Tribute to a giant: F.C. Mehra’s 100th Birth Anniversary

Legendary producer F.C. Mehra’s centenary fell on August 29. Photo: Umesh Mehra

He was 32 when his now iconic banner, Eagle Films, was launched with the film, Sakhi Lutera starring Shashikala, Habib and Kamran, followed by Sipahsalar, starring Shammi Kapoor and Nadira a year later. Fakir Chand Mehra, known to the world as F.C. Mehra, would have been a hundred years old on August 29, 2023 had he lived on. But he does live on through his memories, cinematic contribution and his clan.  

Hailing from a well-known family in Peshawar, now in Pakistan, Fakir Chand and his wife Shyam moved to Chennai and then Mumbai, as he was employed as ground staff in the Indian Air Force’s Eagle Squadron. Circumstances, however, forced him to give up his job, and by now burdened with nine brothers and sisters, who had moved in after Partition, he took to showing Hindi films in Kabul in Afghanistan. One thing led to another and he soon became a film producer. His squadron’s name was immortalized by him as his banner’s name: Eagle Films.

Eagle Films has been one of the premier film production houses in India. A family concern, it is now managed by his sons, Umesh Mehra, producer and director, Pravesh Mehra, producer, Rajesh Mehra, head of its Delhi Division, and Rajiv Mehra, director and head, Television Division.

Mehra has made over 30 films, including Singapore, the first Indian film to be shot in Malaysia and Singapore, Ujala, Professor, Amrapali, which was the Oscar entry from India in 1966, the Indo-Soviet co-productions Ali Baba Aur 40 Chor and Sohni Mahiwal and many more.

A collage of films produced by F.C. Mehra. Photo: Umesh Mehra

The list of his other successes included Shikari, Singapore, Elaan, Khoon Khoon, Ashaanti, Ek Jaan Hain Hum, Raam Jaane, Chamatkar, Aashik Aawara and others. A film that did not do too well but was appreciated and also fared well in re-runs was Lal Patthar.

The banner also introduced Shammi Kapoor as director with Manoranjan and Mahendra Sandhu with Khoon Khoon, and was also the production house of the last release of Dilip Kumar in Qila.

F.C. Mehra (centre) with Mohammed Rafi, recordist Minoo Katrak, Jaikishan, Shankar and director Shakti Samanta at a recording for Singapore. Photo: Umesh Mehra

At the same time, Eagle Films branched out to all major areas of the entertainment industry, becoming co-owners of Natraj Studios, Mumbai and the Eagle Films TV Studios, NOIDA, and also entered the exhibition business with the premier movie halls, Plaza (new Delhi) and Minerva (Mumbai).

Eagle Films (Video) in Mumbai is also the Television Division of Eagle Films and offers state-of-the-art facilities for advertising films and serials. It has also produced popular T.V. Serials such as Ek Do Teen Char and Zabaan Sambhal Ke for Doordarshan, Office Office and others for SAB Channel, LOC (Life out of Control) and Kasme Vaade for Star TV and a comedy, Full Toss – Haste Rehna Boss for ESPN.

Eagle Films also has provided production services to a number of film, television and music video productions for international clients. All these signify the rich legacy that F.C. Mehra, a highly-respected member of the film industry, has left behind.

Mehra’s special association with Shammi Kapoor was based on their enduring friendship that began with the 1956 Sipahsalar and went on to several films as actor, and also their partnership in the movie halls, Plaza and Minerva. The banner has made two films each with the titles Shikari and Mujrim, and directors like Mohammed Husain and Lekh Tandon have had long associations with them. Composers Shankar-Jaikishan and later R.D. Burman and Anu Malik and lyricists Shailendra, Hasrat Jaipuri and Anand Bakshi, and Mithun Chakraborty and Zeenat Aman too have been among their favorites. The banner has produced the Bengali film, Bandie, and the Punjabi movie, Charhi Jawani Budhe Nu, and movies across all genres, including crime, romance, socials, adventure, period films, comedies and even sci-fi.






Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here