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'Mr Natwarlal' an eternal favourite even 45 years later

Rakesh Kumar’s superhit ‘Mr Natwarlal’ which was released on June 8, 1979, is memorable for more reasons than one. First of course was Amita...

Rakesh Kumar’s superhit ‘Mr Natwarlal’ which was released on June 8, 1979, is memorable for more reasons than one. First of course was Amitabh Bachchan in the title role. Next was his first foray into playback singing with “Mere paas aao mere doston ek kissa sunoh”. Encouraged by music director Rajesh Roshan a reluctant and rather nervous Big B recorded the children’s number. It was a gimmick that paid off handsomely and was emulated later in many films including Silsila, Laawaris, and Pukar with great success.

The name of the film itself was inspired by a notorious Indian conman Natwarlal and in fact, was originally titled ‘Natwarlal’. Shot mostly in Kashmir, you can feast your eyes on the scenic beauty of the paradise on earth as Amitabh and Rekha cavort to melodious gems like Pardesia yeh sachh hai piya or Tauba tauba kya hoga or the meaningful Onchi onchi baaton se kisika pet bharta nahin. Rajesh Roshan was nominated for best music at the 27th Filmfare awards but lost to Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s Sargam.

Coming to the story, the action comedy revolved around a young boy Natwar whose elder brother Girdharilal (Ajit) an honest cop is framed in a false bribery case by a criminal mastermind Vikram Singh (Amjad Khan). Natwar (Amitabh) grows up to create a secret identity of a mysterious underworld figure called Mr Natwarlal to avenge his brother’s loss of dignity. Unfortunately, Girdharilal misunderstands Natwar’s motives and turns against him. Natwar posing as Avtar Singh turns up in a village Chandapur after learning from Mickey *Satyen Kappu) Vikram’s former ally that Vikram is living there and terrorizing the villager using a tiger. How Natwar saves the villagers and takes his revenge forms the rest of the story.

Rekha as Shanno gave ample support to Amitabh’s Natwarlal in this comic caper. In fact so crackling was their chemistry that a fuming Jaya Bachchan reportedly ordered her husband not to work with Rekha anymore! Silsila was an exception which she made for Yash Chopra where she was herself a part of the star cast, so in a position to keep an eagle eye on things.

Mr Natwarlal had everything going for it as a full-fledged family entertainer. Wonderful songs, great locales, thrilling action, sizzling romance, and excellent performances from the stellar star cast. It remains an eternal favourite for all Big B fans and also for those who may not be his fans but are lovers of good cinema.


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