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Release poster
Directed byYash Chopra
Written bySalim–Javed
Produced byGulshan Rai
CinematographyKay Gee
Edited byT. R. Mangeshkar
Pran Mehra
Music byR. D. Burman
Trimurti Films Pvt. Ltd
Release date
  • 24 January 1975 (1975-01-24)
Running time
176 minutes
Budget1.3 crore (equivalent to ₹37 crore or US$4.6 million in 2023)[3]
Box office₹7.5 crore (equivalent to ₹211 crore or US$26 million in 2023)[3]

Deewaar (transl. Wall) is a 1975 Indian Hindi-language action crime film written by Salim–Javed and directed by Yash Chopra.[4][5] The film stars an ensemble cast of Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Neetu Singh, Nirupa Roy, Parveen Babi, Iftekhar, Madan Puri, Satyen Kappu and Manmohan Krishna.[6][7][8] The music was composed by R. D. Burman. The film tells the story of a pair of impoverished brothers who struggle to survive in the slums of Mumbai, and eventually find themselves on opposing sides of the law. The title Deewaar ("wall") signifies the wall that has sprung up between the two brothers, drawn apart by fate and circumstances in a time of socio-political turmoil.[9][10][11][12][13]

Deewaar was released worldwide on 24 January 1975 to critical acclaim from critics with praise for its story, script, music and cast performances (especially Bachchan, Kapoor and Roy) and became critically and commercially successful. The film became commercially successful and is considered a ground-breaking cinematic masterpiece, with India Times ranking Deewaar amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films as well as being one of three Hindi-language films to be included on the list of 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die.[14]

The film had a significant impact on Indian cinema, as well as wider Indian society, with the film's anti-establishment themes and Bachchan's criminal anti-hero vigilante character resonating with audiences, cementing Bachchan's popular image as the "angry young man" of Bollywood cinema.[15][16][17] Forbes included Bachchan's performance in the film on its list, "25 Greatest Acting Performances of Indian Cinema".[18] The film also cemented the success of Salim-Javed, who went on to write more blockbuster films, and the value of film writers skyrocketed thanks to Salim-Javed, who were paid as highly as leading actors at the time.[19] Deewaar's influence also extends to world cinema, influencing films from Hong Kong[20] and British cinema.[12][21]



Anand Verma, a trade union leader working hard to better the lives of struggling labourers, lives in a modest home with his wife, Sumitra Verma, and their two young sons, Vijay Verma and Ravi Verma. Anand Verma is blackmailed by a corrupt businessman, Badri Prasad, who threatens to kill his family if Anand does not cease his protest activities. Forced into compliance, Anand is despised and nearly beaten to death for his betrayal by the angry labourers, who are unaware that he was blackmailed to do so. Unable to bear the humiliation, Anand escapes from the town and decides to spend his remaining life aimlessly travelling in trains, deserting his family for whom he had abandoned his principles and ideals. Meanwhile, the labourers also persecute Anand's family; some of them kidnap Vijay and tattoo his left arm with the Hindi words "मेरा बाप चोर है" (English: "My father is a thief"). In desperation Sumitra brings Vijay and Ravi to Mumbai, and resorts to low-wage manual labour to raise her sons. Their home is on the footpath under a huge bridge that is home to millions of homeless urban poor who have been driven out in attempts at city development by the state.

As the two brothers grow up to be young men in the slums of Mumbai, Vijay has an acute awareness of his father's humiliation, for he has been victimized for his father's supposed misdeeds and is reminded of his past by the ever-present tattoo on his arm. He even refuses to enter a temple, for he wishes to chart his own destiny and not beg for it from God. Ravi, on the other hand, is a perfect citizen and is unwavering in his commitment to law and righteousness. All his attempts at obtaining a job are in vain but he romances Veera, the daughter of DCP Narang, by whom Ravi is sent for police training and soon earns the rank of Sub-Inspector. Meanwhile, in the process of fighting for his rights, Vijay begins as a shoeshiner and becomes a dockyard labourer in his youth. He beats up several henchmen of a merciless crime lord, Samant. Discovering this, Mulk Raj Daavar – one of Samant's rivals – hires Vijay to protect his smuggled gold that has three times been hijacked by Samant. Vijay sells the information to Samant to help him hijack the gold, then takes the money from Samant, captures the gold from his warehouse and hands it over to Daavar. An impressed Daavar rewards Vijay with a huge sum of money, allowing him to purchase a palatial home for his family.

Meanwhile, Ravi is provided with his first assignment by Veera's father to apprehend and arrest some of the hardcore criminals and smugglers in Mumbai, which include his brother Vijay. Ravi is shocked, for he had never associated his own brother with criminal activities and must now decide between apprehending Vijay and quitting the police force. Initially reluctant to act against his own brother, he is later moved when he non-fatally shoots in the leg a poor boy who had stolen a few loaves of bread, in an attempt to stop the boy from running. When a remorseful Ravi visits the boy's family at their home, offering them some rotis and confessing his action, the boy's angry mother berates Ravi and accuses him of colluding with the state in protecting those who store goods in warehouses, and hunting down petty thieves trying to feed their starving families. However, the boy's father forgives Ravi and justifies the shooting by stating that the stealing no matter of a "lakh" or of food is a crime, and that all criminals should be treated equally and it would lead to anarchy if all the poor and needy resort to the same life, which finally motivates Ravi to agree to take the case from Veera's father. When Ravi discovers that Vijay has accquired wealth by crime, he decides to leave the palatial house and go to live in his police quarters along with Sumitra, who too is disgusted with Vijay and even refuses to accept his gift of the high-rise apartment where she had once worked as a manual labourer.

Ravi completes his assigned task by arresting many associates of Daavar's gang; even Daavar is arrested, causing a feud to develop between Vijay and Ravi. Vijay enters into an intimate relationship with a young woman named Anita, whom he meets at a bar. Anand's dead body is discovered inside a train, and his last rites are performed by Vijay. As Vijay, Ravi and Sumitra lament the death of Anand, Anita advises Vijay to erase the tattoo on his arm through plastic surgery, but Vijay refuses, stating that surgery would not erase his fate in the past. Anita then reveals to Vijay that she is pregnant with his child, but she would not force him to marry her and would raise the child by herself. However, Vijay, not wishing anyone to tattoo on the arm of his own child that his father is a thief, decides to abandon his life in the underworld so that he can marry Anita, confess his sins to the police and seek forgiveness from Veera, her father, Sumitra and Ravi.

However, Samant and his henchmen arrive and murder Anita in revenge. Anita dies in the arms of Vijay, who retaliates by brutally murdering the killers, thus branding himself forever a criminal. Sumitra, who had always sided with Ravi despite the fact that Vijay was her favourite, is tormented by Vijay's decisions and rejects him. Ravi, pleading with Vijay to stop running and surrender, ends up shooting him in the arm and heart fatally, before the dying Vijay uses a car to escape from Ravi and has it crashed into the wall of a temple, where he reunites with Sumitra and pleads forgiveness. Vijay then dies in Sumitra's arms, just as Ravi arrives at the temple and is completely distraught over his action towards Vijay. The film ends with Veera's father and the Maharashtra police presenting an award to Ravi along with Veera and Sumitra for his successful pursuit of justice, though Ravi is still filled with remorse for killing Vijay.





Story and screenplay


The film's screenplay, story and dialogues were written by Salim–Javed (Salim Khan and Javed Akhtar). The main inspiration for the plot was the film Gunga Jumna (1961), starring Dilip Kumar, which had a similar premise of two brothers on opposing sides of the law, with the elder criminal brother as the main character.[22][23] Deewaar is thus considered to be a spiritual successor to Gunga Jumna.[24] Salim-Javed credited Gunga Jumna as well as Mehboob Khan's Mother India (1957) as the main inspirations for Deewaar, which they described as a "more urban, much more contemporary" take on their themes; while Mother India and Gunga Jumna took place in a rural context, Salim–Javed reinterpreted their themes in a contemporary urban context with Deewaar.[25]

Amitabh Bachchan's character, Vijay, was loosely inspired by the real-life Mumbai underworld gangster Haji Mastan.[12][13] Vijay's story arc in the film parallels that of Mastan's life, such as the rise from a humble dockyard porter to a powerful smuggler,[13][26] and Mastan's rivalry with smuggler Sukkur Narayan Bakhia is similar to Vijay's rivalry with Samant (Madan Puri).[13]

Salim–Javed's screenplay had dynamic dialogues and incorporated a number of symbolic motifs. For example, the scene where the two brothers meet as adults takes place under a bridge, symbolizing a bridge forming between the brothers.[15] Set in the Dharavi slums of Mumbai, the film's story of gangsters in Dharavi was a critique of socio-political inequality and injustice in Mumbai.[21] The characterisations of the two brothers are sociologically contextualised to represent a form of urban conflict and drama, aimed at presenting a causal explanation for the sequence of events and Vijay's social alienation, with the narrative explaining his every action and decision, grounded in his memories and experiences.[11]

The script generally has an atmosphere of secularism, while incorporating subtle religious motifs.[15] The mother Sumitra (Nirupa Roy) and police brother Ravi (Shashi Kapoor) are religious Hindus, whereas the criminal brother Vijay (Bachchan) is generally not religious and "upset with God", yet he carries a badge numbered 786 which his Muslim co-worker, Rahim Chacha (Yunus Parvez), points out to be a number of religious significance in Islam[15] (representing Bismillah) and has its own subplot.[20] The 786 badge plays a powerful and symbolic role in several scenes,[15] saving Vijay at key moments[27] and signifying something ominous when he loses it.[15]

Salim-Javed initially showed the script to Bachchan, who they had in mind for Vijay's role after having worked with him on Zanjeer (1973). At the time, Bachchan was working on another film with Yash Chopra, and told him about the script. After some initial scepticism, Chopra was eventually convinced to direct the film after Salim-Javed narrated the storyline to him.[15]

Casting and filming


Bachchan's "angry young man" performance as Vijay in the film was inspired by Dilip Kumar's intense performance as Gunga in Gunga Jumna, which Bachchan sharpened and reinterpreted in a contemporary urban context reflecting the changing socio-political climate of 1970s India.[28][29]

Salim-Javed "felt only Bachchan could do justice to Vijay's role." According to Akhtar, they "saw his talent, which most makers didn't. He was exceptional, a genius actor who was in films that weren't good." At Salim-Javed's insistence, Bachchan was cast in the role.[15] Director Yash Chopra's first choices for Vijay and Ravi's roles were Dev Anand and Rajesh Khanna respectively. After Anand rejected the script, casting plans changed and Khanna was to play Vijay and Navin Nischol was considered for Ravi. However, Salim-Javed had Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha in mind when they wrote the script; Sinha turned down the film when he heard Khanna was initially cast in the lead, due to a fallout between the two. Nirupa Roy's role as Sumitra Devi was also first offered to Vyjayanthimala; Nischol and Vyjayanthimala turned down the film after they found out Khanna would no longer be in the film. Shashi Kapoor was subsequently cast as Ravi, and Nirupa Roy as Sumitra Devi.[30]

In 2014, Bachchan revealed that his iconic look in the film – a "denim blue shirt worn with khakee pants and a rope dangling over the shoulder" – was the result of a mistake by the tailor. He said, "The knotted shirt and rope on the shoulder in [Deewaar] was an adjustment for an error in stitching, shirt too long so knotted it".[31] In certain scenes, Bachchan had some input on Chopra's direction, such as the father's funeral scene where Bachchan, instead of lighting the pyre with his right hand, suggests to use his left hand to show off the tattoo, "Mera baap chor hai" ("My father is a thief").[15] The film was shot mostly at night because Bachchan was shooting for Ramesh Sippy's Sholay at that time.[32]

The film contains a fight scene[33] that involves Bachchan performing martial arts inspired by Hong Kong martial arts cinema, which Deewaar was one of the first to do in Indian cinema.[34][35] Rather than following the Hollywood model, it follows the Hong Kong model, with an emphasis on acrobatics and stunts. The style of fighting seen in Deewaar combined kung fu (as it was perceived by Indians) with Indian martial arts (particularly Indian wrestling).[36]


Soundtrack album to Deewaar by
GenreFeature film soundtrack
ProducerR.D. Burman

The soundtrack of the movie was composed by R. D. Burman, and the lyrics were penned by Sahir Ludhianvi. The soundtrack received praise.

Track listing
1."Kehdoon Tumhe, Ya Chup Rahun"Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle4:09
2."Maine Tujhe Maanga, Tujhe Paaya Hai"Kishore Kumar, Asha Bhosle4:29
3."Koi Mar Jaaye"Asha Bhosle, Usha Mangeshkar5:37
4."Deewaron Ka Jungle"Manna Dey5:06
5."Idhar Ka Mal Udhar"Bhupinder Singh3:23
6."I Am Falling in Love with a Stranger"Ursula Vaz5:15
Total length:27:19

Release and reception


Release and sales


At the Indian box office, the film grossed 75 million[37] ($9 million).[a] In Mumbai alone, the film grossed ₹10 million.[39] In terms of footfalls, the film sold an estimated 31 million tickets at an average 1975 price of ₹2.40 per ticket.[40] Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to an estimated ₹4.17 billion ($64 million) at an average 2017 price of ₹134.38 per ticket.[41]

Numerous DVD editions, from companies such as Eros Entertainment, Shemaroo Entertainment and Eagle Home Video, entered the market. These were released as non-restored, non-remastered editions, void of supplementary features. Eagle Home Video came out with a restored edition of this movie, preserving the original aspect ratio in a 4:3 pillar box and a DTS Master Audio (HD) in 2.0. The restoration took place in Shemaroo studios.[citation needed]

Critical response and international impact

The performances of Amitabh Bachchan (left), Shashi Kapoor (centre), and Nirupa Roy (far right) garnered critical acclaim; each received Filmfare Award nominations, with Kapoor winning.

Upon release, Deewaar was a major commercial success, ranking as the fourth-highest-grossing Bollywood film of 1975,[42] and received critical acclaim, with critics praising the story, dialogue and screenplay, as well as the performances of the cast, particularly those of Bachchan, Kapoor and Roy. Indiatimes ranks Deewaar amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films.[14] It is one of the three Hindi films featured in the 2017 edition of the book 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die, the others being Mother India (1957) and Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge (1995).[43]

It was perceived by audiences to be anti-establishment, while Amitabh Bachchan's character Vijay was seen as a vigilante angry hero, establishing Bachchan's image as the "angry young man" of Indian cinema.[15] With the unprecedented growth of slums across India at the time, Vijay was seen as a new kind of hero, with his suppressed rage giving a voice to the angst of the urban poor.[11][21] Deewaar is also remembered for its iconic dialogues written by Salim-Javed. The most famous is when Shashi Kapoor delivers the line, "Mere paas maa hai" ("I have mother"), a line that is widely known in India and has become part of Indian popular culture.[44][45] The film Loins of Punjab Presents (2007) mocked how the line is sometimes wrongly attributed to Amitabh Bachchan.[46] It also established Parveen Babi as the "new Bollywood woman".[47]

The film cemented the success of the writing duo Salim-Javed, who went on to write many more blockbuster films. After the success of this film, the value of film writers skyrocketed thanks to Salim-Javed, and they soon were being paid as highly as some actors at the time.[19] Amitabh Bachchan described Salim-Javed's screenplay for Deewaar as "the perfect script"[15] and "the best screenplay ever" in Indian cinema.[9] Deewaar, one of the first Indian films with an action sequence modelled after Hong Kong martial arts cinema, popularised the use of martial arts sequences in Bollywood films from the 1970s to the 1990s.[34] The style of fighting popularised by Deewaar, with acrobatics and stunts, and combining Chinese kung fu (as it was perceived by Indians, based on 1970s Hong Kong films) with Indian pehlwani wrestling, became the standard model for Bollywood action scenes up until the 1990s.[36]

Deewaar was the inspiration behind director Danny Boyle (pictured above)'s Oscar-winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008).

The film was later remade in Telugu as Magaadu (1976), in Tamil as Thee (1981), in Malayalam as Nathi Muthal Nathi Vare (1983), in Persian as Koose-ye Jonoob (1978), and in Turkish as Acıların Çocuğu (1985). Another remake of Deewaar was the 1994 Bollywood film Aatish: Feel the Fire, starring Sanjay Dutt as the older criminal brother, Atul Agnihotri as the younger police brother, and Tanuja as the mother.[48] Hong Kong's Shaw Brothers studio remade Deewaar as The Brothers (1979),[20] which in turn inspired John Woo's internationally acclaimed breakthrough A Better Tomorrow (1986).[49] The Brothers also starred a Hong Kong actor that would later be known for heroic bloodshed films, Danny Lee (playing Shashi Kapoor's character), with a police officer persona later seen in Hong Kong crime films such as Woo's The Killer (1989).[20]

Deewaar had an influence on Hong Kong cinema and in turn Hollywood cinema, by playing a key role in the creation of the heroic bloodshed crime genre of 1980s Hong Kong action cinema.[49] Deewaar, along with several later 1970s "angry young man" epics it inspired, such as Amar Akbar Anthony (1977), had similarities to elements later seen in 1980s Hong Kong heroic bloodshed films.[50]

British director Danny Boyle described Deewaar as being "absolutely key to Indian cinema" and cited the film as an influence on his Academy Award winning film Slumdog Millionaire (2008).[12] The film's co-director Loveleen Tandan noted that "Simon Beaufoy studied Salim-Javed's kind of cinema minutely."[51] Actor Anil Kapoor noted that some scenes of Slumdog Millionaire "are like Deewaar, the story of two brothers of whom one is completely after money while the younger one is honest and not interested in money."[52] Slumdog Millionaire, which pays homage to Amitabh Bachchan, has a similar narrative structure to Deewaar. Composer A. R. Rahman referenced the film in his Oscar acceptance speech.[46]

Awards and nominations


Deewaar received the Filmfare Best Movie Award of 1976, and also won six more Filmfare Awards for Best Screenplay, Best Dialogue, Best Director, Best Sound, Best Story, and Best Supporting Actor (Kapoor), and received two other nominations for Best Actor (Bachchan) and Best Supporting Actress (Roy).[53]

Year Award Category Nominee Result Ref.
1976 Filmfare Awards Best Film Gulshan Rai Won [54]
Best Director Yash Chopra Won
Best Actor Amitabh Bachchan Nominated
Best Supporting Actor Shashi Kapoor Won
Best Supporting Actress Nirupa Roy Nominated
Best Story Salim–Javed Won
Best Screenplay Won
Best Dialogue Won
Best Sound M. A. Shaikh Won

Further reading



  1. ^ 8.3759 Indian rupees per US dollar in 1975[38]


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  3. ^ a b "Deewaar 1975 Movie Box Office Collection, Budget and Unknown Facts 1990's Box Office Collection". KS Box Office. 8 July 2021. Archived from the original on 23 February 2023. Retrieved 18 December 2021.
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  7. ^ Rao, Sri (2017). Bollywood Kitchen: Home-cooked Indian Meals Paired with Unforgettable Bollywood Films. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-544-97125-7. Archived from the original on 22 February 2023. Retrieved 25 May 2020.
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