The 15 Best Movies of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Ranked

Rarely have we seen artists who have been able to use the medium of cinema to depict the real essence of their cultural values so well! Even more rarely have we seen film directors who tell a simple tale of regular families that have characters of unique shades, characters which are bound to touch human emotions universally. Hrishikesh Mukherjee is one such Bollywood film director who is known for his sheer genius and honesty, with which he narrated the story of endearing characters that live with their audiences for forever! His characters were often caught fighting dilemmas or going through life-changing journeys of their own. They raise questions or stir emotions that leave you to do a bit of soul-searching. So, here is a list of top films (sadly, couldn’t fit all of his films here) of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, ranked!


15. Anupama (1966)

A woeful tale of a young woman whose mother dies while giving her birth, and whose father, not being able to cope with the pain of losing his wife, keeps her devoid of any fatherly love. This was one of the early movies of Hrishikesh Mukherjee where the story was pivoted around a female character. Sharmila Tagore got a Filmfare nomination for Best Actress for the portrayal of Uma, an introverted girl who has known less about love, let alone receive it. This story might not have stressed on many principles as done by the other works of this director, but one that is, the only way to overcome our own pain is to share it and to allow our love to heal it.


14. Mili (1975)

Not often have we laughed and cried so much while watching a tale of a protagonist fighting with a fatal disease. Mili’s (Jaya Bachchan) love for life is contagious and while she is bent on making the most of her battle with pernicious anaemia, she also inspires Shekhar (Amitabh Bachchan) to live and love. ‘Mili’ is a moving tale of a girl struggling for her life, a father struggling to see his young daughter through this fight, and a drunkard settling for nothing but the promise of love which is tied with this girl’s flickering life! With Mrs. And Mr. Bachchan in the lead roles, this film by Hrishikesh Mukherjee is a pleasurable watch for all ages.


13. Guddi (1971)

‘Hrishikesh Mukherjee chose Jaya Bachchan as her leading lady in ‘Guddi’, and the movie pretty much revolves around her. This drama was written by another gem of Indian Cinema and largely Indian literature, Gulzar, and is a memorable tale of a star-struck fan! Guddi (Jaya Bachchan) is naïve, innocent, and charming, but still what’s most special about her is that she considers herself the biggest fan of Dharmendra (who played himself in the movie), to the extent that she sets her heart on marrying him. This is a must-watch film for each one of us in the audience who at times forgets the difference between the reel and the real life, and tends to base one’s idea of life and desires on the world created on the big-screen. By the end of this film, the honesty of the story will leave you with just the right message.


12. Namak Haram (1973)

Both critically and commercially acclaimed film, ‘Namak Haram’ is a wonderful tale of two friends (Somu & Vicky) who come to a divide, created by their values. Where Somu (Rajesh Khanna) goes through a transformation of character, Vicky (Amitabh Bachhan) struggles to understand the change that has come over his dear friend. Now whether a friend should stay true to his friendship or stand up for what he believes to be right, is the crux of this film. Both the actors received accolades for their performances in this riveting drama. This was once again when Hrishikesh Da (Bengali for elder brother) brought the two actors together after their much-loved earlier chemistry in one of his own masterpieces (wait for it)!


11. Chupke Chupke (1975)

It would not be too unfair to say that Bollywood has regressed in one genre of its films and that is family-comedies! Not many directors, since Hrishikesh Da, have been able to tap into stories that make for a laugh riot knitted around a family. As a doting fan of this movie, I take the liberty to say that ‘Chupke Chupke’ is one of the best comedies written in Indian cinema, and it still remains as refreshing as its first-watch! This a story of many characters; a botany professor, his wife, the wife’s brother-in-law, their many more friends, and a driver named Pyare Mohan! Parimal (Dharmendra) must win a challenge with his wife, Sulekha (Sharmila Tagore) who admires her brother-in-law (Om Prakash) to be the most intellectual man she knows. And in order to accomplish that, Parimal disguises as Pyare! Enjoy this fun-flick over the weekend, if you haven’t watched it multi-times already!

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