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How IS Johar Created ‘Nastik’, Pained By Partition Genocide

Inderjeet Singh Johar, popularly known in Bollywood as IS Johar, was a versatile actor, writer, producer, and director. His talent took him to Hollywood where he acted in movies like Lawrence Of Arabia, Death On The Nile. But, for a man who made it big in Bollywood, he was deeply disturbed by the 1947 Partition as he was born in Talagang in Punjab in British India (which became a part of newly created Pakistan). The rape, murder of lakhs of Hindus shook him very badly. He felt such violence could be done by only those who have lost faith in God. So, he went to his mentor S Mukerji to make a film on a subject that could restore people’s faith in God. Mukerji read Johar’s script and told him, if you want to appeal to the masses then tweak the script; don’t take the problem head on but do it subtly. Heeding to his mentor’s advice, Johar rewrote the script and directed the film. Nastik, produced by S Mukerji (Filmistan) in 1954, is a film set against the backdrop of Partition with its ensuing riots and violence, and using actual footage of refugees. The movie was phenomenally successful at the box office and completed Golden Jubilee. Even today it is known for its “immortal” song Dekh Tere Sansar Ki Haalat Kya Ho Gayi BhagwanKitna Badal Gaya Insaan. Married five times, Johar died in 1984 at the age of 64.