Born On: August 9, 1933
Born In: Ajmer, Rajasthan
Died On: March 30, 2006
Career: Hindi Writer, Journalist, Scriptwriter
'The Father of Soap Operas' was the title bestowed on Manohar Shyam Joshi for his pioneering work in this field. Manohar enjoyed a reputation for creating works of value that managed to influence entire generations. His first creation was 'Humlog' that instantly became a huge success due to its ability to draw the attention of Indian households. Apart from television, he was also noted for his novels and political satires. His works were written in modern Hindi which made him one of the first authors of modern literature. If at all you said Manohar Shyam Joshi was versatile you would only be saying too less! He tried his hand at journalism, broadcasting and print media editing for local newspapers. The Prime Minister of India, Manmohan Singh, once called him 'one of the most influential writers and commentators in Hindi''.
Manohar Shyam Joshi led an extremely private life and not much is known of his early days. He was born in Rajasthan to a Kumaoni Brahmin family from the Almora district in Uttarkhand. His father was a noted educationist and musicologist.
He started his career of writing dialogues for shows in 1982, with serials such as 'Humlog', that were targeted at middle-class Indians who could easily identify with the situations presented in the show. After tasting success, Joshi created the famous 'Buniyad' between 1987 and 1988 which was directed by veteran director, Ramesh Sippy. Again, this turned out to be a hugely popular show, mostly because it dealt with the Partition of India and the conditions prevalent in 1947. Following this, he scripted a few more shows such as 'Hamrahi' and 'Zameen Aasmaan'.
Next, Joshi turned to conceptualizing and penning down novels. His topics ranged from love to political issues in the form of sharp and funny satires. 'Kasap' written during this period was considered one of the greatest love stories of all times. Satires like 'Netaji Kahin' were inscribed on paper to garner the attention of the people and the problems in the politics. Manohar Joshi was also instrumental with his works in cult novels like 'Kuru Kuru Swaahaa'.
Films were Joshi's forte and he loved exploring various genres such as comedy, romance and satire. Not many people know this about him but he was a dubbing expert as well! His dubbings include mainstream movies like 'Hey Ram', 'Appu Raja', 'Papa Kehte Hain' and 'Brastachar'.
The last part of Joshi's career orbited around journalism where he did exceptionally well. Being a part of the All India Radio and the Films Division in Mumbai had given him immense exposure to both broadcast and print media. Here, he wrote scripts for many documentaries. Not long after this, he interviewed the masses and added the outcome into the 'Sarika' magazine. A Hindi news magazine 'Dinmaan' was released by the Times Group with Joshi as the assistant editor. Several projects came to him after this stint. He played another editing role in 'Saptahik Hindustan', 'English Weekend Review' and even the prestigious 'Morning Echo' which was brought out by the Hindustan Times. He wrote for Outlook India's column 'Outlook Saptahik'. In the field of journalism, Joshi was known to experiment with different subjects like politics, science and even travel journals.
'Kasap' was Joshi's biggest literary publication and made for one of the greatest love stories of all time. A political drama called 'Netaji Kahin' was so popular with other authors that it was converted into a TV series called 'Kakkaji Kahin'. He had also written short stories, namely 'Prabhu Tum Kaise Kissago' and 'Mandir Ghaat Ki Pauriyaan'. As part of his success, his story 'Hariya Hercules Ki Hairani' was translated into 'The Perplexity of Haria Hercules' by Robert Hueckstedt while 'Kuru Kuru Swaahaa' turned out to be a famous cult novel. Joshi also noted his memoirs from his college days into a book called 'Lucknow Mera Lucknow'. Before his death, he wrote 'Vadhasthal' and 'Kapeeshji' with the former being about the killings in Cambodia and the latter based on the evolution of a self-made God-man.
'Humlog' in 1982 was the first and best impression that Joshi left on the small screen. In the year 1987, he helped in the making of 'Buniyaad' by crafting some beautiful dialogues. Other serials he contributed to include 'Kakaji Kahin', 'Mungeri Lal Ke Haseen Sapne', 'Hamrahi', 'Zameen Aasman' and 'Gatha'.
Once Joshi stepped into the world of movies, there was no turning back for him. He started with a screenplay in 'Bhrastachar' in the late 1980's and then moved on to script writing. 'Hey Ram', 'Papa Kehte Hain' and 'Appu Raja' serve as examples for the kind of work Shyam Joshi produced.
It is said that Manohar Shyam Joshi died a sudden death owing to acute respiratory failure at the age of 79. He breathed his last in New Delhi on 30th March 2006. His demise shocked the entire film fraternity and myriad Hindi authors who were inspired by him. He was cremated at the Nigambodh Ghat.
Awards And Accolades
Manohar Shyam Joshi, during his lifetime, was no stranger to awards. He was honoured with the MP Sahitya Parishad Samman Award, Shard Joshi Samman Award, Shikhar Award, Delhi Hindi Academy Award, Onida and Uptron Award for TV Writing and, just before his death, the Sahitya Akademi Award for 'Kyap' in 2005.
1933: Born in Ajmer.
1982: Started his career with 'Humlog', India's first soap opera.
1987: Continued with 'Buniyaad', a television show about the Partition of India.
1997: 'Gatha', his last small screen attempt.
2000: Penned dialogues for the movie 'Hey Ram'.
2005: Won the prestigious Sahitya Award for his book, 'Kyap'
2006: Died on 30th March at the age of 73.