Coming to B'luru, the Hrishikesh Mukherjee Film Festival you shouldn't miss

Hrisha Da's movies were slice of life films about ordinary people.
Coming to B'luru, the Hrishikesh Mukherjee Film Festival you shouldn't miss
Coming to B'luru, the Hrishikesh Mukherjee Film Festival you shouldn't miss
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By Swapna Narayanan

The Hrishikesh Mukherjee Film Festival, curated by Pickle Jar – a platform for film festivals and programmes of social relevance – is coming to Bengaluru. A yesteryear Bollywood director who made several films from the 1950s to the late 80s, Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s films still have mass appeal and should not be missed. His last hurrah was the 1998 Anil Kapoor starrer “Jhooth Bhole Kauwa Katte”. The festival is on between the 2nd and 4th of December.

For film buffs who haven’t watched his films yet, here’s what you can look forward to:

Mukherjee’s films were earthy and grounded, infused with the beauty of life and its music too. Hrishi Da, as he was popularly known, was a highly perceptive director and his films always brought to the fore the simple yet beautiful nuances of everyday life. His narratives showcased ordinary people and brought out the middle class ethos - something that stands true even today.

All his stories had a social message in them too. His female characters were particularly interesting. Hrishi Da’s films showed his understanding of women, their dreams and aspirations within the social fabric of their times. His heroines took us through the various stages of a woman’s transformation, from a girl to an adult.

Who can forget the irrepressible and naughty Guddi from “Guddi”, her love for superstar Dharmendra and her eventual realisation and transformation as a woman in the hauntingly beautiful 'Bole re papihara...'! The red polka dotted saree and long plait are what symbolise Jaya Bhaduri even today in many a heart.

Life is not without fun and Hrishi Da ensured that we had loads of it with “Chupke Chupke”. Whether it was the classic beauty of the English language or the “shudh Hindi”, he brought it all out through the love story of a professor of Botany and his student.  And speaking of fun, there may be many “Golmaal” inspired films but the original can never be surpassed by new age directors. Utpal Dutt’s wonderful portrayal as Bhavani Shankar with his clear hatred for men without moustaches is inimitable.

But life is also about fighting the odds and hoping for the best. In “Mili”, a dying girl gets a new lease of love and life towards her end. Her last days turn lively when a brooding handsome man moves into her apartment complex. The movie begins and ends with the shot of an aircraft soaring high.  

Not all sombre scenarios in life end on a happy note. Some turn into dead ends. So what do we do? Well, according to Hrishi Da, we take it as it comes with dollops of laughter. The charming Rajesh Khanna in “Anand” does just that. He spreads cheer, shares his happiness but moves on despite a broken heart.  After all -  “Anand mara nahin. Anand marte nahin...”

And he does come back again to spread the cheer. This time as a “Bawarchi Raghu” into the ever squabbling Sharma family. A cook who not only cooks well but also harnesses the talents of other family members, teaches many life lessons to them, and eventually brings harmony and love into the household.

Life is to be lived. And live you must, to the fullest, irrespective of the circumstances – this is what Hrishi Da’s movies taught his audiences. As Anand says, 'Babu Moshay, Zindagi badi honi chahiye, lambi nahin…’

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