Centenary Of Indian Cinema

‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ India’s First Film To Celebrate Platinum Jubilee

In the 70’s filmmaker, Manmohan Desai wrote history by directing  not one or two or three but delivering a chain of four-hit films in a single year! The year was 1977 and the films were Parvarish, Dharam Veer, Chacha Bhatija and Amar Akbar Anthony! While all the four movies celebrated Silver Jubilee, Amar Akbar Anthony broke all records as it celebrated Silver Jubilee in 25 theaters in Mumbai alone!! Further, it became India’s First Film to Celebrate Platinum Jubilee i.e. non-stop run of 75 weeks in a single cinema!!

What made Amar Akbar Anthony a success was that Manmohan Desai cleverly added the secular angle to the oft-repeated lost and found formula and interestingly the film became a runaway hit. The film was such a huge hit that it was remade in all south languages. South superstar Rajinikanth remade it as Shankar Salim Simon in Tamil (1978). Encouraged by the success of the film, Rajinikanth produced the same film in Telugu as Ram Robert Rahim in 980 and with top Telugu star, Krishna. Further Malayalam superstar Mammootty did the Malayalam film John Jaffer Janardhanan in 1982.

Though the film Amar Akbar Anthony boosted a galaxy of stars like Vinod Khanna, Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Parveen Babi, Shabana Azmi, Nirupa Roy, Pran, Jeevan, Ranjeet, etc. but the film belonged to Amitabh Bachchan. Interestingly it is worth saluting Manmohan Desai because when Bachchan was riding high as the action hero thanks to hit films like Zanjeer, Deewaar, Sholay, etc. filmmaker Manmohan Desai played a gamble and made Amitabh do comedy instead of action!!  Desai broke the Angry Young Man image of Amitabh Bachchan that was formed by the media and successfully portrayed the comedian in Bachchan!!

In the film, there is a scene where there is a fight between Vinod Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan but instead of Amitabh smashing Vinod Khanna, the film depicts Vinod Khanna beating Bachchan black and blue!!! However, what is surprising is that instead of the audience getting angry, the audience loved the scene and goes bananas watching the comic antics of Bachchan!  After the fight, Bachchan‘s iconic mirror scene adds a cherry on the cake!! Amitabh Bachchan deservedly won the Filmfare Best actor award.

Besides, Amitabh Bachchan‘s superlative comedy, the Mumbai lingo spoken by Bachchan is the other attraction of the film. The music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and hit songs like Parda Hai Parda….Shirdi Wale Sai Baba…….Taiyabali Pyar Ka Dushmanwere all huge hits.

The film earned Rs 7.25 crore in those days. Inflation-adjusted, it crosses the collections of Baahubali 2—The Conclusion today!

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