Manmohan Desai(26 February 1937- 1 March 1994) was a popular Indian film director and producer with one of the most successful careers in filmmaking during the 70s and 80s. Films like Aa Gale Lag Jaa(1973), Dharam Veer(1977), Amar Akbar Anthony(1977), Naseeb(1981), Coolie(1983) and Mard(1985) were directed and produced by him. He died on 1 March 1994 in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India.
Manmohan Desai was born on Friday, 26 February 1937 (age 57 years, at the time of death) in Bombay, Bombay Presidency, British India. He was an alumnus of St. Xavier’s College in Mumbai. His zodiac sign is Pisces. He is popular for directing and producing Bollywood ‘masala’ films.
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Weight (approx.): 50 kg
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Black
Manmohan Desai was of Gujarati parentage. He was born to Kikubhai Desai and Kalavati.
Parents & Siblings
Manmohan’s father Kikubhai was an Indian film producer who owned Paramount Studios, which later came to be known as Filmalaya (1931-1941). His productions mainly consisted of stunt or action-based films like Circus Queen, Golden Gang, and Sheikh Chilli. Manmohan had an older brother, Subhash, who became a producer in the 50s and gave him his debut break in the film Chhallia (1960). His brother later produced films like Bluff Master (1963), Dharam Veer (1977), and Desh Premee (1982) alongside Manmohan as the director.
Wife & Children
Manmohan Desai was married to Jeevanprabha Gandhi, who was the writer of films directed by Manmohan including films like Sachaa Jhutha (1970), Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973), Roti (1974), Dharam Veer (1977), Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), and Coolie (1983). She also wrote films for other directors like Uthaman (1976) directed by Rajendra Prasad and Ram Robert Raheem (1980) directed by Vijaya Nirmala. Manmohan lost his wife in April 1979. They had a son, Ketan Desai, who is a screenwriter, film director, and producer just like his father. Ketan has directed films like Allah-Rakha (1986), Toofan (1989), and Amar Akbar Anthony (1977). Ketan is married to Kanchan, the daughter of actor Shammi Kapoor and actress Geeta Bali.
Manmohan was later engaged to actress Nanda from 1992 until the time of his death in 1994.
A few years after his wife’s demise, Manmohan fell in love with actress Nanda in the late 80s. They got engaged, but two years after their engagement, Desai died after accidentally collapsing from a balcony in Mumbai. In an interview, Nanda’s brother Jayprakash recalled his sister’s love story with Manmohan. He said Manmohan’s son with his first wife Jeevanprabhaji, took actor Waheeda Rehman’s help to unite his father with Nanda. Jayprakash recollected,
So, Waheedaji organised a small dinner. After dinner, they left didi and Manji alone. Manji then revealed his feelings to didi saying, ‘I want to marry you’. Didi said she’d first have to consult her family. On her return that night, I was the first one with whom she discussed the proposal. I said Manji was a respected filmmaker, a wonderful person and a charming personality and that she should go ahead. ‘I want to see you settled,’ I said. Gradually, the family was involved. After their approval, didi called up Waheedaji and said she was for it. The second meeting was held at our place. didi wanted a traditional wedding.”
Manmohan Desai has contributed vastly to Indian cinema. He had a long career of 29 years in which he produced 13 monumental hits. He started his career as a director and producer of the film Chaalia, which was released in 1960.
He is popular for making family-oriented films or films under the genre ‘Masala’ movies. He shared a close bond with actor Amitabh Bachchan and directed him in many films.
He also worked with leading writers like R.D. Burman, Laxmikant Pyarelal, and Kalyanji Anandji. Most of the songs in the films produced and directed by Desai are sung by Laxmikant Pyarelal and Mohd. Rafi.
Manmohan gave massive hits like the romantic comedy Bluffmaster (1963), and Kismat (1968); action films, Sacha Jhutha (1970), Dharam Veer (1977); action comedy, Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), Naseeb (1981), Coolie (1983), and Mard (1985). Manmohan had a team of experts and therefore was able to deliver massive hits proficiently.
Manmohan Desai’s net worth is $1 million.
On 1 March 1994, Manmohan Desai met his tragic end in Girgaon, Mumbai.
Cause of Death
Any details related to the fundamental nature of Manmohan’s death are still mysterious to this day. He fell to his death from the balcony of his flat as the railing collapsed in Girgaon, Mumbai. It remains unclear if the incident was an accident or suicide.
- Emraan Hashmi’s great-grandfather (Grandmother Poornima’s father)Ram Sheshadri Iyengar was a bookkeeper and accountant at Manmohan Desai’s father, Kikubhai Desai’s office.
- There is a shelved film “Chhoti Si Duniya” that was to be made in 1963, starring Raj Kapoor and Nutan. It was to be directed by Manmohan Desai. It got shelved when the financiers backed out.
- Manmohan Desai was planning on a film titled “Construction Rani” starring Rati Agnihotri. This was in 1983. The film was to be made in 5 different languages. The project fizzled out.
- His nephew was an assistant director, and special effects technician (Danny Desai- Subash Desai’s son). Danny Desai is now a pilot.