Anhoni ko honi karde, by Balbir Singh Khattar

A serious erudite film buff may not even throw a look at Manmohan Desai’s kind of Cinema but then if you ask someone from the masses, all of them may not have heard about him, but will remember his movies. He was the one who perfected the lost-and-found formula in Bollywood.

I wonder how Manmohan Desai managed to make this multi-starrer, having to balance the three main actors/actresses who were nearly in their prime and possibly with egos to match. It is to their credit that they all worked in harmony.

Every male actor in this movie had his importance but of the three. Vinod Khanna had the lesser number of songs. Amitabh Bachchan excelled in his role with that Bambaiya Lingo which I am told was modelled on one Pascal, a Goan who lived in Desai’s vicinity in Khetwadi–a very crowded area of Mumbai and by no stretch of the imagination an upscale part of Mumbai. Despite his success, Desai continued to live in that area as he was attached to it. Unfortunate that this filmmaker took his life by his own hands.

Manmohan Desai once famously said that his movies may be ridiculed by the critics but he is here to entertain, to make the common man forget his pains for those 3 hours in the cinema hall. Like an Art film he does not wish to depict a character holding a cigarette and let it form ash for the next two three minutes but wants his character, the film to move without the audience having the time to think: what next?

For me, this movie stands out for Amitabh’s comic timings, his Bambaiya lingo–a language spoken nowhere else in the country–but perfectly understood here, and that song filmed on Rishi Kapoor but with Mukri in the frame: Taiyyebali Pyaar Ka Dushman. I doubt if Mukri ever had such an exposure in a song. This song came as a climax in the movie and besides the principal actors, also had villains in the frame: Jeevan, Ranjit and the henchmen. Manmohan Desai considered Jeevan as his lucky mascot.

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(Originally written: 28 May 2017)

Balbir Singh Khattar flew with Air India for many years. He is nuts about Hindi Film Music, and spends many an evening enjoying various forms of it, live singing, videos and listening sessions. Even just thinking about it. Catch him sub-consciously drumming his fingers to a tune, in the air or on the ground!

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