Amar Akbar Anthony
Amar Akbar Anthony is a 1977 Indian action comedy film, directed and produced by Manmohan Desai. 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|
|Directed by||Manmohan Desai|
|Produced by||Manmohan Desai|
|Written by||Kader Khan (dialogue)
K.K. Shukla (scenario)
|Screenplay by||Prayag Raj|
|Story by||Jeevanprabha M. Desai
Pushpa Sharma (story idea)
Anand Bakshi (lyrics)
|Edited by||Kamlakar Karkhanis|
|27 May 1977|
|Box office||₹155 million|
The soundtrack album was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and the lyrics were written by Anand Bakshi. The film was released on 27 May 1977. It earned ₹155 million in India and became the highest-grossing Indian film of the year.
The film about religious tolerance became a landmark in Bollywood masala films. It also had a lasting impact of the 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) 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 recues 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 criminal 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.
- Vinod Khanna as Inspector Amar Khanna
- Rishi Kapoor as Akbar Illhabadi/Raju
- Amitabh Bachchan as Anthony Gonsalves
- Shabana Azmi as Lakshmi
- Neetu Singh as Dr. Salma Taiyyab Ali
- Parveen Babi as Jennie
- Pran as Kishenlal
- Nirupa Roy as Bharati
- Jeevan as Albert & Robert
- Mukri as Taiyyab Ali
- Nazir Hussain as the Catholic priest
- Ranjeet as Ranjeet
- Helen as Helen
- Kamal Kapoor as Police Superintendent
- Prathima Devi as Laxmi's Grandmother
Prayag Raaj wrote the film's screenplay, with Kader Khan writing the dialogues. 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," This was in part taken from 1878 speech by British politician Benjamin Disraeli, who made it while referring to another politician, W. E. Gladstone. 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.
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.
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. Some of the crucial scenes were shot at Mount Mary Church in Bandra, Mumbai. 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. 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. Andrew Dickson opined that the film featured a plot which would "give even Shakespeare migraines".
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. The final dance number, "Honi Ko Anhoni Karde", which leads to films' climatic 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. According to Kush Varia, the film started as a tragedy but later incorporated many other genres.
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. The film had a strong element of secularism. Vijay Mishra opined that the film reaffirmed India's "liberal ethos."
|Amar Akbar Anthony|
|Soundtrack album by Laxmikant-Pyarelal|
|Released||7 January 1977|
|Genre||Feature Film Soundtrack|
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. The film also features a comical qawwali, "Parda Hai" (There is Veil) sung by Mohammed Rafi. 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. The vinyl record was released on Polydor and was the first coloured LP: It was pink.
|1.||"Ye Sach Hai Koi Kahani Nahin"||Mohammad Rafi||02:22|
|2.||"Amar Akbar Anthony"||Shailendra Singh, Mahendra Kapoor, Kishore Kumar||05:52|
|3.||"Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar"||Mohammad Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar||07:33|
|4.||"Taiyabali Pyar Ka Dushman"||Mohammad Rafi||04:40|
|5.||"Pardah Hai Pardah"||Mohammad Rafi||07:59|
|6.||"Shirdi Wale Sai Baba"||Mohammad Rafi||05:52|
|7.||"My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves"||Amitabh Bachchan, Kishore Kumar||05:32|
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. Incidentally, all of them were amongst the top-grossing films of the year.
For the films marketing, erasers with the photographs of Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, were sold among students. 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.
It grossed ₹155 million (equivalent to ₹3.1 billion or US$47 million in 2017) 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. It is regarded as one the best films of Indian cinema.
Dinesh Raheja of Rediff.com 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."
- 1977(25th) Filmfare Awards
- Best Actor: Amitabh Bachchan
- Best Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal
- Best Editing: Kamlakar Karkhanis
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Movie Award
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Director: Manmohan Desai
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Lyricist: Anand Bakshi for the song "Parda Hai Parda"
- Filmfare Nomination for Best Male Playback Singer: Mohammed Rafi for the song "Parda Hai Parda"
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