DOB: September 30, 1922
Star sign: Libra
Birthplace: Calcutta, British India
Occupation: Director
Popularly known as: Hrishi-da
Named: Pioneer of the middle cinema


• The Government of India honoured Hrishikesh Mukherjee with the Dada Saheb Phalke Award in 1999 and the Padma Vibhushan in 2001. He received the National Award in 2001 and has also won eight Filmfare Awards.

• He has also been the chairman of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) and of the National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).

• The International Film Festival of India honoured Mukherjee with a retrospective of his films in November 2005.

• He holds the distinction of working with almost all the top Indian stars since independence of India in 1947.

Interesting facts:

•Hrishikesh Mukherjee directed 42 films during his career spanning over four decades, and is named the pioneer of the middle cinema of India. Renowned for his social films that reflected the changing middle-class ethos, he carved a middle path between the extravagance of mainstream cinema and the stark realism of art cinema.

• He was born to a Bengali family. He studied science and graduated in chemistry from the University of Calcutta and taught mathematics and science for some time.

• Mukherjee chose to begin working initially as a cameraman and then film editor, in B. N. Sircar's New Theatres in Calcutta in the late 1940s, where he learned his skills from Subodh Mitter, a well known editor of his times. He then worked with Bimal Roy in Mumbai as film editor and assistant director, participating in the landmark Roy films Do Bigha Zamin, Madhumati and Devdas.

• His debut directorial venture, Musafir (1957), was not a success, but he persisted and received acclaim for his second film Anari in 1959. The film, crew and cast won five Filmfare Awards, with Mukherjee only losing the Best Director Award to his mentor, Bimal Roy.

• In the following years he made numerous films. Some of his most notable films include: Anuradha (1960), Chhaya (1961), Asli-Naqli (1962), Anupama (1966), Aashirwad (1968), Satyakam (1969), Anand (1970), Guddi (1971), Bawarchi (1972), Abhimaan (1973), Namak Haraam (1973), Mili (1975), Chupke Chupke (1975), Alaap (1977), Gol Maal (1979), Khubsoorat (1980) and Bemisal (1982).

• Mukherjee was the first to introduce Dharmendra in comedy roles, through Chupke Chupke, and gave Amitabh Bachchan his big break with Anand, along with Rajesh Khanna. He also introduced Jaya Bhaduri to Hindi cinema through Guddi.

• His last film was Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaate. He also directed TV serials.

• Hrishikesh Mukherjee was married and has three daughters and two sons. His younger brother Dwarkanath Mukherjee helped write the screenplay for many of his films.