29th May 2020

Manmohan Desai Hated Amar Akbar Anthony!

Among all of   Manmohan Desai’s  blockbusters   the  one that is most loved by his fans is Amar Akbar Anthony(AAA),  the  splashy melodramatic  1977 entertainer  where Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna  and Rishi Kapoor played three long-lost brothers  brought up  as a Christian, Hindu and a  Muslim, respectively.

Surprisingly Manji, as  everyone affectionately called him, didn’t think much  of   AAA. If the truth be  told he hated it.

In a lengthy interviews stretching into two  sessions on two consecutive days that he  did with me at his residence in Mumbai(then, Bombay) 1986,  Manji  never known to mince words, flatly  denounced  Amar Akbar Anthony.

We were discussing all his monumental hits  one by one when we came to Amar Akbar Anthony…As soon  I mentioned the triple A title excitedly, Manji interrupted  me  and said, “Oh,that was a  fluke hit!”

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Seeing my shocked expression he  explained, “Among  all the films that I’ve so  far done with Amit(abh Bachchan) AAA  was my  least  favourite. I  much prefer Naseeb, Coolie and Mard.”

He  then told me that his  favourite film from  his own repertoire  was the 1973 Shashi Kapoor-Sharmila Tagore  starrer Aa Gale Lag Jaa.

Manji explained  to me, “Amar Akbar Anthony involved my minimum effort, labour and money. It was a fluke hit. When it was released, I thought it had good songs. But I never thought it would be such a success. I was sure Aa Gale Lag Jaa would be a superhit while Amar Akbar Anthony would flop.”

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