In the 1970s, there was more masala in Bollywood than in Indian food. Movies with a theme of siblings separated in childhood were being released every month. Though this formula worked well for most of the films, director Manmohan Desai took it a notch higher by replacing the melodrama with comedy and endless masala.
One of his cult movies is the incomparable ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’. The movie had a stellar cast with stars like Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor, Parveen Babi, Neetu Singh and Shabana Azmi.
The movie is still known for its soundtrack, composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal with lyrics penned by Anand Bakshi.
For this week’s Album Talk, fellow cowboy Narendra Kusnur and I discuss the outstanding soundtrack of ‘Amar Akbar Anthony.’
Note: Language may be altered to suit the platform’s requirements.
Me: Firstly, tell me where is that statue in National Park where the kids were left behind? I have never seen it!
Kusnur: Even I haven’t. It’s a Manmohan Desai movie, come on!
Me: Anything was possible in them.
Kusnur: But he was a real showman.
Me: His movies were always larger than life.
Kusnur: 3 hours of entertainment.
Me: The credit scene takes the cake. All 3 of them donating blood to a woman simultaneously.
Kusnur: The lost and found theme was a trend at the time. First one was ‘Waqt’, then ‘Yaadon Ki Baraat’. This movie came much later and it was a pure entertainer unlike the previous two. ‘Waqt’ was a serious movie while ‘Yaadon Ki Baraat’ was about revenge.
Me: This is almost a spoof! But excellent music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
Kusnur: Interestingly, for most of the big Amitabh Bachchan hits of the 70s the music was composed by Kalyanji-Anandji. Later on Bappi Lahiri composed for most of his movies. Amitabh didn’t have many hits with Laxmikant-Pyarelal but this soundtrack is one of the biggest.
Listen to ‘Amar Akbar Anthony‘
Me: The title track is still well known.
Kusnur: It was sung by Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, and Shailendra Singh.
Me: Shailendra Singh was known as the voice of Rishi Kapoor at the time.
Kusnur: Ya then Rafi was the one.
Me: ‘Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar’ is one of the most melodious songs.
Kusnur: This is the only song which featured Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, and Lata Mangeshkar together. Rafi sang for Rishi, Mukesh for Vinod, and Kishore for Amitabh Bachchan, while Mangeshkar sang for all the three actresses. Mukesh’s part is totally out of context in the song but the script demanded it.
Listen to ‘Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar‘
Me: ‘Shirdi Wale Sai Baba’ is probably the biggest hit of the soundtrack. It has massive listenership still.
Kusnur: Actually ‘Shirdi Wale Sai Baba,’ ‘Parda Hai Parda,’ and ‘My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves’.
Me: Amitabh arrives sitting in an egg in the one!
Kusnur: No one has exactly replicated the English lyrics in the song.
Me: The song is credited to Kishore but even Amitabh sang a few lines.
Kusnur: Amitabh did the spoken lines. The locales of the songs were epic too. ‘My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves’ was shot in a church while ‘Parda Hai Parda’ in a typical qawali setting.
Listen to ‘My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves‘
Me: There is one more epic song, ‘Taiyabali Pyar Ka Dushman’. I wonder how Anand Bakshi wrote this one.
Kusnur: It featured Mukri as the central character. Manmohan Desai must have given his inputs to Bakshi, like he did for all the songs. Manmohan Desai’s aim was to please everyone who watched his movies. All the songs were targeted at different audiences with entertainment as the main focus.
Which part of the audience are you?
Until next week! Adios!! Amigos!!!