Najayez daddy issues

Najayez baap. Roll out the red carpet for this 40-year-old film, its writers Salim-Javed and director Yash Chopra for the whiplash of these two words.

By Sulagana Biswas
  • Published 25.05.18
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Amitabh Bachchan, Sanjeev Kumar & Shashi Kapoor in Trishul

Najayez baap. Roll out the red carpet for this 40-year-old film, its writers Salim-Javed and director Yash Chopra for the whiplash of these two words.

In Bollywood’s moral universe, till recently, premarital sex was thorny — for the woman alone. Unwed mothers handed over their children to childless wives of their lovers, to orphanages and various kind-hearted people and wrung their hands till the happy climax.

But, Trishul, which released 40 years ago in May, had an unapologetic unwed mother who raises her son with enough gumption for him to tell his industrialist father, hey, you are my illegitimate father.

Clink! Patriarchy’s jaws hit the floor. It helped that the man who uttered the words was Amitabh ‘Vijay’ Bachchan at the high noon of his superstardom, and the man who heard them was Bollywood’s inimitable chameleon Sanjeev Kumar.

Set in Delhi, Trishul is a corporate revenge drama orchestrated by the son born on the wrong side of the blanket. Some twists in the plot may look dated and amateurish, but the women — Waheeda Rehman as working woman-turned-unwed mom, Raakhee as the “human computer” secretary — perhaps the first time the word computer was used in a Hindi film — and Hema Malini as the glamorous golf-playing boss woman — are still so now.

Shashi Kapoor as the privileged, carefree legit son is too charming to lock horns with brute step-brother Bachchan, and the teen Poonam Dhillon as the youngest sister a pretty filler.

The grand climax shows blood is thicker than water.

But the point has been made. The dad is illegitimate, not the kid. Not to forget Sahir’s words strung to Khayyam’s songs. Kitabon mein chhapte hai chaahat ke kisse, haqeeqat ki duniya mein chaahat nahi hai. Aah, poetry for wounded souls.