Gyan Mukherjee

Best films:
, /10

Gyan Mukherjee (India, 1909) began directing for Rai's Bombay Talkies with Geeta (1940). This was followed by Jhoola/ Swing (1941), produced by Sashadhar Mukherjee, starring Ashok Kumar, photographed by an Indian photographer (instead of the German one, Josef Wirsching, employed by Franz Osten) and scored by Saraswati Devi with lyrics by nationalist poet Kavi Pradeep (born Ramchandra Narayanji Dwivedi). The latter in particular smashed all box-office records, established Ashok Kumar as the first superstar of Indian cinema, and yielded several hit songs (composed by Anil Biswas). Since it presented an anti-hero (a criminal), the film was dubbed "anti-social" by influential critics like Baburao Patel.

Mukherjee then directed the anti-British Kismet/ Fate (1943), scripted by Urdu poet Aghajani Kashmen (born Syed Wajid Hussain Rizvi), with music by Anil Biswas (who had just scored Mehboob Khan's Roti/ Flatbread) and lyrics by Kavi Pradeep (including the patriotic song "Door Hato Ae Duniya Walo/ Move Away O Outsiders"), possibly the biggest blockbuster yet of Indian cinema. Mukherjee's assistants on these films included Guru Dutt and Shakti Samanta. In 1943 Gyan Mukherjee, Sashadhar Mukherjee and Ashok Kumar broke with Bombay Talkies (whose founder Rai had died in 1940) and established Filmistan Studio, leveraging the style invented by Jhoola and Kismet, the style that would become known as "Bollywood". Ashok Kumar remained the vehicle for the hits that followed: Chal Chal Re Naujawan/ Keep Going Youngsters (1944), written by Saadat Hasan Manto and scored by Punjabi composer Ghulam Haider, whose innovative scores for Moti Gidwani's three-hour Khazanchi (1941) and Shaukat Hussain Rizvi's Khandaan/ Family (1942) had been sensations; Sangram (1950), scored by Ramchandra Chitalkar; etc. In 1946 they hired the celebrated Bengali singer Sachin Dev Burman, who had just scored a hit with the soundtrack to Sukumar Dasgupta's Rajkumarer Nirbashan (1940). Burman scored Savak Vacha's Shikari (1946), starring Ashok Kumar, Munshi Dil's blockbuster Do Bhai (1947), that includes the song "Mera Sundar Sapna Beet Gaya", and again starring Ashok Kumar, and Bibhuti Mitra's Shabnam (1949) starring the classic couple of Dilip Kumar and Kamini Kaushal, with lyrics and dialogues by poet and future best-selling songwriter Qamar Jalalabadi (Om Prakash Bhandari).

(Copyright © 2022 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of use )