Film editor, cinematographer, and sound editor, Pratap Dave was born on 9 December 1919 in Jetalsar, Saurashtra as Pratapbhai Nanalal Dave. An only son, Pratap Dave, lost both his parents at a young age. Because of that, he could not study beyond the fourth standard. Soon he got a job in a mill and later became a cinema operator.
In 1937, he joined Prakash Pictures as an apprentice. Within a few months, he became an assistant to film editors Kamalakar Karkhanis and Chunawala. In 1938, he got his first break as an editor with Prakash Pictures’ Hukum Ka Ekka (1939) which was directed by Shanti J Dave. After that, he became a staple in Prakash Pictures and edited almost all the films produced under the banner. Among them were the superhit Ram Rajya (1943), Panghat (1943), Baiju Bawra (1952), Patrani (1956), Goonj Uthi Shehnai (1959) and Shri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu (1954). Most of these were devotional films directed by Vijay Bhatt. In the 1940s, Dave edited films like Hamara Sansar (1945), Bhakt Dhruva (1947), Bhakta Gopal Bhaiya (1948), and Usha Haran (1949). In the 1950s he worked with diverse directors like Ramesh Saigal in Shikast (1953), Kamal Amrohi in Daaera (1953) as an assistant cameraman, Mohan Segal in New Delhi (1956), H S Rawail in Pocket Maar (1956), L V Prasad in Sharda (1957) as a cameraman, Ravindra Dave in Post Box 999 (1958) as a camera operator and Narendra Suri in Lajwanti (1958).
After editing films like Angulimaal (1960), Aas Ka Panchhi (1961), Anpadh (1962), Hariyali Aur Rasta (1962), and Ayee Milan Ki Bela (1964). His continued collaboration with Vijay Bhatt bore fruit as he won the Filmfare Award for Best Editing for his work in the Manoj Kumar–Mala Sinha starrer Himalay Ki Godmein (1965) in 1966. His association with Vijay Bhatt is not only confined to films, but Dave was also the paternal cousin of Vijay Bhatt and producer Shankar Bhatt.
Pratap Dave edited almost all films of Mohan Kumar including, Amir Garib (1974), Aap Aaye Bahar Ayee (1971), and Aman (1967). About his profession, Dave believed that a creative job like editing requires an atmosphere conducive to such work and that just like other departments in the film, editing deserves the due importance from the film-makers. Dave edited some of the biggest musical blockbusters of the early 70s including, Aya Saawan Jhoom Ke (1969), Aan Milo Sajna (1970), Sawan Bhadon (1970), and Aap Ki Kasam (1974).
While Dave left his mark in the film industry, his son too followed in the same direction. Father to three children, Dave’s eldest son became an editor while his daughter and younger son chose the fields of science. He made sure his children would get the education he was deprived of back then.