Revenge ! Revenge ! Revenge ! At a point in time during the seventies, almost every third Bollywood movie was being made on the theme of revenge. Sometimes the story was given the backdrop of banditry and sometimes that of smuggling. However the purpose remained the same in every case – settling score with and teaching a lesson to the wrongdoer(s).
Superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s makers in the real sense who only arranged the Angry Young Man tag for him – Salim-Javed wrote a brilliant drama for the extra-ordinarily popular hero which was a revenge drama coupled with a family drama, quite different from the routine revenge sagas being made like assembly line production in that period. This unrealistic yet highly impressive movie is Trishul (1978), a multi-starrer made by Gulshan Rai and directed by none other than the legendary filmmaker Yash Chopra who had left for his heavenly abode exactly five years back (21st October, 2012). I pay my tribute to him.
In Trishul (trident), our hero Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) seeks revenge from his estranged father Raaj Kumar Gupta (Sanjeev Kumar) who had ditched his mother Shaanti (Waheeda Rehman) for the sake of marrying Kaamini (Geeta Siddharth) to get her wealth and make it big in life. He indeed makes it big in his life and becomes the biggest construction contractor of the region. He begets one son – Shekhar (Shashi Kapoor) and one daughter Babli (Poonam Dhillon) through his marriage with Kaamini. On the other hand, totally alone and resourceless Shaanti fosters her son Vijay with a lot of difficulty but teaches him only one thing – self-confidence. Vijay comes to learn that with self-confidence, one can achieve everything. And when his dying mother tells him about his father and what he had done to her, he uses this the only asset of his (self-confidence) to settle score with him. The activities of Vijay and his interaction with R.K. Gupta and his family form the bulk of the narrative and keep the audience hooked for two and a half hours in which Vijay seeks his revenge from his father by becoming his business competitor.
Right from Vijay’s setting in to seek his revenge (or his mother’s revenge) from R.K. Gupta, the complete script runs in typical Salim-Javed style of the seventies – blows and counter-blows, checks and checkmates, frequent twists in the tale happening at such a speed that the viewer does not get any time to pause and ponder over what’s being shown to him and just keeps on watching holding his breath and finally, lots of action. Most of the masaala movies starring Amitabh Bachchan were made in this style only but Trishul puts itself in a league of its own. There is a heavy dose of sentiments in the action-studded drama and it is underscored both subtly and loud that the hero is the hero because he is capable of doing anything and achieving anything purely riding on the strength of his guts and confidence. However the script is totally unreliable because the way the completely resourceless hero becomes a big construction contractor in a very short period, is possible in fiction only.
Yash Chopra has presented the very fast-paced drama on the screen with elegance. Despite lots of cinematic liberties taken in the script, the characters do not appear unreal and they are able to leave their mark on the audience. No character has been ignored in the huge star cast assembled for the movie, may it be Shashi Kapoor or Raakhee or Hema Malini or Sachin or Poonam Dhillon or Younus Parvez. Especially Raakhee emerges high through her well-written role (of Geeta, an honest employee of R.K. Gupta) in this male-dominated movie. And the narrator has very skillfully shown that Vijay and Geeta gradually come close to each other without showing any romance between them which is something highly laudable.
Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjeev Kumar are two pillars of the script and both of them have lived up to their reputation. Sanjeev has brought a typical businessman with a professional mindset alive on the screen who keeps the practical aspect of life above personal sentiments whereas Amitabh Bachchan is the popular angry young man of that era expressing his anger sometimes in a controlled way and sometimes a little bit loud. The script has given them ample moments to take on and outwit each other on the screen and they outshine each other on different occasions.
All others including the debutante Poonam Dhillon have done quite satisfactorily. Prem Chopra is the typical Bollywood villain and he has performed stylishly. The movie is studded with action and fight scenes associated with Amitabh Bachchan in that era. Today, it’s a pleasure to watch such action on the screen when the larger than life hero beats many baddies single-handedly.
The production value of the movie is according to the reputation of the banner. It’s a technically superior movie. Editing is so sharp that seldom do we get a moment to relax throughout the duration of the movie.
Music by Khayyam is not great but not bad either. Tu Mere Saath Rahega Munne, Mohabbat Bade Kaam Ki Cheez Hai, Gaapuchi Gaapuchi Gam Gam, Jaaneman Tum Kamaal Karti Ho etc. are all quite good to listen to and have also been presented on the screen very well. The title of the movie is perhaps as such because the grief in the heart of the hero (due to the injustice done to his mother) keeps on hurting him like a trident.
It’s one of the blockbuster movies of Big B, i.e., Amitabh Bachchan as well as the director Late Yash Chopra and renders abundant entertainment even when watched today. I wholeheartedly recommend this evergreen movie to one and all.
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