If there was one filmmaker who could make engaging patriotic films which had huge entertainment value and who did more to bring out one’s patriotic side then 100 documentaries it was “Mr. Bharat” – Manoj Kumar.

Manoj Kumar is widely known -today- as an actor. But don’t forget Manoj Kumar was a producer, director and above all a great writer. The reason Manoj Kumar’s films from the ’70s and early 80’s were the big blockbusters they became and the reason why the films are remembered till date is the same reason why he was able to get those great ensemble casts for his films : Besides being a great director he was one of the best writers who could write great parts and great movies!

Manoj Kumar (real name Harikishan Goswami) was a big fan of Dilip Kumar, Kamini Kaushal (more on her later) and Ashok Kumar. He was such a big fan of Dilip Kumar that when he came to Bombay to try his luck in movies he adopted the screen name Manoj Kumar -which was Dilip Kumar’s character’s name in the 1949 film “Shabnam”.

Manoj’s first films as an actor did not fare well. It was his 1962 film “Hariyali Aur Raasta” opposite Mala Sinha that would give him his first succes. But it would be a 1964 film (a first in a trilogy) that would change his luck in more ways then one…

During the shooting of the film “Woh Kaun Thi” the director Raj Khosla had some troubles with some scenes. The scenes were not working the way they were intended. There was no “mystery-element”. Manoj Kumar -who was the hero of the film- asked if he could be allowed to write some scenes. With no other options the producer and director decided to indulge him and did not expect anything from the to be written scenes. Manoj wrote the scenes and everyone was impressed.  For instance the scene where Manoj gives Sadhana a lift and she disappears through the gates of the cemetery was one of the biggest appreciated scenes of the movie. When the film released the film became a blockbuster. The film gave Bollywood 2 things : Manoj Kumar the writer (and to be filmmaker) and…

It would be 1967 when Manoj Kumar would make his very own first movie which would introduce the world to Manoj Kumar the movie maker and to his most famous on-screen character “Bharat”with which he would be identified for the rest of his life.

“Upkar” (1967), “Purab aur Pachhim” (1970″ and “Shor” (1972) were the movies that successfully succeeded one another. One must remember these were the times when it would take approximately an average of 2-3 years for a film to get made.  These films all became hits and established Manoj Kumar the movie maker (writer, producer, director, editor)  and Manoj Kumar the actor as Bharat. The way these films were made and the way the films were written -not to forget the huge succes of these movies- were also the reason why every actor and actress was willing to work in a Manoj Kumar movie.

All of this led to the year 1974 when Manoj Kumar would release -what I personally consider- Manoj Kumar’s best made movie of all times. A movie that would pave the way for a new style of filmmaking that would continue till the 90’s -the multi starrer. Because this was the year that the all time classic “Roti, Kapada aur Makaan” was released…

(from left to right: Pran, Veeru Devgun, Sharmila Tagore, Smita Patil and Navin Nischal).

When the script was ready Manoj Kumar went to Pran for the role eventually done by Prem Nath. Pran has been a regular in the movies made by Manoj Kumar till then. Manoj Kumar was also the one who gave Pran a make over with his film “Upkar”. Till then Pran had been the no.1 villain but with “Upkar” Manoj cast in a positive role and the gamble had paid of. One of the best songs of that movie, Manna Dey’a “Kasme Vaade Pyaar Waffa”, had also been picturized on Pran and had been a runaway succes. Pran however at that time was doing a similar role in a movie directed by Prakash Mehra titled “Zanjeer” and did not want to have two films releasing in which his role was the same. That is the reason Pran declined Manoj Kumar’s offer. Though the 2 did star in many more movies Manoj Kumar ever offered Pran another role in movies made by him.

There was a girl whom Manoj Kumar thought had talent and had all the makings of a great actress. He went to her and offered her the role of the main female lead in the movie. The role that was eventually done by Zeenat Aman. This girl however in that period of time was not interested in doing movies and refused the part. Later on this girl would go on to become one of India’s finest actresses ever -Smita Patil.

Ana ctor who had been reasonably successful in hero’s roles in the early 70’s was navin Nischal. Manoj Kumar wanted him for the role which was eventually done by Shashi Kapoor. Manoj Kumar approached him but Navin Nischal declined the role. He did not want to do movies which had more then one hero. This because something happened to him in 1971. In that year a movie had released in which Navin Nischal was the hero of the movie and the movie had become a hit. But there was this famous villain who had a special appearance in the movie as a lawyer -an actor named Shatrughan Sinha and he was appreciated more then Navin. To make the “humiliation” complete (at least in Navin’s eyes) there was an unknown actor in that movie who was the villain of the movie. And the villain who was in a negative role (ehhh he was the villain duhhh!) stole the thunder from under Navin’s nose. This unknown actor would also have a small part in Roti, Kapada aur Makaan so Navin declined the offer. The said film was “Parwana” and the actor a newcomer named Amitabh Bachchan.

Veeru Devgan (father of Ajay Devgun) -one of the most iconoc and successful stunt co-ordinators (or fight masters) of the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s made his debut as a fight master in this movie.

Just like with his Purab aur Pachim and Shor Manoj Kumar also offered the main lead of this movie to Sharmila Tagore. Sharmila however was interested in the role of Tulsi while she was offered the Sheetal role. She kept insisting on doing the other role. Manoh however wanted Moushumi Chatterjee for that role and did not give in to Sharmila’s request/demand so Sharmila decided not to do the film.

Thank God for small mercies. When one watches the movie today one can not visualize anyone else in any other role then the actors who eventually ended up doing the roles. Some movies can not be made … it’s fate that makes those movies the movies they eventually become. And just like “SHOLAY” “Roti Kapada aur Makaan” is one such movie!

Now for the major players of “ROTI, KAPADA aur MAKAAN”

(from left to right: Manoj Kumar, Moushumi Chatterjee, Zeenat Aman, Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan)

Manoj Kumar the movie maker always come before Manoj Kumar the actor. His first priority was the end result of his movie. Though Manoj Kumar has the main lead in the movie the other two heroes Shashi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan have their respective moments as well.

Manoj Kumar is great in his role as Bharat. By this time Bharat had become an iconic character and needed no introduction. He did his role exceptionally well and because Manoj Kumar the writer, director knew the capabilities of Manoj Kumar the actor the result was always great.

Shashi Kapoor had been promised a role by Manoj Kumar in his forst directorial “Upkar”. But when the film was to go on the floors Manoj did not want to cast Shashi Kapoor in his movie as the younger brother because Shashi was an established hero and Manoj was afraid that by doing the role Shashi would not get any main lead roles anymore so the role eventually went to Prem Chopra. So when Manoj Kumar planned this movie he gave this role to Shashi Kapoor who did an amazing job in this movie. There is nobody who could have done this role better or even the way it was done by Shashi Kapoor. A fact that Manoj Kumar acknowledged during the title sequence: when all the names of the cast have appeared the last mentioned is ” above all… Shashi Kapoor”.

Moushumi Chatterjee is the real heroine of the movie. At least what is considered the heroine by Bollywood standards (in those times). It was a big risk for her to accept the role as she is a ingle mother in the movie who raises a child that is born due to her being raped by 3 men (Roti, Kapada aur Makaan -watch the movie to understand). Pregnant while filming part of the movie Mouhumi does a splendid job in this movie. But then again when was Moushumi not good in a movie (maybe I am biased because I am a big Moushumi fan). The way she emotes with her eyes in this movie s something else!

When Manoj Kumar was making his previous movie -SHOR- he met the then boyfriend of his leading lady – Jaya Bhaduri- who used to come and visit her on the sets. This newcomer had not been very successful till then and it was during one of these visits that Manoj told him to hang in there. Manoj saw a spark in him and told him he was writing a new script and would cast him in his next movie as his younger brother. The conscience of the film as it is. The young actor went on with his career and signed a few films but Manoj kept his word and signed the actor for the said role. Call it faith but in this film his character’s name was co-incidentally Vijay as well. By the time the film was ready for release this young actor had had a couple of releases and was becoming the nation’s favorite. Everybody by know knows I am talking about the one and only Amitabh Bachchan.

Now here I must mention the leading lady of the film Zeenat Aman in her turn as Sheetal. What a performance and what a guts! In an era when “grey characters” were not really part of Bollywood cinema yet – someone was either a hero or a villain, a heroine or a vamp- here was a role that had shades of grey. Sheetal is in love with Bharat. But he is poor and can’t get a job. Sheetal loves luxury and gets a job as a secretary to business tycoon Shekhar and gets blinded by money. her boss falls in love with her (unaware of her relationship with Bharat) and proposes to her. She accepts his proposal and leaves Bharat.

This role -as far as I know- was done only once before in Hindi cinema by another gutsy lady in another iconic film which again had the producer/director in the lead as well. Mala Sinha in the Guru Dutt movie “Pyaasa”. In a time when Zeenat Aman was one of the most famous actresses around and had succes she accepted this role and did full justice to it. She did not let Manoj Kumar the director down. But Manoj Kumar the writer did not let his leading lady down either and gave her -what I consider- her best role ever. For all those who always said that Zeenat Aman (and to a certain extent Parveen babi) were more glamour dolls then actresses … watch this movie and see how Zeenat proves you wrong!

Like I said before this movie was the movie that started the trend of multi starrers with it’s humongous cast. And though it is not the classic Amitabh Bachchan – Shashi Kapoor movie (like Do aur Do Paanch, Shaan, Suhaag and all those others) -and though both had supporting roles (Bachchan is there for 45 minutes max) – this movie was the FIRST MOVIE that had the Amitabh Bachchan – Shashi Kapoor combination.

No movie can become an all time classic without steller performances. Even the supporting cast had to raise to the occasion to deliver more then expected. And boy, does the supporting cast of RKaM deliver!

(from left to right: Kamini Kaushal, Prem Nath, Agha, Krishan Dhawan, Manmohan, Raza Murad, Sulochna, Aruna Irani, Dheeraj Kumar and Madan Puri)

Let’s be honest when you have the characters of three brothers in a movie of which one is Bharat portayed by Manoj Kumar and the other is Vijay portrayed by Amitabh Bachchan it would take a lot to get noticed as the third brother. Dheeraj Kumar did get noticed. A flop hero of the 70’s Dheeraj was a standard in Manoj Kumar movies. And the fact that till date whenever he comes on screen I get angry because of that fact that he is “against” Bachchan and Manoj Kumar (though his character is upright and hones but hey we are talking about Bachchan and Manoj Kumar) is proof that he did a splendid job in the movie!

Without Pran or Prem Chopra in the movie and with Prem Nath in a positive role the main villain of the piece is Madan Puri who does a good job as Neki Ram.

Everyone is good in their parts but there is one whom I should mention: Kamini Kaushal

Just like Nirupa Roy was kind iof the standard mom for Amitabh Bachchan in the 70’s and 80’s Kamini Kaushal was alsways Manoj Kumar;s mom except for one movie. That was Manoj Kumar’s magnum opus “KRANTI”. Sje could not be his mom in that movie since Dilip Kumar was his fater in the movie. And because of the romance decades before between Dilip Kumar and Kamini Kaushal that did not end in a happily ever after the two could not been cast as his parents. So Kamini was reduced to being the Rani in the movie and the mom’s role went to Nirupa Roy. But for me Kamini Kausha IS Manoj Kumar’s mom! And their scenes together are something else. Kamini is in topform in this gem of a movie!

Now for the music of Roti Kapada aur Makaan…

(from left to right: Laxmikant-Pyarelal, Mukesh, Mahendra Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar and Chanchal)

Though Manoj Kumar’s first movies Upkar and Purab aur Pachhim had music by Kalyanji-Anandji all his subsequent movies had music by Kalyanji-Anandji’s one time assistents Laxmikant-Pyarelal. All Manoj Kumar movies also had a song by Mahendra Kapoor starting with “Mere Desh Ke Dharti” in Upkar. Manoj Kumar was also very loyal to singer Mukesh. In the movies he made himself Mukesh was his screen voice.

Another fixed asprect of Manoj Kumar movies was that in every movie he made there was a song written by Santosh Anand and sung by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar. Call it co-incidence but those songs always became chartbusters and one of the highlights of the movie. Santoh Anand got his first break as a lyricist from Manoj Kumar in the film Puar aur Pachhim. For Shor he would write “Ek Pyaar Ka Naghma Hai” and for Kranti “Zindagi Ki Na Toote Ladi” amongst others. But it would be for RKaM that he would get his first Filmfare Award for best lyrics for the song that would be repeated throughout the movie and which would become an all time classic:

There is one part of this song which hardly there on any version of the soundtrack since it is re-released. It’s not on cd’s or cassettes. But it is there in the movie and also on the LP when it was released for the first time.


Don’t watch the next clip if you have not yet seen the movie!!



It was during this movie that the unit came to know that the cameraman Nariman Irani had financial problems becase of a film he had produced “Zindagi Zindagi” that did not do well. Nariman was a National Award and Filmfare award winning cinematographer and a regular for Manoj Kumar films. It was decided that some of the cast and crew would help him out by doing a movie which he would produce. The assistent director of Manoj Kumar – Chandra Barot –  would direct the film. Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman and Pran were cast in the film and a script was bought from Salim-Javed which had been with them for q while and was not sold. The movie was made and showed to Manoj Kumar. Manoj Kumar said the second half of the movie was so tight it had to have a song but the film was already completed.  Kalyanji-Anandji -the music directors of the film- had rev=corded a song sung by Kishore Kumar for the Dev Anand film Banarasi Babu and Dev Anand was requested to part with the song which he did and that song was picturized on Amitabh and Zeenat in the movie as an afterthought. The film “DON” became a big hit and the song…

When Roti, Kapada aur Makaan was released it was an all time blockbuster. Though many consider “KRANTI” Manoj Kumar’s tour de force as a filmmaker -although I love that movie s well- for me Roti, Kapada aur Makaan is Manoj Kumar at his best. Manoj did use some aspects of RKaM for his other direvtorial “CLERK” but the less said about that film the better!


  • The song “Haye Haye Yeh Majboori” was to be picturized on Moushumi Chatterjee but because she was 8 months pregnant the song was not picturized on her.
  • Because Pran declined the film because he was doing “Zanjeer” Manoj Kumar never ooffered him a role in his directorials after this movie although they remained friends and acted in many movies together.
  • Amitabh Bachchan and Zeenat Aman who would go on to do many films together only share some screen space in the climax of the movie. In the entire movie Zeenat just says one sentence to Amitabh while he simply nods and doesn’t say a single line to her.
  • This was the first movie of the Amitabh Bachchan-Shashi Kapoor jodi. Though they only meet during the climax of the movie. It wouldn’t be until Yash Chopra’s “DEEWAAR” that they would become the iconic Jodi that everyone loved.
  • The only time Dheeraj Kumar had a positive role in a Manoj Kumar movie (positive in the snse that he was not a villain like in the other movies).
  • Only film of Amitabh Bachchan and Manoj Kumar together. Manoj Kumar did offer Amitabh a role in his next film “KRANTI” but was unable to do the movie and the role went to Shatrughan Sinha.
  • The third movie made by Manoj Kumar which Sharmila Tagore either refused to do a part or walked out on. The other two being Puarb aur Pachhim and Shor (the Nanda role in the last one).
  • Last film directed by Manoj Kumar which had songs sung by Mukesh pictuirsed on him. From “KRANTI” onwards it was Mukesh’s son Nitin Mukesh who sang for Manoj (including the chartbuster “Zindagi Ki Na Toote Ladi”


produced by     Manoj Kumar

directed by       Manoj Kumar

cast                    Manoj Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan, Moushumi Chatterjee, Shashi Kapoor, Zeenat Aman, Kamini Kaushal, Manmohan, Madan Puri, Dheeraj Kumar, Aruna Irani and others.

music by           Laxmikant-Pyarelal

singers              Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar, Mahendra Kapoor and Chanchal


If you like those classiv movies from the 50’s, 60’s 70’s 80’s and 90’s and the songs from that era listen to our radioshow “YAADEIN – A Walk Through Memory Lane” every Sunday on SunriseFM (The Netherlands). To know the timeings of the show in your region and how to listen click here



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