Posts Tagged ‘Hrishikesh Mukherji’

What is it that makes us label a movie as a classic? A unique blend of enchanting visuals, a rich story line, fine acting, lilting music and captivating lyrics are some of the features a successful movie invariably has. However, to be considered a classic, it would also have a multi-layered narrative with a social message which connects with us at a deeper level. Its theme would have an underlying timelessness, often brought in by the values it espouses.

Values which happen to be eternal in nature. Family values. Faint stirrings within a society to transform itself. The need for a soul to be free and joyous. The assertion of independence which demolishes societal norms of the time. The harmony in working towards a jointly shared goal or ambition. A meteoric rise in terms of materialistic goals. The frustration of having hit a plateau of sorts. The complex interplay of human emotions. The gradual transformation of relationships. The downfall arising out of human greed. The introspection. The burden of guilt. The beginning of a spiritual awakening. The search for a utopia. The redemption.

Here are some movies released fifty years back which remain as fresh as ever in one’s mind.


Released in 1965, this movie, directed by Vijay Anand, was based on a novel of R. K. Narayan, The Guide. The U. S. version of the movie was written by Pearl S. Buck.

The heroine, Rosie, walks out of a loveless marriage, so as to be able to pursue her passion of dance. The hero, Raju, helps her in achieving stardom. The song ‘Tere mere sapne’, though four minutes long, had merely three shots, each helping the heroine to gradually overcome her hesitation to accept the offer of reassurance and love from the hero.

The movie had great dance performances by the inimitable Waheeda Rehman. Other than the snake dance, we got treated to the six-part extravaganza – ‘Piya to se naina laage re’.

With success comes the fading away of love, which gradually gives way to self-interest. The transformation of tender love depicted in ‘Tere mere sapne’ gets eventually replaced by an emotional chasm between the main protagonists, so delectably captured in the song ‘Din dhal jaaye’.

The movie had a female lead character who was ahead of her times. The climax was rooted in superstition, though. The hero attained a spiritual enlightenment of sorts.

The charm of this landmark movie remains undiminished even after fifty years of its release, proving the immense possibilities of artistic collaboration.

The Sound of Music

Based on the memoir The Story of the Trapp Family Singers by Maria von Trapp, the film is about a young Austrian woman studying to become a nun in Salzburg in 1938 who is sent to the villa of a retired naval officer and widower to assume charge as a governess to his seven children. She brings love, spontaneity and music into the lives of the family through kindness and patience.

The manner in which mutual respect and affection grows between the naval officer and the governess is delicately captured in this tender piece.

The governess ends up marrying the officer. Together with the children they find a way to survive the loss of their homeland through courage and faith.

The musical scores stand out for their richness and the way in which they advance the plot of the movie. The heroine, though plagued by self-doubt, shows ample pluck and resource to win over a bunch of defiant children and their disciplinarian father. Characters of all the kids are well etched out and enamour us no end. Underlying the whole narrative is the value of family togetherness, delicate love interwoven with the need for discipline, and the loyalty towards each other.

Even after fifty long years, the movie does not fail to cast a spell. Watch any portion of fifteen minutes and one would come back refreshed and invigorated.


Even though one is not familiar with Malayalam language, one has heard a great deal about this movie. Released on August 19, 1965, it acquired a cult status in the minds of movie buffs.

The success of this movie is said to be due to its heady combination of social-realistic melodrama, bolstered by high production values. It had creative inputs from some of the most talented persons from the Indian movie industry at that time – music by Salil Chowdhury, editing by Hrishikesh Mukherjee, cinematography by Marcus Bartley and lyrics by Vayalar Rama Varma.

The tale of Pareekutty and Karuthamma is a tragic romance. It makes one cry. It gives one a feel as if one lives close to the sea-coast, listening to the incessant roar of the waves, rising to the cries of fishermen and joining their yells of glee when their catch is a bumper one.

At a deeper level, in a muted manner, the movie argues for social transformation. It portrays the problems that arise when an Araya girl falls in love with a Muslim trader. This is a chasm that most of us are still grappling with.

This New Year eve, one would be tempted to curl up in bed to soak in the delectable cinematic brilliance on offer in any one of these movies. As the New Year rings in, we could be joining the Von Trapp family in its trek across the Alps, looking ahead to the future with hope, faith and goodwill!

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During 1950s and 60s, TB played the role of a villain in quite a few Bollywood flicks. Cancer soon took over. Movies like ‘Anand’, ‘Safar’, ‘Mili’ and ‘Ankhiyon ke Jharokhon Se’ had scripts which were centered around some form of cancer or the other.

‘Anand’ remains a Bollywood classic in more ways than one. Hard hitting socio-economic messages well-couched in scintillating humour gave us enough food for thought. Hrishikesh Mukherji conveyed some profound thoughts on life and the need to have a positive attitude.

The illness from which the hero suffered became engraved in our memory cells. Here is an interesting post on the illness.

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Mr. & Mrs. 55 - Classic Bollywood Revisited!

Your average non-Bollywood viewer will probably read the words above and feel nothing. They will also probably pronounce intestine with a normal emphasis on the second syllable and won’t make it rhyme with “shine.” But ask anyone on the streets of Bombay who knows a thing or two about life from the silver screen, and you’ll be amazed. For Hindi cinema, the dreaded diagnosis “lymphosarcoma of the intestine” is synonymous with unavoidable impending doom of a most serious and scientifically complex nature. How did this all start and Bollywood folklore aside, what is lymphosarcoma of the intestine? Let us step back in time to 1971 to the film Anand when the hysteria all began…

Amitabh Bachhan and Rajesh Khanna both can’t pronounce intestine in Anand (1971)

Anand is a film about a life-loving cancer patient whose optimism touches everyone he encounters. The film’s writer, Hrishikesh Mukherji, had majored in chemistry…

View original post 700 more words

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Discovering and Cultivating a Hobby

In the restricted circle of friends and relatives that our family is exposed to, it is common knowledge that since the past four years we have been assiduously chronicling the events and occurrences in the family. These chronicles have taken the shape of movies which are more in the nature of a collage of videos and still photos, backed by appropriate musical scores from diverse sources.

The intention of making these movies is surely not to advertise the family or its mundane achievements in life. The basic idea is to share the major events in the family with the extended family members who are spread across diverse geographical locations, as also to preserve the family history for posterity. If the history buffs in our future generations preserve these, our family background would always be just a click away.

Enabling Factors

What have been the enabling factors for the development of these movies? Let me attempt to list a few. One, a healthy dose of movies celebrating the middle class values like caring, sharing, mutual trust and a respect for one´s elders. Two, happy moments and events which leave one´s emotional core stirred and shaken. Three, a fondness for good music, backed by soulful lyrics. Four, a hobby of preserving the family archives, whether in the form of old photos, diaries left behind by our forefathers, and the like. Five, creative juices sloshing about inside one in gay abundance at times, not allowing one to rest till the time a meaningful external expression is found.


What could be challenging about arranging some dumb photos in a sequence and backing them up with a few songs, you may well ask. Well, to present something new and unique to my audience every time is one. Also, one has to keep one´s self-promotional tendencies in check – so, no hapless visitor to our house shall ever be strapped to a couch and forced to watch one of these movies! Moreover, narcissism is not considered a virtue; so, each movie´s theme encompasses snippets of even those unsuspecting friends and relatives who are not necessarily a part of the main narrative.

The Journey So Far


The year 2007 saw our daughter getting married. Gradually, an idea took shape – to make a movie which would not only cover the various ceremonies that took place in connection with the marriage, but would also capture the childhood days and upbringing of both the bride and the bridegroom. Once old photos had been collected, search began for a studio which could transform the concept into reality. However, tradition-bound studios were not too keen to experiment with their own formats. With the help of a friend, we could identify a suitable software. Work started at home with a humble second-hand laptop.

Backed by quotations from Shri Aurobindo´s Savitri, the dvd took about eight months to get composed. Goodwill messages from all those who could not attend the event also got covered. Titled `Shruti Vinod`, the movie was 125 minutes long. Reactions from viewers were encouraging, to say the least.

Hamari Bahu Garima

Come 2008, and our son got married. Our daughter-in-law, Garima, joined the family. Motivated by the first experiment, the canvas of the second movie got wider. Appropriate cartoon sequences were added up, juxtaposed with audio clips of the bride and the groom. Few other special effects also brightened up the proceedings. The end result of this labor of love was a 250 minutes long movie. For the benefit of those in a hurry, a smaller version of 130 minutes was also prepared. This one was titled `Hamari Bahu Garima`.

Dhoom Macha Le

In 2009, our daughter had a toddler of her own. Aptly named Suman, the blossoming of this flower in the family garden at Asker in Norway was greeted with unbridled enthusiasm. A dvd running into about 35 minutes came up first. During 2010, a dvd named `Dhoom Macha Le` was completed and released. An interesting feature of this 100 minute long movie was a special chapter on Suman´s future career aspirations, with examples drawn from a long list of celebrity female achievers.

Both were followed up with another dvd which captured the second year of her life.

X´mas 2009 and God Bharai

This covered the get together of all the children and their families. Both the couples danced to their heart´s content, with Suman witnessing the God Bharai function of Garima.

Shalini´s Griha Pravesh

Lovingly done, this one hour-long dvd captured the birth of Shalini, our son´s daughter, in March 2010. It ended up showing the new-born entering her house in Basel, Switzerland, for the first time.

1962 : A Love Story

As I write this in July 2012, two more movies have got added to the family portfolio. In February, we could add `1962: A Love Story’. It is about 55 minutes long and covers the life and times of my eldest co-brother who completed 50 years of married life on the 8th of March this year. In this work, it was challenging to capture the trauma of partition of India in 1947, faced by the families then.

Shalini – The Beautiful

June 2012 brought about the completion of yet another movie, `Shalini – the beautiful`. Based on the first two years of our son´s daughter, this runs into 108 minutes. A special feature here is the coverage of diverse aspects of Shalini´s personality, as we have seen it evolving over time so far. The thematic peg used for this purpose is the `NAVARAS` concept espoused centuries back by Bharat Muni in his famous treatise on the fine arts, `Natya Shastra`.

An Enriching Experience!

Overall, cultivating this hobby has been a very fulfilling and enriching experience. The effort is highly labor intensive, what with a scheme to be followed for all inputs to be neatly arranged. Exhausting and challenging, yet exhilarating and liberating in more ways than one. Possibly, this is what Maslow meant when he spoke of self-actualization.

Courtesy Bollywood and Hollywood

All the family members have contributed immensely to all these ventures. However, the lion´s share of the credit goes to the creative minds from Bollywood as well as Hollywood. One has drawn liberally from the works of such creative geniuses as Gulzar, Basu Chatterji, Hrishikesh Mukherji, Yash Chopra, David Lean and the like. Movies from the Rajshri stable find a place of pride in our scheme of things. And, of course, renowned music directors whose immortal works have regaled all of us all these years have unknowingly enriched our family archives beyond compare.

One is grateful for all the grace one has received in different aspects of one´s life, including for the baby steps taken so far in capturing family events through the medium of movie making.

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