When Amitabh Bachchan, Dharmendra were reprimanded by Hrishikesh Mukherjee: “If you had a sense of history…”


Hrishikesh Mukherjee may be the epitome of middle-class Bollywood wellness dramas, but the filmmaker was a pretty tough job master on set. So much so that almost all of his frontrunners at the time, including Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra, faced his wrath.

Hrishikesh Mukherjee ruled the roost with his genre of films in the 1960s-1970s including Chupke Chupke, Gol Maal, Anand, Anupama, Abhimaan, Khubsoorat, Guddi, Bawarchi, Namak Haraam and many others. But, he ruled the scenery with an iron fist.

Veteran artist Asrani, one of Mukherjee’s frequent collaborators, told PTI in 2017 that the director never explained the details of a scene to his cast until the last minute. Asrani shared stories from the ensemble of Chupke Chupke (1975), where he performed alongside Amitabh Bachchan and Dharmendra.


Asrani called Mukherjee a “director”. On one particular filming day, Asrani was dressed in a costume, while Dharmendra arrived in a chauffeur costume. “Hrishi da was seated with writer Rahi Masoom Raza. Both played chess. There were 4-5 assistant directors and I checked with them on the stage. But no one responded, ”Asrani said.

Although Asrani received no response from Mukherjee when inquiring about the scene and why he was wearing a costume, the reaction was a little different for lead actors Dharmendra and Amitabh Bachchan.

hrishikesh mukherjee movies Hrishikesh Mukherjee is one of the most famous directors in the Hindi film industry (Photo: Express Archives).

Asrani shared that due to budget restrictions, the costume department will repeat clothing from previous films. “Usually I didn’t wear costumes in movies and now that I did, Dharmendra got scared and asked me, ‘What’s going on? What is the scene? How did you get a suit and I got a driver’s outfit? Suit toh apne baap ko bhi nahi dega Hrishikesh Mukherjee ‘(Mukherjee will never give a costume even to his father), ”Asrani explained in the interview.

He added that Mukherjee was quick to respond: “Aye Dharam! What are you asking Asrani? ‘ The scene, right? Arey, if you had a sense of history, would you have been a hero then? “


When Amitabh Bachchan had the same question about the stage office setup, Mukherjee listened to him and shouted again, “Hey Amit! What are you asking Asrani? The story or the scene? Dharam! Tell him what I told you. You guys, if you had a sense of history, you wouldn’t play the heroes in the movies! Chalo gets to work, ”Asrani added.

Chupke Chupke also featured Jaya Bachchan and Sharmila Tagore. It was based on the Bengali Chhadobeshi story of Upendranath Ganguly.


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