He established ‘Mehboob Production’ in 1942. When sound movies arrived, Mehboob Khan had an opportunity to become hero; but he gave that role to Master Vitthal. When he realized that he could not get settled as hero, he started film direction from 1940. Mehboob Khan directed movie ‘Alibaba’ with main lead of Surendra, Sardar Akhtar and then he made ‘Aurat’ portraying women’s issue. Anil Vishwas was the music director for both Alibaba and Aurat. In Bahan, he brought Shaikh Mukhtar and Nalini Jaywant in limelight. He made ‘Roti’ in 1942 with Chandramohan, Sitara, Shaikh Mukhtar and music director was again Anil Vishwas. He also directed ‘Najma’ with Ashok Kumar and Veena.
He started the movies with two heroes. In ‘Roti’ he presented Shaikh Mukhtar and Chandramohan. In ‘Taqdeer’ he offered first opportunity to Nargis with Motilal and Chandramohan. In historical Humayun he featured Ashok Kumar, Veena and Nargis. Mehboob was very much appreciated for his direction for ‘Humayun’ released in 1945. Ghulam Haidar was the music director for ‘Humayun’.
Mehboob became famous across the country due to the movie ‘Anmol Ghadi’. He presented the love triangle of two heroines and one hero in ‘Anmol Ghadi’ with Noorjahan, Surendra and Suraiya. He produced ‘Aurat’, ‘Roti’ and ‘Bahan’ under Mehboob production.Then Mehboob wished to make a music-based movie and at that time music director Naushad was getting popular with his songs in movie ‘Ratan’. Naushad worked for music of ‘Anmol Ghadi’ by Mehboob and thereafter he decorated all the movies by Mehboob with music. Surendra, Suraiya and Noorjahan were the singer actors and Suraiya had less opportunities as Noorjahan was the best singer actress.
Production house of Mehboob Khan became prestigious due to musical hit ‘Anmol Ghadi’. Noorjahan sang four songs; ‘Aa Ja Meri Barbad Mohabbat Ke Sahare’, ‘Mere Bachpan Ke Sathi Muze Bhul Na Jaana’, ‘Jawaan Hai Mohabbat Hansi Hai Jamana’ and ‘Kya Mil Gaya Bhagwan Tumhe Dil Ko Dukha Ke’. Surendra sang ‘Kyu Yaad Aa Rahe Hai Gujare Huye Zamaane’ and ‘Ab Kaun Hai Mera’. The duet ‘Aawaj De Kaha Hai, Duniya Meri Jawaan Hai’ by Surendra and Noorjahan is still as fresh as flowers. Surendra and Noorjahan had contributed great voices to the song.
Mehboob Khan conferred all the credit of success for ‘Anmol Ghadi’ to Naushad and handed over music for next film Elaan to Naushad. ‘Elaan’ was a Muslim social film in which Mehboob Khan had presented importance of education. Writer of ‘Elaan’ was Ziya Sarhadi. Surendra, Munavvar, Sultana, Shahnavaj and Zebunnisa were the actors for ‘Elaan’. The song ‘Allah Nigehbaan Tera Allah Hai Nigehbaan’ by Amirbai Karnataki became very popular. The songs by Surendra like ‘Aaine Me Ek Chand Si Surat Najar Aayi’; ‘Ek Baar Phir Se Aa ja’, ‘Tera Jahaan Abad Hai’ were also beautiful.
At the time of partition, ‘Elaan’ was banned and all the hard work was wasted. In fact, there was no reason to ban the movie as it was based on importance of education only. But in spite of that, it was banned. After ‘Elaan’ the next movie ‘Anokhi Ada’ also could not get response. Naseem, Prem Adib, Surendra, Zeba Qureshi were the actors in it. Naushad was the music director for ‘Anokhi Ada’. There were total 11 songs in it with voice of Shamshad, Mukesh, Surendra, Umadevi and the song ‘Bhulane Wale Yaad Na Aa’ by Mukesh is still remembered.
The love triangle was made firstly hit with Movie ‘Andaj’ as earlier triangles were failed. Mehboob Khan had made ‘Andaj’ with a story as what would be the consequences if women are given limitless freedom under the name of modern life. It was a women centric movie. Dilip Kumar and Raj Kapoor were the two great heroes in ‘Andaj’.
By the time, musical storm Lata Mangeshkar had arrived and she was to sing for Naushad. Then Naushad created four solo songs in the voice of Lata 1) ‘Tod Diya Dil Mer’a 2) ‘Uthaye Ja Un Ke Sitam’ 3) ‘Meri Ladli Ri Bani Hai’ 4) ‘Koi Mere Dil Me’ and all these were picturized on Nargis. Along with these, there was one more song of Lata with Mohammad Rafi and Shamshad Begum.
Nargis played a modern girl in it with fashionable attire. Mehboob Khan started the scene of hero/ heroine singing with piano and it was copied in innumerable films after that. Mukesh sang for Dilip Kumar and the songs 1) ‘Ham Aaj Kahi Dil Kho Baithe’ 2) ‘Tutena Dil Tutena’ 3) ‘Tu Kahe Agar Jivan Bhar’ 4) ‘Jhum Jhum Ke Nacho Aaj’ were very famous. The progressive people did not like the thoughts presented in movie; however, after four weeks the movie got accelerated and celebrated Silver Jubilee. Direction of Mehboob Khan and songs by Lata were tremendously appreciated. Andaj received great success.
Role of Dilip Kumar in ‘Andaj’ was much praised and Mehboob Khan offered him next movie ‘Aan’. Dilip Kumar, Nimmi, Nadira, Premnath were there in ‘Aan’. This was the historical first colour film. Here Naushad made fusion of Indian and western music and presented a new experiment. Songs in Indian music by Rafi 1) ‘Dil Me Chhupa Ke Pyar Ka Tufan’ 2) ‘Takara Gaya Tum Se Dil Hai’ 3) ‘Maan Mera Ahsan Are Nadan’ 4) ‘Mohabbat Chume Jin Ke Haath’ also had western musical instruments played in them and increased the melody.
The premier show of ‘Aan’ was organized in Rialto theater of London and was inaugurated by V. K. Krishna Menon. ‘Aan’ paved the path for Indian movies to get business in foreign countries. ‘Aan’ got huge demand in foreign country and the efforts by Mehboob Khan for making colour movie had large appreciation. At the time of ‘Aan’, Mehboob Khan established his own studio.
After the success of ‘Aan’, he started preparations for ‘Amar’. He executed agreements with Meena Kumari and Dilip Kumar for lead roles. However, the role of Meena Kumari was given to Nimmi. The people couldn’t digest the story of ‘Amar’ and it was a failed attempt. ‘Amar’ is known to be the best movie by Mehboob but it couldn’t get success. In spite of having great actors like Dilip Kumar, Madhubala, Nimmi, it had to face great loss.
The songs by Lata, ‘Janewale Se Mulakaat Na Hone Paaye’; ‘Na Milata Gam to Barbadi Ke Afsane Kaha Jaate’ in Yaman Kalyan were famous. The song ‘Insaf ka Mandir Hai Yah Bhagwan Ka Ghar’ by Rafi in Bhairavi Raga is still unparalleled. Asha Bhosale sang with Naushad for the first time in ‘Amar’. However, Mehboob experienced a great regret for failure of ‘Amar’.
Then he just declared that the next movie must be a great hit and he prepared ‘Mother India’. It was a remake of his own film Aurat, but the faults and shortcomings in ‘Aurat’ were amended in ‘Mother India’ and he also changed the beginning and end of the movie.
In this film, Dilip Kumar was selected for main role, but he refused to work; so, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, Raj Kumar were featured. ‘Mother India’ has twelve songs by Shamshad, Lata, Rafi, Manna Day, Meena, Usha. ‘Mother India’ was selected for Oscar award and it was a great proud for Indian film industry. When a fire broke out on set of Mother India, Sunil Dutt saved Nargis from fire and his courage converted in love and Sunil Dutt-Nargis married with each other.
This marriage put an end to gossips about Raj Kumar and Nargis. For the memorable role in Mother India, Nargis was showered with awards and her acting was widely appreciated. Her name was recommended for the Oscar. The movie also celebrated Golden Jubilee. Mehboob Khan gained huge success, name and fame by ‘Mother India’.
After ‘Mother India’, Mehboob Khan was thinking to make ‘Taj Mahal’ movie but during the time he made Son of India. Sajid and Kumkum with Jayant as villain were in Son of India, however it couldn’t get success. Mehboob Khan was facing ill health and day by day it deteriorated. He left this world on 28th May 1964. Many persons claimed rights over his property and the Mehboob studio lost all glamour due to court cases.
His dream project ‘Taj Mahal’ was completed thereafter by Nadiyadwala. Mehboob Khan and Mother India will always be a memorable equation. With great work and valuable contribution to industry, Mehboob Khan will be always remembered.