‘I am not a Dilip Kumar’s clone’: Manoj Kumar

Reflections on his prominent works

“Shaheed” which I ghost directed is acclaimed as my truly memorable creation. Producer Kewal Suri and I contributed the entire amount we received from National Awards for Bhagat Singh’s family. “Upkar” gave me a lot of fame and box office success. “Purab Aur Paschim” is very popular in television circuit. I derived a lot of satisfaction directing “Shor”. The title has no music, only noise. Hrishikesh Mukherjee complimented my editing of “Shor” stating that if the comic scenes of Manorama were edited the film would have been crispier.

Manoj Kumar Photo PTI.

On copying Dilip Kumar

Did you notice two Dilip Kumars in “Aadmi” or “Kranti”? Dilip Kumar is my idol and has influenced me. I never copied him blatantly. The pauses in my dialogue delivery, my occasional smiles and under playing are my own attributes as an actor. Even putting my right palm on my face to express my pensive mood is never an imitation of any form. I am certainly not a clone of Dilip Kumar.

On his book

I have just decided to pen my memories of leading actors, directors and film personalities, I worked with. The title is undecided as of now. I want to mention the good and respectable aspects of Dilip Kumar, Raj Kapoor, Dr. Dr. V. Shantaram and Sadhana. There will be many others about whom I intend to write even if I did not work with them. For example I can never forget Dev Anand visiting me every evening on his way back home after my father expired. I have fond memories of a script I sent to Raj Kumar. He wrote back to me stating he enjoyed the script but found the character too difficult for him to accept.

Take on the censor issue today

I am astonished as to why the government has still not implemented the recommendations to censor guidelines suggested by the Khosla Commission. In the early 70s at a get together at IFFI, New Delhi, Manikda (Satyajit Ray), Gina Lolobrigida and me were having an interaction with Inder Kumar Gujaral, then I & B Minister. He questioned us as to why we filmmakers were not making right use of kissing scenes. Censors had by then permitted kissing on screen. To this Manikda replied, “That’s the tragedy.” His conscience made him speak out his heart. I admire the guts of Vijay Anand to resign as CBFC Chairman when his views did not gel with those of the NDA. The 1953 Cinematography Act requires thorough amendment.

Memories of Raj Khosla

Raj Khosla addressed me as half-guru and half-chela. I was not happy with certain moments and dialogues of “Woh Kaun Thi”. So I rewrote them the way I conceived the scenes. After Raj Khosla finished shooting I handed my script to him. Reading it meticulously he declared to the entire unit that he would follow my script for the rest of the film. The title “Woh Kaun Thi” was my creation. We also worked closely in “Do Badan”.