Veteran filmmaker Prakash Mehra passed away yesterday, on Sunday, May 17 morning at the Kokilaben Hospital in Andheri, Mumbai. He was 70. Mehra had been seriously ill for the last three years. He was admitted to the hospital few weeks back and was kept on ventilator. He is going to be cremated at the Juhu crematorium.
Mehra is credited for giving Amitabh Bachchan that big break with his Zanjeer, following which there was no looking back for the Big B. Just few days back, Amitabh had visiting an ailing Mehra at the Kokilaben Hospital and rubbished all rumours about a fall out between the two.
Mehra had begun his career as a production controller in the late 50s and turned director with the musical super hit Haseena Man Jaayegi (1968) starring Shashi Kapoor. With his Zanjeer (1973) Mehra"s association began with the Big B and together they went on to make seven films, most notable of them being Hera Pheri (1976), Muqaddar Ka Sikandar (1978), Laawaris (1981), Namak Halal (1982) and of course Sharaabi (1984). However their last film together Jaadugar (1989) was a box office disaster.
Mehra for more than a decade now had stopped directing films. His last directed film Bal Brahmachari (1996) was the launch pad for eccentric actor Raj Kumar"s son Puru Rajkumar. His last produced film was the Rekha starrer Mujhe Meri Biwi Se Bachao (2001).
Mr Mehra had received a lifetime achievement award from the India Motion Picture Directors Association (IMPDA) in 2006. He had also received Lifetime Achievement as Producer from IMPAA (Indian Motion Picture Producers Association) on September 19, 2008. Prakash Mehra was one of the first Bombay directors to try venture into Hollywood. In the late eighties he tried a joint venture to make the movie The God Connection with Frank Yandolino. The movie was to include Hollywood actors such as Charles Bronson among others, but the project though funded heavily initially, never materialized.