Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Farida Jalal, Tarun Bose, Usha Kiran - and other underrated actors in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's cinema

From Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor and Meena Kumari to Dharmendra, Sharmila Tagore and Rajesh Khanna to Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha, Hrishikesh Mukherjee directed most of Hindi cinema’s major stars between the 1950s and 1980s. Yet he had a particular knack for bringing alive the supporting character – and in casting the right people in those roles.
To read about five of my favourite underappreciated performances in Hrishi-da's films, see this piece I did for Scroll. And do add to the list, please.

P.S. for anyone who missed it, the Kindle version of The World of Hrishikesh Mukherjee is now available - the link is here. (It currently says Rs 539, but it was Rs 299 just a day ago, and the price may change again soon.)


  1. Great list, I particularly liked Shatrughan Sinha in Naram Garam and Farida Jalaal in Jurmana.

    Others that come to mind - Saeed Jaffrey in Kisise Na Kehna, Asrani in Chupke Chupke and Abhimaan, and Dina Pathak in Golmaal.

    Saeed Jaffrey always came across as a bit of a ham to me but I thought he played the kind of role usually played by David or Deven Varma in Hrishi-da's comic films quite brilliantly. The scenes revolving around the Kauravas sister (and other parts of the Mahabharata) and the kachoris are quite uproarious.

    Hrishi-da was also probably the only director who hardly ever casted Asrani as an out and out buffoon and gave him a chance to showcase his acting abilities. His physical comedy abilities were still sharp though, witness the scene in Chupke Chupke where he eats cake during "Abke Sajan Saawan Mein".

    And has Dina Pathak ever had as much fun on screen as when entering Amol Palekar's house through the kitchen window? :-)

    1. thanks, Kaushik. I was avoiding films like Gol Maal and Chupke Chupke and trying to focus on the lower-profile ones. But yes, Asrani in Alaap or in Namak Haraam would be up there.
      Others have mentioned Saeed Jaffrey too, in my FB comments. I usually couldn't stand to see him on screen, but yes, he was one of the better things about Kisi se na Kehna.

  2. The Kindle edition is $25.93 on Amazon USA. WTF?

    1. Not in my hands, alas. Don't know how these pricing policies work. Originally even the e-book version in India didn't have a discount, while the print version did.
      Hopefully the US price will come down soon.