FLASHBACK | 17 June, 2022
(From our issue dated 21st June, 1997)

Itihaas (1997) Bollywood Movie Poster


Inderjit Films Combine’s Itihaas (A) is a love story about a village belle and a guy who has been assigned the task of taking her from the village to the city to hand her over to a lusty rapist. Their love begins and develops while they are going to the city, both of them quite unaware of what’s in store for the girl. How the guy saves his beloved from the rapist’s clutches forms the second half of the film. To make matters worse for the boy, his father is an obedient servant of the rapist, for whom the master’s word is like an order of the God and must be fulfilled under any condition.

While the story is quite good, it doesn’t offer much novelty. Nor does it present a romantic drama never seen before, to justify the title (‘history of love’). Screenplay is well-penned except that a lot of cinematic liberties are taken by the writers. The very point of transporting girls from the village to the city by road, involving a journey of several days, looks far-fetched in the age of aeroplanes and helicopters. The development of the romance looks a bit contrived. Amrish Puri playing the obedient servant of the rich rapist (Raj Babbar) also does not seen appealing, so boss-like is the image of the former. What’s more, Amrish Puri permitting his beloved son (Ajay Devgan) to follow in his footsteps (to transport girls for an ulterior purpose) leaves a bad taste in the mouth.

This is not to say that the film has no plus points. For one, it has some brilliant emotional scenes of special significance for ladies and masses. For example, the scene in which the hero’s mother wipes off the sindoor on her forehead, the scene in which the hero stops his father from taking away his beloved, the one in which the hero’s blood comes splashing on the father’s face, the one in which the two Shakti Kapoors (father and son) come face-to-face etc. Dialogues are also excellent at a number of places.

Ajay Devgan does a good job and brings tears to the eyes in emotional scenes. Twinkle Khanna is good only in a couple of dramatic scenes. She dances awkwardly and also needs to improve on her acting in general and dubbing in particular. Sapna Bedi is weak. Amrish Puri, though miscast, does a very fine job as Ajay’s father. Raj Babbar is average. Aroona Irani shines with a natural performance. Shakti Kapoor is wonderful in the role of the innocent son. As the father, he acts well but his voice is jarring. Mohnish Bahl, Neelima Azim and Kaanchan lend the desired support.

Raj Kanwar’s direction is good and he comes straight to the point rather than beating around the bush. His concepts are clear but, one wishes, he hadn’t taken so many cinematic liberties and had gone easy on the rape and kotha scenes, both of which remind of Koyla.

There are too many songs in the film and that’s one major minus point because no number is hit. The title song, ‘Ja ja re ja’ and ‘Yeh ishq bada bedardi hai’ are the best songs. Song picturisations needed to be more eye-filling. Action is fairly good but too many gun-fights in the climax rob it of thrill. Harmeet Singh’s camerawork is of a high standard. Production values are okay. Technically, good.

On the whole, Itihaas has average merits and can hope to do similar business, having taken an unexciting start at most of the places. Further editing and deletion of a couple of songs (like the bhaang song) can definitely prove advantageous. Its business in ‘B’ and ‘C’ class centres should be better.

Released on 20-6-’97 at Novelty and 22 other cinemas of Bombay thru Devgan’s Entertainment. Publicity: extraordinary. Opening: below expectations (partly due to heavy rains). …….Also released all over. Opening was poor in C.I., good in U.P. and C.P. and ordinary in other circuits.


The nation has been swept by the BORDER wave. The film, which took a mind-boggling start, maintained fabulously all through the week and has written new history in box-office collections, creating unimaginable records in every circuit. Is somewhat lesser in West Bengal where it dropped rather badly from 6th day.

Border, contrary to our prediction, proves a hit all over, and, as predicted, is a lottery in Punjab. It has smashed all previous records almost everywhere in the first week. 1st week Bombay 55,48,010 (96.89%) from 13 cinemas (8 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 21,50,660 from 7 cinemas, Baroda 3,23,361 (100%), Padra 2,70,081 (82.37%), Rajkot 1,95,081 (1 in matinee unrecd.), Jamnagar 1,66,647, Adipur 1,71,768 (97.75%); Pune 3,60,281 (100%), Solapur 2,33,840 from 2 cinemas (1 in matinee); Hubli 1,62,638 from 2 cinemas (1 in noon), Belgaum 1,78,086 from 2 cinemas, Dharwad 47,956; Delhi 54,28,260 (99.85%) from 13 cinemas (2 on F.H.); Kanpur 4,93,610 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 3,22,783 (100%), Agra 2,98,821, Allahabad 2,23,668, Varanasi 2,89,887, Ballia 1,22,000, Hardwar 1,23,000, Gorakhpur 1,69,272 (100%); creates new records in every station of Punjab, Amritsar 65,975; Calcutta 49,39,598 from 28 cinemas; Nagpur 12,30,279 from 5 cinemas, Jabalpur 2,92,764, Akola 3,01,476, Raipur 3,74,098 (81.38%) from 2 cinemas, Bhilai 2,65,207, Durg 2,15,363, Wardha 89,281, Chandrapur 2,53,515; Indore 1,66,001 (3 on F.H.), Bhopal 4,36,471 from 2 cinemas (1 on F.H.); Jaipur 12,34,725 from 4 cinemas, Jodhpur (gross) 4,30,000 (1 unrecd.), Bikaner 3,43,168 (100%); Hyderabad 42,95,212 from 20 cinemas, share 21,79,704, Aurangabad share from 3 cinemas 4,25,211.


Virasat has faced a drop due to the opposition of Border. 3rd week Bombay 22,00,951 (77.46%) from 7 cinemas (8 on F.H.); Ahmedabad 3,91,893 from 4 cinemas, Rajkot 1,37,187, Jamnagar 48,559, total 1,99,688; Pune (18 shows) 2,10,070, Solapur (14 shows) 83,338; Delhi 14,49,822 from 9 cinemas; Kanpur 2,16,066 from 2 cinemas, Lucknow 2,37,002, Agra 90,820, Allahabad 70,100, Varanasi 69,523, Meerut 86,319, Gorakhpur 73,000; Calcutta 6,08,700 from 7 cinemas; Nagpur 68,115, Raipur 86,314, Bhilai 52,519, Chandrapur 47,280, total 2,40,638; Indore 1,38,000, theatre record, Bhopal 52,160 (1 unrecd.); Jaipur 2,56,047 from 2 cinemas; Hyderabad 3,81,863.



Veteran Dhannalal Thakuria of Regal cinema, Indore, expired on 14th June in Indore. He had not been keeping good health since a long time.


One of the most popular Malayalam film heroes, Sukumaran, passed away at a private nursing home in Kochi on 16th June following a massive heart attack. He was 50 and is survived by his wife, Mallika, who was also an actress earlier, and two sons.

Sukumaran had been admitted to hospital on 14th and was making steady progress but suffered the fatal attack in the afternoon on 16th. His last film was Vamsham, released a few months ago.

Sukumaran was a college lecturer before he took up acting as a profession. He was the uncrowned king of Malayalam cinema in the seventies after the death of the all-time great Satyan. Sukumaran won several awards, including the state award for the best actor for Bandhanam. Although younger stars like Mammootty and Mohanlal dislodged Sukumaran from his top position in the eighties, he continued to play substantive supporting roles.

He was known for his brilliant and natural dialogue delivery. He also played anti-hero roles. Among Sukumaran’s notable films are Valarthu Mrugangal, Ee Manohara Theeram, Vadakakku Oru Hrudayam, Thuramugham, Ishtamanu Pakshe and Sathrathil Oru Rathri. His very first film, Devalokam, has not yet been released. He had also produced two films, Ira and Padayani.

Sukumaran was the former chairman of the Kerala State Film Development Corporation (KSFDC). He graduated in law after retiring from playing hero roles and also enrolled himself as an advocate in Kochi.

The news of his unexpected death cast a pall of gloom on the Malayalam film industry. Many ongoing shooting schedules were abruptly wound up as artistes and technicians thronged the Indira Gandhi Cooperative Hospital where his body was kept.


Producer-director J.P. Dutta will hold a charity show of Border in Delhi next week to raise funds for the families of those killed and injured in the ghastly fire tragedy at Uphaar cinema in Delhi on 13th June. The stars of the film are likely to attend the show. J.P. and his team will also call on the injured people who are recuperating in hospitals.


Producer-director Basu Bhattacharya passed away in the late night hours of 19th June at Lilavati Hospital, Bandra, Bombay, where he had been admitted for pancreatitis on 13th May. His funeral took place on 20th. He was 65. He is survived by his wife (estranged), a son and two daughters.

Sarika specially arrived from Madras to attend Basu-da’s funeral. She was seen crying inconsolably.

Just a few days before his end came, Basu-da had been given a cheque by Bombay distributor Shyam Shroff in the account of Aastha.

Basu Bhattacharya assisted Bimal Roy and also married his daughter with whom he was later estranged. He made his directorial debut with Teesri Kasam in 1966. He made Anubhav, Avishkar and Grihapravesh, all of which explored the various aspects of a middle-class marriage. His other films were Tumhara Kallu, Panchvati and the recently released and successful Aastha. Basu-da belonged to the art cinema movement, and Aastha was his first commercial success. Anubhav also did fair business.

Basu-da, at the time of his death, was working on the English version of Aastha for international release. His Aakhri Daku remained incomplete till the end.

As a person, Basu Bhattacharya was lively and jolly. He was very well-read. He was member of many international film festival juries. Basu-da had also made some documentary films.


A baby boy was born to Girish Jain, the youngest of the seven Jain brothers who own Venus Records & Tapes Pvt. Ltd., recently. This is Girish’s second child.


Marriage of Sheetal, daughter of Assam distributor and exhibitor Shankar Lall Goenka, with Navin will be solemnised on 27th June in Ranchi.


The first multiplex in the country, at Anupam cinema in New Delhi, is doing good business. It opened on 3rd June and has four auditoria — Audi 1, Audi 2, Audi 3 and Audi 4. While Audi 1 has a seating capacity of 368, and Audi 4, of 332, the other two auditoria (Audis 2 and 3) can accommodate 150 people each.

Anupam cinema is owned by Ajay Bijli. The multiplex also has an American-style cafetaria.


Veeru Devgan Directs Amitabh, Ajay In ‘Hindustan Ki Kasam’

Devgan’s Films’ Hindustan Ki Kasam was launched with a pooja ceremony on June 19 at Filmistan Studios. Regular shooting commenced soon thereafter and will go on till June 26. All the leading artistes are participating in the first schedule. Veeru Devgan makes bow as a director with this film which stars Amitabh Bachchan, Ajay Devgan, Sushmita Sen, one more heroine (to be finalised), Shakti Kapoor, Farida Jalal, Shahbaaz Khan, Salim, Navin Bawa and Gulshan Grover. Writer: Janak Hriday. Cinematography by Ishwar Bidri, music by Sukhwinder, lyrics by Anand Bakshi, art by Bijon Dasgupta, and editing by Suresh Chaturvedi are the other major credits.

‘Raju Raja Ram’ Rolls

Jackie Shroff Entertainment Ltd.’s Raju Raja Ram went before the camera today (June 21) with a week-long schedule at Filmistan Studios and Hiranandani Complex. Director David Dhawan is picturising scenes on Jackie Shroff, Govinda, Salman Khan and Manisha Koirala. The film has music by Anu Malik. Prakash Jaju and Avinash Adik are its co-producers.

‘Aa Ab Laut Chalen’ Launched With Recording

R.K. Films & Studios’ Aa Ab Laut Chalen was launched on June 18 with a song recording at Sunny Super Sounds. The song was penned by Sameer, rendered by Alka Yagnik, Kumar Sanu, Abhijeet, Sonu Nigam, Saud Khan, Shabbir Kumar and composed by Nadeem Shravan. Rishi Kapoor makes his bow as a director with this film which has in its cast Rajesh Khanna, Akshaye Khanna, Aishwarya Rai, Paresh Rawal, Satish Kaushik, Jaspal Bhatti and Kader Khan. Cinematographer: Sameer Arya. It will go before the cameras on August 15 with a 55-day shooting schedule in the USA and Canada.


Can the success of Border trigger off a trend of multi-starrers?

– Yes, it definitely can.

Is there a market for non-film (basic) music albums?

– Of course, there is a market. Otherwise, music companies and other producers would not be cutting so many basic albums. A good market for such cassettes also exists in foreign countries.

Is Mukul Anand’s Dus also an Indo-Pak war film like Border?

– It is not a war film. But it definitely deals with Indo-Pak relations and problems.


* Jyoti is the only cinema in Jalandhar, which keeps its air-cooling plant in operation in every show every day, even when there is power cut in the city. The cinema also provides chilled drinking water to its patrons free of cost. Little wonder then that the cinema is doing so well and this, in spite of being the oldest in Jalandhar.

* THE PHANTON – VETAL (dubbed) had to be discontinued from two cinemas of Bombay viz. Galaxy (Bandra) and Shreyas (Ghatkopar) on the first day after the first show itself due to dismal collections. JEET was screened at Galaxy thereafter, and VIRASAT, at Shreyas.

* What MRITYUDAATA could not achieve in ‘A’ class centres of C.P. Berar, it has achieved at a ‘C’ class centre like Balaghat. It drew all shows full on the first 3 days at Shyam, Balaghat.



* Draws 26 out of 28 shows full at Shiv, Ahmedabad, in spite of simultaneous release at nearby Relief cinema.

* Drew 28 shows full at Rajshri, Gandhinagar, where it collected 4,45,284/-. A late night show had to be specially held on Sunday, June 15, due to public demand.


* Creates records at each and every station of East Punjab. Huge crowds had to go disappointed home in most of the shows at most of the centres all through the first week due to house-full boards.


* Yields a share of over 46 lakh in 1st week in C.P. Berar.


* Yields a mind-blowing share of 21,79,704/- from 20 cinemas of Hyderabad and Secunderabad.


Lucky 1997

1997 has proved lucky for at least four people who have been considered jinxed for years. The four have tasted success this year after ages. Mushir-Riaz gave flops for 21 years before giving Virasat this year. Priyadarshan, the director of Virasat, has also given his first success in Hindi. And J.P. Dutta, who must’ve forgotten what success feels like, has given his first success after Ghulami, in Border. Luckily for J.P., the hit Border is not just directed by him, it is also produced by him.

Goodbye Sapna

J.P. Dutta has trimmed Border in Bombay. The song picturised on Pooja Bhatt and Akshaye Khanna has been deleted. Two scenes in which Jackie Shroff’s heroine, Sapna Bedi, was seen, have also been completely edited. As a result, Sapna is simply not there in the film now! Not that she performed well. But, all the same, it must’ve been a nightmarish revelation for poor Sapna to know that she is no longer in the film, at least in Bombay. This must be the first time that a heroine’s role has been completely axed from a film.

Too Short A Time?

Many in the trade feel that Subhash Ghai’s Pardes may not be released on 8th August, as announced. Their surmise is based on the fact that the music of the film will be released as late as on 30th June, which would mean just a month’s time for the songs to grow. While it is generally believed that 1½ to 2 months are required for a film’s music to grow, there is no hard and fast rule as such. Perhaps, Subhash Ghai is so confident about his music that he feels, a month is sufficient.

Great Potential

Jayantilal Gada of Pen Audio has achieved a lot at the young age of 32. He has made a beautiful office in Juhu (opposite Hotel Sea Princess) and it has been done up just too tastefully. Considering that Gada suffered a loss of Rs. 91 lakh not many years ago, when he had a small office on Tribhuvan Road, his standing today is praiseworthy. Although he has a music company which has released a number of titles, he has made most of his money in the business of buying satellite rights of films. Today, Gada has a big library of films for satellite television, including G.P. Sippy’s Sholay, R.K.’s whole lot and what not. Says Gada, who is a bit conscious about not being able to speak and write English, “I don’t understand why the television industry is looked down upon or regarded as small. It is a huge industry and there’s a great potential in it.” While one can’t help agreeing with Jayantilal Gada, one must also admit that there’s a great potential in this man too, even if he doesn’t know English!

Not Maintaining Their Status

It’s strange how some main and prestigious cinemas of Bombay charge lakhs by way of weekly rentals and earn thousands on account of service charge, but don’t spend even a few thousands for their maintenance and upkeep. For instance, Eros cinema. Besides its fantastic sound system and its very clean toilets, the cinema is found lacking in almost every department. Or Metro. On the opening day of Border, the cinema’s air-conditioning plant was not working to its full capacity in the last show so that the audience was heard complaining about the heat. Surely, one expects better things from cinemas like Eros and Metro. And if main cinemas leave something to be desired, one can well imagine the condition of the other cinemas.

Sabse Bada Rupaiya

It’s funny how the management/staff of CMM Studios at Worli, Bombay, has found a way to fleece people frequenting the place. A public telephone in the posh CMM premises will not work till the user puts two Re. 1 coins instead of the usual one coin. Obviously, the telephone has been tampered with by somebody.

Favourite No. 1 ?

Believe it or not but Harish is the common hero in all of Govinda’s No. 1 titled films, however brief his role. Harish was Govinda’s friend in Coolie No. 1. He was also seen in a brief role in Govinda’s Hero No. 1. And now, he has been singed to play a meaty role in Govinda’s third No. 1 film, Aunty No. 1. Does it mean, Harish is Govinda’s favourite no. 1?

Tips’ Trio Of Hits

As far as music companies go, it must be said that it is Tips which is releasing the music of one big film every month. In May, it released Gupt, and this month, the audio cassettes of Daud are out. In the month-end (or, for all practical purposes, in July), Tips will flood the market with Pardes cassettes. The best part is that all the three films boast of excellent music.

Incidentally, while Tips has put up a couple of back-lit hoardings of Daud in Bombay, it will, in a couple of days, decorate the city with Gupt hoardings too.