Thursday, 14 January 2016

Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)


Chauffeur-taking-the-blame father.Tuberculosis-ridden suicidal mother. Their three separated kids. Years later, three brothers, each adopted by Hindu, Muslim and Christian families respectively, donate blood that converges into a single bottle (medical atrocity!). Unknown to them, the blood recipient is their ex-ill, ex-suicidal mother, now blind. Meanwhile, ex-chauffeur father is a mob boss raising his ex-boss's daughter (who he had kidnapped) as his niece. Father thinks his wife is dead and children, lost. Blind mother sells flowers. Sons are a policeman, a singer and a good hearted small-time thug.

This is just a glimpse of the anything-goes set up for Manmohan Desai's weirdly entertaining Amar Akbar Anthony. Pitched as a comedy/drama, full of strange situations, formulaic and catchy Laxmikant-Pyarelal /Anand Bakshi songs and great acting by the lead cast, especially Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor and Vinod Khanna (in that order). 

Meanwhile, blind mother regains her sight, thanks to a god-intervened miracle. In the film's climax, three brothers roam about in disguises that the whole audience can see through, except for the dim-witted villains.Yet you have to admit, that there never is a dull moment in the 3 hour, 5 minute running time. 

Stereotypes, slick dialogue-making and maudlin emotions found screen space with this film, in many ways creating the degenerative Hindi potboiler genre. Something changed in Hindi films for the worse, starting with Amar Akbar Anthony. Yet this is the redundant genre's pinnacle film, still worth watching.

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