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Golden Year gets Silver sheen

The first burst of high erotica in A-grade films,the making and breaking of trends,new forces that have stood the test of time,mini-musical revolutions and the final curtain for legends: it was a milestone year with few equals in Hindi cinema. 25 years later,Screen revisits 1985.

Written by Rajiv Vijayakar | Mumbai |
October 29, 2010 9:23:29 pm

The first burst of high erotica in A-grade films,the making and breaking of trends,new forces that have stood the test of time,mini-musical revolutions and the final curtain for legends: it was a milestone year with few equals in Hindi cinema. 25 years later,Screen revisits 1985.

Aakhir Kyon?

Aakhir Kyon? is the late Smita Patil’s only commercial film in a pivotal role. ‘Hit’-man J.Om Prakash may now be known as Hrithik Roshan’s maternal grandfather,but this Rajesh Khanna-Tina Munim-Rakesh Roshan vehicle was the last of his films to make an impact and also deliver a strong message after Aap Ki Kasam,Aandhi,Apnapan and Aasha.

Rajesh Roshan stepped in to compose a wonderful score,complete with the landmark Dushmun na kare and Ek andhera lakh sitare,Mohammed Aziz’s breakthrough song with Indeewar’s standout lyrics.

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Mukul S.Anand’s version of Hitchcock’s Dial M For Murder,despite its derivative nature,heralded the first impact of this tech-savvy director who was later to become Amitabh Bachchan’s favourite. With one of Dimple Kapadia’s career-finest performances,and Danny Denzongpa scene-stealing cop act,the film had Bappi Lahiri composing two beautiful melodies,Awaaz di hai aaj ek nazar se and Kisi nazar ko tera intezaar aaj bhi hai and one of Hindi cinema’s most erotic numbers – Tum aur main aur yeh bekhudi – filmed on Raj Babbar, Danny and a supremely-uninhibited Leena Das.

Ankush & Arjun

Both the films had a common theme: the angst of the youth and their rebellion against corruption and social evils of the times. Though following the trail of Ardh Satya,Andhaa Kaanoon and Aaj Ki Awaz,these two movies had broader social overtones.

Ankush marked the arrivals of Nana Patekar as the new angry young man,and of editor-turned-director N.Chandra,whose brand of cinema was to yield bigger blockbusters later. Arjun established Sunny Deol’s image as the vendetta machine after softer films earlier. And yes,for the record,it was Dimple Kapadia’s first success after her return,though Ankush emerged as the bigger hit.


The seventh film and last hit of the Manmohan Desai-Amitabh Bachchan team took the MKD “item”-loaded genre of entertainment to its peak with classic one-liners (Mard ko dard nahin hota),typical illogical masala and strong emotions. Minor ego issues made Desai break his association with Laxmikant-Pyarelal to move to Anu Malik,and the film proved Anu’s first super-hit,and he also introduced Rafi-clone Mohammed Aziz,the singer who ruled for the next five years.

Twenty-five years down,Mard remains a cult classic without whose success many later masala films may not have been conceived. The father-son emotions,the machismo,the horse and the dog – MKD packed in every entertainment in this blockbuster.

Pyar Jhukta Nahin

For all his success in the Bond-like and disco genre,Mithun Chakraborty was considered essentially a B-grade hero. Pyar Jhukta Nahin elevated his acceptance as a solo hero of A-grade films,and a team with Padmini Kolhapure was formed.

For marble merchant K.C.Bokadia,who had dabbled in a couple of flops earlier,it was his ticket to big-time. O.P.Nayyar-favourite S.H.Bihari came out of hibernation to write the songs as well as the script,and Pyar Jhukta Nahin’s score by Laxmikant-Pyarelal was the first death-knell to the cacophony that Bappi Lahiri had unleashed for a few years. Singer Kavita Krishnamurthi made her first impact when her version of Tumse milkar na jaane kyoon scored over the Lata Mangeshkar-Shabbir Kumar version,but more vitally,the soundtrack established T-Series,now the Numero Uno music label,in a market dominated by just a couple of players.

Ram Teri Ganga Maili

The biggest hit of the decade (along with the 1989 Maine Pyar Kiya) and still the only Adults-certified film to count among Hindi cinema’s biggest-ever hits,Raj Kapoor’s directorial swansong was a fabulous allegory that took off because of its much-hyped topless sequences of heroine Mandakini,but sustained at the box-office more because of the intrinsic cinematic strengths like a strong story (Raj Kapoor again),a hard-hitting script,exceptional direction and editing (both by Raj Kapoor) and Ravindra Jain’s finest-ever musical score. And yes,for the record,RTGM remains Rajiv Kapoor’s only hit as an actor. Mandakini of course became a star for a while.


When Dimple Kapadia decided to make a comeback,this was the first film that she had signed,way back in 1980,reuniting with her Bobby co-star Rishi Kapoor,and playing a Catholic once again. Hot from Ek Duuje Ke Liye,Kamal Haasan came in for the love triangle. The film marked the first commercial breakthrough of Javed Akhtar as a lyricist. For R.D.Burman,it was the last all-hit score in his lifetime. For director Ramesh Sippy,after three action dramas Sholay,Shaan and Shakti,it was back to romance 14 years after his debut film Andaz.

And yes,for the record,Saagar,which had some of its prints released in 70mm,was chosen as India’s official entry to the Oscars,and had a fleeting topless shot of Dimple Kapadia emerging from a swim.


K.Vishwanath remade his cult film Sankarabharanam in Hindi,but could not replicate either its commercial or musical success. Nevertheless,the music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal (then the topmost and also the most ‘mass’ composers) remains the purest-ever classical score in a Hindi mainstream film,with lyrics by Maharashtrian Hindi scholar Prof. Vasant Deo. Classical maestros Pt. Rajan and Sajan Misra were the principal voices in stunners like Saadh re man sur ko saadh re,Dhanya bhag seva ka,He Shiv Shankar and Jaaoon tore charan kamal par vaari with many other singers including Lata Mangeshkar pitching in. Jaya Prada and Girish Karnad played the leads.


The film,based on the the classic Sanskrit play Charudatta and its sixth century A.D. version Mrichakatika was Hindi cinema’s first-ever A-grade sex comedy,co-written and directed by Girish Karnad. Easily producer Shashi Kapoor’s most memorable effort after 36,Chowringhee Lane,Utsav starred Shashi as the obese villain (the actor gained weight for the role and could never lose it later!) and introduced today’s television star Shekhar Suman in the lead with Rekha,Anooradha Patel,Shashi’s son Kunal Kapoor and Amjad Khan also in key roles. A cameo was essayed by Shashi’s daughter Sanjana Kapoor in the song Mere man baaja mirdang.

Brilliant dialogues by ace humorist and writer Sharad Joshi,and its mood cinematography by Ashok Mehta marked this bilingual (Karnad claims to be writing a book on the film now) that was called The Festival in English. Happily the film did modest business at the box-office.

Considered no less than a (master)piece of art today,it was originally announced in Screen with Amitabh Bachchan and Kamal Haasan in Shashi’s and Shekhar’s roles,with Padmini Kolhapure and Rati Agnihotri as leading ladies!

For the record,this was the second LP score (also with Pt.Vasant Deo as lyricist) besides Sur-Sangam that went against the duo’s populist image,but the songs worked big-time,notably Suresh Wadkar’s evergreen Saanjh dhale and the Lata Mangeshkar-Asha Bhosle duets,Man kyoon behka and Neelam pe nabh chhayi,the last two duets the sisters have recorded together till date.


The erotic streak

The bold erotic streak in 1985 was not restricted to Ram Teri Ganga Maili,Utsav and Saagar. Kimi Katkar started out as a semi-clad Jane in the B.Subhash modest success,Tarzan.

Musical beginnings

Tarzan,incidentally,marked the debut of Alisha Chinai,who is a contemporary vocal force even today.

The year was also marked by the emergence of new music labels that are big players today both in music as well as film production. T-Series,which had done a few films in 1984,hit big-time with Pyar Jhukta Nahin,while Venus Records & Tapes marketed its first film score with Jaan Ki Baazi with music by Anu Malik.

Start to finish

Directors who started out this year,apart from N.Chandra,were Rajiv Rai with the average Yudh and J.P. Dutta with Ghulami,the first of his Rajasthan-based multi-star action films and his only success among them.

At the other end of the spectrum,the legendary B.R.Chopra directed his last hit – the one-crore grossing Tawaif that ranked fourth at the box-office after RTGM,Pyar Jhukta Nahin and Mard – and so did veteran Subodh Mukerji (Ulta Seedha). One-time King Midas Nasir Husain (Aamir Khan’s uncle and inspiration) released his last film as director,Zabardast.

Two much

There was a barrage of films with dual roles,of which only K.Vishwanath’s moving saga Sanjog with Jaya Prada as mother and daughter was a hit. Other dual essays came from Meenakshi Seshadri (Awara Baap),Rajesh Khanna (Hum Dono),Sanjay Dutt (Jaan Ki Baazi – he was said to be almost leaving his profession when he was offered this quickie!),Rishi Kapoor (Raahi Badal Gaye) and Zeenat Aman (Yaadon Ki Kasam).

Special tracks

Subhash Ghai turned singer with the duet Jhoom le jhoom le with composer Laxmikant in Meri Jung. Ghai’s voice went on Parikshat Sahni. The film was the third collaboration that year after Utsav and Sur-Sangam of Girish Karnad with L-P,because the Nitin Mukesh-Lata version of the chartbuster Jeet Jayenge hum was filmed on Karnad and Nutan.

The song Bol baby bol filmed on Jaaved Jafferi in the same film marked the dancing debut of the future judge of Boogie Woogie,television’s longest-running dance reality show. His partner in the song was Khushboo,later to become a mega-star in the South.

The third dimension

The 3-D wave unleashed by the Southern dubbed hit Chhota Chetan (1984) made a passing impact on Hindi cinema with Shiva Ka Insaaf and Mahashaktimaan,but both flopped. However,horror Czars Ramsays struck gold with India’s first 3-D horror film,Saamri,their last hit.

Amitabh Bachchan and Rajnikant made special appearances in the Kamal Haasan film Geraftaar,marking a rare union of all three superstars. The film did average business. However,the sleeper hit was Ghar Dwaar,a family melodrama directed by Kalpataru,the new screen name of action filmmaker K.Parvez. The film led to an overdose of modest-budget family dramas that continued with varying success well into the ‘90s.

End of eras

Actor par excellence Sanjeev Kumar passed away at 47 on November 6,leaving fans and friends numbed and at least five unfinished films. Salim-Javed’s last collaboration,Zamana,was released this year,ending an era of a school of writing that also heralded a high status for screenwriters.

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