August 27th marks Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s death anniversary.
They say comedy is a difficult genre and it is very difficult to make people laugh. Hrishikesh Mukherjee probably would not agree. With movies like Chupke Chupke, Golmaal, Kisi se na kehna under his crown, one can say comedy came easily to Hrishida.
I remember my first glimpse of Chupke Chupke – those stomach-wrenching guffaws, tears-filled eyes but still wanting more of it. Think of watching a movie on any Sunday lazy afternoon and the first movie that comes to mind is a Hrishida movie. The main reason Hrishida‘s comedy movies became such a rage was because of their clean humor. In these days, where comedy has become synonymous with adultery, clean humor is almost non-existent.
While he was the unquestionable expert in the comedy genre, Hrishida gave us serious and thought-provoking movies like Anand, Abhimaan, Alaap and Sadma. If Hrishida‘s comedy movies gave us much laughter, they were compensated with ample tears in his serious movies. Who can forget the ending scene in Anand? Or the one in Sadma?
Hrishida‘s movies have given us numerous memorable characters. Cinema goers remember Pyaremohan and his obsession with Hindi even today. Raghu, the all-rounder cook, who had a solution to any problem, inspired Govinda’s role in Hero No.1 and continues to linger in our minds. The dying Anand with his undying spirit inspires us and teaches us how to make the most of our lives. Not to forget, Bhavani Shankar, with his philosophies on mustache, continues to entertain us even now, 32 years after the movie came out.
Music played a very important role in Hrishida‘s movies. One of his earlier movies, Anuradha, had a singer as the main protagonist. Pandit Ravi Shankar composed music for this movie and gave us some memorable numbers. Hemant Kumar created magic in Anupama with songs like Dheere dheera machal and Ya dil ki suno duniyawalo. Aanewala pal jaanewala hai continues to be the philosophical song that the younger generation listens to even today. Songs like Ae ri pawan dhoonde kise tera man, Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye, Saawan ke jhoole pade, Mein shayar badnaam, Badi sooni sooni hai, Zindagi kaisi hai paheli, Bole re papeehara, Tere mere milan ki yeh raina tell us the appreciation and importance Hrishida had for music.
Hrishida, with his highly entertaining movies, with no violence and simple plots ruled the Hindi film industry from 1957 (Musafir) to 1998 (Jhoot Bole Kauwa Kaate). Any Hindi film director trying to make a comedy movie uses Hrishida as reference. They dream of making a comedy movie which comes anywhere close to Chupke Chupke. With the king of Hindi cinema’s comedy genre gone, the industry has incurred a big loss. The magician who made us laugh and cry with the same passion has left a big gap in the Hindi film industry which no one can fill.
Do visit Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s official website. They have a very interesting collection of Hrishida’s photographs.