The evergreen Bollywood blockbuster “Amar Akbar Anthony” starring Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna and Rishi Kapoor and directed by Manmohan Desai, is now an inspiration for the Harvard University press for a book on Bollywood, Brotherhood and the Nation. The 1977 blockbuster — an escapist adage on unity and brotherhood — known for its non-stop entertainment right from the word go and the iconic Anthony Gonsalves played by Big B, all this is now part of the book.
Around ten days ago, the megastar Amitabh Bachchan took to social media to share the look of the cover which reads: Amar Akbar Anthony: Bollywood, Brotherhood and the Nation. Big B captioned the image: “The Harvard University Press brings out a book on ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’, a thesis almost on the merits of the film. Amazing!”
The film, which is based on the lost and found theme, is about three brothers separated from their parents and each other in childhood, and raised in three different faiths, Hinduism, Islam and Christianity. They unite in their youth to fight a common villain. It was the biggest blockbuster of 1977 and it won several awards at the 25th Filmfare Awards including Best Actor, Best Music Director and Best Editing.
The film about religious tolerance became a hallmark for Bollywood masala films. It also had a lasting impact on the pop culture, with its catchy songs, one-liners and the character of Anthony Gonsalves.
It was later remade in Tamil as “Shankar Salim Simon”; in Telugu as “Ram Robert Rahim” and in Malayalam as “John Jaffer Janardhanan”. The film starred three actors: Amitabh Bachchan (as Anthony Gonsalves), Vinod Khanna (as Amar Khanna) and Rishi Kapoor (as Akbar Allahabadi).
Each hero had 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. On Thursday, one of the lead actor Vinod Khanna (Amar) breathed his last in Mumbai after fighting a long battle with bladder cancer. His co-stars Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kappor paid their last respect for their fellow actor and friend and also mourned his death on the social media.