44 Years of Deewar (24/01/1975)
Deewaar is a 1975 crime drama film, written by Salim-Javed (Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar), directed by Yash Chopra, and starring Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Nirupa Roy, Parveen Babi, and Neetu Singh. Reflecting the tumultuous socio-political climate of 1970s India, Deewaar tells the story of a pair of impoverished brothers who, after their family is betrayed by the misplaced idealism of their father, struggle to survive in the slums of Bombay, and eventually find themselves on opposing sides of the law. The deewaar (“wall”) of the title is the wall that has sprung up between the two brothers, drawn apart by fate and circumstances in a time of socio-political turmoil. Bachchan’s character Vijay was loosely inspired by the real-life Bombay underworld gangster Haji Mastan.
Deewaar is often considered a ground-breaking cinematic masterpiece. The film had a significant impact on Indian cinema, as well as wider Indian society, with the film’s anti-establishment themes and Bachchan’s criminal anti-hero vigilante character resonating with audiences, cementing Bachchan’s popular image as the “angry young man” of Bollywood cinema. It also established Parveen Babi as the “new Bollywood woman”. The film also cemented the success of the writing duo Salim-Javed, who went on to write many more blockbuster films; the value of film writers skyrocketed thanks to Salim-Javed, who were paid as highly as some actors at the time. Deewaar’s influence also extends to world cinema, influencing films from Hong Kong and British cinema.
Deewaar received the Filmfare Best Movie Award of 1975, in addition to six other Filmfare Awards. It was also a “super hit” at the box office, ranking as the fourth highest-grossing Bollywood film of 1975. Indiatimes ranks Deewaar amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films.
The film had several remakes. It was remade in Telugu as Magaadu (1976), in Tamil as Thee (1981), and in Malayalam as Nathi Muthal Nathi Vare (1983). The Shaw Brothers Studio produced a Hong Kong remake, The Brothers (1979), which in turn inspired John Woo’s breakthrough heroic bloodshed film A Better Tomorrow (1986). There was also a Bollywood remake, Aatish: Feel the Fire (1994). Deewaar also inspired Danny Boyle’s Academy Award-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008).