Open main menu

Wikipedia β

Amar Akbar Anthony (Hindi: अमर अकबर अन्थोनी) is a 1977 Indian action comedy film, produced and directed by Manmohan Desai, and written by Kader Khan. The film, which is based on the lost and found theme, is about three brothers separated from their parents and each other in childhood, and raised in three different faiths, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. They unite in their youth to fight a common villain. It was the biggest blockbuster of 1977,[1] and won several awards at 25th Filmfare Awards including Best Actor, Best Music Director and Best Editing.[2] Amar Akbar Anthony was Desai's first film as an independent film producer.[3]

Amar Akbar Anthony
Amar Akbar Anthony 1977 film poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Manmohan Desai
Produced by Manmohan Desai
Written by Kader Khan (dialogue)
Prayag Raj (screenplay)
K.K. Shukla (scenario)
Story by Jeevanprabha M. Desai (story)
Pushpa Sharma (story idea)
Starring Vinod Khanna
Amitabh Bachchan
Rishi Kapoor
Shabana Azmi
Neetu Singh
Parveen Babi
Nirupa Roy
Nazir Hussain
Music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi (lyrics)
Cinematography Peter Pereira
Edited by Kamlakar Karkhanis
Release date
May 27, 1977
Running time
175 mins
Country India
Language Hindi
Box office 155 million[1]

The film stars three actors: Amitabh Bachchan (as Anthony Gonsalves), Vinod Khanna (as Amar Khanna) and Rishi Kapoor (as Akbar Allahabadi). Each of the heroes had an affiliation with a heroine; these women were played by Parveen Babi, Shabana Azmi and Neetu Singh. Nirupa Roy, Pran and Jeevan played supporting roles. The music was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Kishore Kumar sang for Bachchan and Mohammed Rafi sang for Kapoor. The soundtrack was one of Mukesh's last soundtracks with Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Anand Bakshi was the lyricist.

The film about religious tolerance became a landmark in Bollywood masala films.[4] 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.[5][6] It was later remade in Tamil as Shankar Salim Simon (1978), in Telugu as Ram Robert Rahim (1980)[7] and in Malayalam as John Jaffer Janardhanan (1982).[5]



A chaffeur named Kishanlal (Pran) takes the blame for a fatal hit-and-run accident committed by his employer, the notorious mob boss Robert (Jeevan), on the assurance that his family's income will be tripled and their welfare looked after. He returns from prison to find his wife Bharati (Nirupa Roy) suffering from tuberculosis and his three sons starving. Seeking help from Robert for the sake of his family, he is ridiculed, humiliated and repudiated, until he turns on Robert and tries to kill him. Making his escape, Kishanlal inadvertently takes a car containing a shipment of gold bullion. Robert's goons give chase as Robert wants the gold back.

Kishanlal goes home to rescue his family – only to find his wife's suicide note. Unknown to him, she fails and is struck blind. Kishanlal leaves his sons in a public park (at the foot of a statue of Gandhi) in order to draw off the pursuing goons to keep the boys away from harm. In the car chase that follows, he crashes and is presumed dead by the witnessing police, but is revealed to have survived. But by the time he returns to the park with the gold, his three sons have vanished. Amar (the middle son) has been nearly ran over by Robert's goons and rescued by a Hindu policeman; a Muslim tailor finds Raju (the youngest) and adopts him, naming him Akbar; and a Catholic priest (Nazir Hussain) finds Anthony (the oldest) asleep on the steps of his church and took him under his care.

After 22 years, Amar (Vinod Khanna) becomes a policeman; Akbar (Rishi Kapoor) becomes a singer, and Anthony (Amitabh Bachchan) becomes a likeable, socially conscious scamp who runs quasi-legal operations and makes God his 'partner' by donating half his income to charity. 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 selling flowers.

In the meantime, Kishanlal used his gold to create his own criminal syndicate, destroying Robert's business and forcing a penniless Robert to work for him at a nearby dock. He also took in Robert's daughter Jenny (Parveen Babi) as his niece before sending her to school in Europe. Robert becomes delighted to hear from Kishanlal that Jenny will return, but is distraught that Kishanlal won't let him see her, as he's still angry at Robert for making him lose his family. Eventually, the police arrives near Kishanlal's dock, forcing Kishanlal and his gang to disperse away from the scene. This allows Robert to escape away with another shipment of gold bullion, regaining his former place as mob boss and becoming Kishanlal's rival, determined to retrieve Jenny for himself and get back at Kishanlal for ruining his criminal empire.

During the tide, each of the sons fell in love with the women they find: Akbar falls in love with his neighbor doctor Salma Ali (Neetu Singh), much to disapproval of Salma's father Tayyaib Ali, who later gives his blessings after Akbar saves him and Selma from a house fire. Amar falls in love with a one-time crook named Laxmi (Shabana Azmi), taking her and her grandmother to his home after arresting her abusive stepmother. Also, Anthony falls in love with Jenny after meeting her in church. Around the same time, Bharati regains her sight at a Diwali festival in honor of Sai Baba hosted by Akbar, whom she recognized as her youngest son Raju.

However, things get out of hand when Kishanlal is double-crossed by one of his bodyguards named Zubesko, who betrays Jenny to Robert in exchange for getting her hand in marriage, resulting Anthony's adoptive father to be murdered by Robert when he tries to stop them. Also, while witnessing Jenny's kidnapping, Laxmi ends up being kidnapped by her abusive brother Ranjeet, who is working for Robert. In their pursuit of justice against Robert, the brothers soon discover their mutual heritage with each other along with Kishanlal and Bharati, reuniting the family once again.

Working together, the three brothers form a plan to bring Robert and his gang to justice. Posing as an elderly tailor, a one-man band, and a priest, the three brothers and Salma infiltrate into Robert's mansion, where Salma helps Jenny and Laxmi escape while the brothers finally reveal themselves and defeat Robert and the mobsters before sending them to jail for good.

Despite justice being served for Robert and his gang, Kishanlal is sent back to prison for his past crimes, much to Bharati's dismay. However, Kishanlal comforts Bharati by telling her that their sons are reunited and have grown up, which is the only thing that matters to him the most. Kishanlal is then briefly released from his cell to share a heartfelt hug with his sons. The film ends with the three brothers and their loved ones happily riding into the sunset.


  • Vinod Khanna as Inspector Amar Khanna, the first son (raised as a Hindu)
  • Rishi Kapoor as Akbar Allahabadi/Raju, the third son (raised as a Muslim)
  • Amitabh Bachchan as Anthony Gonsalves, the second son (raised as a Christian)
  • Shabana Azmi as Laxmi, a common thief and Amar's love interest
  • Neetu Singh as Dr. Salma Ali, Akbar's neighbor doctor and love interest
  • Parveen Babi as Jenny, Robert's daughter and Anthony's love interest
  • Nirupa Roy as Bharati, mother of the three sons
  • Pran as Kishanlal, father of the three sons
  • Jeevan as Robert, the mob boss
    • Jeevan also portrayed Albert, Robert's estranged brother
  • Nazir Hussain as the church priest and Anthony's foster father
  • Ranjeet as Ranjeet, Laxmi's abusive brother
  • Helen in a special appearance
  • Yusuf Khan as Zubesko, one of Kishanlal's former bodyguards


"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[8]


Prayag Raaj wrote the film's screenplay, with Kader Khan writing the dialogues.[9] 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,"[8] This was in part taken from 1878 speech by British politician Benjamin Disraeli, who made it while referring to another politician, W. E. Gladstone.[5] 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.[5][10]


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.[9]

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.[5] Some of the crucial scenes were shot at Mount Mary Church in Bandra, Mumbai.[11]

Themes and allusionsEdit

Desai's magnum opus extends religious pluralism, secular nationalism and also clear secularism motifs albeit complete with Bollywood masala. Three children were separated from their father on the Independence Day (15 August) who leaves them in a park under a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. These kids are subsequently raised by different parents, one grows up to become Anthony Gonsalves (Amitabh Bachchan), a Goan Christian, Amar Khanna (Vinod Khanna), a Hindu police officer, while the third and youngest child raised by Muslim parents, becomes Akbar Allahabadi (Rishi Kapoor), a Qawwali-singer. Their reunion in the end, completes the nationalistic allegory.[6][12][13]

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.[14] 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.[15]

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.[16]


Amar Akbar Anthony
Studio album by Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Released 1977
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Label Universal Music
Producer Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Laxmikant-Pyarelal chronology
Dream Girl
(1977)Dream Girl1977
Amar Akbar Anthony
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Planet Bollywood           [17]

The soundtrack was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, and the lyrics were penned by the veteran Anand Bakshi. The soundtrack of the movie proved as popular and successful as the movie itself. The vocals of the songs again have been given by some of the biggest names in the Indian music industry: Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar, Shailender Singh and Amitabh Bachchan (sang in the song "My Name is Anthony Gonsalves"). For the song, "Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai" four leading playback singers, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, and Mukesh sang together for the first and only occasion.[5] The film also features a comical qawwali, "Parda Hai" (There is Veil) sung by Mohammed Rafi.[18] 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.[5][19]

Shahid Khan of Planet Bollywood gave 9 stars stating, "Overall, Amar Akbar Anthony is one of the finest examples of an album where the list of playback singers matches the star-power in the film".[17]

The vinyl record was released on Polydor and was the first coloured LP: It was pink.

# Title Singer(s) Duration
1 "Shirdi Wale Saibaba" ("O Sai Baba of Shirdi") Mohammed Rafi 05:52
2 "My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves" Amitabh Bachchan, Kishore Kumar 05:32
3 "Hum Ko Tum Se Ho Gaya Hai Pyar" ("I Have Fallen In Love With You") Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh 06:03
4 "Taiyab Ali Pyar Ka Dushman" ("Taiyyab Ali, Enemy of Love") Mohammed Rafi 04:40
5 "Parda Hai Parda" ("There Is a Veil") Mohammed Rafi 06:12
6 "Amar Akbar Anthony" ("The Impossible Becomes Possible") Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Shailendra Singh 05:52
7 "Ye Sach Hai Koi Kahani Nahi" ("This Is True; It's No Story") (featured over the opening credits) Mohammed Rafi 02:22

Release and promotionEdit

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.[20][3] Incidentally, all of them were amongst the top-grossing films of the year.[1]

Film expert Rajesh Subramanian explains one of the earliest film merchandising strategy started with Amar Akbar Anthony. Three large Erasers with the photographs of Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, was sold in the market. It was a rage among school 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 3.0 billion or US$47 million in 2016) 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]

Awards and nominationsEdit

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ a b c d "Box Office 1977". Archived from the original on 12 October 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b 1st Filmfare Awards and nomination
  3. ^ a b Tejaswini Ganti (5 March 2013). Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema. Routledge. pp. 223–. ISBN 978-0-415-58384-8. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  4. ^ Rachel Dwyer (2005). 100 Bollywood films. Lotus Collection, Roli Books. p. 14. ISBN 978-81-7436-433-3. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b c d e f g Gitanjali Roy (8 May 2013). "10 things you didn't know about Amar Akbar Anthony". NDTV Movies. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b "Amar Akbar Anthony". Archived from the original on 27 June 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  7. ^ "Transcending language barrier - The Economic Times". 20 September 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  8. ^ 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. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  9. ^ a b "Amar Akbar Anthony". Livemint. 3 Aug 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  10. ^ Booth, p. 3
  11. ^ Helio San Miguel (2012). Mumbai. Intellect Books. pp. 42–. ISBN 978-1-84150-632-6. 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. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  13. ^ Anandam P. Kavoori; Aswin Punathambekar (2008). Global Bollywood. NYU Press. pp. 128–. ISBN 978-0-8147-2944-1. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  14. ^ Martha P. Nochimson (23 September 2011). World on Film: An Introduction. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 266–. ISBN 978-1-4443-5833-9. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  15. ^ Th Damsteegt (2003). Heroes and Heritage: The Protagonist in Indian Literature and Film. Amsterdam University Press. p. 217. ISBN 978-90-5789-090-1. 
  16. ^ 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. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  17. ^ a b "AAA Music Review by Shahid Khan". Planet Bollywood. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  18. ^ Anna Morcom (1 January 2007). Hindi Film Songs and the Cinema. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 82–. ISBN 978-0-7546-5198-7. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  19. ^ Booth, p. 5
  20. ^ "Amar-Akbar-Anthony". NYTimes. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 


External linksEdit