Shaan



Reviewed by Simon Booth

Director: Ramesh Sippy
Music: R.D. Burman; Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Year: 1980
Running Time: 2 hours 57 minutes

Five years after the breakthrough success of SHOLAY, director Ramesh Sippy once again teamed up with Amitabh Bachchan - and this time they're taking no prisoners. SHAAN is a grandly conceived epic of action, adventure, comedy, romance, drama and a bald supervillain who keeps a man-eating crocodile in his underground lair.

Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh, Parveen Babi and Bindiya Goswami
Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor are bad guys! But they're not the kind of bad guys you hate... they're the lovable rogue types. They're con-men, but they only con other bad guys. Their policeman brother (Sunil Dutt) knows this, and when he arrests them it's really for their own good. When they get out of jail he's there as a brother to support them, and they earnestly decide to try and go straight. But their plans of living an ordinary life are foiled when they get caught up in the investigation of super-villain Shakal, a bad guy in the best James Bond tradition played brilliantly by Kulbhushan Kharbanda. The good bad guys have to go up against the really bad bad guys!
Shatrughan Sinha
SHAAN is like every movie ever made all rolled up into one, and barrelled through at a pace that makes the 177 minute running time seem very brief. It rides a little roughly, with some pieces of plot development and editing that challenge logic and continuity, but with tons of energy and enthusiasm. It's not as carefully crafted as the masterful SHOLAY, but it does provide the same kind of fun and thrills that make DON such great entertainment. It's a grandly ambitious movie that sometimes skirts the line between genius and simple madness very closely. It's the kind of movie they just don't make anymore!
Mazharkhan, Amitabh and Shashi
A movie so grandiose can only work with a cast up to the task, but Amitabh rises to the occasion, oozing cool and commanding the screen most of the time. As with SHOLAY though, the bad guy nearly upstages the heroes - he definitely has all the best lines (plus an island fortress surrounded by sharks!).
Kulbhushan Kharbanda and two of his assitants
SHAAN may borrow most of its elements from other movies (notably the James Bond movies), but it has enough personality of its own to make them seem fresh and special all over again. You just can't help grinning at the sheer silliness of it all, and getting carried away by the melodrama. It's a movie treat, jam packed full of high calorie entertainment. What better way to spend a Sunday afternoon?


Reviewed by Brian

I just wanted to add by thumbs up to this film and thank Simon for reviewing it and thus me having to watch it. What a huge amount of fun! They really don't make films like this anymore - not even in Bollywood - full of comic bits, fabulous music from the great R.D. Burman and action crazyness that will have you lapping it up like melting ice cream. During this period Amitabh seemed to go back and forth between fairly serious dramas and these amazingly over the top and wonderful action films. I have to admit a preference for the latter which may be a bit dated but have not lost an iota of their entertainment appeal over time.

I mean how many films can you think of in which a legless man rides around Bombay on a handcart and sings a fabulous song or have an ending like this that begins with a huge musical number - then has the tables turn like revolving doors between the good guys and the villains for fifteen minutes - and then has Amitabh fight a giant crocodile. I have always assumed that Dr. Evil from Austin Powers was based on a James Bond villain but after seeing this I really have to wonder if Shakal wasn't the inspiration - from some of his mannerisms to his inability to just kill the good guys without trying to concoct some elaborate death for them!
Sunil Dutt and crocodile
The film has five songs - all excellent - but in particular Janoo Meri Jaan is a complete treat sung on a bicycle and a bus and is considered a true classic. Appearing also in the film is Shatrughan Sinha as the circus trained sharp shooter, Parveen Babi as the quick fingered and eye popping cleavage girlfriend of Amitabh (and perhaps not coincidentally a strong resemblance to his often co-star Zeenat Aman) and Bindiya Goswami as the gum popping honey of Shashi.

My rating for this film: 7.5

Song 1

Song 2

Song 3

Song 4

Song 5