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Monday, October 02, 2006

Hrishikesh Mukherjee - Simple movies, Simple life

This one appeared in my company's mag sometime last month...Ok one, I mean atleast it was much shorter than my previous one on football. I have to try keeping things shorter.I go on blabbering for much longer than required. So here it is,

Hrishikesh Mukherjee - Simple movies, Simple life.

pays a tribute to the doyen of Indian cinema, Hrishikesh Mukherjee whose ‘simple’ film-making style made a lasting impact on generations of movie-goers.

It is very simple to be difficult, but it is very difficult to be simple.”- Bawarchi (1975)

Once, back in college, one of my professors introduced me to Occam’s Razor, which states that all the externalities being shaved off the simplest theory is always true. No one made this much more evident than our own Cinematic Occam Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

With a career spanning across five decades simple stories about simple people became his trademark. Hrishikesh Mukherjee had his mentors in Bimal Roy and Raj Kapoor. Truly, he found a golden mean between both the film makers and created a style which was refreshingly his own and yet amazingly simple.

In the times when the genre of Lost and Found, ‘Social’ movies, Amitabh’s regular ‘masala stuff’ and a world of parallel cinema dominated, Hrishida’s cinema, somehow, was a misfit. Presenting general characters in their ‘Equated to Life’ roles was a challenge- cinematically and financially. Overcoming it was achieved though, by putting audiences through an experience that was a close reflection of their life, which was, nevertheless entertaining.

The movies which Hrishida will always be remembered for, will be Anand, Golmaal, Chupke Chupke, Abhimaan, Satyakam, Anupama, Guddi, Mili and many more. What I mean is - Hrishida will be remembered for every one of his movies, but these are what strike your mind at once. My personal favourite is Anand, though it’s difficult to tell why, with so many good movies around. It is the fighting spirit of Anand and the realistic portrayal of a man who knows his death is near, a movie which could otherwise have been overtoned with doses of dramatization, that really wins your heart.

The continuous improvisation of switching from comedy (in Golmaal) to a genre like suspense (in Buddha Mil Gaya), to a take on truth and its importance (in Satyakaam) reflects the skills of a great storyteller. Apart from being a ‘thinking director’ he was an editor too and edited most of his movies by himself. Incidentally, Hrishida began his career as an editor under Bimal Roy and went on to become his assistant director.

Hrishida’s movies rank among my personal favourites and the factor that has influenced me the most remains– Simplicity.

It’s really fascinating sometimes, how simple things lead us to eventualities which we try to achieve by complex measures. A question which puzzles me is why we resort to unconventional methods of solving problems, when just thinking simply can be much better than thinking laterally. Obviously de bono would disagree but rather than looking for things out of the box, first we should try to scan the box. The scope is much limited and thus there are better chances of success.

Again this whole article could have been put in a simpler way by just discussing Hrishida’s cinema. But now it’s a habit for me and people like me to fall prey to this habit of deviating from the simple. It’s easy to blame someone to be bourgeois by being too simple but again try applying it on yourselves and you will see.


Dhairya Parikh said...

I couldnt agree with you more! His simplicity and way of telling stories was amazing. Pity we do not have such writer/directors like him anymore. Anand remains my personal favourite too! I loved Abhimaan too..

apeksha said...

CHupke chupke is my all time favourite!!! i have watched it over thousand times almost....
I love abhimaan too... dont know but somehow i have missed watching anand yet,... ppl will laugh at me for this... but happens at times.. right?

Harshu said...

i think an apt title for this post would be 'SIMPLY' Great..

and btw.. u 4got 'Parichay' and Khoobsurat.. equally awesome.

But Desi..i think ur writin is betr now..