Clichés? 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Taiyabali Pyar Ka Dushman – Mohammad Rafi. Don’t remember this song and won’t in the future.
- 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.
- Amar Akbar Anthony – Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Shailendra Singh. Familiarity made me listen to the song with pleasure rather than it’s musicality.
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.
Who can resist a comeback film? Here was an actress who made only one super-hit picture when she was 16 and was coming back after 12 years to the industry, having been married, a mother of two children and divorced in this span of time. There was so much hype surrounding this reappearance that we were all impatiently awaiting its release. (Edit: My thanks to my friend who has pointed out that Saagar was not the comeback film, there were a couple of films in 1984 that Dimple acted in. But I have no recollection of them, nor, I think, do the general movie-watchers in India. Saagar remains the comeback in my mind).
The film did not disappoint. At 28, she looked more beautiful than she did at 16 and her life experiences made her a better actress. The male leads, Kamal Haasan and Rishi Kapoor, were both convincing in their roles. Dimple and Kamal Haasan went on to win Filmfare awards for their performance. There were some good performances by supporting actors too, Nadira, Hangal and Saeed Jaffrey in particular.
I was pleased to see that Sippy Films (the producers) now have a Youtube channel and have uploaded a number of their films. I settled down to re-watch the film after more than 25 years. Love triangles in films always makes me take sides (not necessarily at sync with the story!). Did you see Its Complicated and thought at the end ‘yeah Meryl, the better choice but he is so BORING!’? I did. Now here are three talented actors, all of whom I like individually. Who is going to make me take their side, I wondered..
My impressions :
Kamal Haasan’s performance was very good but I found his accent and intonation disturbing. I am a great fan of his older films in Tamil but dialogue is very much part of a film, and when that disturbs….
The older Kapoors were all blessed with a natural charm and screen presence. A good many of them were also cursed with a weight problem The two men are just a couple of years apart. While Kamaal looks young and athletic, Rishi is already starting to look podgy, poor fellow!
Is male bonding always over alcohol in Hindi films? I call in the name of good health for some Nimbu Paani bonding!
Again and again we see Hindi films showing the rich as horrid people and the poor as saints. I am so tired of it. For a change, can we not see lovely rich people and rather horrid poor people? Surely the law of averages would offer us a similar number of each type?
But as to taking sides, I found it difficult. Kamaal has some good dialogues : इनसान बनना सब के नसीब नहीं होता, कुछ लोगों को देवता बनना पड़ता है and यह प्यार नाकाम हुआ है, ख़त्म नहीं . Wah Wah Akhtar sahib!! But I hate how in Indian films with a love triangle, the guys try to ‘give’ the girl to each other as if she were a thing and her choice didn’t count. And anyway there was so much melodrama towards the end that I was annoyed with the lot of them and didn’t much care who got the girl!!
The music by R.D.Burman was good and the lyrics by Javed Akhtar was very nice in places.
– Asha Bhonsle, S.P.Balasubramaniam. A lively enough tune with Kamal and Dimple doing some nice steps. Much as I love SPB singing Tamil or Telugu songs, his Hindi accent bothers me….hmmmmm…..
Saagar Jaisi Aankhon Wali
– Kishore Kumar. I loved the song when I heard it first and I love it still.
Yoohin Gaate Raho
– S.P.Balasubramaniam and Kishore Kumar. Great opportunity to take sides. As far as I am concerned, Kishore outsang SPB and Kamaal outdanced Rishi! But the song doesn’t appeal that much to me.
– Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. Its a aaaaah moment when Kishore sings तू जो नहीं तो मेरा कोई नहीं है .. Kishore won the Filmfare award for this song.
Saagar Kinare (sad)
– Lata Mangeshkar. I do prefer the happy version. The cinematography in the dusk is simply lovely! The film won an award for cinematography too.
Jaane Do Na
– Asha Bhonsle, Shailendra Singh. Shailendra sounds good, pity his career went nowhere. The song..I can pass.
Sach Mere Yaar Hai
– S.P.Balasubramaniam. Not to my taste.
If you want to hear the whole album, click here.
My pick of the day is Saagar Kinare sung quite beautifully by Kishore and Lata. Enjoy!
I was in grade 8 then. It was art class. As usual, most of the class was not serious about my very favourite subject but I was paying attention to my work and enjoying myself nonetheless. Then I overheard the boys in the next table discussing Bobby, talking about Dimple in her bikini scene, considered bold at that time. Their comments got more and more salacious. Like a ‘good girl’ I behaved as if I heard nothing; that’s how I had been taught to behave. But inside I was upset and bewildered. I must say that I was very protected at home and quite young for my years. I didn’t know the term ‘objectification of women’ then. Even if I had known it, I would not have had the guts to turn and confront the boys.
That day left a mark in me. It was a growing up of sorts and not in a good way. Was this how all boys viewed girls? I was repulsed and became very wary of boys in general, never viewing them as friends but as some kind of danger. It got reinforced many times after that, the worst being when I went to university and had to put up with the treatment men gave young girls in crowded Delhi buses. It would be called molestation anywhere else in the world, in India it went by the misnomer ‘eve-teasing’ as if it were something to smile about. How did we come out of it without being psychologically crippled, I don’t know. Or maybe I am psychologically crippled, who knows!
Perhaps it was that memory which made me encourage my artistic teenaged son to join drawing classes with nude models. In answer to those teenaged boys all those years ago in one drawing class, my boy learnt to look at the female form with respect and with an artist’s eye in another drawing class.
But I digress. Bobby was just the same-ol’-same-ol’ love story – two youngsters in love against parental opposition. Shakespeare succeeded with Romeo & Juliet on that plot, so have many many other authors. Bobby was not a tragedy; the kids get their way. And we youngsters loved it. Especially because very unusually for Indian cinema of that time, the lead characters were actually teenagers. Rishi Kapoor & Dimple Kapadia were both natural actors and did justice to their debut film. We could actually identify with them. The movie succeeded also on the strength of its excellent music. Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s music was young, fresh and very catchy. You can listen to the album here.
Hum tum ek kamare mein bandh ho
– Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. The catchiest of them all, it was hummed by every self-respecting roadside romeo!
Main Shair to Nahin
– Shailendra Singh. The singer did an excellent job in this, his debut album. A lovely song with very meaningful lyrics.
Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai
– Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. Good duet.
Beshak Masjid Mandir Todo
– Narendra Chanchal. As I love ethnic sounds, this is very pleasing to my ears. Wonderful lyrics by the legendary Bulleh Shah (1680-1757) : ‘break temples and mosques if you wish, don’t break a heart filled with love for in it resides the beloved’
says he. The tune has the pathos needed to match the words.
Na Mango Sona Chandi
– Shailendra Singh, Manna Dey. Good song.
Jhoot Bolo Kauva Kate
– Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. Playful song with an energetic dance.
Akhiyon ko rehne do
– Lata Mangeshkar, Very beautifully sung song, it used to be my favourite track when the movie was released. I still like it but perhaps not my favourite.
– Lata Mangeshkar. A dance song to match Aruna Irani’s gyrations, it has a good beat and is well sung. Memorable because it was important to the story.
I was going to pick Jhoot Bole for the nice dance but my heart wasn’t in it – Bulleh Shah’s words pull my heartstrings as does Chanchal’s singing, so here is Beshak Masjid Mandir Todo.