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  • It's generally held that we learn something every day, and my piece of education for today consisted of the fact that the Portugese occupied Goa from the 16th century to 1961, when it was reclaimed by the people of Goa with assistance from the Indian Navy. I learnt this largely from the film PUKAR (1983).

    Ramdas is a young boy whose father is a member of the Goa liberation party (terrorists or freedom fighters, depending on your perspective), and whose name means something like "Patriotism". One night he witnesses his father being shot by another member of the revolutionary party... but he doesn't realise that it was at his father's request, since he was wounded running from the police and preferred to die than be captured and tortured. Blaming them for his father's death, Ramdas grows up hating all people that call themselves "Patriots"... he changes his name to "Ronnie" to avoid association with them. As he gets older he goes into the smuggling business, and his lust for wealth and power drive him up the ladders until he is a very powerful crime boss. He is a benign enough crime boss, and puts some of his profits from smuggling back into the community... however, he still has a burning anger towards the Goan patriots, and uses all his power and influence to have them killed and captured when he can.

    The little boy who witnesses his father's death, grows up to be a bigshot gangster and hides a deep anger towards his father's killers is pretty much the archetypal Amitabh Bachchan character, and one he'd played many times previously to PUKAR. What makes PUKAR unusual is that the killers are not totally immoral crooks for once - they're considered by most of the population of Goa to be heroes. Ronnie is still an angry young (ish) man, but his anger is not necessarily well directed. Although he's still the main character, we're not meant to agree with Amitabh's beliefs or actions... in fact, in many ways he is the villain and we're supposed to actively dislike him. Given that Amitabh is one of my personal heroes, this made me feel rather uncomfortable

    One thing that many a Hindi movie teaches, however, is that a man can never escape the destiny given to him by his name. Even though Ramdas refuses to acknowledge his name, the viewer feels fairly certain it will catch up with him... or will it?

    Films about revolutions and revolutionaries are pretty rare for Hollywood (does THE MATRIX count?), and as far as I know for most of the world's cinema. It's only really through Indian cinema that I've had any real exposure to them except perhaps as villainous terrorists. Patriotism is a word even more venerated in India than it is in America, and people fighting and dying to liberate their country from foreign occupation are generally well considered... after all, it's not that long since India gained independence from long British occupation. Hearing India's popular entertainment king Amitabh denounce patriotism and collaborate with the Portugese occupiers/oppressors is particularly strange!

    Although PUKAR was a big hit and has a very high score at IMDB, I don't consider it to be one of Amitabh's better films. Even though he's always played the "Dark Hero", his role in Pukar isn't one that fits him too well, though he still gives a good performance. Perhaps if it was the first Amitabh film I'd seen I'd have appreciated it more, but I think the problems are more than just discomfort in seeing Amitabh in an unfamiliar role. The story telling is not handled as well as in his better films such as SHOLAY or MUQADDAR KA SIKANDAR, with several jumps and holes that left me a little confused as to exactly what was going on. The film didn't bring out the wide range of emotions in me that I'd hoped, either - perhaps because of the slightly clumsy story telling, or because the quality of acting on display wasn't all that high (notably, Zeenat Aman is thoroughly beautiful but not a good actress). Perhaps if I'd been more familiar with Goa's history I'd have appreciated/understood more.

    The film is still quite enjoyable, with a pretty good balance of drama and action. Although it doesn't rank amongst Amitabh's great films, it must be noted that those films are so great that not being one of them is hardly a major failing. Taken as a part of Amitabh's career it's clearly placed on the downswing, but taken as a film in it's own right it's a pretty watchable 160 minutes.

    7/10
  • Pukar directed by Ramesh Behl is a time-pass movie.

    It does not have anything new or extra-ordinary to offer.

    Story: Although India obtained freedom from the British in 1947, Goa and it's territories are still ruled by the Portuguese. A group of revolutionaries want a free Goa and are thus wanted by the Portuguese administration. Amongst them are Purandare, Narvekar, and Dinanath, and when Dinanath's whereabouts are known to the police, he escapes with his young son, Ramdas(Amitabh Bachchan), and goes to their hideout. With the assistance of Purandare they do manage to escape but are shot. A horrified Ramdas watches as his dad is shot dead by Purandare. This is how Ramdas starts hating revolutionaries. Ramdas changes his name to Ronnie, befriends a girl named Julie, and grows up taking to crime as his career. He soon prospers and lets the villagers also prosper with him. Then when the Police Commissioner is shot dead, Ronnie helps the authorities to apprehend his killer, who is a young man named Shekhar(Randhir Kapor), who is arrested, tried in Court, and sentenced to be hanged. It is at this point Ronnie will find out that the people he had assisted in the past are all against him and sympathize with the revolutionaries. Angered, he grabs a gun to kill Shekhar's parents - and it is here that Ronnie will find out who they really are - and why Purandare shot his dad.

    The story is good.

    The direction is average.

    The music is okay.

    The dialogs are well-worded.

    Performances: Amitabh Bachchan is superb.Randhir Kapoor is very good.Tina Munim and Parveen Babi are wasted.Prem Chopra excels in a small role.Pinchoo Kapoor and Sharat Saxena are fine in supporting roles.

    All in all Pukar is a time-pass movie!
  • Warning: Spoilers
    1983 was one of Amitabh's worst years as not only did he act in flop films but his accident during Coolie almost killed him. Coolie was mainly a hit because of that accident and honestly, it was one of Manmohan Desai's bad films. However, 1983 was more a crass year for Bachcan because he acted in films like Mahaan,Nastik, Pukar, and Andhaa Kanoon all of which sank without a trace.

    After the super success of Shakti(1982), Amitabh returned with Pukar which was something extremely different for it's time. The film was about Goa and it's independence from the Portugese people. However, Amitabh is against the revolutionaries because he saw his father get killed by the revolutionaries. What he didn't know was his father died because his father was in condition where he couldn't escape any longer from the police. Ramdas changes his name to Ronnie and slowly becomes a rich man due to his illegal works. Randhir Kapoor watches his uncle one of the last revolutionaries die because of Ronnie's betrayal in providing them some weapons. Randhir or Shekhar himself becomes a revolutionary and vows to free Goa from these Portugese people. Amitabh gets Shekhar arrested but later, he realizes what a mistake he has committed. Shekar and the revolutionaries weren't bad, the police and the Portugese were bad. Roonie saves Shekar from getting hanged and the film ends after an action packed climax.

    The biggest problem with the film is the sudden change of sides which is unconvincing. Ronnie suddenly changes sides nearing the end because he sees that Shekhar's father was the same guy who saved him from getting arrested in his childhood. This reason is not strong enough for one man to realize his mistake and stop being on the bad side. The movie has several well handled scenes but the flow is missing in parts. The romantic portions are boring and the film drags till Shekhar vows to save Goa from these Portugese people. The ending is stretched but the outcome is good.

    Direction by Ramesh Behl is good in parts, he could've handled the early and post interval portions better. The abrupt change of Amitabh and the dragged song before the climax makes his direction weak.

    Amitabh Bachchan is a talented superstar for a reason, his expressions are good and his dialog delivery is amazing. His action is also quite good. Randhir Kapoor is good in his part, he saves the film in the second half because the drag makes the movie boring. Zeenat Aman is gorgeous and her acting is good as well. Tina Munim is OK, she doesn't have much of a role. Om Shivpuri is good, but he doesn't get a big role like he did in some of his previous movies with Amitabh Bachchan. Prem Chopra as the sinister villain is good, he overacts a little in some parts though. The rest provide decent support.

    Music is the best part of the film, Bachke Rehna is a good song while Tu Mainke is good as well. Samundar Me is one of the best and is catchy as well. The other songs are good as well.

    On the whole, Pukar is one of those different Bachchan films that flopped. It could've been better but it's much better than Ramesh Behl's next film Indrajeet(1991) which was worse.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    Ramesh Bahl returned with Amitabh and Randhir Kapoor after Kasme Vaade which was a hit. Pukar released in 1983 when Amitabh was hospitalised and his career started going downhill. Pukar also is a rare film on Goa's Liberation(1961) though not logically correct yet the film is quite watchable. The film has Amitabh as Ramdas(rare name) his friend being a freedom fighter of Goa, while running from the Portuguese government he gets injured and he tells his friend Shreeram Lagoo to shoot him which he does but Ramdas mistakes it and starts hating revolutionaries. The film also has Randhir Kapoor who becomes a revolutionary. The film as i said is not at all realistic but it's watchable. The first half moves a fast pace, soon Amitabh from a small guy becomes a big person, sadly the film does have some funny scenes, one among them being Amitabh dressed as a zorro to rob Prem Chopra. There are some well handled scenes, however the film does succumb to the clichéd formula towards the end.

    Direction is decent Music by RD Burman is awesome, The songs became a big hit Samunder Mein Nahake, Bachke Rehna re Baba are superb while Tu Maike Mat Jaiyo(sung by Amitabh, RD Burman) too was a hit Maarenge Ya and Jaane Jigar too are good numbers RD Burman sang almost all songs for Big B maybe due to the Kishore-Amitabh spat that time though Kishore sang for him in Mahaan and Sharaabi in that period.

    Amitabh who for some reason wears dark shades even in night scenes for half the film carries his part like only he could however his character could be better. Randhir Kapoor is decent in his role Zeenat Aman and Tina Munim are good in their roles Prem Chopra as Monteiro is good too Shreeram Lagoo, Satyen Kapoo, Sharad Saxena are all good rest are all okay