27 May 2021: Revisiting cult classic 'Amar Akbar Anthony' on its 44th anniversary
On this day, Amar Akbar Anthony released in 1977, and became an instant hit not only in India, but also elsewhere. Released just after the Emergency, Manmohan Desai turned a producer for the first time with this movie, which also remains his biggest hit (in terms of cult status, investment returns and repeat value), even though his later flicks earned more, due to inflation.
Origin: Desai spun the entire story from a newspaper item
The idea for the story came to Desai from a newspaper piece, where an alcoholic man was fed up with his life, and had left his three children in a park. Amar Akbar Anthony followed a similar path. The film began from where the news item ended. The father leaves his three sons in a park, who get adopted by people of different religions.
Light-hearted: This noticeable goof-up was deliberately kept in
Rishi Kapoor's Akbar was cast opposite Neetu Singh's Dr. Salma. However, in one scene, Akbar calls the doctor "Neetu," instead of Salma. Though this goof-up was noticeable, makers kept the scene nonetheless. Talking of female leads, only Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan (Anthony) had heroines paired opposite them originally, as Desai thought Amar (Vinod Khanna) was a serious character and should be single.
Iconic: Major landmark in Bachchan's career, start of a memorable partnership
Although the film had three heroes, the focus was on Anthony, and this move reaped favorable results. Big B established himself as a superstar with this film, winning his first Best Actor Filmfare Award. The movie was a huge hit in the Caribbean, where Bachchan's fame skyrocketed. This also started a memorable partnership between him and Desai, who gave us Suhaag, Parvarish, and Naseeb.
Special character: Anthony Gonsalves just doesn't mouth random, meaningless lines
Now coming to Bachchan's character, Anthony Gonsalves, who mouths random lines in the song My name is Anthony Gonsalves. But did you know the line, "You are a sophisticated rhetorician intoxicated by the exuberance of your own verbosity," had been picked nearly exactly from British Prime Minister Benjamin Disraeli's speech in 1878? Also, the role was named after composers Laxmikant-Pyarelal's real-life guru. Interesting, right?
Fact: Its collection crossed even that of 'Baahubali 2'!
The movie was screened for 25 weeks in as many as nine theaters, a record. Its total income stood at around Rs. 7.25 crore in those days. If compared to today's figure, the amount crosses the collections of Prabhas' magnum opus Baahubali 2: The Conclusion!
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