Amar, Akbar, Anthony, 1977

AAA (source: uiowa.edu)

AAA (source: uiowa.edu)

Directed by Manmohan Desai

First, what you must know is that this is a very enjoyable movie. Hollywood movies rarely get to have as much fun anymore (without just being plain dumb or using the same old stories over and over). It reminded me of the spirit of silly 70’s movies in Hollywood, such as the Love Bug movies. Three major Bollywood stars are the three title characters: Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, and Vinod Khanna—their fame is part of the joke of the movie, both implicitly and explicitly. The genesis of the plot centers on the ridiculous circumstances that lead to all five members of a family becoming separated when the boys are all under 5. The rest of the plot centers on how their worlds all come back together (and how the boys find love). It’s clear that by the time I watched this, I had been fully immersed in the Bollywood world, so many of the sensibilities of it already seemed normal to me. Here are the stereotypes that, if it didn’t start, the film helped perpetuate (you can see more explanations of these on my Stereotypes & Exonerations page):

Random Song Stylings: This is a stereotype that shouldn’t exist for Bollywood, since nearly all the songs are fully integrated into plot and character. In fact, most of the songs in this movie are as well, since one of the brothers is a singer by trade, and there is the usual love song number. And then there’s the number where Anthony steps out of an enormous Easter egg and sings a song while sporting a monocle and cane. As I said earlier, I had been warned about this scene, but I was so immersed in the sensibilities that the scene didn’t seem any sillier than a Hollywood movie such as Dr. Doolittle (with Rex Harrison). To me, the song is integrated into the plot, since Anthony is trying to infiltrate the social circle of his crush. I find the songs fun and pleasurable–what more would I expect, with music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and lyrics by Anand Bakshi?

Lack of Artsy Character-delving: I wouldn’t expect deep drama from a movie that’s meant for fun. Even so, it could have made some things more explicit. For instance, at the end, when everyone has a major realization, we only hear that that they had it, and the next time we see them, it’s already been revealed to all—there is no reunion scene or show of surprise. Only two characters really get to be surprised. One brother and his love interest simply meet and fall in love; she decides to marry him before he even meets her father; one character wreaks revenge by acting like the villain, which doesn’t really cultivate sympathy, etc.

Abrupt Scene Changes: These transitions are rather abrupt, but they didn’t seem abnormally so except for a few.

Fighting: There are probably about ten or more fights in this movie.

Kaleidoscope Faces

Silly Sound Effects

Sped-up Motion

Rating: Don’t watch this unless you are already a Bollywood fan.

Library Collection: Makes for a good pick for both historical and popular purposes.

© 2009 Jill Wohlgemuth
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About jillbrary

Spirit of the woods
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