Directed by: Yash Chopra
Since I watched this movie and Parvarish on the same weekend about a week ago, I’m getting them confused in my brain, as they both include and good vs. bad brothers, poliece officer brothers, Neetu! and vilians…
Nevertheless I shall do my best to provide you with the right story (thank you, Wikipedia!).
Can I lead with “I just loved this movie!!”? Too late, I just did. If there is anything I like, it’s Shashitabh, Shashi in an unbuttoned shirt, Amitabh in an unbuttoned shirt slatherd in oil (or you know, sweat) some dishoom-dishoom, Neetu!, expertly gymnastic fight scenes, and Shashi Kapoor. This movie has it all.
It all starts out with Anand (Satyen Kappu) rallying laborors in a strike. He is lauded in the villigae for his leadership and moral fiber. He comes home everynight to his two sons Vijay (Amitabh) and Ravi (Shashi) who idolize their darling Paa and are fed great amounts of “your dad is the best!” at school.
We know where this is going, na?
When Anand goes to speak with the head honcho concerning the laborors rights he is blackmailed into agreeing to the boss’ terms with threats to his family. Ever the softhearted father he gives into the the boss and is mobbed by the mass of laborors when he tells them that he has given in and not recieved any new protections for them.
Here is when I start to hate him (the father). Anand runs away from the hospital in a bid to win his family some relief from the heckling they are getting from people in town. Anand is the typical fallen hero who can’t seem to pick himself up by the bootlaces and carry on with his life. Rather than, oh I don’t know, moving to another town with his family, he spends the rest of his life as a Hobo on the trains. That’s dispicable.
Meanwhile his son Vijay is beaten up and tattooed with “My father is a thief” (or “liar” my subtitles switched between the two) on his arm because his dad can’t be around to protect his son. I just want to vomit.
Realizing that things have gotten out of control, the boys’ mother, Sumitra Devi (Nirupa Roy) moves with the boys to Mumbai, trading their modest home for a blanket under the bridge and a life of housework for hard manual labor on construction sites. Sumitra is heartbroken that she cannot give her sons the life they once had, and especially that they cannot attend school. Vijay promises to get a job so that with his salary combined with his mothers, they can at least send Ravi to school.
Vijay gets a job as a shoe shiner on the street where he encounters our main villian, who infroms his goons that Vijay will make his way in the world. Flashforward ten years or so and we see Vijay working at the docks (and covertly with the same villain whose shoes he shined) and Ravi is desperatly trying to find a job post-college education. Ravi is also dating Leena (the delicious Neetu Singh!) who is the daughter of the police commissioner. After loosing out interview after interview (and giving some jobs away to someone worse off because he’s just that good) Leena’s father suggests he become a police officer.
Meanwhile, Vijay decends further and further down the underworld and smuggler’s route as his involvement with the evil villains increases.
Enter: Brotherly conflict.
Ravi is assigned the task of rooting out smuggling and criminal behaviour, but when he is presented with the dossier he discovers that he is chasing his bhai! He broods, sexily (since it is Shashi) and decides that he will take the case. He returns home, confronts his brother and moves out of their house “furnished with stolen goods”* on principle.
Vijay in the meantime not only continues his bad behavior but gets involved with a prostitute, Anita (Parveen Babi). I must admit I was shocked to all hell when the camera cut to the two of them enjoying some post-coital cigaretts in bed. So shocked but so enjoyed it. How refreshingly, grittingly real! Anita is a special character, she’s a strong woman who isn’t tragic or needy or reliant on her man. She’s a little rough around the edges but I am so glad for that. She knows what she wants, and she’s going to get it.
Anita informs Vijay that she’s pregnant and quick as a flash, boom! Vijay becomes the sweetest father-to-be ever!** He plans on turning himself into the police, repaying his debt to society, apologizing to his Maa, and asks Anita to marry him. Anita is shocked, since she was never going to force Vijay into any part of their child’s life, but she gets very sweet and soft, day dreaming about their wedding. Vijay tells her to get ready and to meet him at the temple that night, and off he dashes to make himself an honest man. He calls his mother to ask her to be there, to bless him and forgive him.
Knowing that Vijay’s brother is after them, the Villian and his goons come looking for him. They find Anita, home alone, busining herself with getting dressed for her wedding. They demand that she tell them where Vijay is, but she refuses. They try to intimidate her, yet still she resists. They beat her, and when Vijay returns home he finds her barely clinging to life. They whisper frantic “I love you”s to each other as Anita dies.
Vijay is pissed. (And rightfully so!) Forgetting all about his promise to become a better man he hunts down the people who killed his love and gives them some dishoom-dishoom in return.
Back in the land of Ravi, Sumitra tells him that Vijay was always the favorite, but knowing that it is Ravi’s duty, if he must shoot his brother, Sumitra gives him her blessing.
Ravi chases down his brother and in a dramatic build-up, shoots him. Vijay stumbles up the steps of the temple and finds his mother, waiting for him. He dies cradeled in her arms begging for her forgiveness, Ravi watching on, visually tormeneted by what he’s done.
Ravi recieves an award for his actions, but as the camera pans away admist his applause from fellow poliece officers there is a very unsettled, unhappy aura about the scene.
I was so stinking tense during the entire movie. The script and the story line were so tight and so perfectly meshed that it was like a never-ending roller coaster of anxiety. What were the brothers to do? What was the Maa to do? Was the dead-beat dad ever going to come back?”
It was excellent, and that’s all I can say about it.
This is an Amitabh showcase, and for good reason, his performance in this is absolutely fantastic. We all know that our Big B does the scowly “Angry Young Man” thing to a T, but there are hidden facets of his abilities that are so subtle, you can miss them, which is a shame because they are just so so so good! His subltety stands out against his peers, because, and we love it for this, but Bollys aren’t known for their ease of emotion.
Since this is Shashi’s birthday I want to talk about him, but I can’t help but feel that he was just so overshadowed by Amitabh! It breaks my heart to say so, but it is the truth. I like Shashi best when he’s lighthearted, sweet, kind, funny, suave… and there are moments that display those great things about him in this movie, but he was swept aside in favor of Amitabh’s anger. It was almost like they thought, “Well, Ravi is the good one, what more does he need than a few vignettes with Neetu?” so that’s what they gave us.
I want more Anita-like girls in my films! She rocked it!
This is so one of my new favorites!
*I’m 100% sure they said the same thing in Parvarish… and only 50% sure that they said it here.
**I have limited maternal instincts, and will need a man to make up for my lacking in that department, therefore, when I see men fall to pieces over pregnancy or babies I just melt into goo.
And just to drool over: