Based on a novel by the same title Chitralekha (1941) was a smash hit that gave Kidar Sharma credibility as a director. It was the first Hindi film that had its objection from the Censor Board of Film Certification. The film had an intense bathing scene in it which the censor board asked to remove from the film.
Music was composed by the renowned classical singer and musician Ustad Jhande Khan who used classical ragas like Bhairavi and Asavari for his compositions that made the film prominent among the classical based Hindi film songs. Popular songs like Sun sun Neelkamal Muskaye, Saiyyan Saware Bhaye Baware, and Tum Jao Bde Bhagwan Bane, Insaan Bano are from this film.
Chitralekha features Miss Mehtab, Nandrakar and A.S. Gyani in major roles. It was also the debut film of Bharat Bhushan who was later noted for his performance in Baiju Bawra. It was the second grossing Indian film of 1941. Later in 1964 Sharma remade the film with Meena Kumari and Ashok Kumar in lead roles.