One of the greatest filmmakers of all times, Hrishikesh Mukherjee will always be remembered for giving us some of the best Hindi films in several decades. His authentic and simple story-telling produced many cults.
If Amitabh Bachchan is the Bachchan we know today, we have Mukherjee to thank for it too. Amitabh not only became a household name with Hrishikesh's films but also proved his versatility. Anand, Abhimaan, Chupke Chupke, Namak Haraam are some of the gems the duo worked on together.
However, when directors started roping in Bachchan as the "angry young man", Mukherjee wasn't too pleased with that. In a Filmfare interview in 1988, Mukhersee had said that directors had reduced Amitabh Bachchan to a stunt man. "Other directors tried to exploit his image. They reduced him to a stunt man. Some people said I made a blunder by making him sing classical songs in Alaap when he was busy holding guns and booze bottles in other films. Unfortunately, Alaap didn't do well. It was released during the emergency when I was very depressed. I thought it was the end of my life."
Talking about dropping Amitabh from his cult film, Guddi, Mukherjee said, "What could I do? After shooting for five-six days, his secretary rang up and said he had no more dates. Anand had released and he had become a star overnight. So I said 'forget about Guddi'. I rang up Amitabh in Madras and told him, 'You're out of Guddi but you will be in my next film'. Later Amitabh came and said he wanted to marry Jaya. I told Jaya 'I am not coming to the marriage from your side. I will be there from my son's side.'"
Hrishikesh was also known for being a favourite among the heroines. All his heroines loved him. However, when asked about Rekha and Jaya, he had said in the interview that both were his daughters. He had said that Rekha is as much his favourite as Jaya is.
Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Amitabh Bachchan's working together can definitely be called the golden period of the industry. Bollywood will forever remain indebted to the two for opening its wings and giving it a new horizon.