Big B remembers Hrishikesh Mukherjee as a 'genius'

He knew how to say the 'simplest of the stories' in the most exciting manner and his sense of budget was exceptional too, says megastar Amitabh Bachchan while remembering late maestro Hrishikesh Mukherjee on his birth anniversary.

Amitabh Bachchan
Amitabh Bachchan. Pic/Santa Banta

Mukherjee's 92nd birth anniversary was Tuesday and Big B just couldn't stop reminiscing about the times he'd spent with the legend.

“It is today (Tuesday) the birth anniversary of my godfather in the industry, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, a master and a genius in his own way. His mastery over the middle-of-the-road cinema has still to be replicated. He knew how to say the simplest of the stories in the most exciting and attractive manner,” the 71-year-old posted on his blog Tuesday.

“Indeed, simplicity was in his demeanour and in his living. There was never any ostentatious elements in his storytelling, his filming, or in his narration. He never wanted to go the route of the many large productions and the extravaganza that accompanied them.

“His films revolved around that typical middle-class home, its problems and its issues. Human emotions were his absolute forte and he could bring out emotions in the most non emotional manner,” he further added.

Bachchan, who played many memorable roles in Mukherjee's masterpieces including “Anand”, “Mili”, “Chupke Chupke”, “Bemisaal” and “Namak Haram”, also believes that the filmmaker was “an editor of extreme merit”.

“He worked with the great Bimal Roy, in that capacity, and learnt his own craft and style from Bimal Da. Often he would narrate moments he spent and learnt, from this formidable filmmaker.

“Dressed in his typical kurta and pyjama and sandle, he would drive in sitting on the front seat of his Fiat, the older model, his only belongings being his chess set and later on when he suffered from extreme pain in his legs, a stick,” he said.

Big B also praised the legendary director for his exceptional sense of budget.

“Constrained, and wise in his manner of set and film design, he would make his films in a tenth of the budget of other typical so called blockbusters.

“Most of his work was in his most preferred studio - Mohan Studios - a very large complex, now a very large high rise. Mohan Studios must be having the most fascinating stories of cinema in India. Bimal Roy, Prakash Mehra, Hrishi Da of my time all functioned from there,” said Amitabh who also shares how Hrishida started calling him “Maharaj”.

Big B was so closed to Mukherjee, that he informed him about his decision to marry Jaya. And why not, the director had made them a hit pair by casting them in his successful films like "Abhimaan", "Mili" and "Chupke Chupke".

“When Jaya and I decided to get married, he was the first person after our parents, whom we met to inform of our decision. Him and Khwaja Ahmed Abbas, my first film director,” he said.

Big B also can't forget the time when he met the icon on his hospital bed.

“During his last days he was in the ICU (Intensive Care Unit) in hospital. I had gone several days to see him, but did not want to see him in the condition he was. Then one day I did. His entire body riddled with tubes and wires, of all kinds of machine … eyes shut and the ventilator heaving his body to breathe.

“Suddenly he woke up. His eyes opened. He saw me and his face brightened! Through all the tapes and bottles and wires his eyes beckoned me to come closer to him. When I did, he with great effort, pulled out his hand away from all the pipes and tubes on them, gestured me to bend down, and then with that weak trembling hand, put it on my head and asked me to leave ...

“The next day he passed away,” he said.

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