‘Deewaar’, the Yash Chopra film made in 1975, is a classic tale about two brothers, who get caught on either side of the law.
The principal characters of the film, labour union leader Anand Verma (Satyendra Kapoor), his wife Sumitra Devi (Nirupa Roy), elder son Vijay Verma (Amitabh Bachchan), younger son Ravi Verma (Shashi Kapoor) and Vijay’s love interest Anita (Parveen Babi), are essentially victims of circumstances.
Anand Verma is an upright labourer who stands up for his colleagues. However, circumstances force him to go against his principles, and wrong the people that he once stood for. The consequences of Anand’s actions are faced by his family.
Troubled by the constant taunts and humiliation from Anand’s (who eventually runs away) nemeses, wife Sumitra Devi is forced to move from their hometown to Bombay city. Here too, she finds it difficult to earn enough to bring her two children up. So much so, that Sumitra and Vijay have to go on about their menial jobs, just so that they can earn enough to send Ravi to school.
Vijay, who goes through the turbulent experience of having ‘mera baap chor hai’ (My father is a thief) inked on his forearm, gets deeply disturbed by all that happened to his family, and starts holding their poverty responsible for their family’s condition. He even refuses to go to the temple, as he has lost all faith in God!
The two sons grow up and while Ravi ends up becoming a police inspector, Vijay, owing to fate, gets on the wrong side of the law. ‘Deewaar’ is about how the drama unfolds between the two siblings!
The film captures several realities that we associate with the 1970s – the real estate boom, labour strikes, clout of the underworld, victimization of the poor etc. However, the basic essence of the film is about how there is no clear ‘wrong’ or ‘right’ on show. We may think of Vijay Verma as the villain of the story, but the crux lies in what forced him to do what he did!
The dialogues and the one-liners in the film are the scene-stealers. Who can forget the iconic ‘mere paas maa hai’ dialogue? The confrontation scenes between the Verma brothers are ‘power-packed’, not just for Salim-Javed’s writing but also owing to Bachchan and Kapoor’s performances.
Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor and Nirupa Roy are terrific in their respective roles. Neetu Singh does a good job in her limited part. Parveen Babi, who plays Amitabh’s love interest, is shown as a liberated Indian woman who smokes, drinks, gets into relationships and is modern-in-thought and spirit.
Watch out for A.K. Hangal’s cameo in the film. The minor sequence, involving him, leaves a huge impact on the viewer’s mind.
The songs of the film are good, but certainly not extraordinary. ‘Keh Doon Tumhein’, sung by Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosle, is a nice, peppy track and the pick of the lot! The plot may seem a bit bizarre at some portions, but considering that the film was made in 1975 and has been a reference point for so many screenplays written since then, ‘Deewaar’ should be watched!
‘Deewaar’ is not Yash Chopra’s best film. However, there are a couple of elements in it which should not be missed – performances and dialogues!