Divya Kapoorwrote on Aug 20 2008 6:14PM
Prakash Mehra was born on 13th July 1939 in Bijnaur, U.P. He is one of the most successful Bollywood film producers and directors of the past couple decades. He started in the late 1950s as a production controller.
Haseena Maan Jayegi (1968), starring Shashi Kapoor and Babita, marked the debut of Prakash Jha as a Bollywood director. The movie was a mediocre hit, while its music became very popular. Mehra’s next film was Mela (1971), starring the brothers Sanjay Khan and Feroz Khan. The movie did pretty well at the box-office. Samadhi (1972), starring Dharmendra and Asha Parekh, was a semi-hit as well. His next film Ek Kunwari Ek Kunwara (1973) flopped. In 1973, Mehra produced and directed Zanjeer, which starred Amitabh Bachchan who was relatively new in the industry then. The movie was a huge hit. The script of Zanjeer was one of the many written by Salim-Javed in their ‘Angry Young Man’ scripts that they wrote for Amitabh. Amitabh then worked in many more films with Mehra. Haath Ki Safai (1974), starring Vinod Khanna and Hemamalini, was a semi-hit and also gained critical acclaim as well. Khalifa (1976) failed, while Hera Pheri (1976) was a big hit. In 1978, Mehra produced and directed Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, starring Amitabh Bachchan and Vinod Khanna. The movie became a blockmuster, and its music was a huge hit as well. His next two films Desh Drohee (1980) and Jwalamukhi (1980) failed to do well. Mehra then made Laawaris (1981) and Namak Halaal (1982), both starring Amitabh Bachchan in the lead. Both films were huge hits. Sharaabi (1984), written and directed by Mehra, starring Amitabh Bachchan again, was another hit. It’s music is popular even today. This was followed by two flop films Muqaddar Ka Faisla (1987) and Mohabbat Ke Dushman (1988) directed by Mehra. Jaadugar (1989) was a huge disappointment coming from the Mehra-Bachchan combination. Mehra then made Zindagi Ek Juaa (1992), starring Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit. The movie failed to do well. Mehra directed his last film Bal Brahmachari in 1996, which flopped badly. Mujhe Meri Biwi Se Bachao (2001) was Mehra’s last production, which was a disaster. Prakash Mehra also composed the lyrics of songs in his films like Zanjeer, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Laawaris, Sharaabi, Muqaddar Ka Faisla, Zindagi Ek Juaa and a few others.
Mehra received a lifetime achievement award from the India Motion Picture Producer & Directors Association in 2006. Prakash Mehra’s wife slipped into coma more than eight years back, while she was returning from her hometown. The doctors say that it is a very rare case of nerve defect. He has three sons viz. Punit, who is working on a script and intends to do a film, Sumeet who is settled in the US, while Amit looks after his studio. Prakash Mehra, along with Manmohan Desai, Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Yash Chopra, has accounted for a large number of Amitabh's famous hits. Prakash Mehra was one of the first Bombay directors to try his hand in Hollywood. In the late 80s, he tried a joint venture to make the movie The God Connection with Frank Yandolino. The movie was supposed to include Hollywood actors such as Charles Bronson among others. Unfortunately, though the project was funded heavily initially, it never materialized.