Bollywood legend Hrishikesh Mukherjee passes away ...

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Indo-Asian News Service

Mumbai, (IANS) Hrishikesh Mukherjee, the Bollywood doyen who mesmerised millions with Hindi films like "Guddi", "Anand" and "Chupke Chupke", died here Sunday following renal failure and heart complications, his family said. He was 83.

For the recipient of the Dada Saheb Phalke Award, the end came at 4.40 p.m. at the Lilavati Hospital here. The immediate cause for the death was septicaemia and chest infection along with kidney failure, hospital officials said.

Born in Kolkata on Sep 30, 1922, Mukherjee, or Hrishida as he was popularly called, leaves behind three daughters and a son. His granddaughters Tapur and Tupur Chatterjee are well-known models.

Mukherjee's funeral is likely to be held Monday or Tuesday on the return of his son from the US.

The man who adopted a cocktail of simplicity and warmth to tell some of the best family dramas Bollywood ever saw had been admitted to the intensive care unit of the Hospital with kidney failure and other ailments in early June.

He started his career as an assistant director to veteran Bimal Roy in 1951 and it took him six years to direct his first film "Musafir" (1957) with Dilip Kumar.

The film bombed at the box office but caught Raj Kapoor's attention who recommended Mukherjee as the director for "Anari". This film was a huge commercial success and there was no looking back for the director after that.

The prolific director, who passed away after a prolonged illness, had by the end of his career taught generations how to make life fun-filled without losing virtuosity.

His common-man theme caught the audience's fancy and his tragic - "Anand" - as well as light - "Chupke Chupke" - and tragicomic touch - "Mili" - made celluloid history.

Sadly, after "Khoobsoorat" his career saw a downslide despite brave attempts to salvage it with "Jhooth Bole Kauwa Kaatein" (1999), starring Anil Kapoor and Juhi Chawla.

Apart from filmmaking, he served as the chairman of National Film Development Corporation (NFDC).

His directorial ventures include "Sadma" (1983), "Khubsoorat" (1980), "Gol Maal" (1979), "Chupke Chupke" (1975), "Mili" (1975), "Namak Haraam" (1973), "Abhimaan" (1973), "Bawarchi" (1972), "Guddi" (1971), "Anand" (1970), "Anupama" (1966), "Anari" (1959) and "Musafir" (1957).

Also the writer of the screenplay for some of these films, he is known to have shaped the careers of several top actors, including Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Rekha, Jaya Bachchan and Amol Palekar.

Incidentally, he passed away on the 30th death anniversary of playback singer Mukesh who sang the famous song "Kahin door jab din dhal jaye' in "Anand", the film that made Mukherjee a living legend in his lifetime.

The touching message in "Anand" - that people die only to live on in the hearts of their near and dear ones - holds true for the film's maker, too. Mukherjee is made immortal by the memories and the many moments of matinee magic he has left behind.