Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Interesting Facts: From Scolding Amitabh Bachchan To Discovering Jaya Bhaduri

Here are some fascinating and lesser-known facts about the legendary filmmaker, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the man behind iconic films like 'Anand', 'Anupama', 'Chupke Chupke', and many more.


By Rishabh Naudiyal Last Updated:


Hrishikesh Mukherjee's Interesting Facts: From Scolding Amitabh Bachchan To Discovering Jaya Bhaduri

Born on September 30, 1922, in Calcutta (now Kolkata) to a Bengali family, Hrishikesh Mukherjee is often regarded as one of the greatest filmmakers in the history of Indian cinema. The visionary director revolutionised the art of storytelling and was also known as the man behind bringing extravagant commercial films and social storytelling in one frame, giving birth to the 'middle cinema' in India. Hrishikesh Mukherjee was not only an excellent director but had also proved the mettle of his geniuses in the fields of film editing and scripting.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee has given many incredible films to the Indian cinema that are still the audience's favourite even after all these decades. Movies like Anand (1971), Guddi (1971), Bawarchi (1972), Chupke Chupke (1975), and Gol Maal (1979) are some of his films that had set a benchmark for aspiring and young filmmakers of this country. However, there are still some fascinating and jaw-dropping lesser-known facts about the critically acclaimed director popularly known as 'Hrishi-da' that will make you fall in love with him for the kind of person he was in real life!

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#1. Hrishikesh Mukherjee's debut film, 'Musafir' was a flop

Hrishikesh Mukherjee director

There's a saying that even failures don't matter if you have put in the right amount of honest hard work in it. Something similar was the case behind Hrishikesh Mukherjee's directorial debut film, Musafir, which was a flop at the box office. However, the film had received some applause from the critics for its narrative that was way ahead of its time.

#2. Raj Kapoor was the first person to believe in Hrishikesh Mukherjee's craft

Raj kapoor hrishikesh mukherjee anari

After Hrishikesh Mukherjee's debut film, Musafir had flopped at the box-office, late legendary actor, Raj Kapoor was the first person to believe in the mettle of his craft and style of filmmaking, which was quite different from the other filmmakers of that era.

Raj kapoor Nargis Anari

So, without wasting any time, Raj Kapoor had recommended Hrishikesh Mukherjee as the director of his next film, Anari. The leap of faith from Raj Kapoor had transformed both his and Hrishikesh's respective careers. The film was a commercial success. Hence, it had brought massive fame and recognition to the iconic filmmaker.

#3. Hrishikesh Mukherjee had written 'Anand' for Raj Kapoor


Hrishikesh Mukherjee's film, Anand, is often regarded as his greatest film by many cinema lovers. However, not many are aware of the fact that Hrishikesh had written Anand for his close friend, Raj Kapoor. The legendary filmmaker had wanted Raj Kapoor to portray the character of 'Anand Sehgal' in the film, but the latter had refused it because it was a young character, and he was convinced that his casting would be a bad decision for such a beautiful film.

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#4. Raj Kapoor used to call Hrishikesh Mukherjee 'Babu Moshai'

raj kapoor hrishikesh mukherjee

After Raj Kapoor had rejected his close friend, Hrishikesh Mukherjee's idea of casting him in the film, Anand, as 'Anand Sehgal', the latter had cast the superstar, Rajesh Khanna in the film, which had turned out to be a perfect decision. Raj Kapoor used to call Hrishikesh Mukherjee by the nickname 'Babu Moshai'.

Rajesh khanna Amitabh bachchan anand movie

However, he had written Anand originally for Raj, Hrishikesh had paid tribute to his friend, Raj Kapoor by hailing Amitabh Bachchan's character as 'babu Moshai'.

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#5. Hrishikesh Mukherjee discovered Jaya Bhaduri

hrishikesh mukherjee jaya bhaduri dharmendra guddi film

Soon after the fresh success of Anand, Hrishikesh Mukherjee was all set to bring down the glamourous lie about the star culture in the Indian cinema with his film, Guddi. The film had starred the He-man of Indian cinema opposite a young Jaya Bhaduri, whom the filmmaker had discovered after watching a movie made by an FTII graduate. The director was so much impressed by Jaya that he had gone down to Pune to offer her the lead role in his film, Guddi, and the rest is history.

#6. Hrishikesh Mukherjee had directed 'Anupama' and 'Asli Naqli' from a wheelchair

Hrishikesh mukherjee

Hrishikesh Mukherjee was madly in love with cinema, and it was quite easily visible in his illustrious career in which he had challenged old rules and had also done some fearless experiments to bring something fresh in front of the audiences.

Hrishikesh mukherjee

However, he had proved the mettle of his dedication when he had completed his two films, Anupama and Asli Naqli, being in a wheelchair. Actually, the director had suffered a serious arthritis attack in 1961, which was a huge blow for him physically, but even at that time, his mind was standing tall as a wall.

#7. Hrishikesh Mukherjee never won a Filmfare Award for Best Director

Hrishikesh mukherjee

Yes! It's true that one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, has never won the Filmfare Award for the Best Director. Despite directing so many incredible films, the director was snubbed by the ultimate trophy in his entire career. However, he had won in other categories like Best editing for Madhumati, Best screenplay for Anokhi Raat, Best editing for Naukri, and many more.

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#8. Hrishikesh had scolded Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan on the sets of 'Chupke Chupke'

Amitabh bachchan dharmendra asrani chupke chupke

Once in an interview with PTI in 2017, iconic actor, Asrani had recalled an incident from the sets of one of his films, Chupke Chupke, when the film's director, Hrishikesh Mukherjee had scolded both the lead actors, Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan. Recalling the same, Asrani had said:

"I generally did not get to wear suits in films and now that I was wearing one, Dharmendra got scared and asked, 'What is going on? What is the scene? How did you get a suit and I get driver's dress? Suit toh apne baap ko bhi nahi dega Hrishikesh Mukherjee.”

Dharmendra hrishikesh mukherjee chupke chupke

After seeing Dharmendra asking Asrani about the scene, Hrishikesh Mukherjee was quick to teach a lesson of humility and manners to the superstar. Revealing the heated answer that Hrishikesh had given to Dharmendra, Asrani had stated that the filmmaker was quick to respond:

"Aye Dharam! What are you asking Asrani?’ The scene, right? Arey, if you had any sense for story, would you have been a hero then?"

Amitabh bachchan hrishikesh mukherjee chupke chupke

Soon when Amitabh Bachchan had asked the same questions from Asrani about the film's scene, Hrishikesh Mukherjee had stated an equally fiery response to the actor. Recalling the same, Asrani had added:

"Hey Amit! What are you asking Asrani? The story or the scene? Dharam! Tell him what I told you. You guys, if you had the sense for the story you wouldn't be playing heroes in films! Chalo get to work."

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#9. Once Dharmendra drunk dialled Hrishikesh Mukherjee over his film, 'Anand'

dharamendra anand rajesh khanna

Hrishikesh Mukherjee had shared a beautiful bond with Dharmendra, and the two had worked together in many films. However, there was an incident that had soured their friendship to a certain extent. In 2019, during an appearance on the comedy show, The Kapil Sharma Show, Dharmendra had revealed the reason behind his differences with Hrishikesh over the film, Anand. The actor had stated that he was heartbroken after finding that Rajesh Khanna was playing the lead in Hrishikesh's film, Anand. He had said:

"Hrishida had told me a story on a flight, Anand. While coming from Bangalore, he said to me that 'we were going to do this' and 'we were going to do that'. And later, I found out that the movie had started rolling with Rajesh Khanna in the lead role."

Hrishikesh mukherjee anand rajesh khanna amitabh bachchan

Going further in his revelation, Dharmendra had also added that he had drunk dialled Hrishikesh Mukherjee in the middle of the night to show him his frustration after he had chosen Rajesh Khanna over him for his film, Anand. He had added:

"I didn't let Hrishida sleep the whole night. I told him, 'You were going to give me the role, you told me the story, then why did you give him the film?' He kept telling me, 'Dharam, go to sleep, we will talk in the morning.' He would cut the line and I would call him back asking, 'Why did you give him the role?'"

#10. Hrishikesh Mukherjee's wife, three daughters, and two sons

Hrishikesh mukherjee

Hrishikesh Mukherjee's wife had died almost 30 years before him, and the two had three daughters and two sons. Talking about the details of Hrishikesh's family, then nothing is available on the internet. During his lifetime, Hrishikesh had always kept his family away, far from the glam and glitz of the film industry.

On August 27, 2006, Hrishikesh Mukherjee had bid adieu to his fans after he had breathed his last at Mumbai's Lilavati Hospital due to chronic kidney failure. The director had left a legacy in Indian cinema through his work. His persona is still used as a benchmark in cinema schools across the country. Surely, he will always be everyone's 'babu moshai'.

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Cover and Images Courtesy: Instagram
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