Ramesh Sippy, director of ‘Andaz’, ‘Sita Aur Geeta’, ‘Sholay’, ‘Shakti’ and ‘Sagar’, one of the classic films of Hindi cinema, is celebrating his 79th birthday on 23rd Jan, 2023. Ramesh Sippy, son of veteran filmmaker GP Sippy of Hindi cinema, in this long conversation with prominant newspaper correspondant on his birthday, not only told interesting stories about the making of his hit films, but also narrated the incident when At the premiere of ‘Sholay’, Dilip Kumar sitting on the seat next to him was shocked to see the second reel that it should have been the climax of the film. The interview is a bit long but very interesting, let’s know the journey of Ramesh Sippy…
Ramesh ji, your date of birth is found on the internet as 23 January 1947, in this sense you should also have Amrit Mahotsav..
No, this information is not correct. I was born in Karachi in 1944. We came to Bombay in 1947 after partition. It took some time for dad (GP Sippy) to understand things and settle the family after coming here. After working here and there, he started working in building construction and in 1951 made his first film, ‘Saja’. The Mistry Brothers, ie Fali Mistry and Jal Mistry were the cameraman and director of that film. Devanand was the hero and half the heroine. And, it was on the sets of this film that I first encountered cinema.
When did you realize that you too were falling in love with cinema?
I was six-seven years old when I went to the sets of the film ‘Saja’. Before that I had no idea what a film is, what is a shooting? When I went to Mahalakshmi’s famous studio, the atmosphere there fascinated me. Started thinking what a world this is! Questions also arose but whom to ask, everyone is working there. Not even that if he is the son of a producer, someone should take care of him separately. All the wires would have been scattered here and there. There were no special arrangements for security then. Going to school was a priority in those days but its effect was that now whenever I got a chance, I used to run away with my father. Just watching, somewhere in the mind the cinema started playing.
And, did you do any preparation for the first time you faced the camera as a child artist?
Let me tell you this incident too. What happened was that day I was on the sets and the kid who was supposed to play the character was not able to do it properly. So it happened that find someone else. Actor Ranjan had a childhood role. There was a scene or say a shot. My dialogue was of two words, ‘Ammi Ammi’ and I had to go and hug Achala Sachdev who was playing the role of mother. But, I never felt the urge to act. Then another film was made, ‘Bhai Behan’. In that, I played the role of street goon Jaggu Dada. A ganji with colored stripes and a handkerchief with a knot around the neck. Had to wander on the road, had two or three scenes, so did it. But it never crossed my mind that I have to act. I used to find working behind the camera magical.
Author: Sangeeta Verma
Occupation: Indian film critic and reviewer
Education: Bachelor’s degree in English Literature, Masters in Mass Communication
Career: Sangeeta Verma started her career as a freelance writer and film critic and continuing it.