Sunday, June 11, 2006

Deewaar: The 72nd Viewing

Hindi cinema dialogue - especially by the heroes - has always made conscious attempts to be in the realm of memorability. By being bombastic.

A lot of Salim Javed's brilliant lines for Amitabh himself are in this orbit. Kaala Patthar, for example. In one memorable scene, Amitabh compares the coal mines to a giant python which swallows human beings and spits them out after sucking out their life-blood. Delivered in AB's characteristically passionate style, it develops an almost eerie resonance.
Most of his films have had some orchestrated scenes, which AB addresses the camera in his baritone - bringing in crowds, hysteria and imititations.

Watching Deewaar for the innumerableth time, I realised that this simple funda - of giving the most memorable lines to the leading man - has been turned on its head. In fact, most of Amitabh's lines are disarmingly simple. It is the style and the situation which turned these everyday lines into catch-phrases for a generation.

On the other hand, the entire supporting cast had adrenaline-pumping, chest-thumping, goose-bumping lines. Be it Shashi Kapoor's acceptance speech in the opening scene, Satyen Kappu's fiery speech at the factory gate, Nirupa Roy's pre-interval exhortation to her wayward son - all of them had lines which heroes would die for!

Vijay Verma, however, became an icon of the troubled Indian youth of the 70's by saying what all of them wanted to say...

No unemployed young man in the country had the guts to refuse a salary just because the lala threw it in front of him. Vijay Verma calmly stood in front of a fat bundle of 100-rupee notes and told the biggest smuggler in the country ki "main aaj bhi phneke hue paise nahin uthata..."

No person ever - however competent - had the guts to reply back when the boss asked, "Tum sochte ho ki tum yeh kaam akele kar sakte ho?"
Only Vijay Verma replied, "Nahin, main jaanta hoon ki main yeh kaam akele kar sakta hoon."

When his boss warned that the entire police and underworld would be after him that night, he corrected him with a rueful smile... "Mere peechhe to sirf meri kismat hogi, Davar saab"

Net net, something unprecedented happened on the Indian screen. To quote Vijay Verma, "Jo pachchees saal mein nahin hua, woh ab hoga... Agle hafte ek aur coolie mawaalion ko paise dene se inkaar karne wala hain."
Its that simple!

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