Bollywood’s Clint Eastwood: Revisiting the musical hit Qurbani on Feroz Khan’s death anniversary


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Qurbani is built entirely on the premise of sacrifice, martyrdom and male friendship. Free and condemned to do his own swagat with swag. On the other hand, Rajesh is wrongly accused of a murder and he suspects it is Amar backstabbing him, to run away with his dough and his girl. He had a thing for women, guns, fast cars and horses and he made sure he poured these obsessions into movies that were Westerns, underworld, crime actioners and love stories — or simply, sometimes, all rolled into one. In the end, Amar sacrifices his life for best friend Rajesh, thus winning the title’s glory and the audience’s sympathy. This all-important phone call gives director Feroz Khan the much-needed excuse to move the action, willy nilly, to a foreign location. Meanwhile, Amar (Vinod Khanna) and Sheela (Aman) meet and sparks fly. Despite its sometimes dated look and content, Qurbani is a fan favourite, and for good reason. Feroz Khan, as many of you might know, was of Aghani descent. He was a sly and slick player. The great star is sleepwalking through and through but you also get a feeling that he’s having a good time. He was a figure of speech. Her rep as Hindi audience’s favourite sex symbol is among Qurbani’s central appeal. Bollywood of a certain vintage was fond of depicting the Pathans as flamboyantly loyal and benevolent friends. You could say it’s Feroz Khan, Zeenat Aman and Vinod Khanna’s astonishing commercial appeal that has kept it so popular. The collective good-looks of Feroz Khan and Zeenat Aman is quickly matched by the rugged manliness of Vinod Khanna, thus turning Qurbani into a half-baked love triangle (of sorts). There’s no doubt that Qurbani, like his other hits, is an unapologetic 21-gun salute to male gaze. The two stars also appeared together in Dayavan (1988), with echoes of Godfather/Nayakan. “I could have sacrificed everything for you, if only you had asked me,” an emotional Rajesh says, confronting his best buddy. Popular Photos

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The film’s main theme is, to borrow from one of its dialogue, “Another name for God is friendship.” In other words, another name for friendship is Feroz Khan or Vinod Khanna, depending on where you stand vis-a-vis Qurbani. Another reason could be Kalyanji-Anandji and Biddu’s chartbuster music, the most durably famous being “Aap Jaisa Koi” and “Laila O’ Laila”. And just at that key moment, the phone rings. And indeed, when it comes to style, few stars were as original and inimitable as ‘Feroz The Khan.’
As Jaaved Jaaferi’s crocodile cowboy from Salaam Namaste would say, ‘Exactly!’

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Comment(s) His crack at English, which includes this gem, “Just shut up and listen to me quietly, boy,” is as sudden as inexplicable. When you hear verbosities like ‘maut ki agosh’, takia-kalaams like ‘ghoosa laga ke’ (courtesy, the great Jagdeep, putting in a brief appearance as a bumbling boxer sporting a T-shirt with Mohammed Ali’s face on it) and dialogue like ‘Police ki gaadi mein aadmi jail jaata hai, ghar nahin’, you know it’s Kader Khan’s wizardry at work. Khan had made a career out of glorifying friendship. All through, there’s Amjad Khan (as cop Amjad Khan) on Rajesh’s tail. Latest Videos

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Zeenat Aman and Feroz Khan in Qurbani (Source: Express Archive). Joe is played by the ever-dependable Kader Khan. Instead, he takes you by complete surprise — “I want to place all the world’s riches on your feet” — which, in Khan-speak, implies that he ain’t no Robin Hood but just an obsessive lover bent on rescuing Sheela from her degenerate club to a more respectable life. Him giving his anglicised inner-being a free rein. — a slick thief. Close friends in personal life, both Khan and Khanna died on the same day, a warm trivia the internet never tires of repeating. It’s a Feroz Khan movie, after all – ‘edited, produced and directed by Feroz Khan,’ as the title announces proudly. His way of saying, ‘My house, my rules.” In an enigmatic turn of events, Qurbani transforms into a totally different film altogether, one you didn’t sign up for but enjoyed nonetheless. I burn the pockets of the rich who worship money.” You half-expect the do-gooder Rajesh to say that he distributes his plunder to the poor. It’s a mysterious call from a certain Joe. As Jaaved Jaaferi, who brought the house down with his Feroz Khan caricature in Salaam Namaste (2005), once Tweeted, “The biggest lie ever told in a Hindi film: Zeenat Aman in a bikini singing and asking, “Kya dekhte ho” and Feroz Khan answering, “Surat tumhari!” At which point, an innocent reader might be inclined to say, ‘Exactly.’

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Feroz Khan and Vinod Khanna on the sets of Qurbani (Source: Express Archive). In one scene, Rajesh almost stops short of hard-selling himself to lady love Sheela (Zeenat Aman as a sexy club dancer – did Farah Khan name Katrina Kaif ‘Sheela’ in the popular ‘Sheela Ki Jawani’ after Aman’s character?) as a Robin Hood figure. They still have the power to send modern disco crowd into a trance. The anglophilia could be entirely Feroz Khan’s doing. No surprise, then, that Bollywood’s original Pathan loved and lived life to the fullest. In Qurbani, Feroz Khan is his usual self, smug in the belief that he’s Feroz Khan. So, thankfully, does the audience. For, the late Khan, who penned dialogue for Qurbani in his trademark melodramatic flourish, was no ordinary writer. He played a fast-talking, faster-on-the-draw thief just as easily as a debonair lover. Actually, it’s a thin line between crime and utilitarianism for Khan’s character Rajesh. It is revealed that Rajesh was himself once a clean guy, working as a motorcycle stuntman in a circus – the “maut ka kuvan” past meant to justify and clean up all his future acts. A case in point is Pran’s short but significant turn as inspector Vijay’s (Amitabh Bachchan) devoted friend in Zanjeer in 1973. Call it Kaderism. Impossibly attractive, he didn’t care about the campy excesses of his movies. Our man plays — any guesses? It would be foolish to believe that the seductress Zeenat Aman was cast for her acting chops and not for her sexy looks. It’s London and Amjad Khan, dressed for notorious London drizzle complete with gabardine and hat, thinks he’s playing an officer from Scotland Yard. Like most Feroz Khan hits, Qurbani placed style over substance. The two heroes come to blows and only stop when Sheela intervenes threatening to kill herself. It’s a sloppy moral argument, but then, it’s a Feroz Khan film. Explaining his true motivations to Sheela, who has just flung wads of his ill-begotten cash into the bonfire, Rajesh’s spiel goes, “I don’t steal from the poor.