Paidi Jairaj

Paidi Jairaj (Telugu: పైడి జయరాజ్) (born Paidipati Jayarajulu Naidu - 28 September 1909 – 11 August 2000) was an Indian film actor, director and producer known for his works primarily in Hindi cinema, Marathi and Gujarati language films, and Telugu theatre.[1][2] He holds the distinction of having the longest career in Indian films.

Paidi Jairaj
Born(1909-09-28)28 September 1909
Died11 August 2000(2000-08-11) (aged 90)
Alma materNizam College
Years active1929–1995
Spouse(s)Savitri Paidi
AwardsDadasaheb Phalke Award

During the talkie period, from 1931 onwards, he started with Shikari in Urdu and English languages. Subsequently, he became one of the leading actors for about two decades, along with Shantaram, Ashok Kumar, Prithviraj Kapoor, Motilal etc. He starred in about 170 feature films in a variety of roles. He directed a few films such as Mohar, Mala (1943), Pratima, Rajghar and Saagar (1951), which he produced. In 1980, he was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award, the highest award for films in India, for his contributions to Indian cinema.[2][3]

Early life

Jairaj was born in Karimnagar, Hyderabad State (of which the present day Telangana State was a part) on 28 September 1909. A nephew of Sarojini Naidu, he had three brothers - Paidipati Sundararaja Naidu, Paidipati Deendayal Naidu (Artist) and Paidipati Jairaj was the youngest.[2]


Jairaj developed an interest in theatre and films during his graduate studies at Nizam College, and left for Bombay in 1929.[4] He made his acting debut in 1929 with the silent film Star Kling Youth, and subsequently he acted in about eleven silent films including Triangle of Love, Mathru Bhoomi, All for Lover, Mahasagar Mothi, Flight into Death, My Hero etc.[1][2]

Jairaj's effective dialogue delivery, and experience in Telugu theatre made him an instant choice to play the roles of the sword wielding Rajputs. He played the characters of Amar Singh Rathore [1957], Prithviraj Chauhan [1959], and Maharana Pratap [1960] among notable films. He also essayed the roles of Shah Jahan [1947], Tipu Sultan [1959] and Haider Ali [1962] with equal aplomb. His other memorable portrayals have been in films such as Sassi Punnu [1947], Hatimtai [1956], Chandrashekar Azad [1963] and Durga Das [1964] among others. Jairaj did six films with Suraiya in the 1940s and 1950s, five of them, viz. Humaari Baat (1943), Singaar (1949), Amar Kahani (1949), Rajput (1951) and Resham (1952) as her hero, and one of them, Lal Kunwar (1952), as second lead. In 1952, he produced and directed his own film Sagar, which was not very well received by the audiences. But his commitment to cinema remained undisputed.[5]

Personal life

He married a Punjabi woman, Savitri, from Delhi. It was an arranged marriage. Prithviraj Kapoor's father had chosen the bride for him.[6] He had two sons and four daughters. His wife died a year before him of cancer. His daughter Geeta looked after him in his last year. Rajan Shahi, TV producer-director, is his daughter's son (maternal grandson), the sole person of Jairaj's extended family in Bollywood.[1][7][8] Jairaj died in Mumbai on 11 August 2000.[1][2][4]

A one-hour documentary, Life journey of Jairaj, was made by the Government of Telangana in 2018 to celebrate his life.[9]


National Film Awards




  • 1945: Pratima
  • 1951: Saagar
  • 1959: Mohar


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