the Raj Kapoor Award, named in honour of the actor he helped make a success.
His autobiography, The One and Lonely Kidar Sharma was published posthumously in 2002, edited by his son Vikram Sharma.
Awards and nominations
International honours and recognitions
Part of the Indian Delegation in 1945 which travelled to England and Hollywood and met with Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney and Cecil B. DeMille
Best Children's Film, International Film Festival at Venice 1957 for Jaldeep
National honours and recognitions
1956: National Film Award for Best Children's Film: Jaldeep
Indian Film Directors' Association Lifetime Achievement Award
Gold Award from Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in 1982 for contribution to Indian Cinema
Government of Maharashtra's Raj Kapoor Award (awarded in 1999 after his death)