Amar, Akbar, Anthony (1977)

April 15, 2009 at 12:54 am Leave a comment

Directed by: Manmohan Desai

Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Vinod Khanna, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh, Shabana Azmi



It should first be said that Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi sang for this film. At the time, they were just about the most famous male film singers in Bollywood. So immediately one thinks this will make the songs great, right? Right. What, you thought that I was going to contradict a believable theory? No, when watching ‘Amar, Akbar, Anthony’ it was immediately confirmed that the songs in this movie were absolutely fantastic.

The camera pulls away from a jail, and here we meet Kishenlal (Pran). He has been in jail for a year, and is not happy to come home with gifts for his children and finding out that his wife has TB and his kids are starving. One year prior, he had agreed to take the rap when his boss had killed a man with his car accidentally, and exchange, ‘Robert’ (Jeevan) , his employer…would take care of Kishenlal’s family while he was in jail. Unfortunately, Robert did no such thing. Why would a man who killed a guy and sent an innocent one to jail be loyal to any of his promises? Maybe Kishenlal had what was coming to him when he made such a stupid decision. That aside, he decides to confront Robert . But before he leaves, Kishenlal stops to find his eldest son, Amar…burying a toy gun he had been given as a gift. Amar explains that he’s hiding it from his brother Anthony. Kishenlal smiles and leaves to go find that jerk, Robert. And doesn’t he sound evil already with a name like that? ROBERT. A truly villainous title…kind of. Maybe. Not really…

We find Robert trying to feed his baby, but she refuses…so he hands her off, having tired of father-daughter time for the day. On cue, Kishenlal arrives to ask why Robert didn’t take care of his family, like he’d promised. Robert half-listens and then remembers…he forgot to put ice in his whiskey, that’s why it was so bland…Well, Kishenlal doesn’t ask for an apology…he just asks for his family to be seen to, since Robert promised he would. Well, Robert pours his perfectly good whiskey on his shoes and tells Kishenlal to clean it up…only then will he receive his money. Well, Kishenlal uses his own shirt sleeve to do so…and Robert gives him one pesa. ..because that’s all shining his shoes was worth. Melodrama melodrama melodrama, Kishenlal shoots Robert (who is wearing a bulletproof vest anyway) and runs off, stealing one of Robert’s cars. Too bad it happened to be a car Robert filled with gold…so the chase is on.

Before fleeing for good, Kishenlal stops at home so he can take his family with him…but that’s when he finds a suicide note from his wife, Bharati (Nirupa Roy) stating that she didn’t want to be a burden. So Kishenlal grabs all three of his sons…Amar…Akbar…and Anthony, and takes them with him. The bad guys pursue, so he leaves his sons at a park and promises to return for them when he’s thrown the villains off his trail. Amar chases after him, but gets knocked off the road by a car and ends up unconscious on the sidewalk. A policeman stops there and takes Amar, deciding to adopt the poor kid. Back at the park, Akbar…the youngest…just won’t stop crying. So Anthony decides to find food for him. When Anthony runs off, a muslim deep in prayer hears the child’s cries, and out of heartfelt pity decides to adopt Akbar. Well, Anthony comes back with food…but poor Akbar is gone, so he searches and searches…but can’t find him…so he eats the food and falls asleep on the doorstep of a church. The priest opens the door and finds Anthony, along with his mother’s suicide note tucked into his hand. The priest adopts Anthony.

Kishenlal crashes the car and finds the gold in the trunk, so before the police arrive…he gathers it up and runs off. When he returns to the park for his sons…they are gone.

Well. Bharati isn’t dead, she’s running through the woods. The man who took Akbar with him finds her unconscious after a tree branch struck her on the head. She has been rendered blind. Taking this to be a signal from god to return to her family, she goes in the car with the man to return home. She doesn’t realize that her own baby Amar is in the car with them…and when she gets home, the house is empty. Bharati is left alone and blind…

All three boys grow up. Anthony (Amitabh Bachchan) has become a ‘nice’ Catholic boy…he sells liquor and the like, proclaiming that he gives half of his money to god, so it’s all good. While he confesses to the priest who is pretty much fed up with him, there is a crash outside…Anthony rushes to see what happened, and sees an unconscious Bharati…a hit-and-run accident. Flash to the police station where Amar (Vinod Khanna) hears about Bharati, who needs blood…just happening to have his blood type. Then to Akbar (Rishi Kapoor) flirting with a doctor, convincing her to go see his show…he’s a singer…if he’ll donate blood to the new-arrival, Bharati. In my opinion, this is one of Rishi Kapoor’s most charming performances.

Shoot to the credits, and a wonderful song…all three brothers *who don’t know they’re brothers, and don’t know Bharati is their mother* donating blood for Bharati. Afterwards, you see Anthony at his bar…and you also see an irate criminal demanding why Anthony has taken control of HIS bar while he was in jail. They fight, Anthony obviously wins. Then Akbar arrives to invite Anthony to his show. After the transfusion to Bharati, they became good friends. Anthony is only too glad to go.

At the show, Anthony sees Bharati trying to find out how to get in (she’s become ‘like’ a mother to Akbar and Anthony…hmm…wonder why?) The show is sold out, so Anthony takes her to his seat, and sits on the ground. Then we get a great Rafi song, Parda Hai Parda…in which Akbar tries to convince his beloved to remove her veil in the audience so he can see her face or he‘ll tell everyone who she is. Eventually she does for his sake.

Then we see Amar at the police station. He hasn’t kept in touch with Akbar or Anthony. And he’s also on the case to find a girl who gets in cars with men, leads them to an abandoned building, and has thugs beat them up for money. Amar finds her, and beats up the thugs…she cries and apologizes, telling him that her evil stepbrother and step mother forced her to do it. Her name is Laxmi…and she agrees to take him to her house so he can arrest her stepmother. Since she’s such a nice girl, Amar lets her and her sweet granny move in with him (to protect them…of course.)

After this, you see a bunch of criminals transporting illegal materials (gold, etc…) and led by none other than Kishenlal. In fact, Kishenlal is now the head honcho. He bought out Robert’s men, and is a grade-A criminal. Apparently, after his sons disappeared…he kidnapped Robert’s baby girl and left a note that Robert would never see her again. Now Robert is poor and miserable. He’s also laboring for Kishenlal. Well, he tries to shoot Kishenlal…but fails, and just ends up stealing some gold and shooting a policeman instead. That’s when he runs into Anthony who hides him in exchange for half of his loot. Anthony doesn’t know that Robert shot a policeman.

Not just any policeman, but Amar’s adopted father. Well, when Amar finds out about this…he stops at nothing to find Robert, and ends up arresting Anthony. Anthony refuses to say anything, until he finds out that Robert KILLED a man. Then he’s all to eager to show Amar where the man’s hiding…but earlier that day, Robert escaped.

We find out that Kishenlal sent Robert’s daughter abroad to school…and Robert is in disguise ready to kidnap her from the airport. Well, he kidnaps A girl…but only a decoy (played by Helen, queen of the nautch girls. A wonderful cameo treat for those of us who watch Bollywood just for great dances.) After she’s kidnapped, we see the real girl, Jenny…and she’s getting in the car with Kishenlal. He tells her she needs a bodyguard because ‘the man who killed her real father’ is after her. Jenny doesn’t know that Robert is her dear old dad.

Then, at church…Anthony sees Jenny. Love at first sight. Later at an Easter party…he flirts at her while he sings that his name is ‘Anthony Gonsalves’. Jenny’s body guard beats Anthony up. Later, there is a song wherein Anthony has got Jenny all to himself. Akbar has his love, the doctor all to himself. Amar has Laxmi all to himself. They’ve all fallen in love. Later on, Jenny’s bodyguard locks her in a room and decides he wants her to marry him. Kishenlal finds out and fires the jerk. So what does the ex-bodyguard do? He goes to Robert and tells him that he can have Jenny if Robert will consent to marry them. Robert agrees…but not before the bodyguard shows Robert his…twin brother…who will be disguised as Robert and killed so Robert can steal his identity. This is just about the cheesiest plot device in the movie, and Robert’s brother (Jeevan of course) has the worst lines.

Akbar wins the heart of his love’s father. Amar and Laxmi decide they love each other. And Anthony gets engaged to Jenny.

When Robert gets hold of Jenny, he kills the priest at the church who had adopted Anthony. And Anthony of course vows revenge…But what happens next? You’ll have to find out for yourself.

7/10. Great movie. Worth watching 2 times at least.


Entry filed under: 5 and more Bindis, Film Reviews, Hindi, Languages. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , .

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