Here’s a look-back at films that created such a deep impact that they shaped the future of Hindi cinema or film buffs. Whether super-hits, average grossers or even flops in their time, they became cult classics forever.
RK Films’ Bobby (1973)
Produced and directed by: Raj Kapoor
Written by: K.A. Abbas, V.P. Sathe & Jainendra Jain
Starring: Rishi Kapoor, Dimple Kapadia, Pran, Premnath, Prem Chopra, Aruna Irani & Farida Jalal
Pre-2000, it was a norm that the music album of a film would release 6 to 12 weeks before a film. If successful, it would give the movie a whopper boost. And few albums down decades created the hysteria the soundtrack of Bobby did. Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s first score for Hindi cinema’s biggest banner and showman filmmaker Raj Kapoor spread as rapidly as the proverbial wildfire.
Main shaayar to nahin, Hum tum ek kamre mein band ho, Jhoot bole kauwa kaate and Beshak mandir masjid todo were everywhere—sans television promotion or digital hype. Soon, The Economic Times carried a feature that its music sales ranked among the world’s all-time Top Ten gramophone records!
When the film released, audiences were ecstatic that the movie met expectations—and more. Raj Kapoor was back in prime form after the debacles of Mera Naam Joker and (as producer-actor) Kal Aaj Aur Kal! The sensitive yet sensual depiction of rebellious young love fighting society taboos touched the core of every viewer’s heart, regardless of age or social demagogues.
Dimple Kapadia as Bobby was a stunner debutante beyond description. Why, went mass opinion, did she have to marry Rajesh Khanna a few months earlier and quit films? On the rebound, because everyone thought they would never get to see this superlative blend of talent and looks again, it added terrifically to the Bobby mystique.
Says Rishi Kapoor, “Before Bobby, all heroes were men. After that, boys and girls could also be the leads!” That said it all. His towering performance did the rest. A path-breaking change had come!
And Prem Chopra’s single line, “Prem naam hai mera. Prem Chopra” became one of film history’s biggest one-liners, a line he needs to repeat even 45 years later whenever he appears in public!
Bobby launched also the careers of singers Shailendra Singh and Narendra Chanchal, but what was of greater importance was the general hysteria it generated for months: such was its success quantum that we had Bobby pens, rubber-bands, clothing, accessories, toys and what-have-you, the logo replicated on every consumer product.
And Bobby also consolidated the concept of a debut-making lead pair as a viable commercial entity—which is still ‘in fashion’!
Watch Bobby today and we will still see a dew-fresh cinematic epic that is unspoiled by the passage of time. And you will realize how trendsetters did their job slowly but surely to change and impact the future of Hindi cinema.