Tribute (of sorts) to Hrishikesh Mukherjee

He died? I had actually thought that he had already passed on. For, what could possibly explain his departure from the public imagination long before he actually departed?

My list of top-10 Hindi movies includes Anand and Chupke Chupke; Gol Maal and Khubsoorat just miss out but are certainly among the movies that I could watch again and again… and again. His more serious movies have affected many I know, including my mother; like Abhimaan, Guddi, Milli and Sadma. Non of which I disliked.

Upon reading his filmography, I noticed that he had recently directed Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate (in 1998). I now vaguely remember something like that happening, but I ignored the news and the movie.

I didn’t like everything about Hrishikesh Mukherjee movies. I found many of his serious films depressing (Except for Anand, which I strangely find uplifting). And of course his song placement and picturisation lacked sophistication and was often jarring (to me). (NOTE that his music was almost always brilliant… but that is for the radio. I rarely enjoyed SEEING the songs on screen). I found even in Anand, some of his attempts at comedy, too forced (like the wrestling scenes etc). But still, I don’t think I have enjoyed the films of any Indian filmmaker as much as Hrishkesh Mukherjee.

So now, the light of one of Hindi cinema’s premier film directors has gone out. And I wonder whether his legacy has left with him. At many times I remember trying to compare films to Anand or Chupke Chupke, longing for the genuine human drama (both serious and not-so-serious) that is missing in many Hindi films. Sometimes the down-to-earth movies of Priyadarshan (copied from South Indian cinema) provide glimpses of what we have missed. But still, certainly an era has ended.

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Passage for this Season

Philippians 2:11-13 (NIV) (12)Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, (13)for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.

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