Happy birthday Hrishikesh Mukherjee: The Hindi Cinema Industry has grown from strength to strength. It started with Raja Harishchandra in 1913 and gave legends like Dada Saheb Phalke, Guru Dutt the Kapoors, Dilip Kumar, Dev Anand, RD Burman and Lata Mangeskar among others. But as they say, change is the only constant. Cinema which is said to be the reflection of society has now been reduced to a tool to push anti-Hindu agenda and leftist propaganda. Even at the time when disgruntled audiences are raising their voice against the failing ways of Bollywood, the cabal is not changing its ways.
On the birthday of the legendary director Hrishi-da (Hrishikesh Mukherjee), it is important to highlight his great service to the industry. Along with it, let Bollywood know what it takes to create a meaningful cinema that lives fresh for time immemorial.
Early life of Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Exactly a hundred years back, on 30th of September, Hrishikesh Mukherjee was born in a Bengali Brahmin family. His early days were spent in the streets of Calcutta (now Kolkata). He opted science stream and graduated in Chemistry from the University of Calcutta. Then he spent some time in the teaching profession. He used to teach mathematics and science.
After some time, he tried his luck in the entertainment industry. In his initial days, he worked as a cameraman. In the late 1940s, he took editorial duties in B. N. Sircar’s New Theatres in Calcutta. He learned the fineness of editing from the greatest editor of that time Subodh Mitter (‘Kenchida’).
From 1951, Hrishikesh Mukherjee worked with Bimal Roy in Mumbai as film editor and assistant director. He was a part of the landmark films like Do Bigha Zamin and Devdas.
As they say success and failure are part and parcel of one’s life. Hrishikesh Mukherjee had his fair share of ups and downs. In 1957, his debut directorial film Musafir was not a success. But he persisted and his passion for cinema was unflinching. Soon, he started receiving acclaim and awards. In 1959, his second film, Anari, was well received by critics and jury members. The film and its cast and crew won five Filmfare Awards. In the best director category, he lost the award to his mentor, Bimal Roy. Which is not at all small feat in itself.
In the following years Hrishikesh Mukherjee directed and assisted numerous films. Some of his most notable films include: Guddi (1971), Anand (1971), Bawarchi (1972), Namak Haraam (1973), Chupke Chupke (1975), and Gol Maal (1979).
For his benevolent nature, he was popularly known as Hrishi-da. In a four-decade long career in Hindi Cinema Industry, he directed 42 films. Hrishikesh Mukherjee is known as the pioneer of the ‘middle cinema’ of India. His cinematic work reflected social issues and the changing middle-class ethos. He demonstrated a niche middle path between the extravagance of mainstream cinema and the stark realism of art cinema.
For his great service to Hindi Cinema, the Government of India honoured him with the Dada Saheb Phalke Award (1999) and Padma Vibhushan (2001). He received the NTR National Award in 2001. He also won eight Filmfare Awards. He holds the distinction of working with almost all the top Indian stars since independence of India.
Amitabh Bachchan’s Godfather
Do you know that veteran actor Dharmendra was typecast as a romantic and action hero? If it was not Director Hrishikesh Mukharjee we wouldn’t have ever witnessed hilarious scenes like we witnessed in Chupke Chupke. For the first time Hrishi-da introduced Dharmendra in comedy roles, through Chupke Chupke.
Amitabh Bachchan calls Hrishi-da as his Godfather. As it was Hrishi-da who gave Mr Bachchan his big break with the timeless creation Anand in 1970. In the movie Anand, Hrishi-da casted Amitabh Bachchan along with Rajesh Khanna. Anand became a blockbuster and now it is among the best films of Bollywood. Further, Hrishi-da also introduced Jaya Bhaduri to Hindi cinema in his film Guddi. His last film was Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate. He casted Anil Kapoor in the lead role as his original hero Amol Palekar had grown old.
In later life, Hrishikesh Mukherjee suffered from chronic kidney failure and breathed his last on 27th of August 2006. Bollywood is badly missing the genius as he wore many hats and aced in all traits. He will always be counted among the greatest filmmakers of Indian cinema. It is high time that the Bollywood cabal learns the art of Cinema from the man who was the epitome of craft and gave cinema many iconic hits. As they say, legends never die, he will always live long in the hearts of cinema and art lovers through his timeless work in the field of entertainment. Happy birthday Hrishikesh Mukherjee (Hrishi-da).
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