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Prakash Mehra – The Pioneer of “Masala” films

October 7, 2013 | By

Prakash Mehra
Prakash Mehra- The Pioneer of Masala Films

Born on 13 July 1939 at Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, Prakash Mehra started his career in the late 1950s as a production controller.

Prakash Mehra is the director who had a huge role to play in building Amitabh Bachchan’s legendary screen image as the angry young man. When the Amitabh Bachchan-Jaya Bhaduri starrer Zanjeer was released on May 11, 1973, Mehra altered the syllabi of Hindi cinema. This movie smashed every single box office record and created a hero who would soon leave all other top actors of the era behind.

Prakash Mehra

Prakash Mehra- The Pioneer of Masala Films

Born on 13 July 1939 at Bijnor, Uttar Pradesh, Prakash Mehra started his career in the late 1950s as a production controller. He tasted directorial success with his early films.

He made the musical super hit Haseena Maan Jayegi in 1968 with Shashi Kapoor (in double role), and gave the crooked-toothed charmer one of his best remembered hits.

In 1971, he got the two brother Feroz Khan and Sanjay Khan together for Mela, another successful film. There was also a Dharmendra starrer called Samadhi, which was an average earner.

Mehra was one of the first Bombay directors to try to venture into Hollywood also. In the late eighties he tried a joint venture to make the movie The God Connection with Frank Yandolino.

Mehra’s golden period began when his teaming up with Amitabh Bachchan gave the Big B’s growing fan club one hit film after the other. Zanjeer was followed by Hera Pheri (1976), Khoon Pasina (1977), Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978), Laawaris (1981), Namak Halal (1982) and Sharabi (1984).

Mehra stopped being contractual director and started producing, directing and distributing all his projects. The film industry still remembers him as a ‘zindadil insaan’ with a great ‘shayarana andaaz’, who was as generous in success as in failure. His last film with his lucky mascot Amitabh – Jaadugar, was his first ever flop, and after this debacle there were no more collaboration between the two.

He introduced veteran actor Raaj Kumar’s son Puru Raajkumar in Bal Brahmachari, which failed at the box office. It was the last film he directed. Mehra died on 17 May 2009 in Mumbai of pneumonia and multiple organ failure.

Mehra, received Lifetime Achievement Award three times from prestigious film associations. Film Directors’ Association honored him with the Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003, the India Motion Picture Directors Association (IMPDA) in 2006 and the Indian Motion Picture Producers Association (IMPPA) in 2008.

 

Buy Zanjeer: Av Media
ZanjeerActors: Amitabh Bachchan,Jaya Bhaduri,Pran,Om Prakash
Music: Kalyanji-Anandji
Director: Prakash Mehra
An Honest police inspector Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan), suspended from duty, find out the killer of his family, with the help of
a street performer named Mala (Jaya Bhaduri), and a local man, Sher Khan Pathan (Pran).This movie changed the trend from romanticism to action based films and established Amitabh’s “The Angry Young Man” image.
Buy Muqaddar Ka Sikandar: Av Media
Muqaddar Ka SikandarActors: Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna,Raakhee, Rekha
Music: Kalyanji-Anandji
Director: Prakash Mehra
Young orphan Sikandar (Amitabh Bachchan) works for Ramnath, Little Kamna Ramnath (Raakhee) gives Sikandar care and affection no one has ever given him. Fatima, a widow who works for Ramnath, adopts Sikandar. Sikander is mistaken as thief at Kamna’s birthday party and is thrown out. Years later, Kamna is unaware that Sikandar has become a prosperous and respected man. Sikandar meets Zohra Bai(Rekha) who falls in love with him. Vishal(Vinod Khanna) lawyer by profession saves Sikandar’s life, Sikandar is obliged and treats him more than a brother. Then come the twists and turns.
Buy Namak Halal: Av Media
Namak Halal
Actors: Amitabh Bachchan, Smita Patil, Shashi Kapoor, Parveen Babi
Music: Bappi Lahiri
Director: Prakash Mehra
Arjun (Amitabh Bachchan) is brought up by his Daddu (Om Prakash). His Daddu decides for him to go to the city in search of a new job and life. While in the city he meets up with Bhairon (Ram P. Sethi) who guides him into finding a job as a servant in a 5-star hotel owned by Raja (Shashi Kapoor). Arjun meets Poonam (Smita Patil) working as hotel staff and falls in love with her. During this time, many attempts are made to kill Raja. All these attempts are thwarted by Arjun.This comedy film became a “Blockbuster” at the box office and went on to be a golden jubilee hit.
Buy Sharabi
Sharaabi
Actors: Amitabh Bachchan,Jaya Pradha, Pran, Om Prakash
Music: Bappi Lahiri
Director: Prakash Mehra
Vicky Kapoor (Amitabh Bachchan), the only son of millionaire industrialist, Amarnath (Pran), grows up to be an alcoholic, a spoilt brat with a good heart. Amarnath has detached himself completely from Vicky’s life, and provides him money in lieu of affection and care, leaving this to be taken care of by Munshi Phoolchand (Om Prakash).Jaya Pradha provides the romantic liason.
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