Brother and sisters in Hindi cinema should be easiest to write about since they appeared in every second film (till the 1990s) and a sister's marriage or her brutal murder was the chief reason for docile, village bumpkins to become vigilantes.
Incidentally, it is always bhai ki padhaai and behen ki shaadi. Never the other way round!
But in order to keep my Raksha Bandhan post to acceptable limits, I have decided that I will write only about siblings who remain alive till the end of the movie (or nearly, till the end). No sacrificial deaths allowed midway.
I have also cheated a couple of times but then its my rule and my blog. Hmmph!
The most high-powered brother-sister duo in Bollywood has to be the Aishwarya Rai - Shahrukh Khan pairing in Josh. As Max and Shelley leading the Eagle gang in Goa, Ash and SRK were not only siblings but supposedly twins as well! Despite putting up a decent show as siblings with typical over-protectiveness, rivalry and affection in equal measure, they could not save the film from sinking and thus, putting an end to casting to top stars as siblings.
Talking of top stars as siblings, Andhaa Kanoon paired Hema Malini as Rajinikanth's elder sister - putting a distaff twist to the usual Bolly formula of a righteous outlaw and his dutiful blood-relative. However, what son Amitabh did to the father in Aakhri Raasta and Shashi Kapoor did to his brother Amitabh in Deewaar was not replicated in this film. Hema Malini did everything to catch her brother killing their father's killer (including wearing a havaldar's cap at a jaunty angle) but the now-red-eyed-now-white-eyed Rajini escaped to the accompaniment of tossed cigarettes and flaring nostrils.
All people remember of Trishul are the Three Faces of Man - Sanjeev Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor - and all they speculate is if the rivalry between two construction tycoons is inspired by real life. What they forget is that Poonam Dhillon - fresh from the success of Noorie - was Shashi Kapoor's sister (and Amitabh's step-sister). She was the archetypal spoilt kid sister - who sang inane songs (Gapoochi gapoochi gum gum), drove Merc convertibles recklessly and fell in love with short men in yellow pullovers! Her marriage - or whatever was left of it - ultimately formed the climax of the film.
I have written some 3000 words on the film and I will not dwell more on it.
All those who are jumping up to point out that Smita Patil died midway through Dance Dance, I would request them to show me a film that has a more rocking bro-sis dance sequence and I will replace it.
Okay, might as well take the bull by the horns, bite the bullet and slip in the second deviation from my rule.
In Fiza, Hrithik Roshan died. BUT, in the last scene. And not in a sacrifical my-sister-will-avenge-my-rapists kind of way. The film had to be included because a sister's quest for a missing brother is an unusual enough storyline. Add to that the complexities of a Muslim youth's alienation post the Bombay riots of 1993, his allegiance to terror networks and Sushmita Sen's item song while his sister is looking for him - you have Fiza (which was spoofed by Cyrus Broacha as Pizza)!
While we are on the tragic track, I might as well slip in Shahenshah - where Amitabh Bachchan sang silly songs to annoy his sister (Supriya Pathak).
Incidentally, the song (which I cannot locate) was sort of a male-version of this hit number from Rekha's Khubsoorat.
In Shahenshah, Vijayendra played an important (though minuscule, but this was an Amitabh film) piece before he was bumped off by Jay Kay's henchmen. Apart from being Supriya's love interest, he was the 'investigative reporter' (who solved the crime and hid the clues in railway station lockers so the hero could come in to recover it). In this case, he helpfully died from a knife which had his blood and Jay Kay's (Amrish Puri, if you didn't guess!) fingerprint. Talk about brother-in-lawly love!
To inject a vial of humour in the usual despondency of unmarried sisters, allow me to bring in 3 Idiots!
All the cliches of bimaar baap, lachaar maa aur kunwari behen were brought together in a triveni sangam of spoofs as Raju Rastogi's unwed sister popped up every now and then, threatening to be married off to Farhan Qureishi.
What could have been an insignificant track in the film turned out to be as laugh-worthy as any of the others.
IMDb helpfully informs us that Ms Rastogi's role was played by one Ms Chaitali Bose.
There is a general custom in India of tying a rakhi to neighbourhood goons, to ward their clumsy (and potentially dangerous) romantic advances. In fact - right now - we have a Lafangey Parindey contest running on radio channels in which Deepika Padukone is threatening to call all the losers bhaiyya! Basically, brothers of bombshells have thankless jobs.
And leading the list are Anil Kapoor and Nana Patekar, who had the unenviable task of shepherding Katrina Kaif in Welcome. Apart from running the underworld and warding off international dons called RDX (Feroze Khan, quite naturally), that is.
In recent times, one of the funniest - and most natural - sibling relationships has been portrayed by Genelia D'Souza and Prateik Babbar in Jaane Tu Ya Jaane Na. There were no maudlin moments, no promises to protect honours and no rakhis either. Instead, there was the beautiful wistfulness of a brother who saw his sister make other friends and a sister's quiet pride at her brother's talent.
And several kick-ass sibling banters. One of which stands out:
Genelia: Main thodi der ke liye baith jayoon?
Prateik: Tera sofa, tera bum - baith.
Which brings us to the film from the title. The one with The Brother-Sister Song, even though the filmi brother was old enough to be the sister's father in real life!
And the story was the mirror image of Fiza as the brother went looking for his sister, Jasbir, in the opium dens of hippy-infested Kathmandu. In between, there were at least four more hit songs (including the grown-up version of PKTK), estranged parents, a stolen deity, heroine Mumtaz and a girl called Janice who urged us to take a puff... Hare Rama Hare Krishna.
Have a great Rakhi, everyone!