I think we can all agree that there is no one ‘My Favourite Film.’ Just like I love Chola Bhatura and Masala Maggi with equal passion and cannot pick between them, just like I love A Suitable Boy and Catch 22 and The Princess Diaries and cannot pick between them, so too, can I not pick between Independence Day and Band Baaja Baaraat and Amar Akbar Anthony and Dirty Dancing. I bet you can’t too. I mean, Parveen Babi in that preposterous pink hat and transparent floaty dress or Patrick Swayze sprawled shirtless on white cotton sheets? Why pick? Just be happily polygamous and have lots of ‘my favourite films.’
For me, the one attribute a film must have to qualify as a MFF is rewatchability. If you’re walking through the room and you see it playing, you sink down on the couch at once and watch it to the end. I can do that with all the films named above, and several more that I can’t recall at this precise moment.
But for the sake of this piece, I will plump for one – Amar Akbar Anthony. That unabashed, no-holds barred ode to Unity in Diversity and Secular India.
I saw this movie when I was seven years old and I was BLOWN. It was just such a happy movie, and Rishi Kapoor was just so so crush-worthy in Parda Hai Parda – with his shiny green cap tilted alluringly, his pink pink lips all pouty and his bright brown eyes boldly raking a simpering Neetu Singh. Matlab, he had me at Shabab.
And then there were all those cheesy dialogues – my favourite being Zabisco (what a name, Zabisco!) randily telling Parveen Babi, “Bodyguard hoon, saari zindagi tumhari body ko guard karoonga.“
I’ve always believed that a point is always better made when it’s made entertainingly, and AAA gets that so right. The way the three brothers swear their love in ‘Humko Tumse Ho Gaya’ – Hum ko tumse ho gaya hai pyaar kya karen? God Promise/Ram Kasam/Khuda Gahwa hum sach bola hai – gives me goosebumps every time. It’s just so sweet and lightly done.
Bollywood is remaking films all the time, and I wonder why nobody has cast the current lot of stars in an updated version of Amar Akbar Anthony yet. If the boys are too coy, too busy or too egotistical to be in a multi-starrer, a feminist version called Anita Alice Ayesha could be fun!
But I guess the current political climate makes the remake a risky bet. How sad that we seem to be regressing instead of progressing as a nation.