(Playback singer Shaan’s father Manas Mukherjee was a music director who collaborated with the late filmmaker Basu Chatterjee on the 1984 film “Lakhon Ki Baat”, starring Sanjeev Kumar, Farooq Shaikh and Anita Raj. Shaan, then around 12, recalls his boyhood memories of the “man with white hair”)
Mumbai, June 5 (IANS) My first visual memory is of a man with full-grown white hair — such thick hair, and all white, as I had never seen before! As a child that was fascinating. He came across as a man of few words. He was a listener than a speaker. I think he expressed everything — his sense of humour, social observation, everything — in his films.
He created his space in the eighties with slice-of-life films that showed reality in a lighter vein. Some of our finest actors like Farooq Sheikh and Amol Palekar worked with him. Those stories were realistic and his comedy was realistic. I know that ‘Lakhon Ki Baat’ wasn’t one of his top five films, but it was a good film. It was an intelligent comedy. All those characters were etched out beautifully.
I remember he would have his drink at 8pm and sit with his friends and favourite people. He wouldn’t work at that point of time but finish work before that. He was quite an interesting man.
I have seen him sitting with musicians, with a harmonium in the open veranda. He used to love jam sessions with music directors — setting the tune, etc. As you know, music used to be an integral part of his film. I was a little boy sitting there, watching them. Those are warm memories of my childhood.
(As told to Arundhuti Banerjee)