I sincerely thank my dear friend Suketu Shah for inspiring me to pen the review of this blockbuster movie of the eighties. Tezaab (1988) is the movie which turned Anil Kapoor and Madhuri Dixit into superstars of Hindi cinema. The song – Ek Do Teen Chaar Paanch Chhe Saat Aath Nau Dus Gyaarah Baarah Terah used to echo in the streets of India throughout the day when the movie was released. Madhuri Dixit became the dancing queen of Bollywood overnight and thereafter her on-screen magic lasted for over a decade. From this movie onwards, Anil and Madhuri developed a very good on-screen chemistry and went on to be considered as one of the hottest and most-liked pairs of Bollywood movies.The tagline of the title of the movie is ‘A Violent Love Story’ which is quite apt because despite being a love story, it’s full of violence and action and therefore, it was liked by the romantic movie audience and the action-lovers alike.Tezaab (acid) is a combination of two different stories of two protagonists of the movie – Mahesh or Munna (Anil Kapoor) and Mohini (Madhuri Dixit). Mahesh is a honest boy from a simple family having a genuine sympathizer in the world in the form of inspector Gagan Singh (Suresh Oberai) whereas Mohini is the daughter of an alcoholic father – Shyamlal (Anupam Kher) for whom nothing is more important than liquor. The love story of Mahesh and Mohini takes place in the college on the premise of heartbreak of Nikita (Mandakini). Once their love story takes off, love prevails everywhere for them but this blossoming of their love is marred by framing of Mahesh by a corrupt police inspector (Mahavir Shah) under a false charge and finally being termed as a known bad character (goon), he is made TADIPAAR (debarred from entering the city) for one year. Now a straight boy who has been a patriot and wanted to serve his country, become a criminal, known as Munna and he has his own gang with Babban (Chunkey Pandey) as his main sidekick.
On the other hand, Mohini is all alone now with her alcoholic father – Shyamlal who is such a shameless person that he has no problem even if his daughter becomes a cabaret dancer or even a call-girl provided he gets his regular quota of liquor. The owner of the club where Mohini is forced to dance – Saxena (Tej Sapru) wants to marry her but she is still awaiting the return of the love of her life – Mahesh amidst all the turmoil and loneliness in her life. A big gangster – Lotia Pathan (Kiran Kumar) abducts Mohini from the club itself for the sake of his money owed to him by those who are interested in the life of Mohini. Now it’s time for Mahesh (or Munna) to come back from his city-debarredness and not only save the life of Mohini but also settle some old scores.The title of the movie refers to the anguish and stuffiness in Mahesh which make him feel like filled with acid in his personality. And the ending scene is not only very very impressive but also justifies the title when the sympathetic police inspector – Gagan Singh allows Mahesh to vent out all that acid from his personality by throwing it over on a criminal who is already going to be sentenced by the court of law.This is easily one of the best movies of the director – N. Chandra who has now slipped into B grade movies. The direction is topnotch and the screenplay is aptly presented through flashbacks. Right from romance to glamour to action to sentiments, in every aspect of the story, the movie scores with distinction. Art direction and other technical aspects are very good. Editing is also pretty good except for the fact that the movie is too long with an overdose of violence. Dialogues are also very impressive.Before Tezaab, both Anil and Madhuri were no big stars but the astounding success of this movie (it’s a golden jubilee at many places) threw them into the world of stardom. Among the Filmfare awards for that year, Alka Yagnik won the best female singer award and Saroj Khan won the best choreographer award for the song – Ek Do Teen but it’s Madhuri who got tagged to this song and by whose name this song is still better known. Madhuri became the dancing queen of the Indian silver screen and marched ahead with confident steps to become the top Bollywood heroine in the years to come.
On the other hand, Anil Kapoor became the Angry Young Man of Bollywood during the late eighties and early nineties through this movie and developed a huge fan-following. His unshaven face gave him a macho look and the next few years virtually belonged to him in the world of regular Masaala flicks of Bollywood containing a cocktail of romance and action. He won the Filmfare Best Actor award for his performance in Tezaab.But the other performers of the movie also got benefitted. Chunkey Pandey was liked in even the sidekick role and the song So Gaya Ye Jahaan is still remembered for him. Kiran Kumar and Anupam Kher also showed their mettle in the meaty roles and Suresh Oberai (whom I consider the most underrated actor of Bollywood of all times) also left his mark in the role of a cop who is not only just but also human. Raj Kapoor’s discovery – Mandakini looks quite glamorous in her cameo and the scene of the swimming pool is just superb which consists of both Mandakini and Madhuri.Laxmikant Pyarelaal composed very good music using the lyrics of Javed Akhtar. Other than the female version of Ek Do Teen, its male version (sung by Amit Kumar), So Gaya Ye Jahaan (sung by Nitin Mukesh), Keh Do Ki Tum Ho Meri Varna (Amit Kumar-Anuradha Paudwal duet) and Hum Tumko Dilbar Kyun Maane (Anuradha Paudwal-Sudesh Bhosle duet) are also very good. The last song was inserted in the movie after its release and box office success.Tezaab has a great repeat value and can be watched many times. I wholeheartedly recommend this movie to both the romantic movie audience as well as the action movie audience. It’s wholesome entertainment. Just bear with the excessive violence.
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