wiki:Manmohan Desai

Version 4 (modified by UshaR, 11 years ago) (diff)


Manmohan Desai (1935-94)

Hindi director born in Bombay. Son of Kikubhai Desai, founder of the Paramount Studio which later housed Filmalaya (Est: 1958). Elder brother of the producer Subhash Desai. Started as assistant director to Babubhai Mistri in the late 50s; 60s work in line with Shammi Kapoor?’s films at Filmistan (Bluff Master, Badtameez). Although the films rely on Hollywood models (esp. Elvis Presley) introduced into Hindi film by Subodh Mukherjee and Nasir Hussain, they also jettison some of the narrative ballast that e.g. Hussain puts into his romances. The narratives in the 70s films with Rajesh Khanna (Sachcha Jhutha) and Jeetendra? (Bhai Ho To Aisa) develop a series of autonomously packaged sequences emotionally complete in themselves. Desai formula plots deploy good guy-bad guy dual roles or lost-and-found brother stories first elaborated by Tamil films (e.g. Parasakthi, 1952), removing the political aspects from their populist approach and replacing them with a more diffuse, less targeted aggressiveness. Turned independent producer with Amar Akbar Anthony, often financed by industrial family of Hindujas. Leading director in the 70s. Desai’s best-known films, Naseeb and Coolie, have Bachchan? continuing the MGR mode of presenting himself in the guise of the oppressed subaltern. But Desai adds a celebration of lumpen power charged with communal references. Publicly announced his retirement as a director after Ganga Jamuna Saraswati. Recently, the resemblance between Desai’s formula plots and the structure of US TV series caused his work to be associated with notions of postmodernism. His son Ketan Desai now makes films for MKD Films (e.g. Allah Rakha, 1986; Toofan, 1989).

FILMOGRAPHY: 1960: Chhalia; 1963: Bluff Master; 1966: Badtameez; 1968: Kismet; 1970: Sachcha Jhutha; 1972: Bhai Ho To Aisa; Rampur Ka Lakshman; Shararat; 1973: Aa Gale Lag Jaa; 1974: Roti; 1977: Amar Akbar Anthony; Chacha Bhatija; Dharam Veer; Parvarish; 1979: Suhaag; 1981: Naseeb; 1982: Desh Premi; 1983: Coolie; 1985: Mard; 1988: Ganga Jamuna Saraswati.