Hrishikesh Mukherjee is a film director, writer and producer in Bollywood. He is well known for giving a facelift to the career of
Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra, Jaya Bhaduri, Rekha and
Hrishikesh was born in Calcutta on 30 September 1922. He began his career as an editor and assistant director under
Bimal Roy. Much earlier, he was associated with Calcutta’s New Theatres (owned by B.N.Sircar) where he learnt camera techniques and editing part of filmmaking. Later he moved to Mumbai in 1952 and got associated with Bimal Roy and had associated with the editing of classics like ‘
Do Bigha Zamin’, ‘
Madhumati’ and ‘
Devdas’. After working as an assistant director, he chose to become an independent director by making films like ‘
Musafir’ and ‘
Anari’. While Musafir was not a success movie‘Anari’ was a box-office hit and won five Filmfare awards. But his most serious film was ‘
Anuradha’ that featured Miss India Leela Naidu with
Asit Sen and others. The film was based on a short Bengali novel that had the musical score of
Pandit Ravi Shankar. The film won President’s Award as the best feature film, and it also entered the Berlin International Film Festival.
After ‘Anuradha’, Hrishikesh Mukherjee gave to Indian film industry classics movies such as ‘
Anupama’, ‘Satyakam’, ‘Gaban’ etc. ‘Anupama’ is a great film; it did not have
Sharmila Tagore ever speaking a single word, and the silence of the film had a poetry mix that is still the best movie of Dharmendra and Sharmila Tagore together. The music of
Hemant Kumar was a plus point in the film.
After ‘Anupama’ Hrishikesh made ‘Satyakam’ and it is his best film to date. This movie is considered to be one of the best ones of Dharmendra. Earlier Hrishikesh Mukherjee made commercial films like ‘Asli Naqli’ and ‘Anari’ which had best music by
Shankar Jaikishan. In 1970, he made ‘
Anand’ with Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan; the movie depicted the life of a cancer patient. The film received many Filmfare awards and was appreciated well by critics and audience. Next, he made ‘Namak Haram’ again with Amitabh Bachchan and Rajesh Khanna. The film movie made Amitabh closer to the audience against Rajesh Khanna and after this film, Rajesh Khanna’s superstardom declined slowly.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee also launched Jaya Bhaduri in ‘
Guddi’. Later, he made films with Amitabh and Jaya and gave few classics films such as ‘
Mili’ and ‘
Chupke Chupke’. In ‘Chupke Chupke’ Hrishikesh Mukherjee signed Amitabh and Dharmendra together and included actresses like Jaya Bhaduri and Sharmila Tagore. After Jaya Bhaduri had got married, the director had cast Amitabh again in two more films with
Rakhee Gulzar ( ‘Bemisal’ and ‘Jurmana’) which were again box office successes. In 1980, he directed Rekha In ‘Khubsooorat’ which is Rekha’s best film to date. The director even made comedy films like ‘Gol Maal’ and ‘
Naram Garam’ with
Utpal Dutt and
Hrishikesh contributed to Indian cinema for four decades and had drawn a line between commercial and art cinema. He is known for making films that had a social message too for middle-class society. He is the recipient of Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1999 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001. He is even felicitated by NTR National Award in 2000 and won eight Filmfare awards. The filmmaker passed away on 27 August 2006.