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Tuesday, 21 July 2015

Triangle A (Amar Akbar Anthony)

I am not too fond of Manmohan Desai films. Neither do I like Amitabh Bachchan in them. Oh yes! I really don't. The films are loud, hardly have good music, except for a feet-tapping song or two in passing and Amitabh was so in-your-face in them. The other day, I got rebuked by a dear friend for ridiculing the 'Mirror scene' in Amar Akbar Anthony which I'm told that no one else but Amitabh could have pulled off. May be. But I did not find it funny at all! And, I don't like him in these 'dhishoom dhishoom' films. I'd much rather watch him as the egoistic husband in Abhimaan, a scheming jaggery-seller in Saudagar, or the revenging husband in Ajnabi. Those are my kind of films. And I certainly like Amitabh in them.

Manmohan Desai films have all the ingredients to make a good potboiler. Amar Akbar Anthony, a hugely successful film of 1977, too is no exception. Happy but ill-trodden family meets with some bad luck and all the members are separated. While the eldest son is adopted by a Hindu, the youngest by a Muslim tailor and the middle son grows up as a quasi-scamp under the loving shelter of a priest. So, here the director brings in the thread of religious harmony as well. While, all three brothers are Hindus, they grow up accepting themselves to be from some other religion and interestingly, keep crossing each others path from time to time, without ever having any tiff based on the sensitive ground of communal togetherness. In fact, Anthony is extremely fond of Akbar and takes it upon himself to see that Akbar is united with his sweetheart, Salma (Neetu Singh). He doesn;t miss the qawwali function where Akbar (Rishi Kapoor) sings and professes his love for the pretty Salma and even teaches Salma's mean father (Mukri) a
lesson or two.
The competition here is not between the Hindu and the Muslim. Rather the Christian is pitted against the Hindu in a scene where I daresay Vinod Khanna (Amar) beats the pulp out of Amitabh (Anthony), literally and in terms of performance. I'd much rather prefer the tall and handsome, dutiful yet reticent Vinod Khanna than the blabbermouth Amitabh. At the risk of sounding childish, Vinod has the perfect height too. Amitabh is too tall. Anyways, we are delving too much on Amitabh-bashing here!
I don't think there is anyone who hasn't seen this 1977 film that brought a huge starcast together (Hence, no point discussing the story here). It also had the immensely talented Pran who plays Kishanlal, the father of the three brothers, and Jeevan (Robert), one of my favourite villains, because he simply wicked. Not just the heroes, the girls too were great. You had the slim and sexy Parveen Babi gallivanting with Amitabh as Jenny. And you come to the funny song, My name is Anthony Gonsalves, composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal and sung by Kishore Kumar. While this can still pass muster, I certainly don't like Humko tumse ho gaya hain pyar, it's completely lacklustre, though it's pleasing to see the gruff policewala melting in the pots of love. His pairing with Laxmi (Shabana Azmi) is different. Perhaps they were setting the grounds for their future film Shaque, a film that everyone must see, not just for these two talented actors, but for Utpal Dutt. He was a scene-stealer there.
The title track is pretty anthem-ish but I guess in those times films demanded a song that celebrated
the heroic trio who were stuck in the villain's den and were trying to rescue their darlings and future. There are some improbable songs as well. Like the Sai Baba track where Bharati (Nirupa Roy) regains her eye-sight.
However, the best two tracks are saved for the uber-cute and effortless Rishi Kapoor. Frankly, I find him the best thing in Amar Akbar Anthony. He doesn't even have try. He just slips in to a romantic and naughty avatar so smoothly. He's fair, dishy and has a Romeo-esque air about him without even moving a muscle. He dances like a dream, is nimble and has the most lovable eyes. I'm not too fond of facial hair, but this guy even makes that thing moustache look yum. He's driving Tayyab Ali pyar ka dushman hai hai and everyone is having a gala laughathon watching it. The best, and most flamboyant song is also saved for this qawwal. The music directors certainly were thinking right when they chose Mohd Rafi to sing Parda hain parda, a song that is popular even today. The way it is sung is incredible, but the way it is acted out also needs to be lauded. Rishi Kapoor is so darned confident about his antics. I just watching him. It's just great genes I must say!!
Salma's father crazy with
Amar Akbar Anthony strings plenty of incidents together, some of which might not be credible, but the final product is definitely a crowd-pleaser. You don't really have to invest your brains. There are some silly comic scenes, plenty of fisticuffs, crazy subplots and all. But then, if you really are in love with the Manmohan batch of films, this one perhaps is the best one out of that potboiler factory. 


  1. :( You don't like AB? You don't like the mirror scene? You don't like MD's brand of masala?

    I hereby revoke your Hindi fillum lover card.


    1. @Anu: hahaha sorry. I don't like AB in certain films. MD's brand of masala not digestible at times. No I don't like the mirror scene!! :(

  2. I loved Rishi Kapoor in AAA too! :-) (By the way, I remember hearing a delightful tidbit once about how Desai approached him for the role - by phoning him while he (Rishi) was shooting somewhere in Rajasthan, The phone connection was bad, so Rishi Kapoor heard only snatches of what Desai was saying, and came to the conclusion that he was going to make a film about Amar Singh Rathore, the Mughal Emperor Akbar, and Marc Anthony! Rishi couldn't figure out how that was going to happen, but agreed, gamely enough).

    I must watch Shaque. Haven't ever seen it - and I do like Vinod Khanna a lot!

    1. Haha nice one! Yes see Shaque! One of a kind I must tell u!

  3. I feel Amitabh does more justice to a role which has negative shades. He has the eyes of a villain. I am looking forward to the review of Saudagar!

  4. I feel Amitabh does more justice to a role which has negative shades. He has the eyes of a villain. I am looking forward to the review of Saudagar!

  5. acc to me amitabh movies apart from he did with mukherjee, basu da ,desai and maximum chopra all are commercial pot boilers unwatchable today. hoped he would have helped the industry to raise standard like shahsi ji did.

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