The dream world of ‘lights, camera and action’ started off in Mumbai back in 1913. A hundred years of successful existence and history is lying behind this fantasy world. But how many of us are really aware of the man who actually named this industry with the term ‘Bollywood’? A journalist from Delhi coined this term for the first time in his column which went viral instantly and the Hindi film industry became famous worldwide with the name of ‘Bollywood’.
Amit Khanna, is a man who has seen and visualized the Indian entertainment industry like no other. Print, radio, television or film Industry, his career has left a mark on every platform.
He has been a renowned journalist, a successful producer, an accomplished poet, an adept script and dialogue writer and also a great lyrics writer. But wait a second, there’s more to add in the kit of this man. He has also been the chairman of Reliance Entertainment, director of Reliance BIG TV, President of the Film Producers’ Guild of India and also has served the Central Board of Film Certification and Confederation of Indian Industry as a revered member of the teams.
Amit Khanna completed his education from Delhi’s St Columbia and St. Stephen’s college. He came to Mumbai and started working in Dev Anand’s Navketan Films as an executive producer and was an eminent part of the unit of movies like ‘Des Pardes’ and ‘Shareef Badmaash’.
Later, he went on to produce movies independently. He made ‘Man Pasand’ under his own banner starring Dev Anand as the main lead with Tina Munim in 1979. The film was the Hindi version of ‘My Fair Lady’ and was directed by Basu Chatterjee.
He also wrote and directed other films like ‘Sheeshay Ka Ghar’ and ‘Shesh’. He penned lyrics of the songs for all his movies.
‘Sheeshay Ka Ghar’ starring Raj Babbar and Padmini Kolhapuri was a great critically acclaimed movie of 1984. ‘Shesh’ was another off beat film with Alok Nath being the central character in it. ‘Shesh’ was his last directorial venture on big screen.
Kucch Iss Tarah
Do Dil Mile
Jaise Mile Ek Raag Mein
Tere Gaaye Geet
Mere Gaaye Geet
Amit Khanna went on to receive the National Award for Best Lyricist in 1996 for ‘Kuch Iss Tarah Do Dil Mile’ from the film ‘Bhairavi’. Composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and rendered by Udit Narayan and Kavita Krishnamurty, the song was a soulful rendition that would be liked by one and all.
Even after coining the term ‘Bollywood’ many eminent personalities from the film industry weren’t much pleased with the term because of its obvious similarities with ‘Hollywood’. But Amit Khanna visualized the industry that would become a brand as a whole in future.
In an interview to Subhash K. Jha, he went ahead to say, “People still have a problem with the word ‘Bollywood’. But the whole notion of what’s pejorative has changed. We have to see the Indian film industry as a brand. To say Bollywood is demeaning is to question a brand name like Coke or McDonald”.
Madhuban Khushboo Deta Hai
Saagar Saawan Deta Hai
Jeena Uska Jeena Hai
Jo Auro Ko Jeevan Deta Hai
The beautiful lines depicting the philosophical truth of life were written by Amit Khanna for the 1978 release ‘Saajan Bina Suhaagan’. Composed by Usha Khanna and sung by Yesudas and Lata Mangeshkar, this song is another masterpiece by Amit Khanna.
Being one of the trustees and a founder member of the infamous MAMI (Mumbai Academy of Moving Images founded by Hrishikesh Mukherjee), he has brought eminent films from international platforms to be screened in India. MAMI is a film festival held every year in Mumbai which is of international standard and in 2010, the MAMI festival showcased almost 200 movies from a galore of 58 countries making it the largest film festival in India.
Uthe Sabke Kadam
Dekho Rum Pum Pum
Aji Aise Geet Gaaya Karo
Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham
Tara Rum Pum Pum
Haso Aur Hasaaya Karo
This is the famous whimsical piece from Bimal Roy’s ‘Baaton Baaton Mein’. Composed by Rajesh Roshan, this song is undeniably one of the best fast paced and enjoyable track written by Amit Khanna.
Pehle Pyaar Ka Pehla Gham
Pehli Baar Hain Aankhen Nam
Pehla Hai Tanhaai Ka Yeh Mausam
Aa Bhi Jaao Warna Ro Denge Hum
Remember this track that goes on with a sad melancholy from ‘Papa Kehte Hain’? Composed by Rajesh Roshan and written by Amit Khanna, one can’t simply deny the emotions of pain and grief that is evident from the words of the song.
Amit Khanna has penned down almost 400 songs for movies. But leaving behind his lyrics, he has also given us some unforgettable dialogues.
Can anyone ever forget the dialogues from Mahesh Bhatt’s ‘Saraansh’ starring Anupam Kher? The story of an old couple juggling with the difficulties that life imposes on them after the death of their only son is what ‘Saaransh’ depicted. The brilliant dialogues from the movie penned by Amit Khanna, presented the hardships and grief of the couple in a beautiful way. “Tumhari Chehre Ki Jhurrio Mein, Mere Jeevan Ka Saaransh Hai”- this one single line said by Anupam Kher to his wife at the very end of the movie describes the whole summary of their life beautifully.
Amit Khanna’s contribution to the then evolving television entertainment also is an illustrious fact. In 1990, the man went ahead and established the PLUS CHANNEL, which was the first ever largest conglomerate on Indian Television and produced almost 500 music albums, several feature films and almost 3000 hours of programming on television.
He also produced the series of ‘A Mouthful of Sky’ which was the first English show on Indian Television. On DD Metro he produced shows like ‘Mere Saath Chal’, ‘Zameen Aasmaan’, ‘Mirch Masala’ and many more. Some of the feature films made under the production banner of PLUS CHANNEL are ‘Saaz’, ‘Papa Kehte Hain’, ‘Gudiya’ and many more.
In June 2000, Amit Khanna resigned from PLUS CHANNEL only to join Reliance Entertainment Limited, India’s biggest corporate, as the chairman. An Editor of Delhi based magazines ‘Tempus’ and ‘Take 2’ during the 1960s and 1970s, was at the helm of India’s largest corporate by 2000.
In the last Big Picture Summit of the CII at New Delhi in September 2013, he along with a few media veterans in a meeting with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh, has predicted that the Indian Media and Entertainment Industry is aiming to reach the height of becoming an industry worth a 100 billion dollars by 2020. Amit Khanna once claimed this industry to be a ‘Sunrise Industry’ in one of his interviews to Subhash K. Jha.
Targeting the youth of the nation as the major creator and consumer of the Media and Entertainment industry in future India, Amit Khanna’s vision has groomed, brushed and nurtured the entertainment industry of India.
Quoting him about the evolving entertainment field of the nation, “Bollywood has become more polarized. Young filmmakers are catering to the youth with more intelligent and earthy films rooted in socio-political fabric of the soil, while movies for expatriates in US and UK are more glossy and conventional”, he said to IANS. As per him contents of both television and cinema are evolving and changing due to variety in demands and choices.
He recently has published his latest book ‘Anant Raaq – Infinite Verses’ which carries a set of diverse poems translated into English from Hindi by him. In 2008 he was awarded with the IFFLA Industry Leadership Award.
In 2013 only, Amit Khanna chose to quit his colossal post at the Reliance Entertainment. He is currently working on his upcoming book based on the history of Indian media and entertainment from the 18th century.
The name of Amit Khanna might not be much popular among the masses. But his contribution to the Indian entertainment world is unparalleled. His vision about the Indian media has advanced the sector to unbeatable bounds and also will continue to make it progress in the coming future.