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A tribute to Manoj Kumar on his 75th birthday

July 25, 2012 06:44:34 PM IST
By Enkayaar, Glamsham Editorial
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If one talks of injecting a sense of national pride through cinema, one man's name would immediately pop up in the mind. The man is Manoj Kumar, who because of dabbling in the genre of making films which pandered and catered to the nationalist sentiments was nick- named as Bharat Kumar. This man turned 75 yesterday but nobody bothered to celebrate the occasion, maybe it could be owing to the element of sobriety associated with passing away of Kaka aka Rajesh Khanna. But even then, for Manoj Kumar to turn 75 is a monumental occasion and on this eve, it would indeed be worthwhile to go down memory lane and pay tribute to Manoj Kumar.

For a man who emerged as poster-boy of spirit of nationalism in the black and white era when he made his debut, was a sensitive lover boy and was also a regular in the murder mysteries of the black and white era in the films like BEES SAAL BAAD, WOH KAUN THI?, GUMNAAM etc.After Raj Kapoor, Manoj Kumar was the actor for whom Mukesh sang consistently. May be, owing to this nostalgia of Mukesh being his voice over, Manoj Kumar had used Nitin Mukesh for his film KRANTI.


It was in 1970 when he made PURAB AUR PASCHIM that he got the moniker of BHARAT KUMAR, though his first shot at associating with a film of nationalistic fervor was SHAHEED, which was among the first biographical films, as it was made on the life of Shaheed Bhagat Singh. SHAHEED had impressed even erstwhile Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri and he had given the idea to Manoj Kumar to make a film on the theme of Jai Jawan Jai Kissan and UPKAR was the result of this suggestion.

Manoj Kumar was facilitated to quite a large extent in carving his niche as a Bharat Kumar by the voice over of Mahinder Kapoor. As a matter of fact, the song 'Hai preet jaha ke reet sada', set the tone for cultivating the image.

When he established his forte as a producer-director he cultivated another style for his movies, it is of drenching the heroines in water, may be inspired by Raj Kapoor in this genre. So right from Maushmi Chatterjee to Hema Malini all were drenched to the skin in various Manoj Kumar films. Critics had carped about the show of skin that Hema Malini for the first and last time had undertaken in KRANTI in the song- 'Zindagi Ki na Toote Lari'.

In the same manner he had developed a peculiar style of his own of using haloes of light around the female stars during the songs, or using multiple images to project an image of utopia perhaps. Utopia is perhaps owing to the reason that he was trapped in the image of Bharat Kumar and he had to protest it, so he could not touch his heroines, but he could give the inner urges an expression through these imaginative devices.

Till the time when he had not lost touch with the audience, he had made sensitive films like SHOR which more than two and a half decades ago had underlined the debilitating effect the noises in the city was having on the human being. In the same manner ROTI KAPADA AUR MAKAAN underlined the eternal struggle that the common man was besotted with and still continues to grapple with it.

KRANTI was the last successful film that he had produced and directed and he had taken his idol Dilip Kumar in the film. It was the second time that both of them were working together, they had worked earlier in AADMI.

May be as a tribute to this great man, when we are celebrating 100 years of Hindi cinema his contribution towards the cause of pursuing the nationalistic fervor may be recognised and rewarded.


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