HUM SAATH SAATH HAIN (1999)

” HUM SAATH SAATH HAIN” (1999) was the third collaboration between actor Salman Khan and producer/director Sooraj Barjatya at that time (Maine Pyar Kiya -1989-  and Hum Aapke Hain Kaun -1994 being the previous two).

Although “HUM AAPKE HAIN KAUN”  will remain a classic for many cinema lovers and is their biggest hit as of now (2018) my personal favorite Sooraj Barjatya – Salman Khan movie (and to be honest my all time favorite Salman Khan movie ever) is this modern tak on the Ramayana story which was released in 1999.

There have been quite a few hit director/actor Jodi’s in The Hindi Film Industry (Yash Chopra-Amitabh Bachchan, Prakash Mehra-Amitabh Bachchan, Yash Chopra- Shah Rukh Khan, Shakti Samantha – Rajesh Khanna and David Dhawan – Govinda). But if there ever was a Jodi that seemed tailor made for one another it was the director – actor combo of Manmohan Desai – Amitabh Bachchan.

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And if there was a director – actor combo who could fill these enormous shoes it would have to be David Dhawan – Govinda in the 90’s or the Sooraj Barjatya – Salman Khan combo.

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Rajshri films was a banner found by Tarachand Barjatya in the 60’s and their first production was released in 1962 – “AARTI” (Ashok Kumar, Meena Kumari and Pradeep Kumar). Rajshri films would go on to produce many movies throughput the decades to come. Some successful, some unsuccessful and some very successful.

Rajshri films would also introduce the Indian Cinema to artists as Raakhee Gulzar (though the first movie Raakhee shot for was Sunil Dutt’s ” RESHMA AUR SHERA”  with amongst others Amitabh Bachchan, ” JEEVAN MRITYU”  would be her first released movie), Anupam Kher and Madhuri Dixit (though Subhash Ghai likes to take the credit for introducing Madhuri Dixit it was Rajshri Films who introduced her with the 1984 film “ABODH” .

The 80’s were a hard decade for Rajshri Films. Although their “SUN SAJNA” (1982 -Mithun Chakrevotry and Ranjeeta Kaur), Saarandh (1984- Anupam Kher and Rohini Hattangadi) and “EK BAAR KAHO” (1980 – Navin Nischal, Shabana Azmi and Anil Kapoor in one of his earliest roles) were (semi-)hits most of their films in this decade did not do all too well…

 

All that would change when Sooraj Barjatya would go on to produce and direct his first directorial. A movie that would change the fate of Rajshri Films, the hero of that film who had one release to his credit in which he was the brother of Farooque Sheikh, the hero of that film, the heroine of this film and the career of a flop hero who was the son of a legendary actress. Even the music directors of that film who till that point gave some brilliant music in films that flopped would have a great boost… ” MAINE PYAAR KIYA ” released in 1989 and Rajshri Films was back! Salman Khan was the new heartthrob, Bhagyashree was the perfect girl next door and Mohnsih Behl whose films as a hero had flopped was THE new villain in tinsel town.

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It was though of as impossible for this director – actor duo to surpass that movie. Imagine the shock in the film industry when they returned with their next offering 5 years later. A film that would forever change the Bollywood (how I hate that word) films were made! 1994 saw the release of the super blockbuster ” HUM AAPKE HAIN KAUN”. A film with a record number of songs (which became hits), a film with no actual villain in a time when the “action movie wave” was at an all time high, a film with only “good souls”. A film which was a remake of a small Rajshri film released in the 70’s “NADIYA KE PAAR”.  It was in this film that Sooraj gave Mohnish Behl another make-over. Mohnish’s mom – the legendary great actress Nutan- had been a Rajshri heroine way back. When she has seen “MAINE PYAR KIYA’  legend has it that she called the Baryatja’s and expressed her displeasure about the fact that her son was cast as a villain (and to be honest Mohnish did a damn good job!). And her concern came true for all the movies Mohnish got after this release were roles as a villain. So when “HUM AAPKE HAIN KAUN”  was planned it was a shock that the role of the elder brother was given to Mohnish. But once again he was superb in the movie. But though many loved Madhuri Dixit in the movie for me THE star of the movie was Salman Khan!

After this Sooraj Barjatya and Salman Khan faced the “SHOLAY-curse”. After “SHOLAY”  whatever Ramesh Sippy made (with or without Amitabh Bachchan) his work would be compared with “SHOLAY”  and it was not possible to surpass that movie. That is until…

HSSH

For 99% of the movie lovers “HUM AAPKE HAIN KAUN”  will be the ultimate Salman Khan (or Sooraj Barjatya-Salman Khan) movie. Not for me! The movie which followed their mega succes was not that big a hit as it’s predecessor but according to me if there ever has been made a feel good movie by the Indian film industry which can be watched over and over again (and this is being said by a devotee of Amitabh Bachchan here) it was their next film “HUM SAATH SAATH HAIN”  which was released in 1999.

This modern take on the Ramayana can be seen as Rajshri Films’ magnum opus with the biggest cast in their films so far. Initially when Sooraj went to Salman with the script Salman wanted to play the role of the younger brother (later played by Saif Ali Khan). Sooraj however wanted Salman for the Prem role as this role was based on Sooraj and Salman in the embodiment of that character on screen. And thank god Salman accepted. The casting is this movie is great and in two cases actually daring (and that to for two of the lead roles!).

Let me start with the daring choices: After the stupendous succes of “HUM APPKE HAIN KAUN”  everybody wanted to work with Sooraj Baryatja. So for the role of the elder brother portrayed brilliantly once again by the ever reliable Mohnish Behl Sooraj could have gotten a bigger star like Anil Kapoor or Jackie Schroff (which would have added more star value to the movie). But Sooraj and Salman took Mohnish for this role. And the gamble (if it can be called one) paid of. Mohnish was excellent in the movie. For me he was better in this one then in the previous one.

The second “daring casting”  was not so daring by the producer/director but more daring for the actress who had the guts to accept the role : Tabu. Tabu was cast as the love interest (I hate to describe the role like that since she was much too important just t call her that) of Mohnish Behl. Remember this is nit Tabu in 2018 (when this piece is written) but Tabu in the 90’s when she was also doing movies like “SAAJAN CHALE SASURAL”  with David Dhawan and Govinda. But even though she was doing heroine roles Tabu recognized the potential of the role and played Bhabhi to Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan in a role that had Jaya Pradha written all over it. And Tabu was superb! Now I can’t even imagine anyone else in this role then Tabu.

 

Like I mentioned earlier when Sooraj went to Salman with the script initially Salman wanted to play the youngest brother who is more the filmy hero in the sense that he is seen wooing the girl. Thank god Salman relented and did Prem because can you imagine a film with Salman Khan in which someone else is Prem??? Saif Ali Khan did the role and for once I liked him in the role. Once again these were the 90’s and the roles Saif was doing at the time were more as a sidekick to Akshay Kumar. Under the direction of Sooraj Saif did quite an okay job in the movie.

The elder sister of Saif’s would be wife Kareena Kapoor – Karishma Kapoor- is paired with Saif in this movie. Karishma is excellent in her role and it is due to the story, the script, the direction of Sooraj and the superb turn by Karishma Kapoor that you actually don’t notice that the hit Jodi of Salman Khan – Karishma Kapoor is not cast opposite one another. With all due respect to al the other actors (and I am a big fan of Tabu) commercially in those days Salman Khan and Karishma Kapoor were the biggest stars in this movie).

 

Now for the two other big surprises in the movie: another actress who had been cast as Salman’s leading ladt in the “Overboard” remake “EK LADKA EK LADKI” was in the film as well. Neelam had been way past her prime. After she decided not to work with Govinda anymore (they were one of the hottest Jodi’s in the late 80’s_  her career kind of ended. She was seen in a cameo in “KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI”  as herself. This was her big comeback film as the little sister of Mohnish Behl, Salman Khan and Saif Ali Khan. And she nailed it!

Now for my favourite leading lady role in ”HUM SAATH SAATH HAIN” and I mean the character, the way the character was written… And the way the actress performed! My god Sonali Bendre nailed the part! Besides that she looks beautiful she is great in this role that just seems like an extension of Sonali so well did she play her part. She and Salman -in this movie-  seem like a match made in heaven. My all time favorite Sonali movie for sure!

 

Now for the big star of the movie… For me THE hero of the movie is BHAI_ Salman Khan. But don’t get me wrong… this movie is not a showcase for Salman Khan. Actually he is not seen for quite a part in the movie. For at least half a hour when the sht hits the fan Salman in not there. You don’t actually miss him because the on goings are so engaging and you are spellbound. But later you realise Salman wasn’t there then. But when he makes his comeback…

Salman rocks this movie. Just like Raju and Raj Kapoor, Bharat and Manoj Kumar and Vijay and Amitabh Bachchan… Prem IS Salman Khan and Salman Khan IS Prem. No two ways about it. I have no words to describe Salman Khan in this movie. And this is not because I am a fan because there are enough movies of BHAI which I don’t like… But this movie, well… no words to describe it. Most certainly Salman Khan’s best movie ever (till date -July 2018).

 

Sooraj Baryatja movies are all about traditions and values… and big families (and family functions). So the supporting cast is very important in his movies. Uptill ” PREM RATAN DHAN PAYO” (2015) – which I think id AND the least Sooraj Barytja kind of movie he made and the least Sooraj-Salman movie- there were certain actors that used to be in Rajshri Films’ movies… or Sooraj Barytaja movies. And thank god they were in this a=one as well becase they all add something to the movie with their roles and performances (my favorite being Satish Shah).

 

The supporting cast also had some other members like “overacting ki dukaan” Shammi. The fun thing is that in a Rajshri Films movie you had 4 actresses who were known for their ” cabaret-songs”  which in today’s times would be termed as ” item-songs”. Three of them (including my favorite Jayshree-T) were cast in a slightly negative role. While the actress who would later be arrested for running a porn racket was cast in a positive role.

 

Like I mentioned earlier this film about a father, mother, three sons (the eldest son is from the dad’s first marriage) and a daughter is in part a take on the Ramayana. The film is well written en very engaging. Time flies without realizing that 3 hours have passed. You are invited in the family’s home and you laugh with them, cry with them, sing with them and celebrate with them.

HSSH cast 2

 

music - ram laxman

Raam-Laxman were a music composers duo who scored music for many films (including Rajshri Films’ movies) but most of the films they scored music for were not the biggest hits. Though their music produced some evergreen songs…

After one of the duo died the other decided to remain the name and continued scoring music under the name of Raamlaxman. After “MAINE PYAAR KIYA” they did have some hit films to score for but for me ‘HUM SAATH SAATH HAIN”  will remain their magnum opus so to say. Though the songs of  “HUM AAPKE HAIN KAUN”  were the biggest hits ever and remain the songs they are remembered for and though the songs of “HUM SAATH SAATH HAIN”  are actually purely situational (but let’s be hones…so were the songs of “HUM AAPKE HAIN KAUN”) in scale this was their biggest soundtrack. Every actor (or character) had a specific singer singing for them. And for once it was Kumar Sanu for Salman Khan and not S.P. Balasubrahmanium.

 

 

As far as favorite songs go if I have to select one song from this movie as my favourite song it would be a romantic song picturized on the 6 leads and sung by 6 (!!!!) singers.

If for whatever reason you have not seen this movie yet DO WATCH it!! I watch it at least once a year (at least!). I promise you that you will have the best feeling ever after watching this one! Thank you Sooraj Baryatja and Salman Khan for this gem!

fun notes:

  • Rishi Kapoor as legend has it was offered the role of Neelam’s husband in the film but turned it down (and was later done by Mahesh Rhakur.
  • After the stupendous succes of “HUM AAPKE HAIN KAUN”  Madhuri Dixit WAS offered a role in this film but she turned it down and the role was offered to Tabu (thank god for small mercies)

HUM SAATH SAATH HAI (1999)

produced by Rajshri Films

directed by Sooraj Baryatja

cast Salman Khan, Mohnish Behl, Tabu, Karishma Kapoor, Sonli Bendre, Saif Ali Khan,  Satish Shah, Reema Lgoo, Alok Nath, Neelam, Mahesh Thakur, Sadashiv Amrapurkar, Shakti Kapoor, Rajeev Verma, Ajit Vachani, Himani Shivpuri, Dinesh Hingoo, Jayshree T, Kalpana Iyer, Kunika, Huma Khan and Shammi

music by Raamlaxman

singers Hariharan, Kavita Krishnamurthy, Udit Narayan, Anuradha Paudwal, Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu, Pratima Rao, Ghansham, Santosh Tiwari, Rawinder Rawail, Sonu Nigam, Roopkumar Rathod, Hema Sardesai, Shankar Mahadewan,

 

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JAANI DUSHMAN (1979)

The horror genre in the hindi film industry is a genre that has been so-called blooming since the 2000’s. Films like “Darna Mana Hai” (2003), “Bhoot” (2003) and “Pari” (2018) are good examples. The thing is in the hindi film industry a movie is quickly called a “horror”  film even when it is a supernatural thriller and not exactly a horror film.

Also since the 2000’s bigger stars were being seen in these horror films. Before that is were either wannebe starlets or actors and actresses who were past their prime who were seen in this genre as it was looked down upon. Horror films from the 70’s and 80’s were more often B grade (or sometimes even C-grade) movies with the above mentioned kind of stars in them.

In this period (the 70’s and the 80’s) there was one production house who actually specialized in horror movies. Like ” The Hammer House Of Horror”  in the west, India had the first family of horror… THE RAMSAY BROTHERS

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I will not go into the Ramsay brothers in this article. But if you would like to read some more about the Ramsay Brothers please visit a blog of my “partner in horror-crime” Rocking Bhootni her blog through this link :

Sunday the 22nd of July a special edition of our radioshow ” YAADEIN- A Walk Through Memory Lane”  will be dedicated to The Ramsay Brothers and their movies. This show will be broadcast on SunriseFM (The Netherlands) at 10PM (NL), 9PM (U.K.), 5PM (SUR) and Monday 1.30AM (IST). This show can be heard through the cable in The Netherlands, 100.1FM in Surinam and worldwide through tunein, the sunrisefm app and online : http://www.sunrisefm.nl

In addition to this radioshow a documentary will be made about The Ramsay Brothers and their horror movies and uploaded on youtube on Monday July 23rd. Come back to this page for a link to this unique documentary.

Rajkumar Kohli (father of flopactor Armaan Kohli -Prem Ratan Dhan Paayo)was a producer/director who specialized in multi starrers in the 70s and 80s. In the last stages of his career he lost his golden touch when he didn’t focus on his films but focused on launching his son Armaan Kohli as the hero of these (flop) films. The biggest flop film of his career came in 2002 when he remade one of his biggest blockbusters and gave the movie the tilte of the second of his greatest hits. With a cast consisting of Sunny Deol, Akshay Kumar, Sunil Shetty, Sonu Nigam, Manisha Koirala, Arshad Warsi, Sharad Kapoor, Aftab Sjivdesani, Aditya Pancholi, Amrish Puri and Rambha still the movie focused on Armaan Kohli making his comeback. That was one of the prior reasons for the film being one of the worst movies from India right up there with Ram Gopal Verma Ke Aag (his remake of “SHOLAY”).

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But the films Rajkumar Kohli (married to one time small actress Nishi) made in the earlier part of his career were (almost) all big hits with ensemble casts that were humongous in those times…

 

(fun side note: The 1988 Rajkumar Kohli film ” SAAZISH” which had a huge starcast is the only movie which had Dimple Kapadia and Anita Advani in it. Dimple being the ex-wife of Rajesh Khanna and Anita claiming to be his last live in girlfriend which turned out to be a hoax.)

Rajkumar Kohli hit the big time with a concept that was rare in those days. A film which had 7 heroes in it out of **SPOILER ALERT** which 6 heroes would be killed by he heroines who were actually a snake **END OF SPOILER**

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(fun side note: The male snake who is killed in the beginning of the movie -and the reason for the “NAAGIN”  to take revenge – was played by none other then Jeetendra. His daughter Ektaa Kapoor is the producer of the hit series NAAGIN which has season 3 rehashing the story of this film and even using the song that was picturized on her dad).

 

After this movie turned out to be a succes like nobody could have ever imagined Rajkumar Kohli went even further with another experiment.

rajkumar kohli

He decided to make a movie with an even bigger starcast. And when you watch the movie today the cast seems even bigger then at the time when the movie was released. The reason being that when the movie was made some “unknown”  actors were cast in some minor roles who would go on to become established actors and stars in their own right. And the experiment part…? Rajkumar Kohli decided to take A-listers and make a kind of a horror movie with them. Something which was unheard of in those days. The result is one of the best “masala-horrors”  ever to come out of India and my favourite Rajkumar Kohli film : JAANI DUSHMAN!

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The main story in short is : In a remote village everyone is shocked when brides (who marry wearing the clour red) get abducted from their doli by a monster and get killed on their wedding day. There is a Thakur whom everybody adores as he is upright and honest (Sanjeev Kumar), his wayward and spoiled son (Shatrughan Sinha) who lusts for a village belle (Reena Roy) who actually is in love with the hero of the village (Sunil Dutt). This hero (Sunil Dutt)  has a sister whom he adores (Neetu Singh)  who is in love with her brother’s best friend (Jeetendra). The Tahkur’s daughter (Bindiya Goswami) is in love with the hero (Sunil Dutt). Everyone gets spooked AND becomes a suspect when the brides get started being abducted and killed and everyone is a supect.

Now for the main cast : Sanjeev Kumar is great in his role as the father. In the film he is of the age of Sunil Dutt’s fater while in real life Sunil Dutt was 8 years older then Sanjeev. Shatru plays his son while in real life Sanjeev Kumar was Shatru’s best friend and only 9 years older then him. But that were the hindi films of the 70’s… and it worked. Sanjeev Kumar has always been good in his ” elderly”  roles be it in “SHOLAY”, “TRISHUL” , “KHUDDAAR” or in this movie.

Sunil Dutt is good as the hero and does his job well, Jeetndra **SPOILER ALERT** had bad luck in Rajkumar Kholi movies. After being killed off in the beginning of the classic “NAAGIN” again his fate in this movie is sad. ** END OF SPOILERS** But the Jeentendra-Neetu Singh track is my favorite love story track in this movie. Rekha has a smaller role then the others and is even credited as having a guest appearance. But as far as the heroines go, I like her role the most in this movie. And she has done a good job. This was a time before she was a so-called diva with tons of make-up etc. She really looks nice here. Neetu Singh is once again paired opposite Jeetendra and she does her role well (fun fact : when she was a kid and worked under the name Baby Sonia she essayed the role of Jeetendra’s so called sister in the all time classic  “WAARIS” in which Hema Malini was Jeetu’s leading lady). Though Neetu has a thankless role she does she does wonders with it. The main leading lady of the film who has the biggest role (as far as screen time goes) is Rajkumar Kohli favourite Reena Roy. She does justice to her role and was always a pleasure to look at (and she COULD act as well). But to be honest I liked her more in the negative role as and in ” NAAGIN” .

 

Every movie with a big cast to boast of has the big heroes and heroines and then the heroes and heroines of the “second category”. With that I don’t mean that they are any lessor actors. Take Vinod Mehra for instance. Vinod Mehra acoording to me was an superb actor who could do justice to difficult roles as well (watch him in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s movies – especially ‘BEMISAAL”  which had him along with Raakhee and Amitabh Bachchan in a double role). What I mean to say is that though these actors were heroes and heroines in smaller movies as well in these movies they were relegaded to secondary roles. But important for the story to continue as well. But because these movies had many storylines not all roles could be filled with A-list stars (not using the word “actors” here) coz that could financially not be possible. JAANI DUSHMAN had this second category as well :

 

And then there were the character actors who were important to the story. Without them the story could not move forward. But they were no heroes or heroines. Some (like Shakti Kapoor and Amrish Puri) were unknown at the time  (don’t forget in those times it took 3 years to complete a film) but who would later on become respected (in some cases) and established stars themselves. JAANI DUSHMAN had a steller supporting cast of known and (at that time) unknown names:

 

With a cast like this and a maker like Rajkumar Kolhi AND a concept that had never been tried before with big stars there was big interest in how the movie would fare at the box office. The special effects in the movie are laughable by today standards. But remember in those days it was new and the Indian audience was not privy to foreign films. There was no internet! The movie was a major hit and people flocked to the theaters!

If there is one point of criticism on my part with Rajkumar Kohli movies it’s the music. None of his films had a killer soundtrack like say, Shakti Samantha movies, Yash Chopra movies, Feroz Khan movies, Manoj Kumar movies and so on. The Rajkumar Kohli movies had maybe one song that would become a hit or even a rage but that was it.

Like the movie NAAGIN had this one (ALL YOU NAAGIN SEASON 3 FANS AND ANITA HASSANANDANI FANS CHECK THIS OUT!)

The music in the movie was once again scored by Laxmikant-Pyarelal who were Rajkumar Kohli regulars.

LP

 

 

 

Although the movie had to hit songs at the time of release the Kishore Kumar-Anuradha Paudwal duet “O Meri Jaan”  is almost forgotten today. What still is remembered today and what is played on the radio even today for any wedding is the song made immortal by Mohd. Rafi…

On July 22nd a YAADEIN SPECIAL saluting the RAMSAY BROTHERS and their horror films will be broadcast on SunriseFM (The Netherlands) at 10PM (NL), 9PM (U.K), 5PM (SUR) and Monday 1.30AM (IST). You can listen to the show through the cable (Netherlands), 100.1FM (Surinam) and worldwide through tunein, the SunriseFM app and http://www.sunrisefm.nl  ( a link to the show will be provided IF it will be uploaded on youtube).

Monday July 23rd a documentary about THE RAMSAY BROTHERS AND THEIR HORROR FILMS will be online (youtube) for you to enjoy. A link will be posted here as soon as it is available.

Do you want to know more about The Ransay Brothers in advance so you can enjoy the show even more? Check out the blog of my “partner in horror-crime” Rocking Bhootni her blog here :

Do you like horror stories? Check out this post :

If you like hindi films ongs, ghazals, hindi pop, private album songs, songs from Pakistani films or just golden oldies in general become a member of our facebookgroup GEET SANGEET and by doing so participate in our radioshow LIVE during the show:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/365183506962164/

If you like fun, games, food, Bollywood, jokes, make up, fashion and a good time? Become a member of our facebookgroup DESI PORTAL

https://www.facebook.com/groups/DesiPortal/

 

JAANI DUSHMAN (1979)

produced and directed by Rajkumar Kohli

cast     Sunil Dutt, Jeetendra, Reena Roy, Sanjeev Kumar, Neetu Singh, Shatrughan Sinha, Rekha, Vinod Mehra, Vikram, Yogita Bali, Bindiya Goswami, Sheetal, Aruna Irani, Neeta Mehta, Sarika, Jayshree T, Prem Nath, Shakti Kapoor, Amrish Puri, Madan Puri, Roopesh Kumar, Sulochna, Anwar Hussain, Raza Murad, Jagdeep, Paintal, MacMohan and many others

music Laxmikant Pyarelal

singers Kishore Kumar

Mohd. Rafi, Asha Bhonsle, Lata Mangeshkar, Mahendra Kapoor and Anuradha                   Paudwal

AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY (1977)

Though certain sections of the media and some self proclaimed elite viewers look down on the so called ” masala-entertainers”  it is a fact that the biggest hits produced in India till date are the ” masala-movies”.

For the uninitiated (or the newer generation) a “masala-entertainer”  is a movie which is fully intended for the masses, does not pretend to be anything more then entertainment, where one should not look for logic or pathbreaking films but where the audience goes into a cinemahall to forget about their day to day worries and is transported to a make believe world where poetic justice is served in three hours and where one can enjoy pure entertainment. These films contain drama, comedy, the song and dance routine, beautiful locations, an engaging story, good songs all in the right dose (if done well).

In the hindi film industry (I do not like the term  “Bollywood”) there have been many producers and directors who have (had) specialized in ” masala -movies”  like Prakash Mehra, Ramesh Sippy, Shakti Samantha, Bappi Sohnie, Brij Sadanah, Rakesh Roshan and of course David Dhawan. Some more successful then the other, some with more hits to their credit then the other. But the ultimate master of the “masala-movies”, the emperor of the entire “masala-genre”  was none other then the one and only undisputed king on the genre MANMOHAN DESAI.

manmohan

Manmohan Desai (who’s father Kikubhai Desai was a smalltime producer / director in the 30’s and ’40s)  started his career as a writer with the film “Tulsidas” (1954) and “Janam Janam Ke Phere”  (1957). He made his debut as a director with the latter but the film bombed. His second feature as a director was the 1960 Raj Kapoor – Nutan movie “Chhalia” which was a hit. Manmohan Desai had arrived.

MD film 02

Like I mentioned earlier Manmohan Desai was the emperor of the “masala-genre” .  To be quite honest he even created a sub-genre : the lost and found formula. This were stories were parents and children or just brothers and sisters would get separated in the beginning of the movie and would reunite at the end to take revenge on the villains who had wronged them. Though this concept was not found by Manmohan Desai (Yash Chopra’s film” WAQT” is credited as the first multi starrer with this storyline) ge his perfect this concept and totally made it his own.

In the 70’s and 80’s 7 out of every 10 films made in India had this storyline as the main story of the movie. But not all movies succeeded. And even the ones that did succeed did not have the success as a Manmohan Desai film.

Manmohan Desai had his fingers on the pulse of the audience. He knew what the audience wanted and catered to them. He could also make the audience lap up the most ridiculous scenes (more on that later on in the MANMOHAN DESAI NOTES).

The career and films of Manmohan Desai can be separated into two phases or categories if you want.

First, the Non Amitabh Bachchan films.

 

 

 

Most of the films from this period were hits but not as big a hit as the second category. “Dharam-Veer”  and “Chacha Bhatiya”  (co-incidently both having Dharmendra in one of the leading roles) were blockbusters. But my personal favourite Manmohan Desai movie from this first category is the 1973 Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, Shatrughan Sinha movie “Aa Gale Lag Jaa”  which had a killer soundtrack by R.D. Burman and songs sung by Kishore Kumar (a very rare thing in Manmohan Desai movie).

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The second phase or category is the one for which Manmohan Desai is best remembered thill today. The phase that gave the hindi film industry some of it’s biggest blockbusters:

THE AMITABH BACHCHAN movies:

 

 

 

There has hardly been in actor-director duo or combination who worked so well with each other as Amitabh Bachchan and Manmohan Desai. The succesratio this duo had with their blockbusters can’t be challenged by anyone -worldwide. Though Amitabh Bachchan made successful movies with the likes of Prakash Mehra and Ramesh Sippy as well his best was reserved for Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Manmohan Desai. And the Manmohan Desai universe was always much happier and jolly then the Hrishikesh Mukherjee movies (which were classics themselves).

Another important aspect of Manmohan Desai movies was “national integration” . All religions co-existed happily together and religion was important. Be it John Jhonny Janardhan (Amitabh Bachchan) and the rings with the cross, the Ohm sign and Allah on it that save the heroes (Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Shatrughan Sinha and Pran)  lives in “NASEEB” or the 4 “gundas” from 4 different religions (Shammi Kapoor, Uttam Kumar, Parikshat Sahni and Prem Nath) who change for the better thanks to master DinaNath (Amitabh Bachchan) in ” DESH PREMEE”.

The best of Manmohan Desai -also in this regard (which would do more for national integration then a 100 documentaries produced by the government or Doordarshan) – would release in 1977… a film that would change the path for Manmohan Desai and Amitabh Bachchan…

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Amar Akbar Anthony has many sub plots (another strong point of Manmohan Desai movies – the movies had many subplots running simultaneously and by the end of the movie all would be tied up and presented to the audience with a nice ribbon around it) but the main plot is :

A father (Pran) and mother (the world’s worst mom ever- Nirupa Roy- who lost all her children in almost every movie in the 70’s and 80’s) have 3 sons. Due to circumstances they all get seprated. The dad becomes an underworld don, the mom becomes blind as a bonus in this movie, the eldest son Amar (Vinod Khanna) is brought up by a hindi police inspector, the youngest is brought up by a muslim elderly and becomes a famous qawwali singer -Akbar Ilhabadi (Rishi Kapoor) and the middle son is brought up by a catholic priest (Nazir Hussain) and is known as Anthony Gonzalvez (Amitabh Bachchan in topform) a local goon with a heart of gold.

 

Vinod Khanna is seen in a very unthankful role. His character inspector Amar is very serious and has no humor at all. I am glad that his sreentime is limited as his character is the least fun to watch on screen. I think he might have taken up the role only because he could beat up his biggest rival of that era (Amitabh Bachchan) which was rare in a movie of that era.

Rishi Kapoor as Akbar Ilhabadi has all songs (except for one) fully or partially picturized in him. But don’t be fooled. We are talking about Rishi Kapoor here so he is not there just for the songs. Rishi is terrific as Akbar Ilhabadi and his chemistry with Amitabh Bachchan is superb. They had only done a “Kabhi Kabhie”  together before this movie in which there was no room for the Amitabh Bachchan-Rishi Kapoor magic. But Manmohan Desai gave us three films with that magic and this one -together with Naseeb-  is the best there is.

Rishi Kapoor is great in his role and the qawali’s and other songs picturized on him (sung by Mohd. Rafi) are fantastic. But as we all know Rishi Kapoor knows how to act and to act during songs. Besides his track with Amitabh Bachchan his track with Neetu Singh and Mukhri (who plays her dad) will bring the house down even today.

Now to the middle brother, the actual star of the movie -Anthony Gonzalvez (Amitabh Bachchan). Amitabh has the biggest role in the movie and it seems like the movie is centered around him. But it’s not that Amitabh had other’s role cut or anything. Vinod Khanna’s track is mostly with Bachchan. Rishi Kapoor’s track is with Amitabh Bachchan and with the mom Nirupa Roy so it’s simple that Rishi’s role is bigger then Vinod Khanna’s. But Amitabh has a track with Vinod Khanna, a track with Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh and Mukhri, a track with Pran (the dad), a track with Nirupa Roy (the mom) AND his romantic track (with Parveen Babi) so it is only but logical that his role is the biggest in the movie. It might not have been scripted that way initially but something happened during the making of Amar Akbar Anthony that would change destinies…

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In those days making a film took years to finish. To make a movie on the Manmohan Desai scale took at least 3 years to complete. Manmohan Desai was already a well known producer / director. In the mid 70’s he was busy with shooting 4 films simultaneously : Dharam-Veer, Chacha Bhatiya, Parvarish and Amar Akbar Anthony (the last two with Bachchan in one of the leading roles). Now because Manmohan was directing 4 films simultaneously it was difficult being on every set to do all the shootings himself.

A scene had to be canned for Amar Akbar Anthony which would feature just one actor in it – Amitabh Bachchan. Because all Manmohan Desai movies were multi starrers it was difficult to get combined dates of actors because in those days actors would give out “shifts”  to filmmakers. So Manmohan Desai opted to direct another scene for one of the other movies which had a combination of stars in it. For the scene to be shot for Amar Akbar Anthony it was just Amitabh Bachchan and the cameramen in the studio.

The situation was : Amitabh Bachchan had tried to woo Parveen Babi during an Easter festival with a song and had been beaten up (again!) by her bodyguard because he was drunk. Now in this scene he was in front of a mirror trying to talk to himself.  Amitabh improvised and the scene was shot. Legend has it that when Manmohan Desai saw the rushes of that scene he cried and vowed to never again make a movie without Amitabh Bachchan and that was the birth of a deadly combination that nobody has ever been able to replicate!

This deadly duo would go on to rise to the challenge and give one blockbuster after the other and experiencing one of the worst accidents ever to have happened on the sets of any hindi movie ever… but I won’t get into that in this post. Just a screenshot of that fateful blow…

You might think that in a movie called Amar Akbar Anthony with 3 heroes and many subplots the heroines of the movie might have nothing to do… Leave it to Manmohan Desai to prove you wrong.

Shabana Azmi as the love interest of Vinod Khanna gets the smallest role of the heroines. Which is perfectly understandable as she has only one track -that with Vinod Khanna. And since he has the smallest role of the 3 heroes it is only but logical that she has the smallest role as well. It is fun though to see Shabana in an out and out commercial role (she was also in Manmohan Desai’s “Parvarish”  with Bachchan again opposite Vinod Khanna) when you keep in mind her tirade against “masala-movies”  later in her career. But she tried to be in those movies herself.

Neetu Singh (Kapoor) has a far bigger role in the movie as the love interest of Rishi Kapoor who is a doctor by profession. She is good in her role and fun to watch as she does justice to her character.

Parveen Babi as the love interest of Amitabh Bachchan has the biggest role of the heroines. First of all she has a track as Anthony’s love interest. But she also has her own track as the daughter of the villain (Jeevan) who is brought up by her ” uncle” (Pran) who has a bodyguard (Yusuf Khan -NOT DILIP KUMAR).  She does justice to her role as well and this was Parveen at her best. Though Parveen was a superb team with Amitabh she would star in 2 more Manmohan Desai-Amitabh Bachchan movies in which she would not be paired opposite Amitabh. In “SUHAAG”  she would be paired opposite Shashi Kapoor (and Amitabh with Rekha) and in “DESH PREMEE” Amitabh would have a double role no less where he would be paired with Sharmila Tagore (making a comeback) and Hema Malini. Parveen Babi would be the daughter of the elder Bachchan and the sister of the younger Bachchan. Her hero would be the one time semi-successful actor Navin Nischal (who by the way was the hero in the film “PARWAANA”  in which Amitabh Bachchan would be the cold blooded villain much before Shah Rukh Khan’s Baazigar and Anjaam act).

 

 

 

The main villain in the movie was Robert Seth portrayed by character actor Jeevan (father of Kiran Kumar – “Khuda Gawah”, ” Khudgarz”, ” Baaghi”). Jeevan who had been famous for playing Naratmuni in many films was an actor who could be seen in many Manmohan Desai films and with Amar Akbar Anthony he made a great comeback as a villain.

Manmohan Desai loved to work with his set of actors. You could ususally see the same actors in most of his movies with an addition here and there. And since his movies were multi starrers and had many storylines there was a need for multiple villains. Therefor it is strange that Amar Akbar Anthony is the only Manmohan Desai movie in which the famous 70’s and 80’s villain Ranjeet makes an appearance. His role is not that big. He is the stepbrother of Shabana Azmi, henchmen of Jeevan and the son of Nadira.

Which brings me to Nadira who makes a guest appearance in this movie as the eveil stepmother from hell of Shabana Azmi and mom to Ranjeet’s character. Though her screen time is limited she makes an impression. But for an actress of the caliber of Nadira nothing less can be expected.

 

 

 

There are many more characters in the movie. If I would go into all the character this post would become a novella. But 3 characters have to be mentioned : Yusuf Khan as Parveen Babi’s bodyguard Zubesco. This is the movie which made people recognize and remember him. As it happened with MacMohan in ” SHOLAY” and with Manek Irani in Manmohan Desai’s other Amitabh Bachchan-Rishi Kapoor classic ” NASEEB”  there is no escaping them in this movie and he would always be remembered for this movie. Though it might be worth knowing that his association with Amitabh Bachchan goes as far back as Amitabh’s first solo lead hitfilm ” BOMBAY TO GOA” in which he had an even bigger role then in Amar Akbar Anthony.

Nazir Hussain is no stranger to the movie buff. The man has played father to everyone… He even played father to Dev Anand (Jewel Thief and many more) and Sunil Dutt -father of Sanjay Dutt – (Heera). Here he plays foster father to Amitabh Bachchan. Only called “father”  in the film his role is an important one as hei character is a catalyst to move the story further at a certain point…

 

 

 

The last character I just have to mention is Tayab Ali seth played adorably by character actor Mukhri. As the father of Salma (Neetu Singh) who is against her relationship with Akbar (Rishi Kapoor) Mukhri almost steals the thunder from Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan in their scenes with them. A veteran of almost 250 films spanning more then 6 decades he shows his comic timing brilliantly in this film that would go on to him seeing more roles in films with Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor most notably “COOLIE” and ” SHARAABI”  (the latter one featuring him as Nathulal-ji with the famous “moochhe”. Who can forget this classic Mohd. Rafi song picturized on Rishi Kapoor and Mukri in this movie…!? It was recreated for a movie and picturized on Imran Khan and Sonakshi Sinha but that only is proof that nothing beats the original and nobody can beat Rishi Kapoor at his own game when the man is in his element…

Now for the music of Amar Akbar Anthony. Except for a very rare “Aa Gale Lag Jaa”  which had music by R.D. Burman (and which I think is the best Manmohan Desai film soundtrack ever) his movies had music by the music composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal.

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Mohd. Rafi had been Manmohan Desai’s favourite playback singer from day 1. Though Mukesh did sing in Chhalia that was no wonder since the hero was Raj Kapoor. And Raj Kapoor = Mukesh. But from Budtameez and Bluffmaster onwards it was Mohd. Rafi’s show all the way. Except for the R.D. Burman soundtrack for which Kishore Kumar sang some of the best songs ever in a Manmohan Desai movie. Even in the late 70’s and 80’s when Kishore Kumar was the number 1 singer (as far as hits and output was concerned) Manmohan Desai chose to have Mohd. Rafi sing for the heroes in his movies. Mohd. Rafi even was the voice of Amitabh Bachchan in Manmohan Desai movies. Probably the only Manmohan Desai movie with Amitabh in the lead which had Kishore Kumar as the voive of Amitabh Bachchan was Amar Akbar Anthony and it was this movie that gave the Amitabh Bachchan – Manmohan Desai their biggest hitsong (sung by Kishore Kumar).

Even though Kishore Kumar was the voice for Amitabh Bachchan in the movie the most number of songs in this movie were sung by Mohd. Rafi as the voice of Rishi Kapoor (barring one song in which Shailendra Singh sang the mandatory Rishi Kapoor song after ” BOBBY”) and Mukesh as the voice of Vinod Khanna.

As far as the female singer… there was no question about that. There is only one song picturized on the heroines and Lata Mangeshkar sang for all 3 heroines!

 

 

 

 

Though Kishore Kumar and Mohd. Rafi have sung duets, Mohd. Rafi and Mukesh have sung duets and Mukesh and Kishore Kumar have sung duets this film will go down history as the only film which had a song sung by the three most well known and successful hindi film playback singers Kishore Kumar, Mohd. Rafi and Mukesh. To make it even more special the nightingale of India, Lata Mangeshkar joined in for fun…

Like I mentioned at the beginning of this article when you watch a “masala-entertainer” you don’t look for logic… because you won’t find it. And in the Manmohan Desai universe the most unprobable, unlikely and impossible things happen. But they are presented with such conviction that you don’t realize that it is not possible. You lap it up. It is only after the film when you discuss the movie that you think…”Hey what happened here?”

Here are AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY’S MANMOHAN DESAI NOTES:

  • The blind mom has an accident and is brought to the hospital where Salma (Neetu Singh) is the doctor (AND WHAT A DOCTOR -see note 2 for that). As luck would have it all her 3 songs are there. She is in need for a blood transfusion and all three sons donate blood to her. Here it comes: The blood of all 3 sons goes into a bottle simultaneously which at the same time is administered to Nirupa Roy (the mom)
  • Neetu Singh is a doctor like mentioned before. Just before the climax Parveen Babi faints. Neetu Singh listens to her pulse and congratulates Parveen’s dad with the fact that she is pregnant.
  • On the day of his wedding to Parveen Babi   *****SPOILER ALERT***** finds the murdered body of “father”. Just before he realizes that “father” is no more he brags about his new costume which is specially made for his wedding. It is a white suit. He realizes “father” is dad, finds a locket in the victim’s hand which he recognizes, rushes to the owner of the locket and accuses him… wearing a black costume  *****END SPOILER ALERT*****
  • The villains are aware of the characters of Amar Akbar and Anthony. Still the 3 brothers disguise themselves and enter the villain’s den trying to rescue the girls and avenge whatever happened. While in disguise (because they do not want to get recognized) they sing this for the villains:

Watch this movie for nostalgia purposes and for the newer generation see what we grew up on… For the newer generation see why Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor are considered the best of the best ever. Watch this movie just to see HOW a ” masala-movie” should be made and how it CAN work!

AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY (1977)

produced and directed by Manmohan Desai

cast : Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Pran, Neetu Singh Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Vinod Khanna, Nirupa Roy, Shabana Azmi, Jeevan, Jeevan, Ranjeet, Mukri, Nadira, Yusuf Khan, Kamal Kapoor and Nasir Hussain

music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal

playback by Kishore Kumar, Mohd. Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Lata Mangeshkar, Mahendra Kapoor, Shailendra Singh and Amitabh Bachchan

If you like classics and golden oldies (films and songs) right up to those classics from the 90’s don’t forget to tune in to SunriseFM (The Netherlands) every Sunday evening for my radioshow “YAADEIN- A Walk Through Memory Lane”. The show is broadcast at 10PM (Netherlands), 5PM (Surinam), 9PM (U.K) and Monday 1.30AM (IST). The show can be heard through the cable (only in The Netherlands), 100.1FM (only in Surinam) and worldwide with the SunriseFM app, tunein or online : http://www.sunrisefm.nl

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Feel free to leave all feedback (or questions) in the comments section.

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KOI AAP SA (2005)

Like most readers might know by now I am not that a big fan of movies which released after the year 2000. Of course there are exceptions like Aamir Khan’s ” DANGAL” , Salman Khan’s  ” BAJRANGI BHAIJAAN” or Rajkumar Hirani movies (who is right up there for me with my 2 other all time favourites – Manmohan Desai and Hrishikesh Mukherjee).

 

Then I have always been a fan of certain actors and actresses who I have adored and liked who have not seen the succes they deserved according to me. In the 70’s for instance I really liked actresses like Kaajal Kiran (Hum Kisise Kum Nahin), Vidya Sinha  (Swayamvar) and Zeherra (Dharmatma).

 

1998 saw the debut of another such actress in the Salman Khan movie ” BANDHAN” . She would went on to appear in the song ” Ishq Bina Kya Jeena Yaara”  in the Anil Kapoor- Aishwariya Bachchan movie  “TAAL” for which Govinda refused the Anil Kapoor role.

It would not before the year 2003 when Natassha would make her debut as a lead actress in the hindi film industry. In an industry where anyone without even an ounce of acting talent can become a craze if they are willing to shed some clothes or have a good marketing team it is a shame that an actress of the caliber of Natassha who was a beautiful lady (and still is -although I prefer het in movies like Koi Aap Sa then  her extra slim avatar now in Naagin season 3) and someone who could actually emote and act.

It is even stranger that most roles she got were in the movies produces by the banner of Jeetendra – Balaji Pictures run perfectly by his daughter Ektaa Kapoor.

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Natassha as she was called during that time appeared in some movies -some good and some bad. But just like Rishi Kapoor – even when the movies were bad Natassha was good in them : Kuch Toh Hai (2003), Yeh Dil  (2003), Krishna Cottage (2004), Silsillay  (2005), Dus Kahaniyan (2007), Ek Se Bute Do (2009), Benny and Babloo (2010), Ragini MMS 2 (2014), Hero (2015) and quite a few hit south movies as well.

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Natashha changed her name back to her original name – Anita Hassanandani Reddy and resumed working on tv where she became super successful and can been seen in many tv shows. SHE is the reason I tune in to ” NAAGIN”  season 3 every week  (the only hindi tv show I watch).

But Anita (as I will call her from now on) her best movie -according to me-  was a movie that released in 2005. A love story that remains in my all time top 25 love stories list.

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When this film released I had only 2 reasons to watch this movie: Anita (or Natassha as she is credited in the movie)  and the killer soundtrack by Himesh Reshammiya.

Sometimes it happens that an actor whom you are not that a big fan of makes a movie which you really love and that is a sign of a very well made movie. This happened to me with Anil Kapoor in “LAMHE”  (later on I did became a fan of Anil Kapoor) and Vinod Khanna in ” KUDRAT” (where for me he stole the thunder from Rajesh Khanna and Hema Malini in double roles and from Raajkumar and Priya Rajvansh).

I have never been a fan of Aftab Shivdesani (my favourite Aftab movie still is ” Mr. India”). But in this movie he actually is good. Himanshu Mallick (best known for his role in the first ” TUM BIN”)  was the second hero of the movie but he is nothing to write home about. And the second leading lady of the movie was Dipannita Sharma (best known for her role in  “16 DECEMBER”) who did a commendable job in the movie.

 

But for me the main attraction of this movie – and the reason to watch were Anita and the songs.

Talking about the music of the film. Himesh Reshammiya was the music director of the movie. And for this movie he composed some really good songs and thank God he did not sing any songs for this movie. He lest the singing to some of the best singers of the era: Alka Yagnik, Udit Narayan, Sunidhi Chauhan, Sonu Nigam and Shaan.

This was the era when Himesh Reshammiya songs still had some melody in them and some  ” Indianess” as well. Remember the time when Himesh composed songs like ” Tere Naam” !? This is the era I am talking about. A killer soundtrack which sounds as fresh and as romantic as when first released. The best song of the movie according to me is the song which comes during the end credits.

 

 

When I first saw this movie I was astonished in the beginning and thought  ” Oh my God another ” KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI”  ripoff. But then the “haadsaa”  happens in the movie and the movie takes it’s own course.

I would not like to give away any spoilers about what that “thing”  is that happens in the movie so I won’t spoil your pleasure of watching the movie (for the first time). But believe me when I say that as far as story goes this movie is even better then ” KUCH KUCH HOTA HAI” which boasted of stars like Salman Khan, Kaajol, Rani Mukherjee and Shah Rukh Khan. This movie does not have that big stars but manages to touch your heart nonetheless. And that my friends is the sign of a well produced, well directed and well acted movie which can be seen over and over again.

And again this movie totally belongs to Natassha aka Anita Hassanandani Reddy! For all you NAAGIN (season 3) fans check out this movie for sure and see Anita in action!

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KOI AAP SA (2005)

produced by Ektaa Kapoor  (Balaji)

directed by Partho Mitra

cast   Anita Hassanandani Reddy (Natassha)

Aftab Shivdesani, Dipannita Sharma, Himanshu Mallick and others

music by Himesh Reshammiya

playback by Alka Yagnik, Sonu Nigam, Sunidhi Chauhan, Udit Narayan and Shaan

 

If you like those golden oldie songs and song from the 90’s listen to my radioshow  “YAADEIN – A Walk Through Memory Lane”  every Sunday evening on SunriseFM (The Netherlands) at 10PM (Netherlands), 9PM (U.K.), 5PM (Surinam) and Monday 1.30AM (IST). The show can be heard through the SunriseFM app, tunein or online : http://www.sunrisefm.nl

Join our facebookgroup : GEET SANGEET   (https://www.facebook.com/groups/365183506962164/)

Feel free to leave all your feedback in the comments section…