Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Amitabh Bachchan with Manmohan Desai

Movies of Amitabh Bachchan directed by Manmohan Desai

Manmohan Desai was the king of entertainers of the 70’s and his movies with Amitabh spelt big bucks for the distributors. His genre of cinema was mindless entertainers and in recent times, David Dhawan has carried on that mantle. I think that it would be safe to assume that Manmohan Desai exploited the “lost-and-found” formula to the hilt. Most of his films with Amitabh were mutli starrers and everybody always wondered how he handled so man ‘stars’ on his sets.

Movie: Amar Akbar Anthony (1977)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Pran, Ranjeet, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh, Shabana Azmi, Nirupa Roy, Nazir Hussain
Music by: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

This was one of the biggest film that Amitabh did with Manmohan Desai and this movie did stupendous business at the box office. The story was a typical lost and found formula, the music was great, the performances were good. This movie also had all the possible ingredients of a “hit” film viz., romance, drama, action and a heavy duty climax scene. Amitabh played the character of Anthony Gonsalves and till date there are many fans who call him “Anthony bhai”. The song “My name is Anthony Gonsalves” was a chartbuster. The interesting trivia about the name Anthony Gonsalves is that it was actually the nameof the music teacher of Laxmikant (of Laxmikant-Pyaarelal duo) and he suggested this name to Manmohan Desai.

Movie: Parvarish (1977)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Neetu Singh, Shabana Azmi, Shammi Kapoor
Directed by: Manmohan Desai
Music by: Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Followed by the success of Amar Akbar Anthony, the Amitabh Bachchan-Vinod Khanna pair had become quite a hit after Parvarish. Vinod Khanna was considererd to be a serious contender to Amitabh’s superstar status, but he did not live up to the expectations and could never manage to be the superstar that he was touted to become.

Movie: Suhaag (1979)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha, Parveen Babi, Shashi Kapoor
Directed by: Manmohan Desai
Music by: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Was a hit and did good business. The music was above average though. The Navratri song sung by Mohammed Rafi is still popular and is played every year during the Navratri festival.

Movie: Naseeb (1981)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Shatrughan Sinha, Rishi Kapoor, Reena Roy, Pran, Amrish Puri, Kader Khan, Amjad Khan, Shakti Kapoor, Prem Chopra, Lalita Pawar, Jagdish Raj, Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor, Dharmendra, Rajesh Khanna, Mala Sinha, Waheeda Rehmanm, Sharmila Tagore, Shubha Khote, Om Shivpuri
Directed by: Manmohan Desai
Music by: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

This multi-starrer was also a very big hit. An interesting trivia about this movie was that Naseeb was one of the first films to advertise on Doordarshan viz., what we call as trailers / teasers these days, apparently was a trend started by Naseeb. Great starcast and great music.

Movie: Desh Premee (1982)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Parveen Babi, Hema Malini, Shammi Kapoor
Music by: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

I am not sure how this movie did at the box office.

Movie: Coolie (1983)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Waheeda Rehman, Rishi Kapoor, Rati Agnihotri, Shoma Anand, Suresh Oberoi, Kader Khan, Om Shivpuri, Satyen Kappu, Nilu Phule, Puneet Issar
Music by: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Amitabh had a near death experience while shooting for an action sequence for the film. Punit Issar accidently hit him in the stomach and Amitabh got hit by the corner of a table due to which, he was battling for his life in the hospital. The film industry had virtually come to a stand still and everybody was praying for his recovery. After he recovered from his injury he completed this film and when it was released, it became a huge hit because of the publicity the film had generated during Amitabh’s injury.

Movie: Mard (1985)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Amrita Singh, Nirupa Roy, Dara Singh, Prem Chopra
Directed by: Manmohan Desai
Music by: Anu Malik

“Mard Tangewala main hoon mard tangewaala, mujhe dushman kya maarega mera dost hai uparwala” and “Mard ko dard nahin hota” – Need I say anything more?

I think either Manmohan Desai was losing his touch or the audiences were becoming more smart. They rejected this movie outright.

Movie: Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswati (1989)
Starring: Amitabh Bachchan, Mithun Chakraborty, Jaya Prada, Meenakshi Sheshadri, Nirupa Roy, Amrish Puri
Music by: Anu Malik

What were Manmohan Desai / Amitabh thinking?

One little observation, which need not necessarily be true but is an amazing co-incidence. The biggest duds in the careers of Manmohan Desai and Amitabh Bachchan were Mard and Gangaa Jamunaa Saraswati. Till the time Manmohan Desai made Coolie, he had his usual Laxmikant-Pyaarelal as his music directors. He changed to Anu Malik for Mard and then repeated Anu for Gangaa Jamuna Saraswati. And look what happened to the movies? Of course, the music may not have been the only criteria for the fate of these movies. But it’s a strange co-incidence!

Amar Akbar Anthony, Parvarish, Suhaag, Naseeb and Coolie were the major films Amitabh did with Manmohan Desai.


KBR said...

a few corrections - MARD was a huge hit. a typical potboiler yes, but it was a huge money spinner. Goldenn jubilee in most centers.

Desh Preme flopped initially but recovered its money in the long run.

the best thing is that manmohan desai had initially felt that AB was too lanky to become a hero and told him a hero is like rajesh khanna.

on mnamohan desai - in 1977 he had 4 huge box office hit. AAA, Parvarish, Dharam Veer and Chacha .

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