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TEZAAB (1988)

Angst of the Youth


Tezaab 1988

A poignant offering of sorts, Tezaab is a story of the youth of the time by N. Chandra who had earlier made hard hitting films like Pratighaat and Ankush, this was his Magnum Opus.

Tezaab literally means acid, is about injustice in society which creates rebelliousness in the youth, taking them to the wrong side of the law. Thus the youth who would have been the nation builders, are only fuming acid due to the system.

Released 11th November 1988, Tezaab was the relaunch vehicle for Madhuri Dixit who achieved superstardom shaking her hips to the tunes of ‘Ek, do, teen’, before this she was seen in the forgettable ‘Abodh’. This also cemented Anil Kapoor’s place in the industry, a coming of age movie for him, which sort of typecast him in, on the edge rough roles mouthing the Bombay slang lingo.

The story is about Mahesh Deshmukh aka Munna (Anil Kapoor) and his failed love for Mohini (Madhuri). The movie begins with Inspector Singh (Suresh Oberoi) learning about the reentry of a judicially exiled criminal Munna in his jurisdiction. Singh is not ready to believe that a bright young fellow who helped him prevent a bank robbery a few years back could himself have entered the world of crime.

Determined to meet and find out the reason, he confronts Munna who tells him his story after the bank incident in which he lost both his parents and moved to Bombay with his kid sister and fell in love with Mohini. Her father Shymlal (Anupam Kher-cunning) is living off her dance income and is against the match as he is in the debts of the dreaded gangster Lothia Pathan (Kiran Kumar-menacing) whom he can pay only if she performs. He informs about Munna to Chhote Khan Lothia’s brother (who himself has an axe to grind with Munna) and tries to rape Munna’s sister but is killed by him.

Munna ends up in jail with added enmity with Lothia. Back to the city after his release to meet his sister, he is pleaded by the wily Shyamlal to rescue Mohini from the clutches of Lothia which he does. Mohini expects him to accept her but instead he asks her to go to Shyamlal and turns himself in to Inspector Singh as promised, so that he can start over, a new leaf. As the love story has to be completed and Lothia has to be taught a lesson too, the movie progresses to the climax, with a few characters bumped off in-between.

With a different treatment to a simple tale it made this movie the biggest hit of 1988, earning four Filmfare awards including Best Actor for Anil Kapoor. The song ‘Ek, do, teen’ was a rage back then getting the best choreography for Saroj Khan and best playback female for Alka Yagnik. With this song, long term professional relation was established between Madhuri and Saroj Khan. The song itself was recrafted as a tribute in the present day movie Baaghi 2, which only denotes its popularity. Any movie’s success can be measured with the remakes it spawns. This film too had many of them in different Indian Languages.

– Revisited by PAWAN GUPTA


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