Veteran Filmmaker J Om Prakash passed away on Wednesday, 7th August at the age of 93. The funeral was held on the same day in the afternoon. The last rites were performed by his grandson, Hrithik Roshan along with his father Rakesh Roshan. Born in Sialkot, Punjab (now in Pakistan), he came to Bombay and made a name for himself from scratch. That is a thing that is commendable in its own way but if it was not enough, another great thing about him was that he never had the bitterness or the anger of someone who had to do it from the scratch.
As a producer, he got into recognition first with the black-and-white Aas Ka Panchhi (1961), directed by Mohan Kumar and starred Rajendra Kumar and Vyjayanthimala. The film and the songs in it became runaway hits. His first film as a director was Rajesh Khanna-Mumtaz-Sanjeev Kumar dramedy Aap Ki Kasam (1974). With Aaye Din Bahaar Ke (1966) and Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke (19690 – both featuring Dharmendra and Asha Parekh, following in quick succession, Omji acquired the reputation of a hit machine with chartbuster music, largely composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
When we look closely, there’s a lot more to him and his films than the fact that the titles of his films usually began with ‘A’ or ‘AA’, barring only one film. His films while they were high on romance, drama and ofcourse, music, they used to highlight the conundrums and complications in a relationship. He made films about fidelity and extramarital affairs and highlighted these issues and made them with truth and honesty. Another thing that went under the radar about his films was the representation of women in his films. He portrayed them in a strong way; some could even say that some of his films were women centric. He made such films with strong women at the centre of them and was way ahead of the times when doing so. So many of his films also had children at the centre of them; some abandoned, some adopted. Even his grandson Hrithik Roshan acted as a child star in three of his films.
So many of his films are still talked about today and if not talking about his films, people are talking about the music of his films. It is not really surprising because music is the crux of so many romantic and drama films and he has given the industry so many songs that can’t be outdone, even today. RD Burman’s ‘Jai jai shiv shankar’, ‘Karvatein badalte rahe’, ‘Zindagi ke safar mein’ in Aap Ki Kasam or LP’s ‘Sheesha ho ya dil ho’ in Aasha or even ‘Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa’ Aandhi.
Om Prakashji’s films and his kind of cinema is so much more valuable than we think. Some may even disagree but he has, in a way, revolutionized the romantic – drama genre for our industry. We have lost one of the biggest gems of our industry. He will not only be remembered for his brand of cinema but also for the kind, gentle and loving human that he was. May his soul rest in peace. My condolences to the bereaved family.
By – Amul Vikas Mohan