One of the most successful films ever made in India released in 1975 which has ample space being given in books, film history, cyberspace and every living soul in this part of the world in their lifetime has knowingly given it a view. SHOLAY remains the only true all time blockbuster, if one goes with an adjusted inflation at box box office and rightfully maintains that spot untouched, even though every year we have trade successes categorizing blockbusters to movies which surely will never stand the test of time.
SHAAN was a follow up to SHOLAY from the same production team of G.P Sippy & Ramesh Sippy but only Amitabh Bachchan from its principal cast and R.D.Burman (Music), M.S. Shinde(Editor) and Salim-Javed(writers) from its technical crew were retained for this mega budget heist and crime drama. (Dharmendra and Hema Malini had some disputes leading to a walk out and even Sanjeev Kumar refused a role which was eventually played by Mazhar Khan. – Source IMDB)
My parents have confirmed some years back that SHAAN was the first movie where I was introduced to a silver screen inside the confines of a cinema hall and now realise how a pain it would have been to the audience around, unless I slept off or was watching the screen in amusement without indulging in any cries. Recently I was on the receiving end while watching “Don 2” and surprisingly even an ‘A’ rated “The Dirty Picture” for toddlers having their moment of fame with unapologetic weeping only to the irritation of movie audience.
It must have been a herculean task for Ramesh Sippy to maintain the high standards set from his previous effort and fulfil every expectations of the Indian crowd nationwide. Maybe the success of this film was measured in terms of its revenues vis a vis SHOLAY or the iconic stature attained in terms of its characters especially Gabbar Singh, the dreaded dacoit and a cult cinematic character.
But after years of re-watch and sufficient mind storming, I have no qualms in admitting and neither ashamed to say that SHAAN personally is the more entertaining film for me and a text book in the genre of blockbuster masla films in Bollywood.
With an opening credit like that which is so much of style and class and defining cool in every frame, SHAAN had a lot of international crew for its technical excellence in assistance and Ramesh Sippy was one of the real passionate directors of his generation to pump in all money giving it an international feel.
An entertaining blockbuster film to be good and famous apart from a great cast and crew followed by a chartbusting score, should have highlight scenes after every 15 minutes to grab the audience in their seat. SHAAN rightfully gives it in abundance, right from the opening credits till end and it’s a shame that even now film makers across various languages still find it tough to maintain this balance across in India.
It tells the story about an honest and brave police officer DCP Shiv Kumar(Sunil Dutt in a special appearance) who is killed by Shakaal (Kulbushan Kharbanda) an international crime lord for being a thorn in his nefarious activities. Leaving behind a widow Sheetal(Rakhee Gulzar) and a younger daughter; DCP Shiv has Ravi(Shashi Kapoor) and Vijay(Amitabh Bachchan) for brothers but tricksters by profession. They squander their time in conning people around but in the process meet their own match of swindlers in Renu(Bindiya Goswami), Chacha(Johnny Walker) and Sunita(Parveen Babi).
Rakesh (Shatrughan Sinha )who is also a victim of Shakaal’s evil act joins hand with Ravi and Vijay and along with some tips from Abdul(Mazhar Khan)they close in their heels of reaching Shakaal. By having different encounters with his men and destroying all his properties; the trio ultimately accomplish their task of killing Shakaal in his own island.
Taking some general views from acquaintances and very close friends who were in a fair age during its release, the most glaring disappointment that they shared was the portrayal of Shakaal by Kulbushan Kharbanda. It may have been a feeble follow up to Amjad Khan’s towering and overpowering Gabbar Singh, but nonetheless is a decent act and some comparisons could have been avoided as the setting and milieu is vastly diverse.
But there cannot be any grudges the way Ramesh Sippy uses his cream of talent when it comes to grandness and extravagance. Especially the action scenes need the highest regards and can still make all Dabbang’s & Singham’s hide their face in shame. Special mention has to be given to below mentioned scenes:
(a) The entire opening action scene between DCP Shivam & dacoit Durjan Singh on top of a tower where civilians are held captive.
(b) DCP Shivam being abducted while driving his car between two cargo trucks and chased by dogs on his attempt to escape from Shakaal’s island.
(c) Rakesh and his confrontation with Shakaal’s men in a horse stable leading to a tense gun fight.
(d) Vijay enquiring about Shakaal’s henchmen and creating rampage inside a bar to trace them.
The cinematography (S.M Anwar) is fabulous with some breath taking aerial shots and an original soundtrack from R.D Burman. “Jaanu meri jaan”, “Yamma Yamma”, “Pyaar karnewaale pyaar karte hain shaan se” and the title song are still enjoyed and gives the movie that extra edge required.
Sharat Saxena, Goga Kapoor, Mac Mohan, Sudhir Pandey, Sudheer and Dalip Tahil act up as Shakaal’s assistants and these names by themselves are a delectable cast of bad guys. The main cast gives competent performances and never go overboard, with the drama in check according to this film’s pace.
Ramesh Sippy directed Shakti & Saagar(his last good film) after SHAAN only to reach depths of creative low with films like Brashtachar, Akayla and Zamana Deewana. It will be a huge surprise if he returns to direction anytime in future with his son Rohan Sippy showing a bit of flair in films like Bluffmaster and Dum Maaro Dum.
Shaan is a perfect example of a typical syndrome most people love to associate with i.e. comparing two individual identities with prominence given to the more successful one and eventually ignoring the equally talented second one for no fault; terming it as a shadow.
The next time when directors (current lot) claim that they are making a Bollywood paisa vasool venture and don’t want to take any brainless inspiration from South curries; the ingredients of action, adventure, comedy, romance, thrills, music are readily available here and it just requires them to give a view of this splendidly crafted entertainer made with a lot of Aan, Baan and SHAAN.
Wishing everyone a happy new year and looking forward towards a rewarding time at movies in 2012.
(P.S The images attached of SHAAN are from the original Vinyl records possessed dearly by my father and I used to flap it in childhood like a fanboy)