MUMBAI— A flop in its time (1999), “Sooryavansham” emerged, like many films before and after, as an iconic film among Amitabh Bachchan’s movies, especially those from his pre-“Mohabbatein” lean phase.
Sony MAX, the Hindi movie channel, celebrates the 20-year milestone of one of their most watched movies. On May 25, 2019, it will air this Amitabh Bachchan-Soundarya potboiler with Bachchan in a father-son dual role. The film has, in fact, become an Internet sensation due to numerous memes and social media trends for its seemingly never-ending run on Sony MAX, securing a firm place in pop culture.
With a heavy focus on family and relationships, the film marked the Hindi debut of Telugu director E.V.V. Satyanarayana and remains his first and only directorial in Hindi. For Bachchan, a double role or even a father-son double role (“Adalat,” “Desh Premee,” “Aakhree Raasta” and “Mahaan” as a father and two sons in a triple role) were not new. But this film is considered one of the most memorable among them.
Not many are aware that Rekha has dubbed for both Jayasudha and Soundarya’s roles, and this remains one of the only two Hindi films of Jayasudha (the other being the 1984 “Zakhmee Sher” with Jeetendra) and the only one of the late Soundarya. At one point, the makers (this was Padmalaya’s next cult film after “Himmatwala” and “Mawaali,” which were hits even when released), were thinking of casting Bachchan’s real-life son Abhishek Bachchan in the son’s role.
A melodrama set against the backdrop of rural India, the movie revolves around the head of the Sooryavansh clan, Thakur Bhanupratap Singh (Bachchan), who has a strained relationship with the youngest of his three sons, Heera (also played by Bachchan). Heera’s decision to go against his will and marry the girl he loves spites his father. However, Heera has a deep respect for his father and tries different, heartwarming ways to mend the broken relationship. It is this rootedness of the film, which continues to appeal to the audiences even today and has made it a favorite.
The film has Anupam Kher, Kader Khan and Bindu also in the cast with music by Anu Malik and lyrics by Sameer.