Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Hrishikesh Mukherjee (Hrishikesh Mukhopaddhae/Mukharji (see naming conventions)) (30 September 1922 – 27 August 2006) was an Indian 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".[1][2][3][4]

He also remained the chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).[5] 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 city of Calcutta now Kolkata, in a Bengali Brahmin family.He studied science and graduated in chemistry from the University of Calcutta. He taught mathematics and science for some time.


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.[6] He then worked with Bimal Roy in Mumbai as film editor and assistant director from 1951,[7] 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), Anand (1971), Anupama (1966), Aashirwad (1968), Satyakam (1969), Guddi (1971), Bawarchi (1972), Abhimaan (1973), Namak Haraam (1973), Mili (1975), Chupke Chupke (1975), 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.[5] Having worked with his mentor, Bimal Roy as an editor, in films like Madhumati, he was much sought after as an editor as well.[8]

Later life

Hrishikesh Mukherjee was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award by the Government of India, in 1999.[9] 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.


Hrishikesh Mukherjee was suffering from chronic renal failure and would go to Lilavati Hospital for dialysis. He was admitted to Leelavati Hospital in Mumbai early on Tuesday, 6 June 2006 after he complained of uneasiness. Mukherjee died ten weeks later on 27 August 2006.[10][11]

Personal life

Hrishikesh Mukherjee was married and has three daughters and two sons.[12] His wife died more than three decades before him. He was an animal lover and had many dogs and sometimes an odd cat at his residence in Bandra, Mumbai. He used to stay alone with servants and pets in his last phase of life. Family members and friends would visit him regularly.


Berlin International Film Festival
Filmfare Awards
National Film Awards

Notable films

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
1962 Asli-Naqli Dev Anand, Sadhna
Aashiq Raj Kapoor, Padmini
1964 Saanjh Aur Savera Guru Dutt
1966 Anupama Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore, Shashikala, Tarun Bose
Gaban Sunil Dutt, Sadhana
1968 Aashirwad Ashok Kumar
1969 Satyakam Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore
Pyar Ka Sapna Mala Sinha, Biswajeet
1971 Anand Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan
Guddi Dharmendra, Jaya Bhaduri, Utpal Dutt, Samit Bhanja
1972 Bawarchi Rajesh Khanna, Jaya Bhaduri
1973 Abhimaan Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri, Asrani
Namak Haraam Rajesh Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha
1975 Chupke Chupke Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Sharmila Tagore, Jaya Bhaduri
Mili Amitabh Bachchan, Jaya Bhaduri
1977 Alaap Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha
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
1998 Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate Anil Kapoor, Juhi Chawla, Amrish Puri

Films as director

Films as editor, writer and/or assistant director

Year Film Production
1947 Tathapi
1950 Maa
1951 Do Bigha Zamin Scenario, editor, Assistant Director
1953 Parineeta Editor
1954 Biraj Bahu Editor
1955 Devdas
1955 Garam Coat Editor
1958 Madhumati Editor
1959 Heera Moti
1961 Char Diwari Editor
1965 Chemmeen Editor
1970 Dastak Editor
1977 Alaap Story, producer
1983 Coolie Editor

TV serials

Further reading


  1. Gulzar; Nihalani, Govind; Chatterjee, Saibal (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Encyclopaedia Britannica (India) Pvt Ltd. p. 592. ISBN 81-7991-066-0.
  2. The common man lure of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's films
  3. Hrishikesh Mukherjee's best films Special Photo feature,, 28 August 2006.
  4. Duara, Ajit (3 September 2006). "A touch of realism". The Hindu. Retrieved 19 September 2011.
  5. 1 2 Remembering Hrishikesh Mukherjee Hindustan Times, 26 August 2008
  6. Hrishikesh Mukherjee Biography on winning, the 31st Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
  7. Hrishikesh Mukherjee
  8. Remembering Hrishida, 28 August 2006.
  9. "Hrishikesh Mukherjee wins Dadasaheb Phalke Award".
  10. Hrishikesh Mukherjee is dead.The Times of India, 27 August 2006.
  11. Filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee dead CNN-IBN, 28 August 2006.
  12. Veteran Bollywood director dies BBC News, 27 August 2006.
  13. Awards Internet Movie Database
  14. "Best Screenplay Award". Filmfare Award Official Listings, Indiatimes. Retrieved 28 April 2014.
  15. "Lifetime Achievement Award (South) winners down the years...".
  16. "5th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 2 September 2011.
  17. "7th National Film Awards" (PDF). Directorate of Film Festivals. Retrieved 4 September 2011.
  18. "8th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. Retrieved 7 September 2011.
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