Happy Birthday Mahesh! 68 years old today! And been directing films for the past 42 of those years. And half your movies are searingly intimate and real and incredibly high quality. And half of them are very low quality. What an interesting balance! Anyway, here’s my traditional 12 reasons I love you!
1.1. A++ movie or C movie, you do always have the best songs. The earliest one where I noticed them was Daddy, that TV movie you made with Pooja, in which Pooja plays herself (essentially) and you are played by Anupam Kehr.
2. You dabbled in popular films through out the 70s and 80s, but the critically acclaimed award winners were the meat and potatoes for you. Until Aashiqui came along, in which you reached back for the first time not to the worst parts of your life, but the happiest, and created a young love story based on your passionate teenage romance with your first wife.
3. After Aashiqui, for most people there’d be no looking back. But you continued to intermix your more ambitious social dramas with your fun crowd pleasers. Thus putting your daughter (again) into a film about a taxi driver who falls for a prostitute.
4. Not that you tried to avoid the crowd-pleasers either. I have a big soft spot for the low-budget big profit light little things like your Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar Ke.
5. Right from the beginning, your movies were different, because you put a little bit of yourself in them. And you were humble enough to put in the worst bits of yourself. The break-up of your marriage when you left your wife for Parveen Babi in Arth. Your slow climb out of alcoholism in order to be a decent father to your daughter in Daddy. Your failure to save Parveen from her mental illness in Woh Lamhe.
6. And while you showed the worst bits of your family life on film, the best bits went on behind the screens, the closeness you had with your daughter and your faith in her, as you built her into a star, and then let her retire and move on to directing when she chose.
7. Not just your daughter, we also have you to thank for the careers of your nephews Emraan Hashmi and director Mohit Suri. Strangely, the production house most known for sex and scandal onscreen, is the biggest family business of them all off screen.
8. But I do love you for the sex and scandal as well! You aren’t afraid to show the things most movie houses like to pretend don’t even happen. Thank goodness you are there to take the lid off of Indian society, just a little.
9. Of course, “sex sells” is also a wonderful business plan. Well, sex and songs. Preferably both combined! So, let’s check out that nice movie you produced to make your nephew a star.
10. And that other movie you mentored your nephew through directing.
11. And, my favorite, this scene from one of the first movies your daughter directed.
12. But with all that sex and songs and steaminess, let’s not forget that, when you want, you are also the master craftsman and most emotionally honest of all the filmmakers today.
(Really, making a movie about your divorce from the perspective of your ex-wife? Who does that!)
Bonus reasons: Also, you were a total good sport about your daughter’s comedy video, and your nephews shocking interview.