indian cinema heritage foundation


  • Primary Cinema: Hindi

Editor, actor and assistant director, Dharamvir (also spelt Dharamveer) is known for films such as Mughal-E-Azam (1960), An Evening in Paris (1967), Kala Pani (1958) and Nau Do Gyarah (1957). Making his mark mainly as an editor, he worked on approximately 30 films including Howrah Bridge (1958), China Town (1962), Kashmir Ki Kali (1964), Love In Tokyo (1966), and Naya Zamana (1971). He faced the camera as an actor in a few films such as Inkaar (1977), Aahuti (1978), Thodisi Bewafaii (1980), Kudrat (1981), Harjaee (1981) and Mehak (1985). He served as an assistant director on Zameer (1975) and Tumhari Kassam (1978).

Among the early films he edited are Amber (1952), the crime drama House No. 44 (1955) directed by M K Burman and starring Dev Anand, Kalpana Kartik and K N Singh; M V Raman’s directorial Pehli Jhalak (1955) starring Vyjayantimala and Kishore Kumar; the Vijay Anand-directed romantic thriller Nau Do Gyarah (1957) starring Dev Anand and Kalpana Kartik; and Kala Paani directed by Raj Khosla which narrates the story of an untiring crusade for justice, starring Dev Anand, Madhubala and Nalini Jaywant.

Among his key films is Howrah Bridge, which he edited in 1958. Directed by Shakti Samanta, and written by Ranjan Bose and Vrajendra Gaur, it starred Madhubala, Ashok Kumar and K N Singh. The plot revolved around Prem Kumar, a businessman from Rangoon, who travels to Calcutta to try and track down his brother's murderer and recover a priceless family heirloom. A major critical and commercial success upon its release, it became a cult film over the years. It was also noted for its soundtrack, which includes chartbusters such as Mera naam chin chin chu and Aaiye meherbaan.

The most prominent film of his career came in 1960 – namely, K Asif’s epic historical drama Mughal-E-Azam. Written by Asif himself and Kamal Amrohi, it told the tale of the 16th century prince who falls in love with a court dancer and battles with his emperor father. Starring Prithviraj Kapoor, Madhubala and Dilip Kumar in the leading roles, Mughal-e-Azam had the widest release of any Indian film up to that time, and patrons often queued all day for tickets. It broke box office records in India and became the highest-grossing Indian film, a distinction it held for 15 years. The accolades awarded to the film include one National film award and three Filmfare awards. Mughal-e-Azam was the first black-and-white Hindi film to be digitally coloured, and the first in any language to be given a theatrical re-release. Widely considered to be a milestone of its genre, it earned praise from critics for its grandeur and attention to detail, and the performances of its cast, especially Madhubala, who earned a nomination for the Filmfare award for best actress. 

In 1961, he edited Hum Dono, the romantic drama directed by Amarjeet and written by Vijay Anand, Nirmal Sircar and Montgomery Kee. Starring Dev Anand, Nanda and Sadhana, it told the tale of how, when an army officer is presumed dead in battle, his lookalike is tasked with breaking the news to his family. However, circumstances force him to impersonate the dead man. Depicting themes such as the effect of insecurity on romantic relationships as well as the impact of war on people's lives, the film also featured several hit songs such as Abhi na jao chhodkar, Allah tero naam ishwar tero naam, and Main zindagi ka saath. 

Kashmir Ki Kali, which he edited in 1964, was directed by Shakti Samanta and starred Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore. A musical romance with elements of comedy, it revolved around a rich young man who woos a proud girl against her father’s wishes.

Love in Tokyo (1966) saw him edit this Pramod Chakravorty directorial starring Joy Mukherjee and Asha Parekh. The plot depicted Gayatridevi, who wants her son Ashok to marry Sarita, whom she has chosen for him. However, Ashok is in love with Asha. Things take a turn when Ashok loses his eyesight in an accident.

An Evening in Paris (1967) saw him edit this romantic thriller directed by Shakti Samanta. Starring Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore, the plot plays out in romantic Paris, where mystery and intrigue surround the romance of Shyam/ Sam and Roopa. 

In 1969, he edited Tumse Achha Kaun Hai, directed by Pramod Chakravorty and written by Sachin Bhowmick, Agha Jani Kashmiri and Aijaz Tishna. Starring Shammi Kapoor, Babita Kapoor and Mehmood, it told the tale of the hero, who, in order to get medical treatment for his sister, faces challenges when he is hired to subdue three out-of-control heiresses.

Love and God (1986) was his last release as editor. Directed by K Asif, it was based on the ill-fated love story of Laila and Majnu, and starred Nimmi and Sanjeev Kumar