This Week From Past : Ram Balram (1980)
Release Date : 28th November, 1980
Ram Balram is a 1980 Hindi-language film directed by Vijay Anand. It starred Dharmendra as ‘Ram’ and Amitabh Bachchan as ‘Balram’. The other cast included Zeenat Aman and Rekha. Ajit, Amjad Khan and Prem Chopra were the villains in the film.
“Ram and Balram are 2 young boys who live with their loving parents. Their scheming uncle, Jagatpal, however kills the boy’s father and mother. Jagatpal lies to the boys that their parents have been killed in an accident and promises to raise them himself. He enrols the younger brother Balram(Amitabh Bachan), in school and eventually sends him off to join the police force. The older becomes a mechanic. Jagatpal has a tight hold on the boys, even when Ram(Dharmendra) is an adult, he still gives all his wages to his uncle and is only allowed to keep a few rupees for pocket money. When Balram returns as a fully fledged police officer, Jagatpal finally reveals his plan. He is going to use Ram to target the biggest smugglers in India. Now that Balram is a police officer, he will protect his brother from getting arrested. Balram has reservations, but Jagatpal threatens to beat him just as he did when he was a boy. Balram is still unhappy with Jagatpal’s plan so tells his superiors in the police force that his brother intends to infiltrate the smuggler’s underworld so that Balram can arrest them. The plan goes well. Ram becomes one of the lieutenants of one of the biggest smugglers (Amjad Khan) and Balram’s excellent arrest rate make him one of the force’s most successful officers. Jagatpal becomes enormously wealthy from Ram’s illicit gains.
The brothers also find love. Balram with the daughter of a college professor (Rekha) and Ram with a girl who has moved to the area looking for her father (Zeenat Aman). Unbeknowst to Ram, the girl believes her father to be Jagatpal. She, along with her courtesan mother, attempt to extort money for Jagatpal but he refuses to believe he is the father. His suspicions are confirmed when he catches the mother paying off a former customer. The man is confronted by Jagatpal and confesses that the girl is not Jagatpal’s daughter. Jagatpal’s plan comes unstuck however when the boy’s mother returns. She did not die after all. Ram recognises his mother but Balram cannot as he was too young when they were separated. Both boys weep when they are reunited, Ram for the mother he has missed all those years and Balram for the opportunity he now has to get to know his mother. She reveals Jagatpal’s actions to the two brothers and they unite to take him down.”
Box-office : Ram-Balram was third movie of Amitabh-Dharmendra after Sholay and Chupke Chupke. This movie was expected to be another Sholay. But comparison to Sholay always works in negative way for any movie. Ram-Balram was no exception. Movie opens to thunder response with packed houses all over, but couldn’t meet the set expectations. After three houseful weeks, it fells on 4th week and wrapped under 5 Crore in 25 weeks of run. However 5 Crore was huge amount in 1980 which if adjusted today come close to 80 Crore. Movie was distributed @45 Lakhs for bombay territory and rest part of India costs 1.5 Crore. Over 1.95 Crore of investment and 3.75 Crore Distribution share makes it 1.85 Crore earner movie. But in 1980 when Bachchan movies are expected much more, Ram-Balram was termed as just Semi-Hit.
Few recorded jubilees of ram-Balram across north india :
- 27 Weeks at Mini Shingaar, Ludhiana.
- 18 Weeks at natraj, Khanna.
- 18 Weeks at Moti, Delhi
- 30 Weeks at Anand, Lucknow
- 30 Weeks at navrang, kanpur
- 22 Weeks at Regal Cinema, Delhi
- 18 Weeks at Dimple, Yamuna Nagar
Music of Ram Balram was quite popular, Tracks are :
- “Ek rasta do raahi ek chor ek sipaahi”, Sung by Mohammad Rafi and Kishore Kumar
- “Achcha kaho chaahe bura kaho”, Sung by Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar
- “Yaar ki khabar mil gayi”, Sung by Asha Bhosle and Kishore Kumar
- “Ladki pasand ki mushqil se milti hai”, Sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi
- “Ab toh ram hi jaan bachaaye”, Sung by Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle, Dilraj Kaur
Music by Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma (as Laxmikant Pyarelal), Lyrics by Anand Bakshi