Prakash Mehra Tribute

Monday, May 18, 2009

Amitabh Bachchan on Prakash Mehra –

Prateeksha, Mumbai
May 17, 2009
Sun  11: 59 PM 

Prakash Mehra passed away early this morning.  An entire era of cinema and my association with him passed away with him.  He was repairing well in hospital and was to be removed from the ICU to a general room.   A sudden infection resulted in multiple organ failure and he breathed his last.  A long fruitful and incredible period of his remarkable films that he did with me, flashed past.  His first meeting with me at RajKamal studio where he had come to cast me in Zanzeer in 1971 right through to the mid 80’s, year after year of unbelievable successes – Zanzeer, Hera Pheri, Khoon Paseena, Lawaris, Muquaddar ka Sikander, Sharabi, Namak Hallal.  What a huge bank of amazing films, right down to his last with me, Jaadugar.  The only one that did not work.  I still remember his phone call to me in Bangalore after the release. ‘Lalla’, as he endearingly called me ‘gadbad ho gayee hai !’ he said.  Things have gone wrong.  Honest and straight.  He had always maintained that the day I cannot make a successful film with you I shall stop working with you.  He never did anything after Jaadugar.  A simple man who had the capacity to narrate great stories through the medium of cinema in the most simple manner.  No fuss, no calisthenics.  Just very ordinary camera placements and extraordinary content.  A writer, a lyricist, a musician, he added all these qualities to his creativity behind the camera and gave me some of my most challenging roles.  Never rewarded by any institution.  And never sought one either.  His films have lived out longer than him.  A true mark of excellence.  The music he gave to his films still ring in the hearts and ears of each generation that came after him.  The performances he extracted from his artists were never ever considered for any recognition. It never bothered him.  Critics panned his films and the greater the criticism the longer became their duration, at the box office.  ‘Unko likhne do woh, jo bhi likh rahe hain, aur jahan bhi likh rahe hain. Main jaanta hun main unhe kahan likh raha hoon !’, he would often retort.

A friend and a colleague, gone forever.

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