Haathi Mere Saathi
|Hathi Mere Sathi|
|Directed by||M A Thirumugham|
|Produced by||Sandow M. M. A. Chinnappa Thevar,
Haathi Mere Saathi (English: Elephant My Partner) is an Indian film from 1971. The movie has a Disneyesque appeal with an Indian twist. Haathi Mere Saathi was the biggest hit of 1971 going by box office collections, and was also critically acclaimed. Rajesh Khanna starred in the film. The film at that point in time was the biggest hit ever made by a South producer in Hindi.
The story was written by producer Sandow M. M. A. Chinnappa Thevar who is of Tamil origin and owned Devar Films in Tamil Nadu. Thevar also played a small cameo in the film. Directed and edited by Thevar's brother M.A.Thirumugham, it had screenplay by Salim-Javed, dialogues by Inder Raj Anand, music by Laxmikant-Pyarelal and lyrics by Anand Bakshi. The film was also the first collaboration of Salim-Javed, who were officially credited as screenplay writers. The movie was remade in Tamil as Nalla Neram in 1972. 
Orphaned Raju, in the company of four elephants, has to perform with them at street corners, in order to keep alive. The back-story is that as an orphan, they have saved his life from a leopard. In time, he makes it big, and starts Pyar Ki Duniya (The World Of Love), a zoo in which various wild animals reside along with his elephants, among whom Ramu is closest to him. Slowly he amasses a fortune, and is able to build his own private zoo, housing tigers, lions, bears, and of course the four elephants. He treats all the animals as his friends. He meets with Tanu (Tanuja), and both fall in love. Tanu's rich dad, Ratanlal (Madan Puri), is opposed to this alliance, but subsequently relents, and permits the young couple to get married. However trouble looms soon after as Tanu feels neglected. Things worsen when their child is born, and Tanu, fearing physical harm to her child from the elephants, tells Raju to choose between the elephants and his family. When Raju chooses his lifelong friends over wife and son, Ramu decides to bring the estranged couple together, but thanks to the villainous Sarwan Kumar (K.N.Singh), he has to sacrifice his life.
The original name of "Haathi Mere Saathi" was "Pyaar Ki Duniya ".
|1||"Chal Chal Chal Mere Saathi"||Kishore Kumar|
|2||"Dilbar Jani Chali Hawa Mastani"||Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar|
|3||"Meherbano Qadardano"||Kishore Kumar|
|4||"Sunja Aa Thandi Hawa"||Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar|
|5||"Nafrat Ki Duniya Ko Chhod Ke"||Mohammed Rafi|
|6||"Dhak Dhak Kaise Chalti Hai Gaadi"||Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar|
Earlier titled Pyar Ki Duniya, the film also won a special award from the Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (SPCA) for lyricist Anand Bakshi. Its music on HMV (as Saregama was known then) won a Silver Disc for its sales, making it the first-ever Indian gramophone record to do so.
Times Of Oman noted that 40 years down the line, Haathi Mere Saathi remains unmatched in its enduring magic, and Hindi cinema has yet to make another children’s feature to match its stature and success.
Quotes on the film
Tanuja said in an interview, "I showed them the film when Kajol was six and Tanishaa around three years old, and for two weeks Kajol did not speak to me!! ‘Mummy, you killed the elephant! Because of you, he had to die!’ screamed Kajol! And Tanishaa was annoyed too!" Tanuja loved working with the elephants after some initial apprehensions. "They really began to like me, especially the she-elephant who played Ramu. There is a sequence where he had to push me through a door and fight a snake that was about to bite the baby, but the elephant had got so fond of me that he refused to do so! Finally, they had to shoot separate close-ups of the elephant and my back and of me falling down!"
Javed Akhtar on being questioned as to how the film came about, said "One day, he Rajesh Khanna went to Salimsaab and said that Mr. Devar had given him a huge signing amount with which he could complete the payment for his bungalow Aashirwad.But the film was a remake and the script of the original was far from being satisfactory. He told us that if we could set right the script, he would make sure we got both money and credit. 'I can’t do such a terrible script,’ he said. ‘And I can’t leave it because I need the money!'".
On its 40th anniversary on 5 May 2011, Pyarelal recalled, "Laxmi (Laxmikant) and Devar got along fabulously well! Devar had an innate music sense and a feel for rhythm, and he loved our title-track. But the tussle came up over the sad song, "Nafrat ki duniya", which was the only song sung by (Mohammed) Rafisaab in the film. I recall voicing my doubts. But Laxmi, the director and Rajesh Khanna were staunchly in favour of keeping that song. And the audience cried with the song and Anand Bakshisaab’s lyrics."
- Rachel Dwyer; British Film Institute (2005). One hundred Bollywood films (reprint, illustrated ed.). Michigan: BFI. p. 258. ISBN 978-1-84457-098-0. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "the closest Hindi film to Disney.". Screen India. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Rajiv, Vijayakar (13 May 2011). "The story was written in relevant way". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- "Sandow and superstars". The Hindu. 2012-07-24. ISSN 0971-751X. Retrieved 2015-12-06.
- Kobita Sarkar (1975). Indian cinema to-day: an analysis. Michigan: Sterling Publishers. p. 167. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Rajiv, Vijayakar (13 May 2011). "The Elephantine hit". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Rajiv, Vijayakar (13 May 2011). "Thanks to Rajesh Khanna". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 July 2012.
- Rajiv, Vijayakar (13 May 2011). "The elephants after some initial apprehensions.". The Indian Express. Retrieved 25 July 2012.