A movie that catapulted Amitabh Bachchan to the hero of the millennium status. A movie that established the now infamous duo of Salim-Javed as the scriptwriter of every problematic movie to come. A movie that managed to overachieve so much despite, its pedantic script. A movie that openly propagated the belief of Islam as the one true religion.
It therefore becomes necessary that we at TFI dissect such a magnum opus. So here is the late but very frustrated review of Amitabh Bachchan starrer Deewar released in 1975.
Deewar’s story is fairly simple, and nothing different from what hasn’t been played on the cinema screens hundreds of times before. It may have been an unexplored idea back in the day but Deewar’s rewatch value is fairly stable, however the plot is nauseating.
The cliché opening montage
The movie starts in the characteristic style of the 70s by establishing every character in a haphazard flurry. The trade unionist leader Anand Verma played by Satyendra Kapoor is the idealist leader who is honest, hardworking, and steadfast in standing up for the rights of his workers.
Meanwhile, his wife, Sumitra Devi played by Nirupa Roy is also the perfect housewife, chained by the patriarchy of times. They have two sons Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) and Ravi (Shashi Kapoor).
The capitalist businessman who runs the company is not over-enthused by Ananad’s penchant for strikes and galvanizing the labourers. Thus, he has automatically dubbed the reincarnation of evil.
The plot thickens
However, through some convenient plot points, the evil Pablo Escobar, who pays the salaries of the labourer’s manages to turn them against Ananad. Long story short, Ananad, the honest leader takes the cowardly decision of deserting his family by exiting the city — leaving the trio to fend for themselves.
Meanwhile, Nirupa Roy gets into her element of being the oppressed woman of the movie. The evil businessman molests her, and society collectively piles on the trio. Vijay is even tattooed with “Mera Baap Chor Hai” (My father is a thief) on his arm.
Saddened with the treatment, they reach Bombay and attempt to start their life afresh. Vijay grows up with a grudge in his heart. A grudge for the businessman, his father, and society as a whole.
The old Bollywood trope of Good vs Evil
From here it follows the usual Bollywood trope. One brother grows up to become the ideal citizen of the society, the other gets entangled with the bad apples. The bad one justifies his actions by manifesting that he is doing it for his family.
A series of events take place with unreal coincidences between the duo which bring them to loggerheads. Add a sprinkle of romance, a few Bollywood songs and an odd-goofball/risqué dialogue with a typical climax with shoddy lighting, and you have Deewar in its full glory.
Deewar was the movie that subtly brainwashed the majority of us into believing that businessmen are always the evil ones. Growing up, one dreamt about being as rebellious as Amitabh or joining a trade union, so that one could give it back to the evil and corrupt businessmen.
Deewar – brainwashing an entire generation to hate capitalism and Hindu gods
An entire generation of India grew up with this mindset. And as is the rule, it is much more difficult to unlearn a concept than learn it. Perhaps, it is the reason why our country still fusses and flares up whenever a private entity is deemed successful. And perhaps it is the reason the majority of the left-liberal wokes are yet to break the mental shackles of Deewar.
However, the most laughable bit of the movie is the treatment of protagonist Vijay’s beliefs regarding atheism. Early on in the movie, it is established that Vijay is an atheist, meaning he does not believe in any God. However, when a Muslim chacha at the dockyard gives him a Mcguffin with 786 printed on it, he readily takes it.
786 – the McGuffin
Vijay, who has an acute problem accepting Prasadam outside a temple and only accepts it when called ‘mithai’ seemingly wears the Mcguffin at the drop of a hat when the Chacha states that it has magical powers of ‘Bismillah’.
Remember, Amitabh Bachchan is born to a Hindu family in the movie. And, understandably, people can have varying degrees of faith in different institutions. However, attempting to pull down one religion so that the other can be lifted is just embarrassing.
The movie goes to great lengths to establish that 786 McGuffin is the reason for Vijay’s success in the crime lord. Perhaps, not the right message the writers were trying to convey, we reckon? 786 acts as Kevlar for Vijay as he escapes death on a couple of occasions. However, once he loses the Pharoah McGuffin, no points for guessing, he instantly dies.
And did we mention the infamous “Khush to tum bohot hoge aaj’ dialogue? Vijay, who has never set foot in the temple for 26 years, suddenly turns up in one when things get a little south. Perhaps, instead of cursing the Hindu gods, he could have prayed to the 786 McGuffin. After all, it is established multiple times in the movie that the said McGuffin has ‘Ruhani’ (Mystical) powers.
Another problematic scene is when Ravi shoots a kid for stealing a roti. The kid’s father justifies the shooting by remarking that stealing of a ‘lakh’ or of food is the same. No, it is certainly not. You cannot shoot someone for a Chappati. Kids are supposed to be taught when they do wrong.
Salim-Javed the communal writers
Here we see and understand the working of Javed-Salim – the writer. There is no way to sugarcoat this but the duo actively pushed their propaganda of Islam being the true and one faith, much akin to what radical Islamists propagate.
Deewar (1975) aka 786 ad in 140s.
1 Visit Mandir once, u r doomed
2 If u don't have Bismillah, even shoulder injury kills
3 If Kafir gives prasad, eat as if its mithai
4 Bismillah alone fulfills wishes. Not idols. pic.twitter.com/PLEpYMLYM2
— Gems of Bollywood (@GemsOfBollywood) October 17, 2020
If you believe that Bollywood trying to project anti-Hero as a good guy is a recent trend then you are sadly mistaken. Deewar tried it way back in 1975. Is Amitabh Bachchan’s character who became a gangster smuggling item supposed to be the good guy?
The movie wants us to feel for him, connect with him. However, Vijay’s character is one of the most unlikable characters in the movie. He has no set morals, he is unhinged and has no philosophy in his actions.
At least the evil businessman in the movie had a set philosophy and he adhered to it to the end. The movie is all over the place with its pacing. In one frame we are in the inner circle of the gangsters, and in the next, we are exploring the love life of the said gangster.
The writers have a surface-level idea of basic world topics and instead of exploring them in a nuanced manner, they remained fixated on using the ‘Bollywood level drama’ to induce the cringe-fest masquerading as a movie. Deewar is tacky, bland, unimaginative and a snooze fest. Barring the acting chops of its talented cast, it has nothing going for it.