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Hrishikesh Mukherjee
Born September 30, 1922(1922-09-30)
Kolkata, India
Died August 27, 2006 (aged 83)
Mumbai, India
Official website

Hrishikesh Mukherjee (Bengali: হৃষিকেশ মুখোপাধ্যায়/মুখার্জী Rhishikesh Mukhopaddhae/Mukharji (see naming conventions), Hindi: ऋषिकेश मुखर्जी Riṣhikesh Mukharjī) (30 September 1922–27 August 2006) was a famous Hindi film director known for a number of films, including Satyakam, Chupke Chupke, Anupama, Anand, Abhimaan, Guddi, Gol Maal, Aashirwad, Bawarchi, 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 relism of art cinema".[1][2][3]

He also remained the chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC),[4] and was awarded the 1999, Dada Saheb Phalke Award, India's highest award in Cinema for Lifetime achievement.


Early life and background

Hrishikesh Mukherjee was born in Calcutta, 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.[5] He then worked with Bimal Roy in Mumbai as film editor and assistant director from 1951,[6] participating in the landmark Roy films Do Bigha Zameen 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.

His string of hits with Amitabh made him one of the golden directors who had a special working relationship with Amitabh Bachchan (Ramesh Sippy, Prakash Mehra, Manmohan Desai, and Yash Chopra being the other four).

In the following years he made numerous films. Some of his most notable films include: Anuradha (1960), Asli-Naqli (1962), Anupama (1966), Aashirwad (1968), Satyakam (1969), Guddi (1971), Bawarchi (1972), Mili (1975), Chupke Chupke (1975), Khoobsurat (1980) and Bemisal (1982). He was the first to introduce Dharmendra in comedy roles, through Chupke Chupke, and gave Amitabh Bachchan his big break in Anand 1970, along with Rajesh Khanna, he also introduced Jaya Bhaduri to Hindi cinema in his film Guddi.[4] Having worked with his mentor, Bimal Roy as an editor, in films like Madhumati, he was much sought after as an editor as well.[7]

Later life

Hrishikesh Mukherjee was honoured with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award by the Government of India, in 1999.[8] 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.

The films were realistic and unlike the other Bollywood films do not have crime, violence. The simple plots contain deeper meaning, but are generally straightforward in form, theme and treatment. He directed around 50 films most of which were valued by audiences and critics alike because of their middle-of-the-road accessibility, heart-warming irony and literary sensibilities. His characters inhabited a middle-class, urban, educated milieu. One more characteristic of his films was that it had a character engrossed in music. Such as Anuradha, Aashirwad, Chupke chupke, Abhimaan, Khubsoorat, GolMaal, Alaap, Bawarchi, Aashiq, Mili, Saanjh Aur Sawera and Phir Kab Milogi to name a few.

His last film was Jhoot Bole Kauwa Kaate. Since his original hero Amol Palekar had grown old he had to choose Anil Kapoor. He has also directed TV serials like Talaash. Another director making films akin to him is Basu Chatterjee.


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.[9][10]

Personal life

Hrishikesh Mukherjee was married and has three daughters and a son.[11] One of his sons died at Delhi railway station in 2001 due to asthma attack. 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

National Film Awards

Filmfare Awards

Selected filmography

Films as Director

Films as Editor, Writer and/or Assistant Director

TV Serials

Further reading

  • Great Masters of Indian Cinema: The Dadasaheb Phalke Award Winners, by D. P. Mishra, Publications Division, Ministry of Information and Broadcasting, Govt. of India, 2006. ISBN 8123013612. page 122.


  1. ^ Gulzar; Nihalani, Govind; Chatterjee, Saibal (2003). Encyclopaedia of Hindi Cinema. Encyclopaedia Britannica (India) Pvt Ltd.. pp. 592. ISBN 8179910660.  
  2. ^ The common man lure of Hrishikesh Mukherjee's films
  3. ^ Hrishikesh Mukherjee's best films Special Photo feature,, 28 August 2006.
  4. ^ a b Remembering Hrishikesh Mukherjee Hindustan Times, 26 August 2008
  5. ^ Hrishikesh Mukherjee Biography on winning, the 31st Dada Saheb Phalke Award.
  6. ^ Hrishikesh Mukherjee
  7. ^ Remembering Hrishida, 28 August 2006.
  8. ^ "Hrishikesh Mukherjee wins Dadasaheb Phalke Award".  
  9. ^ Hrishikesh Mukherjee is dead.Times of India, 27 August 2006.
  10. ^ Filmmaker Hrishikesh Mukherjee dead CNN IBN, 28 August 2006.
  11. ^ Veteran Bollywood director dies BBC News, 27 August 2006.
  12. ^ Awards Internet Movie Database.

External links

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