B.H.Harsh wrote on 11 Aug 2008
Amol Palekar was born on November 24, 1944. He graduated at the the J.J.School of Art. When he finished his college, he joined Satyadev Dubey’s theatre, and began a Marathi experimental stage in 1972. After gaining some popularity, Amol Palekar started his group “Aniket”. He also introduced Theatre of the Absurd and Street Theatre in Maharashtra.
He teamed up with Satyadev Dubey and made his debut with Shantata! Court Chalu Aahe (1972), which also began a new cinema movement in 1972. Those were the days when Parallel cinema was just beginning to get noticed in Cities. So, this film was appreciated by the critics and Amol Palekar’s fine tuned acting skills caught the attention of Basu Chatterjee.
Amol Palekar made his debut in Hindi films with Rajnigandha (1974), which was directed by Basu Chatterjee. The film belonged to the new-age cinema genre, and attained a cult status. Amol Palekar’s restrained natural aura was acclaimed by both critics and masses equally.
Later, Amol Palekar did some more films that belonged more to the Off-beat genre and established himself as a middle class hero. Like Basu Chatterji’s Choti Si Baat (1975) and Chitchor (1976) where Amol Palekar played a middle class man, He endeared every one with his natural acting. He did Gharoanda (1977) and Mere Biwi Ki Shaadi (1978), which had a fine blend of society and entertainment. However, these films went unnoticed. he had a major role in Shyam benegal’s Bhumika (1977), and impressed everyone with his performance.
But the turning point in Amol Palekar’s career was Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s Gol Maal (1979). Amol Palekar won all the hearts with his brilliant performance as the full of life Accountant who is forced to cheat his boss to retain his lucrative job. Gol Maal was a huge hit, and Amol Palekar finally got the recognition among masses he deserved.
Same year, he also did Basu Chatterjee’s Baton Baton Mein where he carried off the role of a Christian very well. After Gol Maal’s stupendous success, Hrishikesh Mukherjee brought Amol Palekar and Utpal Dutt together in Naram Garam (1981) and Rang Birangi (1983). However, these films were not as successful as their first joint venture. Meawhile, Amol Palekar began making films. His first film as a director was a Marathi film, Akreit (1981). He then made Ankahee (1985), which was critically acclaimed.
His next film Thoda Sa Romani Ho Jaayein (1990) was a major film for him. It brought him a lot of acclaim. Amol Palekar later made Daayraa (1996) and Kairee, which also received a lot of praise at the festival circuit. In 2005, he made Paheli (2005) for Shah Rukh Khan’s Red Chillies Entertainment, which was the official entry from India for the Oscars. Amol Palekar won the Filmfare Best Actor award for Gol Maal in 1979.