The first time I saw the climax scene of ‘Anand’ when Rajesh Khanna’s “babumoshai” echoes on the screen, my hairs stood up. I think it was a sense of fear and maybe hope that Anand will still live. After that I have seen the movies a number of time and every time the scene gives me goose bumps. “Anand” became one of my favorite movies of all times and a director called Hrishikesh Mukherjee became my favorite filmmaker, a director a term which I did not even understand then.
At an age when I could not go beyond the heroes and heroines and the regular dishoom-dishoom, I was becoming a fan of Hrishikesh Mukherjee. Once during the poor reception of cable in our building I saw “Buddha Mil Gaya” only because it was directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee. That’s the only time I have seen the movie and I can remember almost 75% of it, although I still don’t remember the climax of the movie.
When we were kids, we use to contribute 1 Rupee to hire a video cassette. This was the time when 1 rupee had a lot of value and we use to beg and steal to watch a movie. This was the time of only two channels. One day, one of our friends went and hired “Bemisal” just because it had the angry young man, Amitabh Bachchan. The opening credit shows Vinod Mehra, actor not in our favorite list, cycling through a village with poor roads and rivers with no bridges. We were ready to trash the person who had hired that video. We had no choice but to watch the whole movie. As the movie progressed, we were mesmerized. At the end of the movie, the boy who hired the movie was heaving a sign of relief and we were blown away by the twist and turns.
I don’t remember the first time I saw “Chupke Chupke” and I don’t remember the last time I saw “Chupke Chupke”. When I came to Netherlands, I need to have some movie as a ‘Must-have’ for time pass and mainly to keep me cheerful. One was “Jhankar Beats” and the other was “Chupke Chupke”. The Pure Hindi speaking Dharmendra, the babbling Amitabh Bachchan, the strict and stupid jija, Om Prakash all the characters were too good. How can I still laugh at all the jokes even after watching the movie for so many times is still something I cannot understand but I don’t care too. I guess it’s the way the characters were portrayed.
Another one of my favorite was “Golmaal”. Amol Palekar playing a double role of a twin brother when there was none. Each scene, each character in “Golmaal” establishes Hrishida as a king of comedy. There are not many comedies that Hindi Film industry can boast of and Hrishikesh Mukherjee has made couple of them. These are not the slapstick comedies but humor at its best.
“Mili” had Jaya Bachchan playing a terminally ill patient falling in love with a very angry Amitabh Bachchan. Even in death, there was a silver lining. The climax though left without showing the death of Mili still leaves you with a hope. Hrishida lets the audience make thier own conclusion. People don’t want Mili to die and I know I was glad when Mili was not shown as dying.
Another Hrishikesh Mukherjee movie where I like Dharmendra was “Anupama”. The righteous writer, Dharmendra and the shy and afraid of her father, Sharmila Tagore and the love story between the two. It was a fairy tale of sort. The movie came on cable and I watched it because I really did not have anything to do. The black and white movie, the silent poor lover, the father who only loves his daughter when drunk and of course Sharmila Tagore who hardly spoke during the whole movie playing the title role. Even with slower pace, it was still engrossing.
Another HM directed, Dharmendra movie was “Satyakaam”. I have seen it only once but then it was a movie which left me depressed. Then there was “Guddi”, again with Dharmendra, this time playing himself. Starry eyes teenagers who want to marry a superstar because she is so taken away by his on-screen image.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee was famous for his light-hearted comedies like “Golmaal”, “Naraam garam”, “Khoobsurat” and to a certain extent “Asli Naqli”. Most of his chatracters are well-etched in my memory. Like the sister, Sandhya Roy in Asli Naqli, or Shatrughan Sinha in “Naram Garam” who goes like “abe chapadganju”.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee directed movie which told a story as simply as possible. The characters were believable and likeable. Most of the movies hardly had villains except a few. These were the movies which made me a movie buff. I was once fascinated by the feel-good movies of Hollywood. Now I realize that we had Hrisihikesh Mukherjee was already churning the movies like that.
Now we have people trying their best to tell a story. Most of the times, they fail as can be seen from the numerous box office flops. To be a good film maker, you have to be a good story-teller and Hrishikesh Mukherjee was a good story teller. He made wonderful movies which have stood the test of time. He lived life like he described in “Anand”, “Zindagi badi honi chahiye lambi nahi”
Hrishikesh Mukherjee (1922 – 2006)
He made seeing movies worthwhile when for the 3 hours; he would take me to the world of fantasy, tears, laughter, and suspense and on an emotional roller coaster ride. He made dreams come true and made them seem so real. Today he is no more with us.
Rest In peace, Hrishida and what could be a better tribute for this dreamer than to quote again a song from “Anand”;
Ek Din Sapno ka rahi, chala jaye sapno ke aage kahan!
We will miss you.