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Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Hrishikesh Mukherjee 2013 stamp of India.jpg
Mukherjee on a 2013 stamp of India
Born (1922-09-30)30 September 1922
Died 27 August 2006(2006-08-27) (aged 83)
Mumbai, India
Occupation
  • Film director
  • screenwriter

Hrishikesh Mukherjee (30 September 1922 – 27 August 2006) was an Indian film director, editor and writer regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers of Indian cinema, known for a number of films, including Anari, Satyakam, Chupke Chupke, Anupama, Anand, Abhimaan, Guddi, Gol Maal, Majhli Didi, Chaitali, Aashirwad, Bawarchi, Khubsoorat, Kissi Se Na Kehna, and Namak Haraam.

Popularly known as Hrishi-da, he directed 42 films during his career spanning over four decades, and is named the pioneer of the 'middle cinema' of India. Renowned for his social films that reflected the changing middle-class ethos, Mukherjee "carved a middle path between the extravagance of mainstream cinema and the stark realism of art cinema".

He also remained the chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC). The Government of India honoured him with the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1999 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001. He received the NTR National Award in 2001 and he also won eight Filmfare Awards.

Early life and background

Hrishikesh Mukherjee was born in the city of Calcutta in pre-independence India (now Kolkata) to a Bengali family. He studied science and graduated in chemistry from the University of Calcutta. He taught mathematics and science for some time.

Career

Mukherjee chose to begin working, initially as a cameraman, and then film editor, in B. N. Sircar's New Theatres in Calcutta in the late 1940s, where he learned his skills from Subodh Mitter ('Kenchida'), a well known editor of his times. He then worked with Bimal Roy in Mumbai as film editor and assistant director from 1951, participating in the landmark Roy films Do Bigha Zamin and Devdas.

His debut directorial venture, Musafir (1957), was not a success, but he persisted and received acclaim for his second film Anari in 1959. The film, crew and cast won five Filmfare Awards, with Mukherjee only losing the Best Director Award to his mentor, Bimal Roy.

In the following years he made numerous films. Some of his most notable films include: Anuradha (1960), Chhaya (1961), Asli-Naqli (1962), Anupama (1966), Aashirwad (1968), Satyakam (1969), Guddi (1971), Anand (1971), Bawarchi (1972), Abhimaan (1973), Namak Haraam (1973), Mili (1975), Chupke Chupke (1975), Alaap (1977), Gol Maal (1979), Khubsoorat (1980) and Bemisal (1982). He was the first to introduce Dharmendra in comedy roles, through Chupke Chupke, and gave Amitabh Bachchan his big break with Anand in 1970, along with Rajesh Khanna, he also introduced Jaya Bhaduri to Hindi cinema in his film Guddi. Having worked with his mentor, Bimal Roy as an editor, in films like Madhumati, he was much sought after as an editor as well.

Later life

Mukherjee was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award by the Government of India, in 1999. Mukherjee was chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification and of the National Film Development Corporation. He was also awarded the Padma Vibhushan, the second highest civilian award for his contribution to Indian cinema by government of India in 2001 . The International Film Festival of India honoured him with a retrospective of his films in November 2005. He holds the distinction of working with almost all the top Indian stars since independence of India in 1947.

His last film was Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate. Since his original hero Amol Palekar had grown old he had to cast Anil Kapoor. He has also directed TV serials like Talaash.

Death

In later life, Mukherjee suffered from chronic kidney failure and would go to Lilavati Hospital for dialysis. He was admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai early on Tuesday, 6 June 2006 after he complained of uneasiness. Mukherjee died few weeks later on 27 August 2006.

Personal life

Mukherjee was married and has three daughters and two sons. His wife died more than three decades before him. His younger brother Dwarkanath Mukherjee helped write the screenplay for many of his films. He was an animal lover and had many dogs and sometimes an odd cat at his residence in Bandra, Mumbai. He was staying with only his servants and pets in the last phase of his life. Family members and friends would visit him regularly.

Awards

Berlin International Film Festival
Filmfare Awards
  • 1956: Filmfare Best Editing Award: Naukari
  • 1959: Filmfare Best Editing Award: Madhumati
  • 1970: Filmfare Best Screenplay Award: Anokhi Raat
  • 1972: Filmfare Best Movie Award: Anand shared with N. C. Sippy
  • 1972: Filmfare Best Editing Award: Anand
  • 1972: Filmfare Best Story Award: Anand
  • 1981: Filmfare Best Movie Award: Khubsoorat shared with N. C. Sippy
  • 1994: Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South (1994)
Kerala State Film Awards
  • 1970: Kerala State Film Award for Best Editor: Priya
  • 1974: Kerala State Film Award for Best Editor: Nellu
National Film Awards
  • 1957: Certificate of Merit for Third Best Feature Film in Hindi – Musafir
  • 1959: President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi – Anari
  • 1960: President's Gold Medal for the All India Best Feature Film – Anuradha
  • 1966: President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi – Anupama
  • 1968: President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi – Aashirwad
  • 1969: President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi – Satyakam
  • 1970: President's Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi – Anand
  • 1999: Dada Saheb Phalke Award

Notable films

Year Film Starring
1957 Musafir Dilip Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Suchitra Sen and Usha Kiran.
1959 Anari Raj Kapoor, Nutan, Lalita Pawar, Shubha Khote and Motilal.
1960 Anuradha Balraj Sahni, Leela Naidu
1961 Chhaya Sunil Dutt, Asha Parekh, Nirupa Roy, Nazir Hussain, Lalita Pawar
1962 Asli-Naqli Dev Anand, Sadhna, Nazir Hussain, Leela Chitnis, Anwar Hussain
Aashiq Raj Kapoor, Padmini
1964 Saanjh Aur Savera Guru Dutt, Meena Kumari
1966 Anupama Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Deven Verma, Shashi Kala, David, Durga Khote
Gaban Sunil Dutt, Sadhana, Kanhaiya Lal, Leela Mishra
1967 Majhli Didi Dharmendra, Meena Kumari, Lalita Pawar, Sachin
1968 Aashirwad Ashok Kumar, Veena (actress), Sumita Sanyal, Sanjeev Kumar, Harindranath Chattopadhyay, Baby Sarika,
1969 Satyakam Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Sanjeev Kumar
Pyar Ka Sapna Mala Sinha, Biswajeet, Ashok Kumar, Helen, Johnny Walker, Durga Khote
1971 Anand Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Sumita Sanyal, Johnny Walker, Lalita Pawar, Dara Singh, Seema Deo, Ramesh Deo
Guddi Dharmendra, Jaya Bhaduri, Utpal Dutt, Sumita Sanyal, Samit Bhanja
1972 Bawarchi Rajesh Khanna, Jaya Bhaduri, Durga Khote, AK Hangal, Usha Kiran, Sumita Sanyal, Harindranath Chattopadhyay, Asrani
1973 Abhimaan Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Asrani, Durga Khote
Namak Haraam Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha
1975 Chupke Chupke Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore, Jaya Bhaduri, Omprakash, Usha Kiran, Asrani
Mili Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Ashok Kumar,
Chaitali Dharmendra, Saira Banu, Durga Khote, Asrani, Abhi Bhattacharya, Shyama
1977 Alaap Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Omprakash, Asrani
1979 Gol Maal Amol Palekar, Utpal Dutt, Bindiya Goswami
1980 Khubsoorat Rekha, Rakesh Roshan, Ashok Kumar
1981 Naram Garam Amol Palekar, Utpal Dutt, Swaroop Sampat, Shatrughan Sinha
1983 Rang Birangi Amol Palekar, Parveen Babi, Deepti Naval, Farooq Sheikh
1983 Kissise Na Kehna Utpal Dutt, Deepti Naval, Farooq Sheikh
Achha Bura Raj Babbar, Anita Raj

Films as director

Year Film Starring
1957 Musafir Dilip Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Suchitra Sen and Usha Kiran.
1959 Anari Raj Kapoor, Nutan, Lalita Pawar and Motilal.
1960 Anuradha Balraj Sahni, Leela Naidu
1961 Chhaya Sunil Dutt, Asha Parekh
Memdidi David, Jayant, Lalita Pawar, Asit Sen, Tanuja
1962 Asli-Naqli Dev Anand, Sadhna
Aashiq Raj Kapoor, Padmini
1964 Saanjh Aur Savera Guru Dutt
1966 Anupama Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore
Gaban Sunil Dutt, Sadhana
Biwi Aur Makan Biswajit, Kalpana Mohan, Mehmood
1967 Majhli Didi Dharmendra, Meena Kumari
1968 Aashirwad Ashok Kumar
1969 Satyakam Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore
Pyar Ka Sapna Mala Sinha, Biswajeet, Ashok Kumar, Helen, Johnny Walker
1971 Anand Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan
Guddi Dharmendra, Jaya Bhaduri, Utpal Dutt
Buddha Mil Gaya Om Prakash, Navin Nischol, Deven Verma
1972 Bawarchi Rajesh Khanna, Jaya Bhaduri
Sabse Bada Sukh Vijay Arora, Asrani
1973 Abhimaan Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Asrani
Namak Haraam Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha
1974 Phir Kab Milogi Biswajit, Mala Sinha, Deven Verma
1975 Chupke Chupke Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore, Jaya Bhaduri
Mili Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri
Chaitali Dharmendra, Saira Banu
1976 Arjun Pandit Sanjeev Kumar, Ashok Kumar
1977 Alaap Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha
Kotwal Saab Shatrughan Sinha, Aparna Sen
1978 Naukri Rajesh Khanna, Zaheera, Raj Kapoor
1979 Gol Maal Amol Palekar, Utpal Dutt, Bindiya Goswami
Jurmana Amitabh Bachchan, Rakhee, Vinod Mehra
1980 Khubsoorat Rekha, Rakesh Roshan, Ashok Kumar
1981 Naram Garam Amol Palekar, Utpal Dutt, Swaroop Sampat, Shatrughan Sinha
1982 Bemisal Amitabh Bachchan, Rakhee, Vinod Mehra
1983 Rang Birangi Amol Palekar, Parveen Babi, Deepti Naval, Farooq Sheikh
1983 Kissise Na Kehna Utpal Dutt, Deepti Naval, Farooq Sheikh
Achha Bura Raj Babbar, Anita Raj
1985 Jhoothi Rekha, Raj Babbar, Amol Palekar, Supriya Pathak, Deven Verma
1988 Namumkin Sanjeev Kumar, Raj Babbar, Zeenat Aman, Vinod Mehra
1998 Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Amrish Puri, Reema Lagoo

Films as editor, writer or assistant director

Year Film Production
Function
Notes
1947 Tathapi
1950 Maa Editor, Assistant Director
1953 Do Bigha Zamin Scenario, editor, Assistant Director
1953 Parineeta Editor
1954 Biraj Bahu Editor
1955 Devdas Co-editor with Das Dhaimade
1955 Garam Coat Editor
1958 Madhumati Editor
1959 Heera Moti
1961 Char Diwari Editor
1961 Ganga Jumna Co-editor with Das Dhaimade
1965 Chemmeen Editor
1968 Mere Hamdam Mere Dost Editor
1974 Nellu Editor
1970 Dastak Editor
1977 Alaap Story, producer
1977 Anuroopa One and only Kannada Film as editor
1981 Professor Pyarelal Editor
1983 Coolie Editor

TV serials

  • Hum Hindustani (1986)
  • Talaash (1992)
  • Dhoop Chhaon
  • Rishte
  • Ujaale Ki Or
  • Agar Aisa Ho Toh
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