Saturday, September 27, 2008
India in 1977…Amar, Akbar, Anthony…Hindu, Muslim, Christian.
Religion is under the scanner in India. The reason is that violence and terrorism are threatening the peaceful existence of people, and religion is being blamed as one of the main perpetrators of this. One or the other religion claims superiority and tensions arise. One wonders whether India on the run (Upward and downward depending on how one looks at it.) has become impatient and shuns harmonious living?
Indian cinema has been dominated by the North Indian lobby, which has adopted Mumbai (Bombay) as it’s home. In India thus, Hollywood becomes Bollywood and cinema is swamped by Hindi cinema while other languages make their mark in regional, national and international markets as well.
One of Hindi cinema’s most successful movie’s is ‘Amar, Akbar, Anthony’(10th on the list of top 100 all-time hits at the Indian box office.). It was a movie which had a simple theme (Simple in Indian terms.). Three brothers are separated during their childhood and they are brought up in different households, one as a Hindu, the other a Muslim and the third a Christian. Manmohan Desai, the director managed to weave together successfully a movie that on the one hand was absolutely unbelievable but on the other hand striked a chord somewhere in the mind of the Indian psyche.
Of course Desai managed a coup by having Amitabh Bachan, Vinod Khanna and Rishi Kapoor along with Neetu Singh, Parveen Babi and Shabana Azmi act in the movie. But the silent message was conspicuous. Three religions living side by side and eventually coming under one roof!
31 years later it would help to look back. Maybe it’s time to think of plots which bring people together and not the other way round. Watching old movies may not be something the present generation would want to do but maybe that is exactly what we should!!