Open main menu

Amar Akbar Anthony is a 1977 Indian action comedy film, directed and produced by Manmohan Desai, and written by Kader Khan. The film stars Vinod Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor opposite Shabana Azmi, Parveen Babi and Neetu Singh in the lead roles. The plot focuses on three brothers who are separated in childhood and adopted by three families of different faiths—Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. One grows up to be a policeman, another a singer, and the third the owner of a country liquor bar.

Amar Akbar Anthony
Amar Akbar Anthony 1977 film poster.jpg
Theatrical poster
Directed byManmohan Desai
Produced byManmohan Desai
Written byKader Khan (dialogue)
K.K. Shukla (scenario)
Screenplay byPrayag Raj
Story byJeevanprabha M. Desai
Pushpa Sharma (story idea)
StarringVinod Khanna
Amitabh Bachchan
Rishi Kapoor
Neetu Singh
Parveen Babi
Shabana Azmi
Nirupa Roy
Music byLaxmikant-Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi (lyrics)
CinematographyPeter Pereira
Edited byKamlakar Karkhanis
Release date
  • 27 May 1977 (1977-05-27)
Running time
175 mins
Box officeest. 15.5 crore
(est. 330 crore as of 2018) [1]

The soundtrack album was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and the lyrics were written by Anand Bakshi. The film had been released on 27 May 1977, in which it earned 155 million in India, and became the highest-grossing Indian film of that year, alongside Dharam Veer and Hum Kisise Kum Naheen.

The film about religious tolerance became a landmark for Bollywood masala films,[2] building on the masala formula pioneered several years earlier with Nasir Hussain's Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973).[3][4] Amar Akbar Anthony also had a lasting impact on pop culture, with its catchy songs, one-liners and the character of Anthony Gonsalves played by Amitabh Bachchan. It won several awards at 25th Filmfare Awards including Best Actor, Best Music Director and Best Editing. It was later remade in Tamil as Shankar Salim Simon (1978), in Telugu as Ram Robert Rahim (1980)[5] and in Malayalam as John Jaffer Janardhanan (1982).



Kishenlal, a chauffeur, is released from prison after serving the sentence for a fatal hit-and-run accident committed by his employer, the notorious crime boss Robert. Despite Robert's assurance that his family's welfare will be looked after, Kishenlal finds his wife Bharati suffering from tuberculosis and his three sons starving. He seeks help from Robert, who instead humiliates Kishenlal and orders his henchmen to kill him. Kishenlal inadvertently escapes in a car loaded with smuggled gold bullion, given chase by Robert's henchmen.

Kishenlal returns home but finds his sons abandoned by his wife, who had left a suicide note. On 15 August, he leaves his sons in a public park at the foot of Mahatma Gandhi's statue to draw off the pursuing henchmen. In an ensuing car crash, Kishenlal is presumed dead by the police but survives. Before his return, his three sons are found and adopted by a Hindu policeman, a Muslim tailor and a Christian priest respectively. Bharati, who attempts suicide, is instead struck by a falling branch and loses her eyesight.

Years later, the eldest son is a policeman named Amar Khanna, the middle-born a liquor dealer named Anthony Gonsalves and the youngest is a qawwali singer named Akbar Ilahabadi, in love with a young doctor, Salma Ali. The three meet when they donate blood for a hit-and-run victim, unaware that they are related and that the recipient is their biological mother Bharati, who is currently a flower-seller. Akbar is initially viewed scornfully by Salma's father Tayyaib Ali but later gives his blessings after Akbar rescues them from a house fire. Amar falls in love with a one-time crook named Lakshmi, taking her and her grandmother to his home after arresting her abusive stepmother. Anthony falls in love with Jennie, an Anglo-Indian who had returned from London, after meeting her at a church sermon.

In the meantime, Kishenlal created his own crime syndicate from smuggled gold, destroyed Robert's business and forced him to work for Kishenlal. Kishenlal had also taken in Robert's daughter, revealed to be Jennie, as his niece before sending her to school in Europe. Robert manages to escape with another shipment of gold bullion, regaining his former position and becomes Kishenlal's rival. He is determined to retrieve Jennie, who had returned to India, for himself.

Bharati miraculously regains her eyesight at a festival in honor of Sai Baba of Shirdi, hosted by Akbar. She recognizes him as her youngest son, Raju. Kishenlal is double-crossed by one of his bodyguards Zebisco, who betrays Jennie to Robert in exchange for her hand in marriage. Jennie is kidnapped, resulting in Anthony's adoptive father's death by Robert when the priest tries to stop him. Lakshmi is also kidnapped by her abusive brother Ranjeet, working for Robert. In their pursuit of justice against Robert, the brothers discover their mutual heritage with each other along with Kishenlal and Bharati, reuniting the family once again.

Amar, Akbar, and Anthony pose as a one-man band, an elderly tailor and a Catholic priest respectively, and infiltrate Robert's mansion along with Salma. Salma rescues Jennie and Lakshmi, while Robert and his henchmen are beaten up by the brothers and later arrested. Due to his past crimes, Kishenlal is sentenced to prison. He comforts Bharati by telling her that their sons are reunited, which is the only thing that matters. Kishenlal is allowed to share a brief heartfelt hug with his sons. The three brothers and their loved ones ride happily into the sunset.



"You see the whole country of the system is juxtapositioned by the haemoglobin in the atmosphere, because you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated with the exuberance of your own verbosity."

- Anthony Gonsalves[6]


Prayag Raaj wrote the film's screenplay, with Kader Khan writing the dialogues.[7] In a famous sequence, Anthony Gonsalves' jumps out of a large easter egg, wearing a black tuxedo complete with a top hat, monocle and umbrella. He speaks one of the most famous nonsensical dialogues in a mock accent, "you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated with the exuberance of your own verbosity,"[6] This was in part taken from 1878 speech by British politician Benjamin Disraeli, who made it while referring to another politician, W. E. Gladstone.[8] The character Anthony Gonsalves played by Amitabh Bachchan was named after noted music arranger by the same name, whose pupils included R D Burman and Pyarelal of Laxmikant-Pyarelal, the composer duo of the film.[8][9]


The film was scheduled in such a way that the entire cast, which included the leading stars of time, didn't have to shoot together, except for the climax sequence and the title song, "Anhony Ko Honi", where they all performed together. It was shot over a period of a month at Ranjit Studios in Mumbai. However, the shooting went beyond this period, so Rishi Kapoor and Shabana Azmi had to leave towards the end for other films, hence their scenes were shot separately.[7]

The film's "mirror band-aid" scene was shot while director Manmohan Desai was absent. When Amitabh Bachchan was rehearsing the scene, Desai was committed to shooting the climax of Parvarish in another part of the same studio. He returned to find the scene shot.[8] Some of the crucial church external scenes were shot at Mount Mary Church in Bandra, while church internals are of Don Bosco Church Matunga Mumbai.[10] Amar Akbar Anthony was Desai's first film as an independent film producer.


Philip Lutgendorf from the University of Iowa hints that the separation of the three children on 15 August is akin to the partition of India.[11] Analysts such as Philp Lutgendorf, Jyotika Virdi, Anandam P. Kavoori and Aswin Punathambekar opined that Desai's "magnum opus" extends religious pluralism, secular nationalism and also clear secularism motifs albeit complete with Bollywood masala. Their reunion in the end, completes the nationalistic allegory.[12][13] Andrew Dickson opined that the film featured a plot which would "give even Shakespeare migraines".[14]

In a crucial scene on the opening titles appear, three brothers of different religions, unknowingly donated blood to a blind woman, who is their mother, and are all united in the end, suggesting what was lost at independence, can be gained.[15] The final dance number, "Honi Ko Anhoni Karde", which leads to the film's climactic sequence, shows a masquerade song with the entire cast at villain's den. It highlighting that three religions are "pillars of the nation" and when they work together, they can beat any evil, their common villain in this case.[16] According to Kush Varia, the film started as a tragedy but later incorporated many other genres.[17]

The stereotype of suffering and self-sacrificing mother is also highlighted by some authors, played by actress Nirupa Roy, who regularly played such roles during the period. However, in her self-sacrificing streak, when she is afflicted to tuberculosis, she tries to commit suicide so that she doesn't become a burden to her family. However, this transgression of attempting to abandon her three young sons calls for a suitable punishment in the narrative and she loses her eyesight.[18] The film had a strong element of secularism.[19] Vijay Mishra opined that the film reaffirmed India's "liberal ethos."[20]


Amar Akbar Anthony
Soundtrack album by
Released7 January 1977
GenreFeature Film Soundtrack
LabelUniversal Music
ProducerManmohan Desai

The soundtrack was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, and the lyrics were penned by the veteran Anand Bakshi. The soundtrack of the film proved as popular and successful as the film itself. The vocals of the songs again have been given by some of the biggest names in the Indian music industry: Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Mahendra Kapoor, Shailendra Singh, Lata Mangeshkar, Amitabh Bachchan and Kishore Kumar (sang in the song "My Name is Anthony Gonsalves"). For the song, "Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai" four leading playback singers, Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar sang together for the first and only occasion.[8] The film also features a comical qawwali, "Parda Hai" (There is Veil) sung by Mohammed Rafi.[21] Desai had originally settled for the name "Anthony Fernandes" for Christian character to be played Amitabh Bachchan, though when he met lyricist Anand Bakshi, and the song "My name is Anthony Fernandes" was written, it didn't go well with music directors, Laxmikant-Pyarelal. That is when composer, Pyarelal recalling his violin teacher, composer Anthony Gonsalves, suggested an alternative Anthony Gonsalves, which was finalised.[8][22] The vinyl record was released on Polydor and was the first coloured LP: It was pink.

Original tracklist[23]
1."Ye Sach Hai Koi Kahani Nahin"Mohammad Rafi02:22
2."Amar Akbar Anthony"Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor & Shailendra Singh05:52
3."Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar"Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar07:33
4."Taiyabali Pyar Ka Dushman"Mohammad Rafi04:40
5."Parda Hai Parda"Mohammad Rafi07:59
6."Shirdi Wale Sai Baba"Mohammad Rafi05:52
7."My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves"Amitabh Bachchan, Kishore Kumar05:32


The Emergency period declared in 1975, delayed the release of Desai's films, as a result in 1977, when Emergency was lifted, four of films, were released in the same year, this included, Dharam Veer, Chacha Bhatija, Parvarish and Amar Akbar Anthony.[24][25] Incidentally, all of them were amongst the top-grossing films of the year.[1]

For the films marketing, erasers with the photographs of Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, were sold among students.[26] Posters, postcards and song booklets of the film adorned the shops. Men started sporting a metal cross around their neck. Even colourful vests (worn by Amitabh Bachchan in the film) became a vogue.

Box officeEdit

It grossed 155 million (equivalent to 3.3 billion or US$47 million in 2018) at the box office, was declared a blockbuster, and subsequently became the highest grossing Bollywood film at the Indian Box Office for the year 1977.[1] It is regarded as one the best films of Indian cinema.[27]

Critical receptionEdit

Dinesh Raheja of concludes, "Ultimately, the show belongs to Amitabh Bachchan. In a tailor-made role, he has the audience in stitches. Despite his playing an implausible character, one quickly surrenders one's reservations in favour of a rollicking romp."[28]

Character Map of RemakesEdit

Lead rolesEdit

Actor Equivalent role in Malayalam Equivalent role in Hindi Actor Equivalent role in Telugu Actor Equivalent role in Tamil Actor
Ratheesh John Vincent Anthony Gonsalves Amitabh Bachchan Robert Krishna Simon Rajinikanth
Ravindran Jaffer Akbar Allhabadi Rishi Kapoor Rahim Chandramohan Salim Jai Ganesh
Mammootty Janardhanan Amar Khanna Vinod Khanna Ram Rajinikanth Shankar Vijayakumar


Award Category Recipients and Nominees Results
25th Filmfare Awards Best Actor Amitabh Bachchan Won
Best Music Director Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Best Editing Kamlakar Karkhanis
Best Film Amar Akbar Anthony Nominated
Best Director Manmohan Desai
Best Lyricist Anand Bakshi for "Parda Hai Parda"
Best Male Playback Singer Mohammed Rafi for "Parda Hai Parda"


  1. ^ a b c "Box Office 1977". Box Office India. Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  2. ^ Rachel Dwyer (2005). 100 Bollywood films. Lotus Collection, Roli Books. p. 14. ISBN 978-81-7436-433-3. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  3. ^ "Yaadon Ki Baaraat: Nasir Hussain's 1973 potboiler initiated Hindi cinema's transformation into 'Bollywood'". Firstpost. 2 November 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  4. ^ "Yaadon Ki Baaraat: The quintessential bollywood film". Daily News and Analysis. 8 January 2018. Retrieved 5 February 2019.
  5. ^ "Transcending language barrier". The Economic Times. 20 September 2008. Archived from the original on 8 October 2012. Retrieved 12 June 2012.
  6. ^ a b Michael Heyman; Sumanyu Satpathy; Anushka Ravishankar (2007). The Tenth Rasa: An Anthology of Indian Nonsense. Penguin Books India. pp. 133–. ISBN 978-0-14-310086-7. Archived from the original on 7 January 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  7. ^ a b "Amar Akbar Anthony". Livemint. 3 August 2013. Archived from the original on 6 August 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  8. ^ a b c d e Gitanjali Roy (8 May 2013). "10 things you didn't know about Amar Akbar Anthony". NDTV Movies. Archived from the original on 15 July 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013.
  9. ^ Booth, p. 3
  10. ^ Helio San Miguel (2012). Mumbai. Intellect Books. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-1-84150-632-6. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  11. ^ "Amar Akbar Anthony". Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  12. ^ Jyotika Virdi (2003). The Cinematic ImagiNation: Indian Popular Films as Social History. Rutgers University Press. pp. 36–. ISBN 978-0-8135-3191-5. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  13. ^ Anandam P. Kavoori; Aswin Punathambekar (2008). Global Bollywood. NYU Press. pp. 128–. ISBN 978-0-8147-2944-1. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  14. ^ "Worlds Elsewhere: Journeys Around Shakespeare's Globe - Andrew Dickson - ßĘČ Google". Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  15. ^ Martha P. Nochimson (23 September 2011). World on Film: An Introduction. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 266–. ISBN 978-1-4443-5833-9. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  16. ^ Th Damsteegt (2003). Heroes and Heritage: The Protagonist in Indian Literature and Film. Amsterdam University Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-90-5789-090-1. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018.
  17. ^ "Bollywood: Gods, Glamour, and Gossip - Kush Varia - Google Books". 15 May 2012. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018 – via Google Books.
  18. ^ Carol Appadurai Breckenridge (1995). Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in a South Asian World. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 166–. ISBN 978-0-8166-2305-1. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  19. ^ "Muslims in the Movies: The Good, the Bad, and the Khilji". The Quint. Archived from the original on 2 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  20. ^ "Bollywood Cinema: Temples of Desire - Vijay Mishra - Google Books". 21 August 2013. Archived from the original on 5 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018 – via Google Books.
  21. ^ Anna Morcom (1 January 2007). Hindi Film Songs and the Cinema. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 82–. ISBN 978-0-7546-5198-7. Archived from the original on 20 July 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  22. ^ Booth, p. 5
  23. ^ "Amar Akbar Anthony (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) by Laxmikant - Pyarelal on Apple Music". iTunes Store. Archived from the original on 31 January 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  24. ^ "Amar-Akbar-Anthony". The New York Times. Archived from the original on 13 November 2007. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  25. ^ Tejaswini Ganti (5 March 2013). Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema. Routledge. pp. 223–. ISBN 978-0-415-58384-8. Archived from the original on 26 June 2014. Retrieved 6 August 2013.
  26. ^ Filmfare Tue, 10 June 2014 (10 June 2014). "100 Filmfare Days: 49- Amar Akbar Anthony". Archived from the original on 1 February 2018. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  27. ^ Livemint. "70 iconic films of Indian cinema". Livemint. Archived from the original on 26 October 2017. Retrieved 3 February 2018.
  28. ^ "Amar Akbar Anthony: Whoop-it-up fun!". Retrieved 3 February 2018.


External linksEdit