Seventies and eighties – when the Bollywood film industry was producing extravagant, dramatic and over the top commercial masala movies and the rustic, stark and brutally honest art house movies, there was one man who decided to trudge the “middle path” and create movies which appealed to the huge majority of family audience – Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
Hrishida, coming from the film school of the great Bimal Roy, created a niche with his films which subtly and beautifully explored the values and emotions of Indian family system which was going through a transformation. His movies, though dipped in humor, dwelled on that sublime and delicate thread that binds human emotions and relationships. Fun, witty and full of situational comedy, till today, his movies are remembered for the sheer simplicity and brilliance of narrative. They are therapeutic. They are pure nostalgia. Below are the ten movies coming out of the Hrishida factory with stories true to the Indian soil and family bonding.
1. Anand (1971) – The bible for the quintessential optimists, this film is the finest statement on the eternity of life plus the exemplary confrontation between two legends – Rajesh Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan.
2. Guddi (1971) – One of the most underrated performance by Jaya Bhaduri, this beautifully explored the transformation of a naïve teenager into a mature woman.
3. Baawarchi (1972) – One of the most exceptional stories ever created, this is the best dose on joint family and the value system. Also, you see a never before and after enactment by Rajesh Khanna.
4. Chupke Chupke (1975) – Hindi language was never so correct and hilarious. The “ghas-fuus” ke doctor, Parimal Tripathi and Sukumar Sinha have become legends now.
5. Mili (1975) – This again explored the simplicity and unpredictability of life. It also dwelt into the emotions of a father who knows about the eminent death of his daughter.
6. Golmaal (1979) – One of the biggest hits of the year, this movie is still the guidebook for an ideal comedy with situational humor. This also was the first legendary pair of Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt.
7. Khubsoorat (1980) – A plea against the traditional, disciplined style of parenting and household but through a light way, this movie presented Rekha in an entirely new and unglamorous role.
8. Naram Garam (1981) – Second successful pairing of Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt, this tapped into the stereotypical strict yet a little innocent image of Utpal Dutt to the best.
9. Rang Birangi (1983) – The story of mid-life crisis, the dwindling romance and how a little jealousy can change life for the better. Parveen Babi looked the most gorgeous and of course “Dhurandhar Bhatawdekar” was epic.
10. Kisi se na kehna (1983) – The then prominent pairing of Farukh Sheiikh and Dipti Naval, it beautifully expressed the dilemma of a doctor, daughter in law and the traditional patriarch with a pinch of lies and humor.