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Manoj Kumar (JamActor of India)

 

 

Manoj Kumar (Indian Film Actor)


THE PATRIOTIC HERO MANOJ KUMAR

 


Manoj Kumar was born on July 24, 1937, at Abbottabad. He is an Indian actor and director in the Bollywood film industry. He is known for acting in and directing films with patriotic themes; for this reason he has been given the nickname of Mr. Bharat.

Manoj's image as the patriotic hero started with the 1965 film Shaheed, which was based on the life of Bhagat Singh. With memories of the India-Pakistan War still fresh, Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri asked him to create a film based on the popular slogan "Jai Jawan Jai Kissan" .


The result was Manoj Kumar's magnum opus and his directorial debut, Upkar (1967). In it, he managed to convincingly play both a jawan and a kissan. The film was also noted for the famous song Mere Desh Ki Dharti, composed by Kalyanji-Anandji and sung by Mahendra Kapoor. Upkar won Manoj Kumar his first Filmfare Best Director Award. The film was a huge hit and made Manoj the authority on Bollywood patriotism.

After dabbling in various roles in the late 1960s, Manoj returned to patriotic themes in Purab Aur Paschim, in which life in the East and West are juxtaposed. In 1972, he starred in Be-Imaan (for which he won the Filmfare Best Actor Award) and directed and starred in Shor. The latter, opposite Jaya Bhaduri, was not a huge box office success, but it did feature the memorable song Ek Pyar Ka Nagma Hai, a duet by Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh which was composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal.

Manoj Kumar had phoned me to say 'Holi ki badhai' last month and at that time, was very keen for me to see his latest film 'Jai Hind'. I promised to see it. perhaps because he could sense that I was half- hearted, or more likely, he was unsure of his film, Pandit didn't force me to view it. I have not seen this film - I don't have the heart to see the death of one who was once a great film maker. This death is not sudden. Manoj has been dying for several years. It has been a slow and painful death.

In fact, I would have admired him if he had decided to retire after 'Kranti'. But it doesn't happen that way. Politicians and film stars never retire. 'Kranti' was his crowning glory. He fulfilled his desire to direct Dilip Kumar, who he had admired, imitated and even disliked. He proved to the world that he was the only director who didn't let Dilip Kumar interfere in his film. 'Kranti' was totally a Manoj Kumar film, it didn't have the slightest stamp of Dilip Kumar, usually present in the latter's films. Manoj's diktat to all his stars was 'Aap aao apni marzi se, lekin jao meri marzi se'. He was the King and in those days, he was offered a crore of rupees for acting and directing an outside film. He rejected these offers. He worked at pace leisurely. Not for him the hurried shots and rush jobs.

Like Dilip Kumar, Manoj Kumar has always interfered in some of the films he acted in and it showed. I am not sure about his famous suspense film with Sadhana, 'Woh Kaun Thi'. Manoj  Kumar has privately claimed credit for the direction of this and some other films - but the Manoj Kumar stamp is visible even in 'Beimaan', 'Dus Numbri' and 'Yaadgar'. Songs like 'Iktaara bole...do tarah ke leader hote hain...' are relevant to the Sonias, Laloos and Rabris of today too. Songs and lyrics made social comments and yet, the films were commercially successful. Successful socially relevant film were an impossibility till Manoj Kumar came along. Somehow the 'greatness of India and Indian culture' had never excited the viewers earlier.

Manoj Kumar officially began film directing with 'Upkaar'. Mediocre photographers use cliched images to depict contrast; like juxtaposing Bombay's slums with its skyscrapers etc. 'Purab aur Pachhim' did the same, but with a finesse which is still remembered, and copied. Subhash Ghai did it in 'Pardes', and Rishi Kapoor imitated in 'Aa Ab Laut Chalen'. Rishi, in fact, borrowed a video cassette of this film from Manoj Kumar, and the inspiration is there for all to see in Akshaye Khanna and Suman Rangnathan.

I can never forget the applause Bharat received when he answered the disllusioned NRI Pran's taunt: 'India's contribution is zero...zero...zero'. 'Jab zero diya mere Bharat ne, duniya ko tab ginti aayee...' was a fitting reply which showed his pride in what India was. It was with the same genuine pride that he had installed Nehru, Shastri and Indira on a pedestal along with Bhagat Singh and Lal Bahadur Shastri in his films. I am sure it was not sycophancy, as his sincerity showed, and except for a 'tax exemption' Manoj Kumar did not get any benefit from the Congress. Not any that I know of. He even refused to contest in the elections when he was offered a ticket!

Manoj Kumar repeated his success in 'Roti Kapda aur Makaan'. 'Shor' was another good film. He picked up a two para news-story and made a film out of it. The story was about one of those ironies of life: a father cycled non-stop for 14 days, to break a record and win a cash prize to pay for a surgery for his mute son. When the son regains his voice, the father meets with an accident and loses his hearing! Few among the Indian film makers could make a film with this theme, but Manoj did. By now, he had become close to Indira Gandhi who he used to refer to as 'Madam'. It is during this period that politics started corrupting him. In the mid-seventies, when the country was seething at the tyranny let loose by Mrs Gandhi and Sanjay Gandhi, like it happens to all who are too close to power, Manoj lost touch with his audience.

Manoj Kumar announced his next film, 'Naya Bharat'. To Manoj it may have been intended as another 'Upkaar', but I see it as no less than a propoganda film. To me the context was the compulsory projection of the 20-point programme on the State-controlled DD and All India Radio. This was the height of sycophancy. Salim-Javed were to write the script. Fortunately for him, the film was not made. The Emergency was lifted and the great Indian public rejected Indira and Sanjay, the way I believe they will reject Sonia Gandhi. If this compromise of Manoj reduced his stature in my view, I suspect he fell in his own esteem, in 1984. The massacre of the Sikhs in New Delhi after the assassination of Indira Gandhi would have made any self-respecting Indian, (specially if he happened to be a Punjabi , for whom Bhagat Singh was a hero,) boil. I am sure Manoj Kumar must have realized the futility of all his 'Upkaars' and Bharats.

I am sure he must have felt like a sucker. What had Manoj Kumar to show for all these years...films with messages he didn't believe in. Okay, they brought in a lot of moolah but that wasn't what made him feel great. It was Bharat that made him proud. It was the shots he had devised, which, when the Dheeraj Kumars of this world copied, elated him. It was a Manoj Kumar sans convictions who laid an egg called 'Clerk'. He went into his shell. Quietly, without any fanfare, he switched to Hindutva. But now, the convictions were missing. It was a further disillusioned Manoj Kumar that has made 'Jai Hind'. Manoj Kumar has no beliefs left.

ABOUT HIM SELF :

Birth name: Harikishen Goswami
Date of Birth: 24 July 1937
Height: 5'10" or 1.78 m
City: Lahore, Punjab
Country: British India (now Pakistan)
Children: Son Kunal Goswami
Marital status: Married/Single/Divorced
His hero: Dilip Kumar
Occupation: Bollywood Actor / Director
Debut Film: Fashion

FILMOGRAPHY :

Maidan-E-Jung (1995)
Santosh (1989)
Clerk (1989)
Deshwasi (1989)
Kalyug Aur Ramayan (1987)
Kranti (1981)
Jatt Punjabi (1979)
Amaanat (1977)
Shirdi Ke Sai Baba (1977)
Dus Numbri (1976)
Sanyasi (1975)
Roti Kapada Aur Makaan (1974)
Be-Imaan (1972)
Shor (1972)
Mera Naam Joker (1970)
Pehchan (1970)
Purab Aur Pachhim (1970)
Yaadgaar (1970)
Sajan (1969)
Aadmi (1968)
Neel Kamal (1968)
Anita (1967)
Patthar Ke Sanam (1967)
Upkar (1967)
Do Badan (1966)
Picnic (1966)
Sawan Ki Ghata (1966)
Bedaag (1965)
Gumnaam (1965)
Himalay Ki Godh Mein (1965)
Poonam Ki Raat (1965)
Shaheed (1965)
Phoolon Ki Sej (1964)
Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)
Ghar Basake Dekho (1963)
Banarasi Thug (1962)
Dr. Vidya (1962)
Hariyali Aur Raasta (1962)
Maa Beta (1962)
Naqli Nawab (1962)
Shaadi (1962)
Kanch Ki Gudiya (1961)
Reshmi Roomal (1961)
Honeymoon (1960)
Panchayat (1958)
Sahara (1958)
Fashion (1957)
 

 

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