Parda hai parda – Rafi/Amit – Lakmikant-Pyarelal – Rishi/Amitabh | Amar-Akbar-Anthony (1977)


Movie: This song appeared in 1977 MKD Films’ Amar Akbar Anthony, which is another of the typical Manmohan Desai (producer and director) lost and found formula movie. The cast includes Rishi Kapoor, Neetu Singh, Amitabh Bachchan, late Nirupa Roy, late Vinod Khanna, Shabana Azmi, late Parveen Babi, late Nazir Hussain, late Pran, late Jeevan, Ranjeet and Yusuf Khan.
Kishanlal (Pran) is Robert’s (Jeevan) chauffeur and takes the rap for a hit and run accident by his boss because Robert assures him that his family would be taken care of. But, on his return from the jail, he finds that his wife Bharati (Nirupa Roy) has acquired tuberculosis and his 3 sons are starving. When he confronts Robert, he is humiliated and ridiculed. Then he turns back on Robert and tries to kill his former boss. Trying to escape, Kishanlal unintentionally takes a car with a shipment of gold biscuits. Robert’s henchmen follow him.
When Kishanlal goes home to salvage his family, he finds Bharati’s suicide note. Soon she fails in her attempt to die and becomes blind instead. This Kishanlal does not know. He leaves his sons at the foot of a Gandhi statue in a park, while he diverts the goons, who are chasing him. He crashes the car in the chase and falls away from the wreck to discover the gold. However, when he returns to the park with the gold, his children are nowhere in sight.
Amar is the oldest child and he is adopted by a Hindu policeman. The youngest boy is found by a Muslim tailor and he starts calling him Akbar. While the other boy is found asleep by a Catholic Priest (Nazir Hussain) on the steps of a church, he picks him up to foster him and calls him Anthony.
Kishanlal wants to avenge himself and kidnaps Robert’s daughter Jenny to raise her as his niece. He also uses the gold to destroy Robert’s illegal business and sets himself up as another criminal mob head.
Cut to many years later. Amar (Vinod Khanna) is a police officer. Akbar (Rishi Kapoor) is a singer and the other brother Anthony (Amitabh Bachchan) is an affable socially conscious rogue, running quasi-legal activities. He has made God his ‘partner’ and donates half his income to charity. The 3 brothers meet for the first time at a hospital. They donate their blood to an accident victim without knowing that they are donating blood to their own mother, Bharati.
After the 3 men donate blood to the blind Bharti, she gets to know that Akbar is a qawwali singer and was performing nearby. She goes to the place to buy a ticket for herself. But, the show was a complete sellout and she does not get even one ticket. However, Anthony comes along and takes her inside. He has a pass and he makes her comfortable on the seat and he sits on the floor. This is the song Akbar sings at this time.
Song: Music is by Lakshmikant-Pyarelal and lyrics by Anand Bakshi.
The gist of the song is, “There is a veil in front of the beautiful lady. If I don’t remove the veil, my name is not Akbar.”
Video: Cinematography is by Peter Pereira. Dance choreography is by Kamal.
The video opens with the curtains rising on a stage. On the stage are musicians arranged in a semicircle on a mattress waiting for the main singer. Some of the men begin to clap in tune with the music. Rishi Kapoor enters, runs to the mattress and jumps on to it. He also begins to clap in tune with the song.
Mukri and a group of ladies in black burkhas enter. Amitabh Bachchan enters with Nirupa Roy. Rishi Kapoor plays the clarinet. He begins the song with an alaap. He is about to throw a rose at Neetu Singh, who is sitting with Mukri in a burkha. She gets shocked. But, he stops himself from throwing the rose and tucks it on his cap.
Nirupa Roy blesses Rishi Kapoor. Amitabh Bachchan appreciates the performance. All the ladies in burkha are about to lift their veils. But, Mukri stops them with his walking stick. Amitabh Bachchan gets hold of Mukri to stop him from creating a scene at the performance. Rishi Kapoor continues the qawwali.
In between, Amitabh Bachchan also joins in the song. He pulls a garland made of currency notes from his jacket and moves to the stage performing some dance steps to place it around Rishi Kapoor’s neck. Rishi Kapoor throws the rose at Neetu Singh. It falls on her lap. She lifts her veil. She blushes at the words of his song.
Some other words upset Neetu Singh and she places the veil back on her face. Again Amitabh Bachchan adds to the song. The entire audience including Amitabh Bachchan begins to clap in tune with the song. When Rishi Kapoor takes an alaap, Neetu Singh lifts her veil, approaches the stage, goes to him and places her hand on his mouth.
The entire audience begins to sing the main lines of the song. The song and the video end there.
Artists: Singers are Mohammad Rafi and Amit Kumar while the onscreen performances are by Rishi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Nirupa Roy, Neetu Singh, Mukri and others.
Cultural influence: A qawwali is usually a Sufi devotional song. But, Bollywood has often given a romantic tint to it. Thus, this song is typically filmi. The song and the artists are good. The video is watchable for the above. Amitabh Bachchan’s comedy is worthy of mention here.


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