Amitabh Bachchan was a slow starter when it came to his acting career. When he was born, he was named Inquilab, but his renowned poet father’s (equally legendary poet) friend Sumitra Nandan Pant suggested the child be named Amitabh (meaning “the boundless/infinite light” ). After his graduation from Kirorimal College, Delhi, his father Harivanshrai actually approached Prithviraj Kapoor who founded and ran the Prithvi Theatre, to see if there was an opening for him, but Kapoor apparently “offered no encouragement”. Amitabh Bachchan then applied for a role as a newsreader for All India Radio, and amazingly “failed the audition” as the AIR Czars claimed his voice was not good enough!!! (Something they also told Amin Sayani and Sunil Dutt – in his previous avatar as Balraj Khanna) .He then became a sales man for Bird & Company in Calcutta, and even worked in the theatre before starting his film career. In 1969, he actually got his break in Bhuvan Shome (Mrinal Sen‘s National Award winning movie with unforgettable roles by Utpal Dutt and Suhasini Mulay), ironically as a narrator (AIR Czars must have definitely not found it amusing, I am sure). His first acting break came with K A Abbas‘s movie called Saat Hindustani based on the Goa Liberation. The role in the movie went pretty much unnoticed. Anand followed, where his role as Dr Bhaskar picked up a Filmfare for best supporting actor role. This was followed by a role of a villain in this movie, his first such role (and remains a rarity throughout his six decade long career ). The movie, Parwana, had Navin Nischol and Yogita Bali as the lead pair and Om Prakash as Yogita’s uncle and guardian who is the centre of the plot.
I saw the movie during my summer vacations in Vijay Theatre in Pune with two of my cousins. It was a favourite way of entertaining ourselves those days, with no internet/ TV. We would also go for long walks in Pune. Buses and other means of public transport were to be used only as a last resort.
I loved the movie’s storyline with the elaborate manner by which Amitabh Bachchan plans and executes Om Prakash’s murder : A truly brilliant and immensely engaging sequence. Amitabh Bachchan boards and exits various modes of transportation to avoid any possibilities of suspicion by creating an elaborate alibi. He finally kills Om Prakash and frames Navin Nischol to gain Yogita Bali. who still loves Navin Nischol and never doubts his innocence. She actually promises Amitabh Bachchan to stay with him forever, if he can get Navin Nischol off the hook from his death sentence. Amitabh finally realises that he will never really win Yogita Bali’s love. He ultimately writes down his detailed confessional statement, outlining details of his plan and execution of murder, gives it to Navin Nischol and commits suicide.
I loved the role that Amitabh undertook and the plot, how I wish we had a better set of actors for the lead pair. Navin Nischol was aptly named. His face was Nischol… Yogita Bali always looked overweight and a bit less capable in acting terms than her namesake Geeta Bali.
The movie Parwana, made by Jyoti Swaroop (who had made the all-time hit Padosan with R D Burman) had initially asked Pancham to do the honours. An unfortunate fallout between the two, led to Madan Mohan being roped in at the last moment. The lyrics were by Kaifi Azmi. This amazing song, one of Kishoreda’s best ones, has been rendered beautifully and shot in the misty woods around Ooty.
A wonderful song, a great melody to set off the new week to a musical start.
Stay safe, folks. Stay healthy and away from all things Chinese.
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