“Jab tak baithne ko na kaha jaaye tab tak sharafat se khade raho…Yeh Police Station hai, tumhare baap ka ghar nahin…”
The dialogue on screen created fire on the very day of it's release not because the audience hadn’t heard this sort of thing on screen but they had never seen a kind of natural anger and raw intensity of tall thin man who remained unnoticed to the audience. The Director who offered this role to Amitabh Bachchan passed away just few days ago. It was destined for Amitabh to meet Director Prakash Mehra and grab the role of angry young Inspector which was letdown by veteran screen charmer Dev Anand and many other stars of that era. The rest is the history which remained unchallenged for more than two decades. If we observe the CV of Amitabh, there are five directors who chiseled him for the ‘Legendary Superstar Status’. Prakash Mehra was one of them. The others are Manmohan Desai, Yash Chopra, Ramesh Sippy and Hrishikesh Mukherjee.
Though ‘Zanjeer’ was not masterpiece cinema; it always retain special position in Indian cinema for bringing an actor who bring the fire on the screen and ruled as idol among both mass and class audience for the longest period. The film was the first major breakthrough not only for Big B but for Mehra too; as it was the blockbuster hit of that year. The credit also goes to script and screenplay writer pair of Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar. What adds master touch to the film is it’s finely ensemble cast. How can we forget Pran as Pathan Dost true to his salt or Jaya Bhaduri who later became Big B’s better half and Ajit who still remained unchallenged in the category of smart, suave and sophisticated villain with his cold blooded expressions and cool dialogue delivery.
Without being too nostalgic I must admit that the film opens an era who carried my generation to idolize the screen hero and made me an addicted movie buff from my childhood days. I still remember my prayer to God when Amitabh met with near to die accident during his shoot of ‘Coolie’ and along with me the whole India was praying for the recovery of their ‘Super Star’.
Anyway, Prakash Mehra gave few of the fine films that shaped Amitabh’s career. The few I watched so many times are- ‘Muqaddar Ka Sikandar’, ‘Laawaris’, ‘Namak Halaal’ and ‘Sharabi’. Strong story and screenplay, powerful dialogues, memorable characters, Strong cast and melodious tunes remained the trademark of Prakash Mehra films.