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Manmohan Desai and the record-making year of 1977 (Articles on Cinema By Bobby Sing)

29 Nov, 2017 | Articles on Cinema

Manmohan Desai as a filmmaker can easily be quoted as the only director who openly defied logic in his films, taking unbelievable cinematic liberties, but still created amazing magic on screen that straight away connected with the audience forcing them to laugh, cry and enjoy forgetting everything else.
No doubt, he never got praised by the critics and experts of cinema mockingly writing about his films despite the notable success ratio. But the director repeatedly won over his viewers and that was the only thing he cared about in his films, solely made to entertain people buying the ticket expecting a gala time.

By the mid-70s, Desai had already made a name as one of the successful, talented directors of Hindi cinema with more than decent continuous success as CHHALIA (1960), BLUFF MASTER (1963), SACHAA JHUTHA (1970), BHAI HO TO AISA (1972), RAAMPUR KA LAKSHMAN (1972), AA GALE LAG JA (1973) and ROTI (1974).

However, the year 1977 came as a big turning point in his career, in which Desai not only achieved incomparable heights of success with four major hits releasing one after another, but also found a new entertaining style with comedy becoming a prominent part of his likable cinema.

It all happened because of the Emergency imposed by the Indira Gandhi government between the mid-70s, when several films got stuck and couldn’t be completed or released because of severe restrictions announced for the filmmakers.

The situation affected the making of Desai’s four films on the floor too and when Emergency was taken off around early 1977, all the four got released within 9-10 months and each one of them became a big hit making Manmohan Desai the most successful directors of those times and the instance having no parallel in the history of Hindi Cinema.

Surprising you further, the films were CHACHA BHATIJA, DHARAM-VEER, AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY and PARVARISH (released in the same sequence as per the dates in their censor certificates).

Now just imagine what would have been the state within the industry and the trade pundits witnessing one hit after another coming from the same director within the same year at a gap of just a couple of months (or even less), and that too, when most of the critics were busy slamming them all in the key newspapers and magazines.

Honestly a lot can be written on these four films at length mentioning their individual key points and common features. But keeping it short, mid '70s was the period when Manmohan Desai was shooting for all these films together (at times two films in the same studio).

Though CHACHA BHATIJA can easily be rated as the weakest film of them all, the director actually was least confident of AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY as admitted by him in his interviews later. Interestingly he also called it a fluke that went to become a cult trend-setting film after years (in terms of the use of local Mumbai language too).

Interestingly almost all the four films had the Desai’s favourite ‘lost & found’ plot incorporated in them distinctively.

Plus as destiny had in store, these were the years when the director (Desai) met his actor (Amitabh Bachchan) featuring in his AMAR AKBAR ANTHONY and PARVARISH, and then never made any film post 1977 without Bachchan in the lead till the end.
(Note : An edited form of this article was also featured in UC-News mobile app in Nov. 2017) 


Bobby Sing
(November 2021 - BobbyTalksCinema.com)

Note : The write-up is a chapter shared from my upcoming book releasing soon. So any additions, rectifications suggested by friends are welcome to make it better.
Did You Know By Bobby SingFor more such interesting articles on lesser known facts on Hindi Cinema, do try DID YOU KNOW Series by Bobby Sing available in both Book and E-book form.

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Tags : Manmohan Desai and the year of 1977 By Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Articles on Cinema By Bobby Sing, Manmohan Desai and Amitabh Bachchcan
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