By Subhash K Jha
MUMBAI: If Manmohan Desai were alive today, he would he would have laughed the loudest. One of his most successful film Amar Akbar Anthony is now being remade in Britain.
The British avatar of Amar Akbar Anthony is titled Amar Akbar & Tony and is directed by Atul Malhotra who has made notable documentaries for British television.
British Indian actress Goldy Notay, who plays one of the leads (the role originally done by Parveen Babi opposite the Big B) in the British avatar of Amar Akbar Athony, says, “The film is called Amar Akbar & Tony. It takes inspiration from the original film. The writer and director, Atul Malhotra, is an aficionado of the film. I play Sonia who is the sister of Amar and ends up with Tony played by Martin Delaney. I’ve never seen the original but am about to watch it now. From my understanding, it’s similar in tone regarding brotherhood.”
Amar Akbar & Tony is about three childhood friends from differing backgrounds and religions. While in Desai’s original there was Christian, Muslim and Hindu hero, in Atul Mahotra’s British avatar there’s one Sikh, a Muslim and a Christian.
Explains Goldy, “An incident disrupts their friendship as one of them is imprisoned. The impact of this incident is the defining shift in the story as there is a sudden realisation that ‘the party is over’ and they must all settle into adulthood. But will the incident and the consequences of it solidify or destroy the brotherhood?”
Wonder how the unforgettable Manmohan Desai would’ve reacted to this British avatar of Amar Akbar Anthony.
In an interview to me, Manmohan Desai had confessed, “Amar Akbar Anthony involved my minimum effort, labour and money. It was a fluke hit. When it was released, I thought it had good songs. But I never thought it would be such a success. I was sure Aa Gale Lag Jaa would be a super-hit while Amar Akbar Anthony would flop.
Shabana Azmi, who played one of the female leads in Amar Akbar Anthony, is thrilled . “Ab yeh din aa gaye jab woh hamari film banaa rahen hain.Wah!”
Incidentally, Goldy Notay had played Shabana Azmi’s daughter in Gurinder Chadha’s It’s A Wonderful Afterlife.