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Amar Akbar Anthony

Amar Akbar Anthony
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Manmohan Desai
Produced by Manmohan Desai
Written by Kader Khan(dialogue)
Prayag Raj (screenplay)
K.K. Shukla (scenario)
Story by Jeevanprabha M. Desai (story)
Pushpa Sharma (story idea)
Starring Amitabh Bachchan
Vinod Khanna
Rishi Kapoor
Parveen Babi
Shabana Azmi
Neetu Singh
Nirupa Roy
Nazir Hussain
Music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Anand Bakshi (lyrics)
Cinematography Peter Pereira
Edited by Kamlakar Karkhanis
Release dates
7 January 1977
Running time
185 mins
Country India
Language Hindi
Box office 155.0 million (US$2.3 million)[1]

Amar Akbar Anthony (Hindi: अमर अकबर अन्थोनी) is a 1977 Bollywood action comedy film with a lost and found theme, about three brothers separated during their childhood who grew up in three homes, adopting three religions. They meet in their youth to fight a common villain. It was the biggest blockbuster of 1977,[1] and won several awards at 25th Filmfare Awards including Best Actor, Best Music Director and Best Editing.[2]

The film was directed by Manmohan Desai and starred three actors: Amitabh Bachchan (as Anthony Gonsalves), Vinod Khanna (as Amar Khanna) and Rishi Kapoor (as Akbar Allahabadi). Each of the heroes had an affiliation with a heroine; these women were played by Parveen Babi, Shabana Azmi and Neetu Singh. Nirupa Roy, Pran and Jeevan played supporting roles. The music was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Kishore Kumar sang for Amitabh Bachchan, and Mohammed Rafi sang for Rishi Kapoor. The soundtrack was one of Mukesh's last soundtracks with Laxmikant-Pyarelal. Anand Bakshi was the lyricist. This movie proved to be a golden jubilee at the box office.

The film about religious tolerance became a landmark in Bollywood masala films.[3] It also had a lasting impact of the pop culture, with its catchy songs, one-liners and the character of Anthony Gonsalves played by Amitabh Bachchan.[4][5] It was later remade in Tamil as Shankar Salim Simon (1978), in Telugu as Ram Robert Rahim (1980)[6] and in Malayalam as John Jaffer Janardhanan (1982).[4]


  • Plot 1
  • Cast 2
  • Production 3
    • Scripting 3.1
    • Filming 3.2
  • Themes and allusions 4
  • Soundtrack 5
  • Release and promotion 6
  • Reception 7
  • Awards and nominations 8
  • See also 9
  • References 10
  • Bibliography 11
  • External links 12


Kishanlal (Pran), a chauffeur, takes the blame for a fatal hit-and-run accident committed by his mob boss employer, Robert (Jeevan), on the assurance that his family's income will be tripled and their welfare looked after. He returns from prison to find his wife Bharati (Nirupa Roy) suffering from tuberculosis and his three sons starving. Seeking help from Robert for the sake of his family, he is ridiculed, humiliated and repudiated, until he turns on Robert and tries to kill him. Making his escape, Kishanlal inadvertently takes a car containing a shipment of gold bullion. Robert's goons give chase.

Kishanlal goes home to rescue his family – only to find his wife's suicide note. Unknown to him, she fails and is struck blind. He leaves his sons in a public park (at the foot of a statue of Gandhi) while he draws off the pursuing goons. In the car chase that follows he crashes, is thrown clear of the wreck, and discovers the gold. But by the time he returns to the park with his riches, his three children have vanished. Amar, the oldest, has been adopted by a Hindu policeman; a Muslim tailor adopts the youngest and names him Akbar; and a Catholic Priest (Nazir Hussain), finding the middle son asleep on the steps of his church, fosters him and names him Anthony.

In revenge, Kishanlal kidnaps Robert's daughter Jenny and raises her as his niece, using the gold to destroy Robert's business and set himself up as mob boss instead.

Amar (Vinod Khanna) becomes a policeman; Akbar (Rishi Kapoor) becomes a singer; the middle brother, Anthony (Amitabh Bachchan), becomes a likable, socially conscious scamp who runs quasi-legal operations and makes God his 'partner' by donating half his income to charity. The three meet when they donate blood for an accident victim, unaware that they are related – or that the recipient is their biological mother Bharati.

Their lives become entangled in an incredible web of coincidences and furious action sequences — interspersed with songs – when Amar's adopted father is seriously wounded and Anthony falls in love with Jenny, Robert's long-lost daughter. Because of it his adoptive father, the priest, is murdered. In their pursuit of justice their paths cross again until, combining efforts, the brothers discover both the culprit and their mutual heritage.

In addition to the ongoing feud between Robert and Kishanlal, each son meets and courts – with greater or lesser difficulty – their love interests. When the grieving mother regains her sight at a Diwali festival in honor of Sai Baba, one by one the family is re-united and Robert, who caused their suffering, is finally imprisoned.


  • Amitabh Bachchan as Anthony Gonsalves, the second son (raised as a Christian)
  • Vinod Khanna as Inspector Amar Khanna, the first son (raised as a Hindu)
  • Rishi Kapoor as Akbar Allahabadi/Raju, the third son (raised as a Muslim)
  • Parveen Babi as Jenny, Anthony's girlfriend
  • Shabana Azmi as Laxmi, a common thief and Amar's love interest
  • Neetu Singh as Dr. Salma, Akbar's neighbor and Akbar's love interest
  • Nirupa Roy as Bharati, mother of three boys
  • Pran as Kishanlal, father of three boys and husband of Bharati, who is a driver by profession
  • Jeevan as Albert/Robert, the mob boss
  • Nazir Hussain as Church priest
  • Ranjeet as Ranjeet
  • Helen in a special appearance
  • Yusuf Khan as Zebisko, the bodyguard


"You see the whole country of the system is juxtapositioned by the haemoglobin in the atmosphere, because you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated with the exuberance of your own verbosity."

- Anthony Gonsalves[7]


Prayag Raaj wrote the film's screenplay, with Kader Khan writing the dialogues.[8] In a famous sequence, Anthony Gonsalves' jumps out of a large easter egg, wearing a black tuxedo complete with a top hat, monocle and umbrella. He speaks one of the most famous nonsensical dialogues in a mock accent, "you are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated with the exuberance of your own verbosity,"[7] This was in part taken from 1878 speech by British politician Benjamin Disraeli, who made it while referring to another politician, W. E. Gladstone.[4] The character Anthony Gonsalves played by Amitabh Bachchan was named after noted music arranger by the same name, whose pupils included R D Burman and Pyarelal of Laxmikant-Pyarelal, the composer duo of the film.[4][9]


The film was scheduled in such a way that the entire cast, which included the leading stars of time, didn't have to shoot together, except for the climax sequence and the title song, "Anhony Ko Honi", where they all performed together. It was shot over a period of a month at Ranjit Studios in Mumbai. However, the shooting went beyond this period, so Rishi Kapoor and Shabana Azmi had to leave towards the end for other films, hence their scenes were shot separately.[8]

The film's "mirror-band aid" scene was shot while director Manmohan Desai was absent. When Amitabh Bachchan was rehearsing the scene, Desai was committed to shooting the climax of Parvarish in another part of the same studio. He returned to find the scene shot.[4] Some of the crucial scenes were shot at Mount Mary Church in Bandra, Mumbai.[10]

Themes and allusions

Desai's magnum opus extends Nehruvian secular nationalism and also clear secularism motifs albeit complete with Bollywood masala. Three children were separated from their father on the Independence Day (15 August) who leaves them in a park under a statue of Mahatma Gandhi. These kids are subsequently raised by different parents, one grows up to become Anthony Gonsalves (Amitabh Bachchan), a Goan Christian, Amar Khanna (Vinod Khanna), a Hindu police officer, while the third and youngest child raised by Muslim parents, becomes Akbar Allahabadi (Rishi Kapoor), a Qawwali-singer. Their reunion in the end, completes the nationalistic allegory.[5][11][12]

In a crucial scene on the opening titles appear, three brothers of different religions, unknowingly donated blood to a blind woman, who is their mother, and are all united in the end, suggesting what was lost at independence, that secularism, can be gained.[13] The final dance number, "Honi Ko Anhoni Karde", which leads to films' climatic sequence, shows a masquerade song with the entire cast at villain's den. It highlighting that three religions are "pillars of the nation" and when they work together, they can beat any evil, their common villain in this case.[14]

The stereotype of suffering and self-sacrificing mother is also highlighted by some authors, played by actress Nirupa Roy, who regularly played such roles during the period. However, in her self-sacrificing streak, when she is afflicted to tuberculosis, she tries to commit suicide so that she doesn't become a burden to her family. However, this transgression of attempting to abandon her three young sons calls for a suitable punishment in the narrative and she loses her eyesight.[15]


Amar Akbar Anthony
Studio album by Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Released 1977
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Label Universal Music
Producer Laxmikant-Pyarelal
Laxmikant-Pyarelal chronology
Dream Girl
Amar Akbar Anthony
Professional ratings
Review scores
Source Rating
Planet Bollywood [16]

The soundtrack was composed by Laxmikant-Pyarelal, and the lyrics were penned by the veteran Anand Bakshi. The soundtrack of the movie proved as popular and successful as the movie itself. The vocals of the songs again have been given by some of the biggest names in the Indian music industry: Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, Lata Mangeshkar, Shailender Singh and Amitabh Bachchan (sang in the song "My Name is Anthony Gonsalves"). For the song, "Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai" four leading playback singers, Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, Kishore Kumar, and Mukesh sang together for the first and only occasion.[4] The film also features a comical qawwali, "Parda Hai" (There is Veil) sung by Mohammed Rafi.[17] Desai had originally settled for the name "Anthony Fernandes" for Christian character to be played Amitabh Bachchan, though when he met lyricist Anand Bakshi, and the song "My name is Anthony Fernandes" was written, it didn't go well with music directors, Laxmikant-Pyarelal. That is when composer, Pyarelal recalling his violin teacher, composer Anthony Gonsalves, suggested an alternative Anthony Gonsalves, which was finalised.[18][4]

Shahid Khan of Planet Bollywood gave 9 stars stating, "Overall, Amar Akbar Anthony is one of the finest examples of an album where the list of playback singers matches the star-power in the film".[16]

The vinyl record was released on Polydor and was the first coloured LP: It was pink.

Song Singer(s)
"Yeh Sach Hai Koi Kahani Nahin" ("This Is True; It's No Story") (Featured over the Opening Credits) Mohammed Rafi
"Parda Hai Parda" ("There Is a Veil") Mohammed Rafi
"My Name Is Anthony Gonsalves" Kishore Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan
"Humko Tumse Ho Gaya Hai Pyar" ("I Have Fallen In Love With You") Mohammed Rafi, Kishore Kumar, Mukesh, and Lata Mangeshkar
"Taiyyab Ali Pyar Ka Dushman" ("Taiyyab Ali, Enemy of Love") Mohammed Rafi
"Shirdi Wale Sai Baba" ("O Sai Baba of Shirdi") Mohammed Rafi
"Anhoni Ko Honi Karde (Amar Akbar Anthony)" ("The Impossible Becomes Possible") Kishore Kumar, Mahendra Kapoor, and Shailendra Singh

Release and promotion

The Emergency period declared in 1975, delayed the release of Desai's films, as a result in 1977, when Emergency was lifted, four of films, were released in the same year, this included, Dharam Veer, Chacha Bhatija, Parvarish and Amar Akbar Anthony.[19][20] Incidentally, all of them were amongst the top grossing films of the year.[1]

Film expert Rajesh Subramanian explains one of the earliest film merchandising strategy started with Amar Akbar Anthony. Three large Erasers with the photographs of Vinod Khanna, Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan, was sold in the market. It was a rage among school students. Posters, postcards and song booklets of the film adorned the shops. Men started sporting a metal cross around their neck. Even colourful vests, worn by Amitabh Bachchan in the film) became a vogue.


Amar Akbar Anthony was Desai's first film as an independent film producer,[20] it grossed 155 million (US$2.3 million) at the box office, was declared a blockbuster, and subsequently became highest grossing Bollywood film at the Indian Box Office for the year 1977.[1]

Awards and nominations

See also


  1. ^ a b c d "Box Office 1977". Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  2. ^ a b 1st Filmfare Awards and nomination
  3. ^ Rachel Dwyer (2005). 100 Bollywood films. Lotus Collection, Roli Books. p. 14.  
  4. ^ a b c d e f g Gitanjali Roy (8 May 2013). "10 things you didn't know about Amar Akbar Anthony". NDTV Movies. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Amar Akbar Anthony". Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  6. ^ "Transcending language barrier - The Economic Times". 20 September 2008. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  7. ^ a b Michael Heyman; Sumanyu Satpathy; Anushka Ravishankar (2007). The Tenth Rasa: An Anthology of Indian Nonsense. Penguin Books India. pp. 133–.  
  8. ^ a b "Amar Akbar Anthony". Livemint. 3 Aug 2013. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Booth, p. 3
  10. ^ Helio San Miguel (2012). Mumbai. Intellect Books. pp. 42–.  
  11. ^ Jyotika Virdi (2003). The Cinematic ImagiNation: Indian Popular Films as Social History. Rutgers University Press. pp. 36–.  
  12. ^ Anandam P. Kavoori; Aswin Punathambekar (2008). Global Bollywood. NYU Press. pp. 128–.  
  13. ^ Martha P. Nochimson (23 September 2011). World on Film: An Introduction. John Wiley & Sons. pp. 266–.  
  14. ^ Th Damsteegt (2003). Heroes and Heritage: The Protagonist in Indian Literature and Film. Amsterdam University Press. p. 217.  
  15. ^ Carol Appadurai Breckenridge (1995). Consuming Modernity: Public Culture in a South Asian World. University of Minnesota Press. pp. 166–.  
  16. ^ a b "AAA Music Review by Shahid Khan". Planet Bollywood. Retrieved 7 February 2012. 
  17. ^ Anna Morcom (1 January 2007). Hindi Film Songs and the Cinema. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd. pp. 82–.  
  18. ^ Booth, p. 5
  19. ^ "Amar-Akbar-Anthony". NYTimes. Retrieved 6 August 2013. 
  20. ^ a b Tejaswini Ganti (5 March 2013). Bollywood: A Guidebook to Popular Hindi Cinema. Routledge. pp. 223–.  


  • Connie Haham (2006). Enchantment of the Mind: Manmohan Desai's Films. Roli Books Pvt Limited.  
  • Ethnomusicology Gregory D. Booth (2008). Behind the Curtain : Making Music in Mumbai's Film Studios. Oxford University Press.  

External links

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