indian cinema heritage foundation

Bunny Reuben

Publicist/P.R. O.
  • Born: 1926
  • Died: 15 February, 2007
  • Children: Lakshmi Reuben Gopali

Film historian, author, and senior journalist, Bunny Reuben was the first film journalist who crossed over and turned publicist in the early 1970s. He handled film publicity related work for noted actors and filmmakers such as Raj Kapoor, Mehboob Khan, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar. Among the many films he is credited with publicist for are Mera Naam Joker (1970), Daag: A Poem of Love (1973), Deewaar (1975), Nishant (1975), Kabhie Kabhie (1976), Bhumika (1977), Satyam Shivam Sundaram (1978), Trishul (1978), Khubsoorat (1980), The Burning Train (1980), Insaf Ka Tarazu (1980), Silsila (1981), Prem Rog (1982), Nikaah (1982), Mandi (1983), Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985), Trikal (1985), Tridev (1989), Thalapathi (1991), Oh Darling Yeh Hai India (1995), and Duplicate (1998). He also authored books such as Raj Kapoor: The Fabulous Showman, Pran: A Biography, Dilip Kumar (Marathi), Savage Trio: Three Stories, Dilip Kumar: The Definitive Biography, Mehboob: India's Demille, and Monkeys on the Hill of God: Nine Stories of India. He is also credited with co-producing the film Aashiq (1962). 

Born in 1926, he started his career as a film journalist in the 1940s. He worked with several publications, including Filmfare. From the 1950s to the 1970s, he was an in-the-field reporter and writer of feature articles for the Indian Express group, Filmfare and Star & Style. He was also editor of the film magazine Cine Blitz, founded by Russi Karanjia. 

Reuben was the first film journalist who crossed over and turned film publicist in the early 1970s. As a public relations officer (PRO), he handled the film publicity and promotion work for approximately 70 films by leading filmmakers and actors. He was known to be a close associate of Raj Kapoor, Dev Anand and Dilip Kumar. He handled the publicity for all Raj Kapoor films post Awara (1951), with the exception of Bobby (1973).

An experienced and astute journalist, his views on cinema were often sought after. On the subject of the role played by cinema in social change, he was of the opinion that cinema, over the decades, created a tremendous awareness about a variety of social inequalities. “Even before the 1950s, there were filmmakers… like Master Vinayak (father of actress Baby Nanda) …a social satirist par excellence. He made great comedies, made fun of existing social mores, pinpointed social inequalities. After him, came V Shantaram, Sohrab Modi, Mehboob, Bimal Roy, Raj Kapoor, Guru Dutt… The 1950s and 1960s were a rich period of socially relevant cinema. In spite of the rut into which the film industry has got, people in parallel cinema like Govind Nihalani or Amol Palekar, have made films which may not have been great box office hits, but they have said something.” He concluded that while cinema is a very potent weapon for social progress, it has been used and misused as well, but on the whole it has achieved a great amount of integration. 

He has many books to his credit which include biographies of actors Pran, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Mehboob Khan. Particularly close to Raj Kapoor, his Raj Kapoor: The Fabulous Showman, was an “intimate biography” of the actor-filmmaker. It captured the court of RK Studios, over which the "lion of Chembur" reigned, also making some startling revelations. 

In his book on Mehboob Khan, titled Mehboob: India's Demille, he writes about the filmmaker’s experiences at the Oscars - “For Mehboob, the crowing moments of glory followed one after another in quick succession. Following the sweeping victory of Mother India at the Flimfare awards, Mehboob received the finest news he had ever received in his entire life – his film Mother India had been nominated as the Indian entry in the Best Foreign Language Film category at the Academy Awards in Hollywood. It was the first ever Indian film to have received this signal honour… His pulses pounding with the taste of impending glory Mehboob knew that the time had come for his third visit to Hollywood… Mother India did not win the Academy Award that year. It lost by a single vote at the third poll. The Best Foreign Film Award went to the Italian Producer Dino de Laurentiis’ Nights of Cabiria. It was a severe blow but Mehboob put a smile on it and laughed it off. What he did win however was a marked respect as a great film showman from India. And above all, when his guru Cecil B. DeMille saw the film he was all praise for Mehboob yet again and confessed to having come to know the real India better after seeing the film.”

Aashiq, his 1962 production along with co-producer Vijay Kishore Dubey, was directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, and starred Raj Kapoor, Padmini and Nanda Karnataki. It had music by Shankar-Jaikishan.

Bunny Reuben passed away on 15 February, 2007. He was 81.