Hrishikesh Mukherjee (30 September 1922–27 August 2006) was a film director known for a number of films, including Satyakam, Chupke Chupke, Anupama, Anand, Abhimaan, Guddi, Gol Maal, Aashirwad, Bawarchi, 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 honored 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.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s childhood
Hrishikesh Mukherjee was born on September 30, 1922, in then Calcutta, to a Bengali family. He studied science in high school and graduated in chemistry from the University of Calcutta.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s career
Hrishikesh Mukherjee kick-started his career with B. N. Sircar’s New Theatres in Calcutta in the late 1940s. He used to work there as a cameraman and gained a lot of knowledge from his master. After a while, he shifted to Bombay where he began working with Bimal Roy as a film editor and assistant director in 1951. After working with Bimal Roy for a while, he decided to start making his own movies.
His first movie was Musafir in 1957. The film was written by Ritwik Ghatak and told the story of three families and how their lives were intertwined with each other as they lived in the same house. The film featured stars like Dilip Kumar, Kishore Kumar, Keshto Mukherjee, Suchitra Sen and Nirupa Roy in main roles. However, the film failed to make an impact.
His second movie was Anari in 1959 and featured stars like Raj Kapoor, Nutan, Motilal and Lalita Pawar in the lead. The film was very successful and Hrishikesh Mukherjee started getting noticed. The film and its actors won six awards -President’s Silver Medal for Best Feature Film in Hindi and Filmfare Best Actor Award for Raj Kapoor for Anari.
After his second, he made many movies like – 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) and Gol Maal (1979). His last film was Achha Bura in 1983. The film starred Raj Babbar as Ravi Lala, Anita Raj as Rita Roy and Amjad Khan as Mohammad Sher Khan. The film was very successful.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Awards
Hrishikesh Mukherjee was a celebrated artist. His work was known to be simple yet showcased many complex emotions in them. Here are a few of the awards he won:
2001: Padma Vibhushan by the Government of India
1956: Filmfare Best Editing Award: Naukri
1994: Filmfare Lifetime Achievement Award – South
1957: Certificate of Merit for Third Best Feature Film in Hindi – Musafir
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
Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s family and death
Hrishikesh Mukherjee had a wife who died 30 years before him. He had 5 kids, 3 daughters and two sons. BBC reported that Hrishikesh Mukherjee was an animal lover and had many dogs at his Mumbai house. For a very long time, he lived alone. Hrishikesh Mukherjee died on August 27, 2006, after he was admitted to Lilavati Hospital in Mumbai for not feeling well. He used to suffer from chronic kidney failure regularly.