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Manoj Kumar: The forgotten Hero who spread the Nationalistic fervor in a Commercial way
Enkayaar, Bollywood Trade News Network
Is it not ironic that a man who was single handedly responsible for creating a feeling of national fervor, and even made the Prime Minister of the country weep, has to fight for his dignity and his reputation as his approach and stylization has been interpreted in a sarcastic manner in modern times. The man, Manoj Kumar, the incident, his projection in OM SHANTI OM.
Here is a man who through his oeuvre of films brought into mainstream the questions of existence and survival, which touch the chord of common man in a very sensitive manner. He is also the man who was a heartthrob of a generation of ladies who may now have become grandmothers, but still miss a heart beat when he appears on the television screen in his score of films.
Following his attempt to make a film on the life of great patriot Shaheed Bhagat Singh titled SHAHEED scores of interpretations have been attempted on the life of Bhagat Singh but the interpretation that Manoj Kumar did on his life continues to serve as the referral point on the life of Manoj Kumar.
It was his interpretation of the life of Shaheed Bhagat Singh that prodded Lal Bahadur Shastri, our Prime Minister to ask him to make a film on China War and the result was UPKAAR. This was the turning point in his career, as henceforth he started being referred to as Bharat Kumar, and from here on he set on the path of making films on nationalistic fervor. He can be credited to be the first person that was catalyst in initiating Bollywood brand of patriotism, but without any jingoism associated with it.
ROTI KAPDA AUR MAKAAN further strengthened his positioning as a man who could not go wrong when issues dealing with national importance are concerned, even though they might be tempered with oodles of display of flesh and sex as well. It was his imagination to juxtapose these issues, which got manifested in the manner in which he had picturised the rape sequence in ROTI KAPDA AUR MAKAAN on Maushmi, the background being wheat flour strewn all over. One does not know whether the influence for this simile was in any way derived from K.Asif's MOTHER INDIA involving Nargis and Kanhaiya Lall.
His ability to read the sentiments was evident in SHOR as well. Sound pollution of all kinds, which is assaulting the hearing senses and has found new activists protesting against it, could have inspiration in Manoj Kumar, as he dealt on this issue in a very sensitive manner with SHOR. The pangs of having left the mother land in search of green pastures, and later ruing about it was brought out in stark and sensitive manner through PURAB AUR PASCHIM and quite a lot of films were made on the existentialist dilemma associated with the Diaspora but PURAB AUR PASCHIM still holds its sway.
KRANTI was the last film, which still had stamp of Manoj Kumar after which he started loosing his touch. The importance of the man lies in the fact that in all the national festivals and days of national importance to this day, songs of the films made by him continue to haunt us and touch the emotional chord in a manner and in such a plenitude, which no one else has been able to emulate.
Whenever the chronicle of national issues being addressed by Hindi films is chronicled, Manoj Kumar's name would appear as one of flag-bearers of this spirit.