Saturday, May 17, 2014

Terrific trio

"I feel like watching an old Amitabh Bachchan movie," Viv said. I nearly fell off my chair.

You see, this kind of quote never originates from him. It usually originates from me and almost all my friends, but him craving an old Hindi movie? That was something. And that is why even though I am not an Amitabh Bachchan fan, I promptly dug up his old movies on YouTube. We settled on Amar Akbar Anthony and after putting Xena to bed, started watching.

Though I'd watched it countless times as a kid, I realised that I'd not really noticed a lot of things until this viewing. Especially the unintentionally funny things.

- The very first scene starts with Pran returning home from jail to find out that his wife has TB. That wife then goes through a LOT of stuff in the next 22 years, including losing her family and eyesight and then getting them all back, but never once is her TB mentioned again.

- Oh dear lord, did they really show the three brothers tandem-donating blood to their mother?

- I always thought Amar was the eldest, followed by Akbar and then Anthony. It turns out Akbar was the youngest. Why? I mean, even if they thought Rishi Kapoor was best suited for the role of Akbar and looked the youngest of the three, why didn't they name the movie Amar Anthony Akbar? Okay fine, it doesn't have the same ring and the title song would be totally ruined, but still, why? [Btw, Wikipedia tells me that in the Telugu remake it was Ram Robert Rahim and in the Malayalam remake it was John Jaffer Janardhanan.]

- The movie moves at such an incredibly fast pace that it's almost comical. Take the scene where the brothers get separated, for instance. Akbar's foster father doesn't even wait for 10 seconds for the parents of the abandoned kid to turn up; he just takes off with the kid!

- Anthony's foster father knew his mother was called Bharti and yet he brought him up as Anthony. However, Pran brought up Parveen Babi as a Christian knowing that she was Robert's daughter. Hmmmm.

- I'd forgotten who was cast opposite Vinod Khanna! I was shocked to see Shabana Azmi in yellow flared pants. I kind of expected someone like Bindiya Goswami or Zeenat Aman. But then after her 'rescue', Shabana went right back to her bharatiya nari avatar, appearing only in saris after that.

- All of Vinod Khanna's angry scenes start with his back to the camera and a sudden turnaround.

- In all his movies from that era, Amitabh Bachchan just has to find a statue of some god and start scolding him for the injustice he has suffered.

- Amar calls Nirupa Roy 'maa' or 'maaji' to her face, but when talking about her to Anthony he says, "Maine kal jis budhiya ko khoon diya tha..."

- I suppose Vinod Khanna was the Salman Khan of those days, huh? In both major fight scenes, his clothes come off. Well, he still had a vest on in the first one, and only one sleeve came off in the last fight, but still.

- The scene where two lamps travel from the eyes of the Sai Baba idol to Nirupa Roy's eyes, instantly restoring her eyesight, will possibly be one of the funniest in Bollywood history. And I just didn't get why she suddenly started crawling towards the idol after that. Woman, you can walk. You just got your eyesight back. Why on earth are you crawling?

- Vinod Khanna and Rishi Kapoor are such handsome men. Why why why oh why did they have those pencil-thin KL Saigal type moustaches?

- Everyone in the movie kept talking about the incident that happened 'baees saal pehle', but when Zeenat Aman calls Pran from the church phone, she says 'Pachees saal pehle'!

- Anthony's foster father died of a stab wound, but there was no sign of any blood on his white robes when Anthony found him.

- What on earth was Helen doing in the movie? And Pran just let her go into the lion's den to die?

- Parveen Babi was so so so gorgeous. Of course she was known to be one of the 'western' type Indian actresses, but I was impressed at the panache with which she spouted the unconventional dialogues given to her - bloody, none of your business, bastard, etc.

- Parveen Babi was always seen in typical Parveen Babi outfits, but I simply loved the practicality of the one they gave her in the chase scene. A thigh-slit long skirt, perfect for her date with Anthony, but with shorts underneath for still looking ladylike during the sudden and rapid running away from the bad guys.

- All the leading women in the movie have such glossy hair. In Amitabh Bachchan style, why, god, why? Yeh nainsaafi mere saath hi kyun?

- You gotta hand it to Pran for his preparedness and quick response time. He goes to visit his daughter, armed with a bottle of chloroform, simply sees some window blinds flicker and immediately deduces that the bodyguard has held her captive in that room and knocks him out with the chloroform.

- I literally burst out laughing when Nirupa Roy started knocking on the doors of the operating theatre asking the doctors to open the door so she could give the pooja ke phool to the patient in the middle of his surgery.

- The villain telling Neetu Singh - "Tum doctor ho na? Isko hosh mein lao!" was classic.

- Why on earth did snakes keep sprouting all over the place? At one point it felt like I was watching a nagin movie.

- Holy cow. Now Viv wants to teach Xena to say "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."

- The movie had every fathomable element of a masala movie - brothers separated in their childhood and reunited in adulthood, brought up under three separate religions, three heroes and three heroines, many villains who just happened to know one another, gold biscuits, murder, smuggling, jail, kidnapping, mother losing sight and randomly gaining it back, and what not. And I had totally forgotten about the villain's good-guy twin brother; I thought that had only happened in Andaz Apna Apna. And of course, the police arriving only in the last 30 seconds of the movie. This has to be the most masaledaar of all masala movies.

Feeling bored? Watch Amar Akbar Anthony. Aka entertainment entertainment entertainment.


Arun said...

I used to wonder why people made a fuss over Zeenat Aman when Parveen Babi was around.

Nandini said...

"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" - someone started that sentence super lazy but then suddenly decided to make an effort towards coherence in the second half. LOL

Thisisme said...

:-) :-) :-) :-)

U know, I loved this movie as a kind watched it many times on doordarshan ... But back then , I didn't find anything odd about the movie but now when I watch any scene , its hillarious !!

N what abt taiyabb Ali song n parda hai parda, i love those songs even today

Varsha said...

Manmohan Desai for you. :)
Amitabh Bachchan said in one interview, that he should be penalized heavily for the scene where the 3 brothers donate blood to their mother, 3 tubes going into one bottle. :D.
But MMD was such a good man, he could get away with anything.
And remember Neetu-Rishi scene. "Tumhara khoon bhi Rh ka hai na, so tum mere liye thoda sa khoon us aurat ko de sakthe ho" . Right, our blood is neither A, B, O or AB... you can only determine the Rh chromosome + or - . :D