The list of 70 Indians who changed India in last 70 years.
Here, I will be talking about 5 individuals in each post, coming on every Tuesday and Friday till Gandhi Jayanthi. This is my first set of Indian from 66th to 70th place.
As mentioned earlier, the ratings are my perceptions after reading and understanding them.
- Basu Chatterjee – Right at the bottom at the 70th position I will keep Basu Chatterjee because of “Shaukeens”. This movie cuts across generations and the humor it presents became a copy book for many subsequent filmmakers. Basu Chatterjee was the master of the middle of the road cinema who provided entertainment to lakhs of 70s and 80s middle class who liked serious cinema. My favorites are Choti si baat and Chameli ki shaadi. Both the films if you watch it with heart, will tell you why I put him in the list of 70 people who changed India. At 87 Basu Chatterjee leads a quiet retired life.
- Shyam Benegal – If Basu Chatterjee is known for his humor Shyam Benegal is known for his seriousness and sincerity in presenting the realities. How can one forget Artha Satya or a Manthan or Zubeidaa! 3 films which are women centric and talk about freedom of women and her self-expression. Manthan is based loosely on the White revolution in Gujarat that led to birth of the iconic brand AMUL. Benegal is also known in the world of TV for his iconic presentation of “Bharat ek khoj” which is based on Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru’s Discovery of India. I place him at 69 for the seriousness and sincerity that he displayed in tackling the social issues especially in 70s and 80s.
- Hrishikesh Mukherjee – Another film maker from 70s. No, am not going a review only on film makers but it’s just a coincidence. Plus, it’s impossible to separate these 3 as they belonged to the same era and are equally popular and regarded for their work. I am placing Hrishi da above Benegal and Basu da only for the popularity. Everyone today associated Hrishikesh Mukherjee to “Anand” and his babumoshai dialogue. He is a parallel cinema film maker who is known for casting stars in his films, something which the other two were unable to do. He was instrumental in launching the famous Jaya Bachchan through Guddi and most of his movies starred icons of cinema like Amitabh Bachchan, Rajesh Khanna, Dharmendra, Anil Kapoor etc. How can one forget the evergreen “Golmaal” or Bawarchi” or “Abhimaan” or “Chupke chupke” Hrishikesh Mukherjee will remain popular for his sensitivity and humor nicely interwoven in his real life, down to earth character!
- Medha Patkar – Moving away from filmmakers, we enter the world of social activists. Known for her Narmada Bachao Aandolan, Medha Patkar became a household name and a person to look up to. She graduated from Tata Institute of Social Science, Mumbai she worked tirelessly for the upliftment of weaker sections of the society. Medha patkar was considered as the voice of millions of underprivileged. She is a well-known name in the world of Environment and she was involved in every movement associated with protection of environment. They include the protests in Singur against the setting up of Nano plant by Tata Motors or the Lavasa project in Western Ghats that poses a big threat to the fragile eco system there. Inspired by the work of Anna Hazare and Arvind Kejriwal she joined Aam Aadmi party in 2013 and contested from Mumbai and lost. She quit AAP in 2015 and went back to her social work. Her work keeps her at 67th place. A truly inspiring Indian.
- Rajiv Gandhi – When he became the Youngest Prime minister of India in 1985 at the age of 41, he was a youth icon. He gave a hope that young India badly needed at that time. With keen interest in technology and urge to change the country and politics, everything he did was widely discussed and debated. He was the PM for just 5 years but these 5 years have laid a solid foundation for India. He was the one who brought Telecom and Pharma revolution in India and saw them as sunrise sectors. Rajiv Gandhi is also credited with introducing IT education in India by allowing companies like NIIT and Aptech to set up franchises. Today the strides that India made in IT sector of biotech sector, the credit goes to Rajiv Gandhi. He was able to suppress the Khalistan movement completely and brought peace to Punjab. Rajiv Gandhi did a lot to reduce the insurgency in North eastern states, especially in Assam. He sent a peacekeeping force to Sri Lanka to fight LTTE. 5 eventful years also marred with controversies like Bofors, which became a huge scandal and led to his defeat in 1989 elections. His decision to oppose LTTE proved fatal with his assassination in 1991 by suicide bomber from LTTE. He was just 47 when he was assassinated, that is one-year younger than his son Rahul Gandhi!