Manmohan Desai, Big B and Rishi Kapoor.
Manmohan Desai had created landmark films during the 60s, 70s and 80s starting from Raj Kapoor’s Chalia. He had experimented with different sets of actors or actresses. But his greatest success came with the use of Big B and Rishi Kapoor together in commercial films.
The combination was very rare as Big B had established himself as angry young man in the mid-70s and from that time he became the uncrowned king of action films. In fact he shaped the world of action films with success in Zanjeer, Deewar, Sholay and mny other films. Rishi Kapoor on the other hand was considered as one of the most successful romantic actors of all times. The songs in the films of Rishi Kapoor including Sargam, Laila Majnu, Karz, Saagar are considered as masterpieces.
Manmohan Desai used both of them in the same films to keep the balance between action, romance and comedy. In Amar Akbar Anthony, Big B showed his control over comedy performance in most part of the film. But his encounter with Vinod Khanna who was also appreciated for his success in action films, was enjoyed the most. In the same film Rishi Kapoor got beaten up at different parts of the film and yet impressed the audience with his romantic andaz. He gave excellent lips in the songs “parda hai parda”, “shirdiwali saibaba”, “humko tumse ho gaya hai pyar kya Karen”, etc., sung by Rafi and composed by Laxmikant Pyarellal.
Big B and Rishi Kapoor played the role of brothers again in the film Naseeb. Shatrughun Sinha balanced the action andaz I this film along with Big B. Big B being a worker in a hotel sacrificed his life for educating Rishi Kapoor. There were lot of other aspects in the film including the relationship of Pran with Amzad Khan and Kader Khan. But the romantic andaz of Rishi Kapoor and the action andaz of Big B and Shatrughun Sinha got predominance.
When Coolie was released in the early 80s, Big B became a one-man industry. It hardly mattered who was acting opposite him or whether Parveen Babi, Zeenat Aman, Rekha, Hema Malini or Jaya Bacchan balanced his performance or not, the presence of Big B was enough to make the film a box-office hit. Rishi Kapoor did very well in the film as a friend. He played the role of a photographer. Big B represented the coolies all across the country.
The film was extremely successful for the storyline and also for the fact that Big B got injured while shooting for an action sequence. In the 90s, Big B shifted to character acting and Rishi Kapoor did put on weight, otherwise the magical combination could have contributed in Manmohan Desai’s film even more. The films should be restored.