Sep 14 2016

Remembering GP Sippy’s biggest blockbusters — Birth anniversary special

by   Keyur Seta

After directing a handful of films, Gopaldas Paramanand Sipahimalani, better known as GP Sippy, began focusing on the role of producer and went on to give Hindi cinema some of its biggest hits. On his 102nd birth anniversary (14 September), we revisit some of them.

1 Brahmachari (1968)

Directed by Bhappi Sonie and starring Shammi Kapoor and Rajshree, the film tackled the unusual theme of a brahmachari (someone who has taken the vow of celibacy) falling in love with a young woman who already loves a promiscuous man. A musical hit, Brahmachari was remade in Tamil as Enga Mama (1970) and in Telugu as Devudu Mamayya (1981).

2 Andaz (1971)

The evergreen Kishore Kumar song, ‘Zindagi ek safar hai suhana’ was from this film. Andaz marked the directorial debut of GP Sippy’s son Ramesh. Starring Shammi Kapoor and Hema Malini, the film explored the theme of remarriage between a widow and a widower. Though Rajesh Khanna had only a cameo part, he made a great impact as he was already a superstar by then.

3 Seeta Aur Geeta (1972)

The trend of double roles got a major boost in the form of Seeta Aur Geeta, which was directed by Ramesh Sippy. It remains one of the few Hindi films to feature the female lead in a double role. Sridevi’s Chaalbaaz (1989) and Kajol’s Kuch Khatti Kuch Meethi (2001) are the only other notable examples.

4 Sholay (1975)

To GP Sippy goes the honour of being producer of Hindi cinema’s best-known film and all-time blockbuster. Sholay, helmed by Ramesh Sippy, ran continuously for five years at the Minerva theatre in Bombay (as Mumbai was then known) and continues to enchant audiences even from later generations. Apart from being a well-written and well-made film, Sholay is also known for its immortal characters like Jai, Veeru, Gabbar Singh, Thakur Baldev Singh, Basanti, Chachi and AK Hangal's Imamsaheb.

5 Saagar (1985)

GP Sippy also has to his credit a film selected as India’s official entry for the Oscars in 1985. Saagar was a contemporary love triangle starring Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia and Kamal Haasan, once again directed by Ramesh Sippy. With this film, the Sippy father-son duo explored the changing norms of that era.