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Tamil Nadu, India

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P. L. Raj


P. L. Raj (born "Devraj Peter Lewis"; 10 August 1934 – 9 July 2002) was a noted Bollywood film choreographer, who was the leading choreographer of 1960 and 70s Hindi cinema. He established face-paced dancing and cabaret-style dance numbers.


 He is most known for his work with Helen, Shammi Kapoor, and Amitabh Bachchan, most notably films like Junglee (1961), Professor (1962), Teesri Manzil (1966), Intaquam (1969), Sholay (1975), and Don (1978). He choreographed over 1,000 films in Hindi as well as in regional cinemas including Telugu, Bengali, Marathi, and Punjabi.


Raj was born on 10 August 1934 in Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu, and grew up in Hyderabad from where he ran away at age 10 and reached Mumbai. His birth name was Devraj Peter Lewis, which he changed after he entered the film industry.


He was trained by the dancer duo, Surya Kumar and Krishan Kumar who started training actors in Mumbai, after receiving training from Azoorie, a popular dancer of early cinema. Other choreographers to come out of their training were Satyanarayan, Bapriprasad, and many others.


He died on 9 July 2002, due to cardiac arrest at his home in Mahim, Mumbai, at age 67. He was survived by his wife, Devyani, a son Lesle and two daughters, Eliza and Greta. His son Lesle Lewis is a popular composer and a member of the duo Colonial Cousins. His death was condoled by the Minister of Information and Broadcasting, Government of India at the time, Smt. Sushma Swaraj.

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