indian cinema heritage foundation


  • Died: 12 October 1997 (Allahabad)
  • Primary Cinema: Hindi

Director Meraj is known for films such as Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein (1977), Sitara (1980), Bharosa (1981), Dhat Tere…Ki (1983), and Shagun (1989). He was an assistant director to Gulzar on several films, before making his debut as an independent director. Credited as the assistant script-writer for Parichay (1972), associate screenplay writer for Achanak (1973), and sound assistant for Devata (1978), he also appeared onscreen in the film Paththar (1985). 

Meraj served as an assistant or associate director on films such as Mere Apne (1971), Parichay (1972), Koshish (1972), Achanak (1973). Aandhi (1975), Khushboo (1975), and Meera (1979). 

He made his debut as director in 1977 with the film Palkon Ki Chhaon Mein, which was penned by Gulzar. The film revolved around Ravi (Rajesh Khanna), an unemployed college graduate, who accidentally lands a job as postman in a remote village. In the course of his work, he meets different people as he finds his way around village life. He also meets Mohini (Hema Malini), whose affection he mistakes for something deeper, and falls in love. She, however, is waiting for an army officer whom she had a brief romance with, while his battalion was training near her village. When Ravi finds out about this, he withdraws into himself. When war breaks out, he tries to help her locate her love. He ends up bringing her news of her lover's death. There are misunderstandings which cause anguish, followed by compromise and a happy ending. The film included popular songs by R D Burman such as Allah megh de, Dakhiya dakh laya, and Koi mere mathe pe bindiya

An image of film booklet of  'Koshish' (1972) from Cinemaazi archive.

His directorial Sitara starred Mithun Chakraborty and Zarina Wahab, with music composed by R D Burman. It explored the life of actors coming from small towns and villages. The film told the love story of two childhood sweethearts, Dhania and Kundan, who come to Bombay in search of a livelihood and start working in a cinema hall. Dhania is fascinated by films and secretly desires to become an actress. She often imitates the dances shown in films. One day, while playing a popular song, she pulls Kundan to join her as she dances to the music. Their impromptu performance catches the attention of a person related to films, who is impressed by Dhania’s skill. He helps her become a film star, Sarita. Kundan, however, feels lonely in the world of glamour. Their love is lost along the way. He still loves Dhania, who is lost in her dreams of becoming a superstar. Depressed, he decides to return to his village. 

Meraj’s next – Bharosa, which released in 1981, was an adventure-mystery featuring Rajesh Khanna, Zaheera and Sujit Kumar

Dhat Tere…Ki in 1983 saw him direct Ravi Baswani, Abhi Bhattacharya and Akhil Mishra in this comedy. The film revolved around Madhukar Sharma, a chartered accountant based in Bombay, who lives with his wife Vinti, and their school-going son. Vinti feels that Madhukar, or Maddy as he is called, has lost interest in her, and is smitten by a neighbour named Gunjan. She fears he may kill her to free himself from this marriage, and marry Gunjan. Her fears seem to become a reality when, one night, she awakes from her sleep to see Maddy about to choke her with a bathroom towel! When she screams and confronts him, he falteringly explains that he was merely trying to kill a mosquito on her cheek. Unconvinced, she decides to keep tabs on him. Suddenly, there seem to be a number of ‘wrong numbers’ on their telephone, most of which are answered by Maddy… Are Vinti's suspicions valid? 

An image of film booklet of  'Achanak' (1973) from Cinemaazi archive.

In 1989, his directorial Shagun hit the screens. It starred Tom Alter, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Raj Kiran, Om Puri, Asha Sachdev and Priya Tendulkar. This drama film revolved around two boys who arrive in the city to build a fortune and set up a factory. However, a man conspires to kill one of the boys.

Meraj passed away on 12 October 1997, following a paralytic attack at his residence in Allahabad. He was survived by his wife, a son and a daughter.