SPB made his debut in Hindi with this Kamal Haasan film

SPB made his debut in Hindi with this Kamal Haasan film

For this week, between December 17-23, we feature three notables – Om Prakash, a character actor, producer-director, Vasant Desai, one of the earliest music composers for Hindi and Marathi cinema and K Balachander, a multi-lingual movie producer and director and a successful name in southern cinema, also known for his all-time classic ‘ Ek Duuje Ke Liye’, a blockbuster hit in 1981

The name Om Prakash (19.12.1919- 12.2.1998) for many Hindi film watchers would conjure up a character actor’s face in their minds. Absolutely right, as he played noticeable roles in many of his 300+ films he acted in a career of more than five decades between 1956- 2000.

Yet, he is also a film personality who produced two and directed two films in the phase from mid-1950s to the 1960s. Famous stars like Raj Kapoor, Nutan, Anita Guha, Mala Sinha were featured in these four ventures which had great songs sung by Mukesh and Talat Mahmood.

For example, the 1959 film ‘Kanhaiya’ which he directed had two Mukesh numbers which were hits – ‘Mujhe Tum Se Kuch Bhi Na Chahiye’…, being the better known. The 1964 film ‘ Jahan Ara’ set to music by the great Madan Mohan had this Talat number ‘ Phir Wahi Shaam’, an eternal favourite of his fans, even 60 years later. It’s sad to note however that both these films fared miserably at the box office, despite the top stars present in them.

Equally eventful was the screen tenure of music director Vasant Desai (9.6. 1912- 22.12.1975) had a 35-year long career in Hindi and Marathi cinema, having begun in 1942, working with V Shantaram and giving the big break to Tamil playback singer Vani Jairam in ‘Guddi’ directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee.

After the Rafi wave came to end with his death in 1980, one of the leading playback singers of that decade was S P Balasubrahmanyam, who made his debut in Hindi cinema with a Telugu remake ‘Maro Charitra’. K Balachander (9.7.1930-23.12.2014) was responsible for launching two top names from southern cinema in Hindi, actor Kamal Haasan and playback singer SPB in his ‘Ek Duuje Ke Liye’, which turned out to be a very big hit.

It was also rumoured that the upcountry girls took a fancy to ‘Madrasi’ boys, despite their alien accent and moustachioed features after seeing Kamal Haasan in that film, who is still a great hit with women, despite touching 70.

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