For more than a quarter of a century he made films which had Bharat (India) as the focal point. Manoj Kumar who came to Bombay after seeing Dilip Kumar act in a film called ‘Jugnu’ and made it as one of the most successful actors and filmmakers, was known as Mr Bharat because of the patriotic films he made and which were very successful. Among his better known films are‘Shaheed'(which he is said to have ghost-directed), ‘Upkar’, ‘Purab Aur Paschim’, ‘Roti Kapada Aur Makaan’, ‘Kranti’and ‘Jai Hind-The Pride’.Except for ‘Jai Hind’all his films were blockbusters and trend-setters. It was only after he made a film called ‘Clerk’that he had a serious spine problem which left him decapitated that he was forced to give up making films, but the trend he set is still taken as a source of inspiration or even the most modern filmmakers, writers, lyricists and even music directors.
The new generation may not know much about his contribution to Indian cinema. One classic example will say it all for how the new generation forgot or didnt know anything about him. Manoj wanted to make a film with the late Sridevi and he sent this writer with his PR man, the late Gopal Pandey to talk to Sridevi about his film and without blinking twice, she asked,“who Manoj Kumar? I have not heard of him or seen any of his films”. It was a signal to Manoj Kumar that his best times were over…
Manoj has been in bed for almost ten years, but he is mentally very alert and agile and keeps track of the latest developments in Hindi cinema. The last time he was in the news was when Farah Khan, the director of ‘Om Shanti Om’produced by Shah Rukh Khan tried to make a mockery of his favourite act of placing his hand over his face. Manoj did not like what the makers had done and was satisfied only when Shah Rukh personally visited him and apologized to him.
That Manoj Kumar is still a name that matters was proved when Kangana Ranaut arranged a special screening of her film,‘Mankarnika-The Queen Of Jhansi’and Manoj who had seen the version of the veteran actor-filmmaker, Sohrab Modi found some historical flaws in Kangana’s film, but he was all praise for Kangana’s performance which he said no other actress of the present generation could do justice to. He put Kangana’s performance in the class of Nargis in ‘Mother India’and Madhubala in ‘Mughal-E-Azam’. He was however not the first to say that hindi films suffered from a severe lack of good content…..
And now comes the big news about Manoj Kumar. The last time he had directed a film was in 1999 and there has been a sea change in the way the industry is functioning, but the veteran filmmaker is all set to stage a comeback with a new film which is tentatively titled,“WITH LOVE FROM INDIA”.
He will direct the film based on his own script and will finalise the cast next week. But he is sure that the cast will have two young actors from India, two from Hollywood and two veteran actresses.(may be Waheeda Rehman and Hema Malini)
In the meanwhile, he is finalising the team of technicians. He says,“I have kept in touch with all the technical and digital changes that have taken over filmmaking and I am taking my big step with complete faith in my subject and my physical and mental ability to make the film as if it was the last film I was destined to make”.
Stand by for more details from the filmmaker who has already assured himself of a place in Indian film history

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