Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Shahenshah (1988) - Amitabh's comeback vehicle also starring Meenakshi Seshadri and Jaya Prada

Shahenshah released in the year 1988 and was Amitabh Bachchan’s comeback vehicle after a three year hiatus during which he had become involved in active politics. Directed by Tinnu Anand, the story of the film was written by the superstar’s wife and actress Jaya Bachchan. There was tremendous hype around the film as hordes of die-hard fans of the superstar had been waiting impatiently for his return.

The movie opens with a corrupt and snivelling bank manager Mathur (Prem Chopra) and his partner-in-crime, underworld baron JK (Amrish Puri). Mathur is in a financial mess and he along with JK decides to rob the very bank for which he works. Inspector Shrivastav (Kader Khan) is an honest police officer who gets wind of this plot and is about to crack the case when JK frames in a false case enlisting the help of an exotic dancer Julie (Aruna Irani). Unable to bear the shame of the charges levelled against him, Inspector Shrivastav hangs himself at home after being released on bail. This creates a lasting and powerful impression on his young son, Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan), who retains the noose his father had used to hang himself.

Vijay grows up in the care of Inspector Aslam Khan (Pran) and follows in his dead father’s footsteps to become a cop. Aslam Khan is an honest cop however Vijay is a sycophantic and cowardly inspector, prone to bribery and giving in to powerful criminals. Vijay finds himself in the payroll of JK who now runs a major underworld empire past the cops. Soon a new spectre makes his appearance that calls himself Shahenshah and is a costumed crime fighter. His iron hand is used to attack enemies and smash objects, and Shahenshah's other weapon is a noose. He describes himself as one man army who is out to do the job meant for cops. He not only apprehends criminals but sits on judgement and then executes the punishment. It is revealed a bit later that Shahenshah is actually Vijay, who has created this alter ego so as to punish the guilty and not be bogged down by the corrupt system. He also seeks to avenge his father’s death.

At this time we are introduced to Shalu (Meenakshi Seshadri), a small time trickster who is also out to eliminate JK as the latter had ordered the assassination of her mother Julie. JK then ends up murdering Salim (Vijendra Ghatge) who was about to expose his crime ring. Salim was engaged to Shaheena (Supriya Pathak), the daughter of Aslam Khan. Vijay now decides to openly confront JK. Julie agrees to testify against JK. And JK prepares for an all out war against Shahenshah, Vijay, Shalu and the lot of his enemies. There is a veritable bloodbath on the streets as good fights evil and there is a final showdown where Shahenshah reveals his secret identity and becomes the nemesis for all the culprits.


Directed by Tinnu Anand
Produced by Tinnu Anand
Written by Jaya Bachchan (story), Inder Raj Anand (screenplay and dialogues)
Starring Amitabh Bachchan, Meenakshi Seshadri, Jaya Prada, Amrish Puri, Aruna Irani, Prem Chopra, Kader Khan, Pran
Music by Amar Utpal

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