An Institution Falls: J Om Prakash No More

 To  anyone who  refers  to   the   iconic  producer-director J Om Prakash  as Hrithik  Roshan’s meternal grandfather  ,one can only say, ignorance  is  bliss.

 J Om Prakash blazed a  glorious  trail with his  superhit slew of  films from 1961 when he first  produced the Rajendra Kumar-Vyjanthimala starrer Aas Ka Panchi. The film and  its songs were runaway hits and  Omji  was  back  producing Ayee Milan Ki Bela three years later, again a hit.

With  Aaye Din Bahaar Ke  and  Aaya  Saawan Jhoom  Ke(both  featuring Dharmedra and Asha Parekh)  following  in quick succession , Omji acquired the  reputation  of  a hit machine with  chartbuster music largely composed  by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. In  1972  Omji produced Aankhon Aankhon Mein  with his  son-in-law Rakesh Roshan in the  lead. But  somehow Omji films with his son-in-law  never clicked, and that goes for Aakhir Kyon and  Aap Ke Saath   as well.

The  big superhits of J Om Prakash in the  1970s  starred Jeetendra. Beginning with  Apnaapan  in 1977  J OmPrakash and Jeetendra teamed up for four other films including the 1980 blockbuster Asha. “We  had a terrific rapport,” Jeetendra recall fondly.

Asha  Parekh who  did  two back-to-back hits Aaye Din Bahaar Ke and Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke with Omjiremembers  him as a gentleman. “He  was softspoken  and very  knowledgeable  about  cinema specially  music. The songs in the two films I did with him were  all big hits.”

Omji  worked with  many major stars including Rajesh Khanna in Aap Ki Kasam, Aakarman and Aakhir Kyon . But his favourites were clearly Jeetendra and  Reena  Roy. While the world saw Reena as a oomphy glamour girl Omjicast her in strong dramatic parts in Apnaapan , Asha and Aadmi Khilona Hai.

 In  1974  after  producing a gallery of hits as a producer(including, believe  it  or not, Gulzar’s Aandhi)  Omji finally turned director  wrth the  hit Aap Ki Kasam featuring Rajesh Khanna and Mumtaz.  To  this day this film is remembered  for  its  scintillating soundtrack by R D Burman including  Karvatein badalte rahe(shot in Kashmir), Jai jai shiv Shankar and  the quasi-philsophical Kishore Kumar classic Zindagi ke safar mein  guzar jaate  hain jomuqaam wohphir nahin aate.

In his distinguished 40-year career as a  movie maker J Om Prakash broke  many rules and also made new rules. If he  directed  a  disaster  called Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka in 1977(shot in  foreign locations with Rajesh Khanna andZeenat Aman) he also produced and directed the monster  hit Apnaapan during the same  year.

Prolific and passionate ,  Omji’s cinema is  far  more valuable than  we think.

Chartbusters from the  films  of J Om Prakash

1.     Tum roothi raho main manaata rahun(Aas Ka Panchi)

2.     Tumhe  aur kya dun main dil ki siwaai(Aayee Milan Ki Bela)

3.     Suno sajna papihe ne(Aaye Din Bahaar Ke)

4.     Resham  ki dori (Aaya Saawan Jhoom Ke)

5.     Jai  jai shiv Shankar(Aap Ki Kasam)

6.     Tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa(Aandhi)

7.     Aadmi  musafir hai(Apnaapan)

8.     Sheesha ho ya dil ho(Aasha)

9.     Pardes jaa ke pardesia(Arpan)

10.  Dushman na  kare  dost ne wohkaam kiya hai(Aakhir Kyon)

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