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Mahesh Bhatt, Kalyanji Anandji, Anjaan and Prakash Mehra's THIKANA (1987) - (Exclusive Articles on Cinema By Bobby Sing)

11 Jul, 2020 | Articles on Cinema

In the 80s the craze for Hindi pulp fiction novels was at its peak and many of the stories in them used to be about a protagonist searching for a diary, key or a camera-reel hidden by someone murdered by a known personality of the town. A similar tale of suspense revolving around a video cassette (that happened to be the most trending thing of those times) was also presented in THIKANA along with an emotional family drama directed by Mahesh Bhatt.
Though many might not include THIKANA among Bhatt’s significant films (including the director himself), the film still had all the elements Mahesh Bhatt was known for and was a fairly engaging creation with some outstanding, well composed and thoughtfully written tracks becoming its key feature. Recalling the film first (before its soundtrack), it is about a young, alcoholic (underemployed) lawyer played by Anil Kapoor, who finds himself trapped in a serious mess while investigating the death of a photographer. 
Having the typical Bhatt kind of representation of a middle class family, THIKANA has its main characters struggling with their own personal issues. And that is depicted through many well-written meaningful scenes between the mother-brother and sister rendering some powerful lines. However a predictable and hurried kind of finale does play a spoilsport, creating a much lesser impact.
On the other hand, the project had many interesting associations, worth mentioning here for the young readers. In those years Anil Kapoor was on the path of becoming the next ‘Angry Young Man’ and he yet again played a lawyer in this film after MERI JUNG and YUDH (both in 1985). But his TEZAAB, RAM LAKHAN and PARINDA were yet to come in the next years, turning the tide. 
Anil Kapoor and Amrita Singh returned together as a lead pair in THIKANA after their super entertaining CHAMELI KI SHADI (1986). Satish Kaushik once again provided the comic relief playing the Canteen-wala saying ‘Coorrect’ as his takiya-kalaam supporting Anil Kapoor, post their MR INDIA releasing in the same year. Rohini Hathangadi played a character almost similar to what she got to play in the cult AGNEEPATH three years later in 1990. Plus here we also had Suresh Oberoi as the Police Inspector (and Anupam Kher too) clashing with Anil, an year before the release of TEZAAB. 
In the supporting cast, Madan Jain could be seen in a cameo, who delivered a sleeper hit as the lead hero next year titled KAALCHAKRA and then the main villain of the film was director’s favourite Avtar Gill playing the corrupt politician (probably the only lead villain role of his career).
More importantly, it was one of the last films of Late Smita Patil and the film begins remembering her with love and respect displaying a slide of her smiling picture saying “Dedicated to the memory of our dear friend SMITA”. Interestingly Smita Patil was pregnant while shooting the film and her character in the film also happened to be of a pregnant woman.
Strangely the present version of THIKANA available online is of around 2 hours which is surely not the right duration of the film as a 2 hour project was still not the culture in Hindi films in that particular era. Almost all the mainstream films in the last century were of duration between 135-150+ minutes and that’s the reason the single screen theaters used to have the tradition of four shows a day beginning from 12 noon to 9pm (apart from the morning shows).
Coming to the soundtrack of the film and a distinctive title of the article - it has been written so, as though the film has been directed by Mahesh Bhatt (and written by Suraj-Sanim), it is not recalled today either for its content, direction or performances. THIKANA is largely remembered today for its three fabulous songs, “Aasman Chhat Ho Meri”, “Dua Samajh Lo Ya Isko Gaali” and “Thoda Sa Gham Thodi Khushi” (all sung by Suresh Wadekar) along with “Ajnabi Koyi Kabhie” and “Bachaana Dil Bachaana” (sung by Asha Bhosle) beautifully composed by the legendary Kalyanji Anandji.
But here the most unusual fact is that where the last three songs have been penned by Anjaan, the first two of the most famous have been written by the writer-director and lyricist Prakash Mehra.

The most famous among them all is the song which also has the word Thikana coming in its sthayi (opening verse), that eventually became the title of the film or perhaps the lines were penned perfectly suiting the title already finalized. The verses go as:
“Aasman Chhat Ho Meri, Dharti Sirhana Ho,
Jahan Miley Pyar Mujhko, Woh Mera Thikana Ho”
Here apart from the well-written lyrics of the entire song, it’s the usage of the rarely used word “Sirhana” meaning pillow, which needs to be given a special attention. In Hindi the common word used for pillow is Takiya and I have heard ‘Sirhana’ mostly used in Punjabi or in the regions in North. However how Prakash Mehra so smoothly uses the word in the opening stanza of the song never lets you stuck on the rarity.

In fact it reminds me how differently the word has been used in the antra (verse) of another cult song “Chandan Sa Badan Chanchal Chitvan” written by Indiwar with a clearly distinctive pronunciation (in its female version sung by Lata Mangeshkar). To be precise, where Prakash Mehra uses the word as ‘Sirhana’, Indiwar uses it as ‘Sarhana’ in his cult song. Incidentally SARASWATICHANDRA (the film having the track) also has its soundtrack composed by Kalyanji-Anandji.
Next, equally appreciable is the second song by Prakash Mehra which is purely a situational one with the lyrics as, 

“Dua Samajh Lo Ya Isko Gaali,
Chaman Ka Dushman Bana Hai Maali” 
How well written the song is, can easily be realized once you get to see how and when it has been placed in the script and how smartly it explains the exact situation in the storyline.
And then the third life teaching song by Anjaan really makes it a must-have album in your collection saying,

“Thoda So Gham Thodi Khushi, Yahi To Hai Zindagi, Yahi To Hai Zindagi,
Aansoo Mein Bhi Jo Dhoondhe Hansi, Jeena Usi Ka Jeena, Zinda Wahi”
Getting back to the details of why Prakash Mehra participation in the film’s soundtrack is unusual and worth noticing. That’s because Mehra rarely wrote lyrics for projects he is not involved in either as an assistant director, writer, presenter, producer or director. 
After getting established in the industry as a successful director, Mehra did most of his films with Kalyanji-Anandji (besides R.D. Burman and Bappi Lahiri) but contributed in just a couple of films as only a lyricist (without doing anything else) like MEETHA ZEHAR (1985 / Music by Babla) and TALAASHI (1996 / Music by Anand Milind). Hence THIKANA (most probably) remains the only mainstream film he wrote lyrics for in the mid-80s (may be maintaining his friendly relationships) when he was widely acknowledged among the most credible directors in the industry and his big debacle JAADUGAR was still in the making. 
Therefore every write-up on THIKANA has to make a strong mention of Prakash Mehra as the lyricist (along with Anjaan and Kalyanji Anandji), since it’s the songs only (particularly the title song) for which the film is mainly remembered today, even after more than three decades of its release. 
Lastly if you haven’t heard the soundtrack yet, then do go for it at the earliest and cherish one of the most soothing voices in Hindi film music of Suresh Wadekar singing the lyrics of Prakash Mehra and Anjaan composed by Kalyanji Anandji.

Bobby Sing
bobbytalkscinema.com - 13th July 2020

Tags : Mahesh Bhatt and Prakash Mehra's THIKANA (1987) By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Exclusive Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing, Prakash Mehra as lyricist, Lyrics by Prakash Mehra, Lesser Known facts about Bollywood by Bobby Sing
11 Jul 2020 / Comment ( 2 )

I happened to watch Thikana again recently and I must say it was quite interesting. I agree that the duration of the movie must be more than 2 hours. Probably what is available on you tube is an edited version (many companies like Shemaroo edit the movie and reduce the length. Don't understand why.) The title song is also one of my favorite. Smita Patil and Anil Kapoor were top class in the movie. The relation they share and the way they support each other is depicted through some well written scenes. 

Thanks for the write up. It revived the memories of this films.

Bobby Sing

Thanks Tushar for sharing your views on the film.
Glad that the article could make you live your memories again.
The pleasure is really mine.
Keep Visiting and Writing In,

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