An award-winning editor, B S Glaad was equally adept at moulding a patriotic film such as Upkar (1967) as well as the swashbuckling excess of a classic B film like Samson (1964). He also contributed to the progress of Punjabi cinema, turning director for two films.
Balbir Singh Glaad was born in Lyallpur (presently in Pakistan). He did his schooling in Lahore. His entry into the film industry came through his association with Dalsukh M Pancholi, one of the pioneers of Punjabi cinema. He joined the Pancholi laboratory as an assistant in 1946. His time there was short-lived as he had to migrate to Bombay following the Partition. He worked for Ranjit Movietone for a short while before rekindling his association with Pancholi, this time as an assistant editor.
He debuted as an editor in a Gujarati film called Sharad Poonam (1950) directed by Ramnik Acharya. He worked with Lekhraj Bhakri in Rajput(1951) and Resham (1952). He started receiving more offers following that as he worked in films like Changez Khan (1957), Night Club (1958), Bus Conductor (1959) and Sarhad (1960). He edited the classic Nanabhai Bhatt stunt film Samson (1964).
He first won acclaim for the Manoj Kumar film Upkar (1967). The film was a major step in Manoj Kumar’s journey towards becoming synonymous with patriotic films. Glaad won his first Filmfare Award for Best Editing for his work in this film. He worked in Kewal Kashyap’s comedy Parivar (1968) and Vishwas(1969). He won his second Filmfare Award for T Prakash Rao’s Nanha Farishta (1969). His collaboration with Manoj Kumar continued in the classic Purab Aur Pachhim (1970). He also worked on Narendra Bedi’s ‘eastern’ Khote Sikkay (1974) and Maha Chor (1976). The superhits Dharmatma (1975), Premika (1977) and Chhaila Babu (1977) also bear the imprint of his crisp editing style.
He continued working through the 80’s and 90’s – lending his formidable skills to films such as Shakka (1981), Meharbaani (1982), Bade Ghar Ki Beti (1989) and Megha (1996). His most significant achievement during this time was Kamal Amrohi’s magnum opus historical romance Razia Sultan (1983). His last film was 1997’s Aakhri Sangharsh.
Glaad did not limit himself to Hindi cinema and went back to his roots in Punjabi films. He helmed films such as Chambe Di Kali (1965) and Neem Hakim (1967). He also directed the 1985 Rajesh Khanna -Hema Malini starrer Hum Dono (1985).
B S Glaad will forever be remembered for his expertise in handling sprawling mainstream narratives and shaping them into the taut, exciting films we enjoy even today.