Listening to: Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)

Amar Akbar AnthonyClichés? No worries! The film provides Bollywood’s version of secular harmony, coincidences after coincidences with impossible odds,  tight shirts in myriad colours,  obviously staged fights in which opponents have time to make conversation, decorative ladies, disguises galore, miraculous cures  and an evil villain who even has a good twin! How could anyone not like it?

The storyline itself is a huge Bollywood cliché. A family is separated by evil machinations, poverty and bad luck. Three brothers are brought up following three religions. The evil man continues in his evil ways and even the good father seems to have become part evil – but then he is Pran, so what do you expect? There are three pretty ladies who look decoratively helpless on demand. But it all resolves itself after many unbelievable plot ploys with more holes than Swiss cheese! The pace of the film is brisk and there is never a dull moment.

Rishi and Neetu make a handsome young couple and they play their parts with ease. Vinod and Shabana make a rather mismatched couple. Vinod is good as a police officer but Shabana…I prefer her in her serious roles.  Amitabh has great comic timing and for his fans, there is even a dialogue with God! Parveen I am not a fan off but she looks quite beautiful and they make a good pair. Jeevan and Pran have undemanding and clichéd roles. Amitabh has the most screen time amongst the leads and he does a good job.

Watch this film with suspended judgement and a healthy sense of humour and you’ll have great fun!

The music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal has some numbers which made the charts at the time of release. It doesn’t really stand the test of time but provides good nostalgia value. Lyrics by Anand Bakshi are adequate.

  • Khoon Khoon Hota Hai – Mohammad Rafi. Pedestrian. Sad smile
  • Pardah Hai Pardah – Mohammad Rafi. This very well-known  Qawwali deserves its success. Rishi and Neetu glow with youth and Rafi is very good even though he is past his best phase. Open-mouthed smile
  •  My Name is Anthony – Kishore Kumar. This fun song became very famous with Kishore’s voice suiting Amitabh’s comic timing and long-limbed prancing. A song to make you smile. Smile
  • Hum Ko Tum Se – Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad, Mukesh. A melodious song which is still very enjoyable. I like that it has three of the great male voices of that era singing the same song.Open-mouthed smile
  • Taiyabali Pyar Ka Dushman – Mohammad Rafi. Don’t remember this song and won’t in the future. Sad smile
  • Shirdi Wale Sai Baba – Mohammad Rafi. A song which used to be run often in the radio, it seems ordinary now. I am normally much attracted to Qawwalis but not this one. Disappointed smile
  • Amar Akbar Anthony – Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Shailendra Singh. Familiarity made me listen to the song with pleasure rather than it’s musicality. Smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

In honour of three great male singers of Bollywood, and to see all the leads on screen, here is Hum Ko Tum Se.

9 Comments

Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh

9 responses to “Listening to: Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)

  1. Srinivas Bhogle

    I liked “decoratively helpless”. And Neetu was splendidly natural.

  2. Srinivas Bhogle

    There’s a story about parda hai parda that may interest. In the original recording it is always Rafi (Rishi) singing: to Akbar MERA naam nahin. But weeks before the film’s release, they got Kishore (Amitabh) to ‘over dub’: to Akbar TERA naam nahin because of the song’s picturization. Rafi was apparently hurt but said nothing. He was an outcaste those days; only his Punjab connection with Pyarelal got him decent songs at least in LP films.

    • That’s an interesting story. I am sorry to hear of him hurt and sad – I hope he knew that though the average public has short memories, there are many of us who have very long ones and remain appreciative of his tremendous contribition to Hindi cinema music.

    • Dhananjay

      Bhogli ji, are you sure it’s Kishor’s voice for Amitabh? To me, it sounds like Mahendra Kapoor. Even I was looking for this info but couldn’t get it. Could you reconfirm for all the fans?

      • Hey Guys nice to see that most of us are interested in that voice behind AKBAR TERA NAAM NAHI(Amitabh). I strongly believe that its the voice of great Shailender Singh ji. People always got confused with his voice as Kishor and Mukesh ji…Please correct me if I am wrong… Thanks

  3. Filmbuff

    AAA is an iconic movie for its sheer entertainment. MD’s masala flicks were famous for its cliches and songs. Have you seen Chacha Bhatija?

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