Dipen Guhawrote on Jul 29 2009 11:59PM
A real actor is he who, despite his physical ceasation, lives on and on by virtue of his typicality. As soon as one utters "drunkard in films", the immediate impression is of none other than Keshto Mukherjee. Keshto Mukherjee was a discovery of the legendary film maker Ritwik Ghatak. His debut film was in 1952 in "Nagarik", a Bengali movie which, neither Ritwik nor Keshto was destined to see, as the film was released after their deaths. Hrishikesh Mukherjee put him in his "Musafir"(1953). It was followed by some films where Keshto's appearences could easily be obliterated. There was yet another Bengali film "Bari Theke Paliye"by Ritwik Ghatak, where Keshto was to play a street monkey-player. It was Asit Sen who ought to be credited for unearthing Keshto Mukherjee's potentials of the petent drunkard acting in "Maa aur Mamta"(1970). Since then Keshto fell into proto-typed trap of drunkard roles excepting a few. In "Teesri Kasam" he acted with Raj Kapoor. In "Sadhu aur Saitan" he was one of the cronies of Kishor Kumar. Similar role was performed in "Padosan". In Mehmood's "Bombay to Goa" his role of a dozing passenger was simply superb. In "Mere Apne"(1971) Keshto appears as a political leader misleading the local toughs for winning in the election. In "Parichay"('74) he comes as the private tutor to a group of naughty children who terrifies him by setting a turtle with a lighted candle on its back. In "Zanjeer", "Aap Ki Kasam" and "Sholay" Keshto Mukherjee's performances have left long-lasting impressions. In 'Gol Maal'('79) Keshto's brief role as a drunkard is so arresting. His encounter with Utpal Dutt in the police station is one of the most hilarious scenes recorded in Hindi films. It will be a research work to trace, if any lyricist has ever composed a lyric on the name of a comedian. It was Dharmendra who took initiative , and a song was picturised on Keshto (Keshto chala...). Though Keshto Mukherjee passed away in 1985, he wiil remain alive by his brilliant performances in films, as well as by the succeeding copy-cats.