Balwant Bhatt

Scene from HIS HIGHNESS directed by Balwant Bhatt (1937) and starring Jayant.

A prolific director of second tier, action oriented films, Balwant N. Bhatt (born January 13, 1909 in Porbandar, Gujurat state) began his career as an assistant to director Pesi Karani at Imperial Film Company in 1930. Bhatt’s first as a director was Royal Film Company’s 1932 silent thriller PASSING SHOW which featured popular stunt-film actor Navinchandra. Bhatt’s first sound film was Prakash Picture’s BAMBAI KI MOHINI [1934; aka: ACTRESS] starring Miss Panna and Miss Alakhnanda. Among Bhatt’s other early directorial efforts were CULPRIT (1933), ALIF-LAILA (1933), SANSAR LEELA (1934; aka: THE ILLUSORY WORLD), TOPE KA GOLA (1936; aka THE CANNON BALL), CHALLENGE (1937), HIS HIGHNESS (1937), and HERO NO. 1. (1939).

Bhatt directed action star Fearless Nadia in DELHI EXPRESS (1949) and CIRCUSWALE (1950) as well as the comedian Bhagwan in JOKER (1949) and JODIDAR (1950), and even had opportunities to work with bigger name’s such as Bibbo in SUHAAG (1940), Maya Banerjee in MADHU SUDAN (1941), and Prithviraj Kapoor in AANKH KI SHARAM (1943). But the vast majority of Bhatt’s output were in the category of B-grade films.

Bhatt was the younger brother of film-maker Nanabhai Bhatt and the uncle of film director Mahesh Bhatt. In addition to his work as a director, he acted as producer on a handful of pictures including SINBAD THE SAILOR (1952), SON OF SINBAD (1958), and POLICE DETECTIVE (1960). Balwant Bhatt died on February 7, 1965, and his final film, NAGIN AUR SAPERA, starring Bela Bose and Manhar Desai, was released posthumously the following year.

Published by

Mike Barnum

I am a lifelong lover of films, with a taste for movies of all genres, new and old, as well as pop culture from around the world. I currently write for the U.S. based film magazines CLASSIC IMAGES and FILMS OF THE GOLDEN AGE and have also been published in FILMFAX, SCARLET STREET, and VIDEO WATCHDOG.

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