Qurbani – 1980
The year was 1980, Feroz Khan the half Iranian and half afghan style icon had already directed two very stylish flicks (Apradh – shot in Germany, and Dharmatma – god father inspired and shot in pre Taliban Afghanistan). He was ready to deliver his most ambitious project to date in Qurbani. He approached Amitabh Bachan to play the second lead, however “no dates” was the reason for declining by Bachan. The role landed in the laps of perhaps the only hero at the time that was seen as the closest challenger to Bachan – Vinod Khanna. He delivered and this perhaps was one of the most iconic roles of his careers. He would shortly after this turn his back on it all and walk into the ashram of Osho. One thing that you could guarantee with a Feroz khan movie was that there would be style, suaveness, and lavishness that would not have been seen in those days.
No expense was spared, he spent his last rupee in making his dream project (rumour has it he even sold his beloved horse stable and ranch in Bangalore). He went that extra mile to make everything bigger than life for example he writes off a Mercedes (yes Mercedes … back in those days not many people had even seen one let alone sat in one) in one of the scenes. There were car chases filmed in rural England, and the climax was shot using UK based stunt men. Qurbani was released on the same day as the Showman Subash Ghai’s Karz. Subash Ghai was in very confident mood and told Feroz Khan to delay the release of Qurbani. Oh dear and did Karma (see what I did there Karma being a Subash Ghai movie name) come and bite Mr Ghai or what. Qurbani destroyed Karz at the box office. They reckon in equivalent of 2016 money Qurbani would have collected around 300 crores – that’s Aamir, Salman and Shah Rukh Khan territory right there.
Zeenat Aman was roped in to play the female lead, and she was the icing on the cake. Cinema goers were in drool heaven with this trio in the lead. Amjad Khan plays a positive role as a cop, which was a rarity for the big man. The music was in the main by Kalyan ji and Anand Ji, however the surprise package was the “Baat banjaye “ track produced by Biddu and sung by Pakistan’s Nazia Hassan. The song ushered in the “disco” phase into Bollywood which lasted till the mid 80’s. To be honest all the songs were memorable, and with Feroz Khans style they were all shot to perfection.
So that’s the back ground, but whats the film about?
Rajesh (Feroz Khan) is an ex stunt motor bike rider at the circus who has turned to burglary. He falls for dancer singer Sheetal (Zeenat Aman), who has no idea of his occupation. Rajesh is a good person at heart and gives up his loot to give to an old friend Joe (Kader Khan). Rajesh is arrested by Inspector Amjad Khan (played by Amjad Khan obviously), and is sent to prison. In his absence another thief called Amar (Vinod Khanna) enters the scene, he falls out with his boss Raaka (Amrish Puri) and turn his back on the world of crime. He meets Sheetal and saves her from some goons, we learn that Amar is a widower and father to a little princess who immediately takes a liking to Sheetal (who wouldn’t). Amar sees Sheetal performing “Baat ban jaye” in a club and goes all weak in the knees (who can blame him) – but who’s looking after his daughter whilst he’s out clubbing yo? Amar lets Sheetal know his feelings via the “hum tumhe chaahte hain aise”, but she doesn’t reciprocate really. Bechaara Amar you got feel sorry for the guy.
Meanwhile Rajesh meets Vikram whilst in prison who offers him a dodgy job when he’s out. Rajesh is in a slight conundrum as he wants to go straight for his lay love Sheetal. He is released from prison and returns to Sheetal. Rajesh is approached by Vikram once again and he asks for time to think about it, Amar interjects the two of them have a good old scrap ensues between Amar and Vikram. The fight scene is awesome, no cgi’s, none of the one punch and guy goes flying 10 miles away, its just a good old fashioned punch up. Amar and Rajesh forma close friendship now, and Amar finds out that Rajesh is with Sheetal, he promises Sheetal he will never mention to Rajesh the feeling he had for her. Vikram knows Rajesh is close to Amar and to force his hand into accepting the dodgy job he continuously targets Amar and his daughter. Reluctantly Rajesh accepts he has to do this one last job. So I’ve set the scene up nicely for you guys now, what will happen? Will Rajesh and Amar pull off this last job?, will Amar back stab Rajesh to steal his lady love? Will Inspector Amjad Khan have anything to do with it? All these questions are answered in the last hour of this fast paced thrilling ride of friendship and sacrifice.
I’d give Qurbani solid 4.5 out of 5 – it delivers big time. The performances are epic, Vinod Khanna is the stand out one here, he carries the show. Amjad Khan is also one to look out for in his positive avatar.
Another one for the movie trivia gang – Vinod Khanna and Feroz Khan became very good friends, and they teamed up again once VK returned from the states with “Dayavan”, the movie didn’t do too well at the box office though. However their friendship remained strong. Both actors succumbed to cancer on the exact same date (April 27th) 8 years apart. That’s true friendship folks