Mehboob Khan ll
Mehboob Khan 2007 stamp of India.jpg
Khan on a 2007 stamp of India
Mehboob Khan Ramzan Khan

(1907-09-09)9 September 1907
Died28 May 1964(1964-05-28) (aged 56)
Resting placeBadakabarastan, Marine Lines, Mumbai
OccupationFilm director, producer
Years active1931–1962
Spouse(s)Fatima (separated)
Sardar Akhtar
Children4; One adopted
HonorsPadma Shri (1963)[1]

Mehboob Khan (born Mehboob Khan Ramzan Khan; 9 September 1907[2] – 28 May 1964) was a pioneer producer-director of Indian cinema, best known for directing the social epic Mother India (1957), which won the Filmfare Awards for Best Film and Best Director, two National Film Awards, and was a nominee for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.[3] He set up his production company – Mehboob Productions, and later a film studio – Mehboob Studios in Bandra, Mumbai in 1954.[4][5][6] He also created the dacoit film genre with Aurat (1940) and Mother India,[7] and is also known for other blockbusters including the romantic drama Andaz (1949), the swashbuckling musical Aan (1951), and the melodrama Amar (1954).

Early life

Khan was born Mehboob Khan Ramzan Khan in Bilimora in Gandevi Taluka of Baroda State (now Gujarat) on 9 September 1907.[2]


He was brought to Bombay from his home town in Gujarat by Noor Muhammad Ali Muhammed Shipra Baddhiyawala (producer and horse supplier in Indian cinema) to work as a horseshoe repairer in a stable (owned by Noor Muhammad Ali Muhammed Shipra Baddhiyawala). One day at the shooting of South Indian director Chandrashekhar, Mehboob showed interest in working with Chandrashekhar. After seeing his great interest and skills, Chandrashekhar asked Noor Muhammad Ali Muhammed Shipra Baddhiyawala to allow him to take Mehboob with him to work at small jobs in the film studios of Bombay. He started as an assistant director in the Silent Film era and as an extra in the studios of the Imperial Film Company of Ardeshir Irani, before directing his first film Al Hilal a.k.a. Judgement of Allah (1935), when he started directing films for the Sagar Film Company. Notable films he directed for Sagar Movietone and National Studios included Deccan Queen (1936), Ek Hi Raasta (1939), Alibaba (1940), Aurat (1940) and Bahen (1941).

In 1945, Khan set up his own production house – Mehboob Productions. In 1946, he directed the musical hit Anmol Ghadi, which featured singing stars Surendra, Noor Jehan and Suraiya in leading roles. Khan went on to produce and direct many blockbuster films, the most notable being the romantic drama Andaz (1949), the swashbuckling musical Aan (1951), the melodrama Amar (1954), and the social epic Mother India (1957). The latter was nominated for an Academy Award in 1957 and was a remake of his 1940 film Aurat. His earlier works were in Urdu, but his later material, including Mother India, were in Hindustani, a friendlier and softer spoken version of Hindi and Urdu. Several of his films, especially his earlier work on Humayun (1945), the story of a Mogul emperor who ruled India, Anmol Ghadi (1946), and Taqdeer, (in which he introduced Nargis, who later married Sunil Dutt), were written by Aghajani Kashmeri. Kashmeri was responsible for picking and training Nargis in Hindustani and Urdu dialogue delivery. His last film as a director was 1962's Son of India.

Mehboob Studios courtyard set up by Khan in 1954, Bandra (W), Mumbai
Mehboob Studios courtyard set up by Khan in 1954, Bandra (W), Mumbai

He died of a Heart Attack in 1964 at the age of 56 and was buried at Badakabarastan in Marine Lines, Mumbai. His death occurred the day after the death of Jawaharlal Nehru, the Prime Minister of India.[8]

Industry influence

Khan introduced and helped establish the careers of many actors and actresses who went on to become big stars in the 1940s, 1950s and 1960s such as Surendra, Arun Kumar Ahuja, Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raaj Kumar, Nargis, Nimmi and Nadira. In 1961, he was a member of the jury at the 2nd Moscow International Film Festival.[9] He remained the president of the Film Federation of India.[10]

Mehboob Khan was known for having been influenced by Hollywood, and his films often featured lavish sets in the style of the Hollywood at that time. The oppression of the poor, class warfare and rural life are recurring themes in his work.

Mehboob Khan was awarded the title of Hidayat Kar-e-Azam by the Indian government.[11]

Personal life

Mehboob Khan married twice.[12][11] With his first wife Fatima, he had three sons: Ayub, Iqbal and Shaukat. After separation from his first wife, he married the famous Indian film actress Sardar Akhtar (1915–1986) in 1942. He adopted Sajid Khan (born 28 December 1951), who has starred in Indian and foreign English films.[11]

Death and legacy

Mehboob Khan died of a heart attack on 28 May 1964.[11] As a part of his birth centenary celebrations, the Indian postal department released a commemorative stamp of Mehboob Khan at a function held at the Mehboob Studios in September 2007.[13]


As a director

As a producer

As an actor

As a writer

Awards and honours

Academy Awards
National Film Awards
Filmfare Awards


  1. ^ "Padma Awards | Interactive Dashboard".
  2. ^ a b Mehboob Khan Archived 21 May 2011 at the Wayback Machine at
  3. ^ "The 30th Academy Awards (1958) Nominees and Winners". website. Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  4. ^ "Mehboob mere, Mehboob tere". Pune Mirror (newspaper). 1 November 2008. Archived from the original on 18 July 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  5. ^ "Mumbai, meri mehboob?". DNA (newspaper). 7 February 2011. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  6. ^ Karanjia, B. K. "Mehboob Khan: An Unfinished Story". A many-splendoured cinema. New Thacker's Fine Art Press. p. 215.
  7. ^ Teo, Stephen (2017). Eastern Westerns: Film and Genre Outside and Inside Hollywood. Taylor & Francis. p. 122. ISBN 9781317592266.
  8. ^ Karanjia, B.K. (1986). A many-splendoured cinema. New Thacker's Fine Art Press. p. 215. Archived from the original on 1 March 2018. Retrieved 1 March 2018. ... Mehboob Khan died the day after Jawaharlal Nehru. Neither the country, nor its cinema, have been the same since. Films continue to be made that may critically be compared to that all-time grosser "Mother India". But no leader since its maker died has approached the dimensions of leadership reached by this country bumpkin who began his career as a bit player in "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves" (1927) and went on to make ...
  9. ^ "2nd Moscow International Film Festival (1961)". MIFF. Archived from the original on 16 January 2013. Retrieved 4 November 2012.
  10. ^ "Presidents of Film Federation of India". Film Federation of India. pp. 1–2. Archived from the original on 11 September 2014. Retrieved 28 June 2014.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p "Mehboob Khan - a profile". TAMASHA website. Archived from the original on 17 August 2016. Retrieved 13 January 2021.
  12. ^ "Historic Mehboob Studio ticks away in anonymity". Hindustan Times (newspaper). 13 August 2007. Retrieved 13 January 2021.((cite news)): CS1 maint: url-status (link)
  13. ^ "Postal stamp on Mehboob Khan to be released today". Indian Express. 30 March 2007.
  14. ^ Georges Sadoul; Peter Morris (1 January 1972). Dictionary of Film Makers. University of California Press. pp. 172–. ISBN 978-0-520-02151-8.
  15. ^ a b "5th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 November 2013. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  16. ^ "Philaindia". Philatelia. January 2008.

Further reading