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Mr. Bharat Doesn’t Have To Prove That He Is Indian, The Indian In Him Flows In His Blood


Ali Peter John

When the young and handsome Harikishan Goswami came to Bombay more than 50 years ago, all he knew was that he wanted to be an actor like Dilip Kumar if possible, the actor whose films he had seen and had become a crazy fan of. He was not sure of whether he would be successful in reaching his goal, but he knew he was an Indian who was not going to compromise on his values on which he had been brought up by his parents, especially his father.

Like all new comers, Harikishan also had to face a tough struggle, but he gradually made it with a new name like Manoj which was the name of Dilip Kumar in one of his films. With the first 3 or 4 films of his career, he showed signs of making it as a big star and he finally did. But he had other ideas in mind which he didn’t talked about till the right time came (Apna Din Aayega).

It was in the sixties that he got together some friends like Kewal P. Kashyap and S. Ram Sharma and a number of new and young actors and they made “Shaheed” with Manoj being the mind and the spine behind the making of the film. The film in black and white turned out to be a trail-blazer and a trend-setter and was loved both by the audiences and the critics. Manoj Kumar had now become a star of a very different kind. “Shaheed” had brought about a new awakening among the people of India and towards the martyrs like Bhagat Singh. Chandrashekar Azad and Rajguru who had laid down their lives for the country’s independence. Manoj arranged a show for the then Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, who loved the film and asked Manoj to make a film based on his slogan of “Jai Jawaan Jai Kisaan”.

Manoj took Shastri’s request seriously, wrote the script of “Upkar” and made the film which was publicised as “The story a man and a land both called Bharat”.

“Upkar” with its patriotic theme, with some great patriotic songs and a spirited performance by Manoj Kumar as a farmer went on to become a cult film which is still remembered. Manoj became what can now be called the brand ambassador of making patriotic films and went on to make some very ambitious films, all based on patriotic themes and all of them revolving around India, its history, its various economic, social, religious and other problems faced by a new India and among the memorable films he made were “Purab Aur Paschim”, “Roti, Kapada Aur Makaan” and the most ambitious film based on a patriotic theme, “Kranti”. He made other socially relevant films, but he was and will always be known as the pioneer of the grand of patriotic films made in India.

Manoj not only made films with themes centred on nationalism or patriotism, but in the same films he gave the audience a rich dose of all the best elements of entertainment like music, dance and the celebration of various festivals and customs which helped in giving a complete picture of India. It was all this that he gave to films that earned him the title of Mr. Bharat.

Manoj, the actor however continued to play the hero in a wide variety of films, but he was always at his best in films like “Be-Imaan”, “Dus Numbri” and “Sanyasi” which gave him a chance to have a dig at all the social evils and wrongs of society.

Manoj was always a very good writer and almost all his directors sought his advise and help when writing their scripts, so much so that even Raj Kapoor requested him to write the screenplay of the first part of his magnum opus “Mera Naam Joker” of course with the permission of the original writer K. A. Abbas who readily agreed when he knew it was Manoj Kumar who was going to write it.

He is also said to have made a major contribution to the way some of the songs written for different films in which he was associated.

He created some kind of a religious revolution when he decided to make a feature film based on the life and teachings of “Shridi Ke Sai Baba” and literally gave a new lease of life to the whole of Shridi and made Sai Baba a known deity all over the world. The road leading to the shrine of the Baba has been named after him because of his contribution.

In 1992, the Government of India thought it proper to honour him with the Padmashri and he was later also conferred with the Dadasaheb Phalke Award ( I am not sure which one because there are so many Phalke Awards being given away these days). However, awards and honours, I think can hardly make a big difference to the man who is an award in himself, a gift India should and will always be proud of.

The World Book Of Records was presented to Manoj by Mr. Santosh Shukla, the President of WBR, Mr. Usman Khan, Vice-President of WBR and Dr. Rajeev Sharma, a leading educationist, in the presence of Manoj’s wife, Shashi Goswami and his son, Kunal Goswami.

Among those who congratulated him were Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bharat Ratna Lata Mangeshkar, Dharmendra, Amitabh Bachchan, Waheeda Rehman, Asha Parekh, Jeetendra and Prem Chopra and the Chief Minister of Maharashtra, Mr. Uddhav Thackeray.

Will any award do full justice who is an Indian who has done more than anyone could dream of doing for India as a one-man institution?

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Tags: Bollywood, Bollywood News, Bollywood Updates, Television, Telly News, Harikishan Goswami, Manoj Kumar, Mr. Bharat