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25 October 2011

Trishul (1978)

Directed by: Yash Chopra
Script, Dialogues: Salim-Javed
Starring: Sanjeev Kumar, Waheeda Rehman, Amitabh Bachchan, Rakhee, 
Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Sachin, Poonam Dhillon, Prem Chopra
1978 was a very good year for Amitabh Bachchan. He had six releases (Don, Kasme Vaade, Muqaddar ka Sikander, Besharam, Trishul, Ganga ki Saugandh) out of which three were block busters, two of them hits, and one a better than average grosser. It consolidated his position as the reigning superstar, and it seemed that he could do no wrong. With a script by Salim-Javed, who diverged from their previous script Don completely with this one, Trishul explored the relationship between a father and his illegitimate son. Or a son and his illegitimate father. Take your pick. 

Rajkumar Gupta (Sanjeev Kumar), a successful civil engineer is in love with Shanti (Waheeda Rehman), his secretary. They talk of getting married, and Rajkumar takes her to meet his mother.
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Shanti is ecstatic, but Rajkumar’s mother has a word of practical advice for her son – if he needs to get ahead in life, then Shanti is not the girl for him. Rajkumar’s boss has approached her with a marriage proposal for his daughter, Kamini (Gita Kak); she desires that he marry her. Of course, fifty per cent shares in his father-in-law’s company is not a joke. So Rajkumar gets married without even letting Shanti know. Shanti comes to know however, and comes to his office to wish him. As she leaves, she shares another piece of news.
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Shanti leaves Rajkumar and the city behind; months later, she gives birth to a son, whom she names Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan). She brings him up, not just with love, but in adversity, teaching him from childhood to be strong and independent, a stranger to the more tender emotions that a man may feel.
Years pass, and Vijay is as hard, and as emotionless as the granite quarry where he works. His only feelings are reserved for his mother. As she lies dying, she tells him not to cry. The world is cruel, and she wants him to live with courage.
Rajkumar Gupta is now RK Gupta, one of the top construction magnates in the country. His son, Shekhar (Shashi Kapoor) is coming home from London after two years. Shekhar is young, handsome, a flirt, and had once wanted to be a musician, but his father has different ideas.
Soon, RK Gupta has an unusual visitor. And the visitor has an unusual proposition. 
RK had expected to meet a self-confident young man; he is disappointed to meet the dissolute son of a wealthy father, who wants to buy a land that is under litigation. Vijay erupts. 
Intrigued by the fact that Vijay has come to make a deal worth five lakhs without five paise in his pocket, RK gives him the land, on the guarantee that he will get his money back within 15 days.

Vijay warns Madho Singh (Shetty) that he wants him to evacuate the premises by the next day to much general hilarity. He then proceeds to meet Balwant Rai (Prem Chopra), one of the leading financiers in the city, and RK Gupta’s ex-colleague, to ask him for a loan. They share an enmity of RK Gupta and Balwant is ready to help in return for a lien on the land.

One good fight later, Vijay succeeds in evicting Madho Singh. As he goes to Gupta’s office to pay off the five lakhs he owes, he runs into Shekhar.  Geeta (Raakhee), Gupta’s secretary, introduces the two. The latter is impressed. So is Gupta.
Soon, RK Gupta’s signboard is replaced by that of Shanti Constructions. Vijay has taken his first step against his father. Meanwhile, Shekhar has just appointed a young lad straight out of college. Ravi (Sachin) is Babli’s boyfriend. Shekhar has an appointment with the general manager of a company; as he walks in, he is astonished to see that the GM is a woman. As is his wont, he begins to flirt.
Sheetal Verma (Hema Malini) is friendly and soon falls for our hero and his nonsense. (Well, it is!) Soon, they are golfing, practicing yoga, playing tennis (or at least they are dressed for the occasion), singing duets and falling in love.
Vijay, on the other hand is making his moves very carefully. Meeting Geeta on the way, he offers her a lift and asks her for her help in getting a big contract. Geeta is furious. Her integrity is not for sale.
It doesn’t faze Vijay, and he approaches another of Gupta’s employees – Bhandari (Yunez Parvez). Bhandari proves to be an easier mark.

The task is simple. Before Gupta Constructions’ tenders reach the jobs they are both bidding for, Bhandari will ensure that Vijay gets a copy. And so it happens that one after the other, Gupta loses bids to Vijay. Step two is complete. The battle has begun, but the war is still to be fought. Gupta is at first annoyed, then furious, and finally, suspicious. He has become addicted to winning. Bhandari cleverly implicates Geeta.

Vijay, meanwhile, has run into Geeta again. She is shopping with Babli, and Vijay apologises for the earlier incident. Geeta accepts the apology and introduces him to Babli, who greets him with simple friendliness. Vijay has now met both his siblings. As Vijay and Geeta come out of the store, Gupta sees them, and the suspicion planted by Bhandari crystallises.
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Geeta is distraught but she has no way of proving her innocence. Gupta sacks her, much to Bhandari’s glee. However, he had not reckoned with Vijay.
Geeta begins working for Vijay. He is a man obsessed, and Geeta soon finds out how much. Days. weeks, months pass in his company, and Geeta is drawn to her employer. He, in turn, depends on her like he has never depended on any one before.
It’s the second anniversary of Vijay’s company and he elicits her help in throwing a party for the city’s who’s who. Gupta also puts in an appearance; father and son have a conversation, where Vijay’s responses are double-edged.
Vijay is not leaving any stone unturned to destroy his father, even buying land at more than market value. Gupta is beginning to be intrigued. He realises that there is more to this story than he first thought. But what?

It’s not only Gupta that Vijay is seeking to destroy, but also his half-brother, Shekhar. Having noticed Shekhar’s closeness to Sheetal at his party, he plans to destroy their relationship much to Geeta’s distress. However, the best laid plans of mice and men, and all that, and Shekhar and Sheetal only become closer.

Vijay’s next encounter with the Gupta family is with Babli. He rescues her from an accident and takes her home. He is hurt too, and Mrs Gupta tends to him. For the first time since his mother’s death, he feels a sense of belonging.
While it doesn’t mitigate his hatred toward his father, he surprises himself when he reacts violently to Balwant abusing Gupta. It leads to further enmity. Sheetal’s father, Mr Verma (Iftekhar) has a project that he is passing out for tenders. A confrontation in the board room sees the enmity between Vijay and Gupta boil over. Geeta wonders at the obsession that is driving Vijay; she even wonders whether, after achieving so much wealth, he is happy. For the first time, Vijay breaks his silence about his past. For the first time, he lets in some friendship, some affection into a life driven by hatred.
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Gupta sends Mr Verma a bribe – in Vijay’s name. Mr Verma, whose integrity is offended, disqualifies him. RK Gupta receives the contract. Vijay is down but not out. The next move is his. Geeta is aghast at the audacity of the scheme. The first casualty is Gupta’s financiers who begin to back out. And every promissory note that he has signed is bought up by Vijay. Cornered, Gupta fights back – taking a step that is beyond the pale.

What will happen next in this war between father and son? Who will win, who will lose? Will Vijay succeed in driving a wedge between his father and his legitimate children? Will Gupta atone? Where does Balwant Rai and Bhandari fit into all this? Their enmity is with both father and son.

Two years after she acted as his wife in Kabhi-Kabhie, Waheeda Rehman dons the role of Amitabh’s mother in Trishul. Her presence looms large over the entire film though her screen time is limited. It is for her that Vijay takes on his father, both professionally and personally. It is his single-minded devotion to her that makes Vijay focus on alleviating his poverty, be it any which way. Waheeda’s Shanti is a self-respecting, independent woman. And a strong one at that, since she walks out of her one-time lover’s life without so much as asking him ‘why’? 

It is that same strength that lets her inform him that she is going to be the mother of his child. Not because she wants something from him, but because he has the right to know. She is not a martyr sacrificing her love. She’s a woman who can hold her head up high as she pities her spineless lover for sacrificing love at the altar of ambition.

And while one can claim that RK is playing a dutiful son, that is too simplistic a viewpoint – he  is ambitious. His mother’s words fall on fruitful ears only because he also wants to go far in life and is willing to use anybody as a ladder to get to the top. His guilt over Shanti is not so much that he wronged her, but that she might cause problems in his well-planned life. And once he plants his feet on that slippery slope to success, he becomes more and more attuned to achieving that success at any cost. Indeed, he becomes rigid in his expectations of how his family must behave; his son’s engagement to Sheetal is approved because she is a rich and successful young woman. His daughter’s relationship with Ravi, on the other hand, is a no-no because Ravi does not belong to the same economic strata, and therefore, is not worthy of his family. 

Sanjeev Kumar’s portrayal of the wealthy, successful, arrogant RK was one of his finest – and that is saying a lot considering the oeuvre of this natural actor.

Amitabh? Well, this is yet another Vijay, and he seethed on screen. His resentment at being called a bastard; his anger at the way his mother was used and discarded; his yearning for a family that he can call his own – this surely was one of Amitabh’s most intense performances. His Vijay is a man who does not care about the consequences (to others) of his actions. His pursuit of revenge is the both the journey and the destination. There is no thought for anybody or anything else. His anger at RK burns so bright that he cannot even see that underneath it all is his need to be accepted – when Balwant Rai abuses RK, it’s that underlying angst that bursts out. His vulnerability is only exposed once in the movie – when he asks Geeta to stay behind because he is lonely. In that one sentence, he exposes the extent of his need for love.

Raakhee had a smaller role in terms of screen time than did Hema Malini; yet, her character, Geeta, had more depth. There is something about Vijay that draws her to him, and soon she becomes his friend and confidante. It is her silent support that helps him find some solace even as he single-mindedly plots the destruction of the man who was responsible for his emotional scars. She is both his support and the voice of his conscience, and finally it is to her he turns for friendship, for affection, for love. 

Shashi Kapoor, Hema Malini, Poonam Dhillon (in her debut role) and Sachin were there as the supporting cast; they got to be the pretty people who sang all the songs (Amitabh got a couple of verses in this song, in my opinion, the best of a pleasant, but not great score).

This is Salim-Javed’s script all the way, and both Amitabh Bachchan and Sanjeev Kumar set the screen on fire with their confrontation scenes. The tension is built up slowly but surely until it finally bursts forth, in the scene where Vijay returns Gupta’s wealth, almost as charity. If Amitabh underplays the hatred, watch Sanjeev Kumar’s expressions the revelation that Vijay is his son hits him. Trishul was what it was because of these two.

Interestingly enough, Sanjeev Kumar is a few months younger than Shashi Kapoor who plays his son. And for some reason, Amitabh continues to play elder brother to the latter, even though he is a couple of years younger. RK Gupta’s role was first offered to Dilip Kumar.

Some beautiful people:

44 Eyecandy
eyecandy 7 eyecandy5
eyecandy9 eyecandy8
41 just because


  1. :D I have to, have to watch this again, after I have read through.Wasn't there a scene in this where the young AB munches on a roti and it jumpcuts to the grownup AB finishing it off ? That was the motivational spiel that was given to us ..to eat like that and grow up fast :D I still remember !"Be like Ab, be like Ab". Again, one of my "favorite" favorites.. getting that DVD today..thanks again for that wonderful narrative.

  2. Anooooo - I have to go to work, and you post such scrumpilicious posts in the morning. Missed your Don post also. We were away From Friday. Will comment in detail later.

  3. When I first heard that Sanjeev Kumar waas going to play the father and His sons were going to be Shashi and Amitabh, I just could not believe my ears. But all the same I loved the film.

  4. cinematters. you're welcome. The scene you mention comes at the end of the credits. I like 'one of my "favourite" favourites'! :))

  5. :) Sorry, Tina. I did mean to post this earlier but got held up. Younger son was not feeling too well.

  6. You know, at the time I first saw this film, I had only seen Sholay where Sanjeev Kumar was playing an old man too. I *thought* he was old. Imagine my shock when I realised he was the same age group as the actors he was playing father or elder brother to! I cannot imagine anyone else in his role though, not even Dilipsaab. Sanjeev Kumar was so good, with the shades of grey in his character.

  7. One of my absolute AB favorites (along with Zanjeer, Deewar, Sholay, AAA & Don), loved your review. As you said in this review, the Sanjeev-Amitabh pair makes this movie, and no one (not even Dilip Kumar) could have done better than Sanjeev.

    Incidentally, I did write about this movie, but from a Financial Predictive/Explanatory viewpoint. Here is the link --


  8. I go away for four days and find that you have posted about two of my favourite movies! I read the post on Don when you posted it, but didn't get the time to comment. Trishul is one of his later movies that I really, really liked. I wish they had cut out the annoying Poonam Dhillon-Sachin track though. They were too cloyingly sweet, and when Poonam went 'Gapuchi gapuchi gam gam', I remember wanting to strangle her. So this was her first film, huh? Was wearing a swimsuit in this the condition for her signing Noorie for Yashraj?

  9. Hey, Trishul means samosas for me.
    Well, it was so that my cousins (elder than me) were going to this film in two groups, both of them wanted me to go with them. My stock was very high then it seems! I let them both bid for me. And the group that bribed me with samosas won me! I still wonder, why they wanted of all persons ME to go with them. They were all way older to me!

    How did Yash Chopra cope with Hema's vow, that she will never star in a film with Sanjeev Kumar, which she altered for Chopra to 'she will not appear in the same frame with Sanjeev Kumar'?

  10. Samir, I did check outthe link. :) I liked the comparisons. You're in finance, are you?

    And yeah, I don't think I would have wanted to see Dilip Kumar in this role. This was meant to be Sanjeev Kumar's.

  11. LOL, Ruhi. I thought that about Poonam too in that scene. But she was so incredibly beautiful. She was, what? 16? They should have made this like Deewar - (that would have been better with out the Shashi-Neetu romantic track too) it would have been more intense with just the two sons and father theme.

  12. Harvey, you should have gone with both, and had samosas with both groups. :) Hema's 'not appearing with Sanjeev Kumar' must have been Dharam-paaji's diktat, no? Since young Sanjeev had also been a suitor to Hema's hand? And one that her 'amma' looked upon very favourably?

  13. No, I couldn't go with both groups because they both wentt on the same evening. I still don't know why they didn't go together! Anyway don't look a gift samosa in the mouth, but rather put it in the mouth!

    According to the version I had heard, Hema herrself didn't want to be in the same frame with Sanjeev, because he misbehaved with her on the sets of Seeta aur Geeta. Well, I think it was better for Sanjeev this way than the slap he got from Nutan on the sets of Devi.

  14. So you were the 'prize' they wanted to win? Or they were both fighting, and they decided to fight over you too? :)

    Maybe your version is right, but I'm wondering, in that case, how Sanjeev Kumar escaped the wrath of Garam Dharam. He was busy romancing Hema during the shooting of Seeta aur Geeta.

  15. I must be the only one around reading this post who hasn't seen Trishul yet. :-( But after you mentioned it in that post on your favourite Amitabh movies, I've added it to my rental wishlist. Now, reading the snyopsis and looking at those screen shots, I can't wait to get my hands on it!

  16. We don'tknow anything, wejust consume what the gossip magazines deliver, don't we?

  17. Just think of it this way - something to look forward to. :) It really is worth watching - especially the scenes between Amitabh and Sanjeev Kumar. And since more than two-thirds the movie *is* based on their relationship, that's quite a good part that is really, really good. I honestly could have done without the Shashi-Hema, and the Poonam-Sachin romantic sideplots - but if you remove them, gaana kaun gaayega?

  18. I suppose so, yes. :) And since one will contradict the other, we will never know. :))

  19. Exactly, gaana kaun gaayega? Somehow I can't imagine a at-daggers-drawn father and son pair singing threats to each other! ;-)

  20. C'mon, Madhu! Stretch your imagination... can't you see one of those confrontation songs - each stanza accusing the other of being a mean, nasty creature?

  21. Oh no. I'd rather have Sachin and Poonam cooing to each other, 'Chikki bum bum bum' .... :)

  22. Banno, welcome to my blog. Oh no. I'd rather have Sachin and Poonam cooing to each other, 'Chikki bum bum bum' .... :) Laughed out loud at that - it brought to mind the alternate name for Karan Johar's Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham - they were calling it Kabhi Chikki Kabhi Chewing Gum. :)

  23. One more of my favourite Amitabh movies - you keep posting reviews of his films and I'm not going to be doing any work. I just watched Trishul again - just to see all the scenes you had screen-capped. I fell in love with him in the scene with Raakhee. It was such an 'awwww' inducing scene.

  24. One of my favourites of the later Amitabh movies. I too wish the songs had been removed, and Shashi Kapoor's mouth taped up or something because he was very irritating; but honestly, that movie, to me, was the best of Sanjeev Kumar and Amitabh Bachchan.

  25.  Wow, its quite a surprise to see Shashi Kapoor in a role which is even lower in status than Yunus Parvez in the film. It is the first time I have seen on any blog the word 'eye candy' being mentioned and no Shashi pic with it!
    Hema's 'minor role' is not a surprise. She did this a lot and unlike Rekha wasted her acting skills barring couple of Gulzar films (Hey, Jeetendra ,yes him, got more out of those Gulzar films I thought). which is why I prefer Rekha OVER Hema anyday, both as an actor and looks. I admit being in a minority there, don't mind the early Rekha.
    This film did remind me quite a bit of 'Agneepath' , the revenge theme. Why on earth was Amitabh ripping Al Pacino and Marlon Brando there? I like both films though.
    I thought Amitabh's roles in Deewaar,Zanjeer,Kaala Pathhar,Kaalia and this were very similar.
    One film which was different and showed his versatility was 'Khuda Gawah' , you may never review that but it was at par with his best roles. Sridevi actually matched him in that.

  26.  Note, I didn't forget Razia Sultana or Rihaee when I said that Hema wasted her acting talents.The former had good music ,film was so so and I remember Parveen Babi more. In Rihaee, she didn't exactly 'better' or 'held her own' over the other actors , something Rekha did.

  27.  Oops, I didn't spot Shashi , sorry! (maybe the strange expression)

  28. Hey Chris, glad you noticed that you had overlooked Shashikins. :)

    Agree with you about preferring Rekha to Hema in terms of acting and looks, but I do concede that Hema was the perfect Dream Girl.

    You like Khuda Gawah? Heavens! I thought I was the one person in the world who liked that film! Of course I'll review it - I loved it. :) Yes, Sri matched him; I wish she hadn't decided to play both mother and daughter (originally, they were to be played by different actresses), because once she did, the mother's role got chopped. :( She was fantastic in the mother's role!

  29. He looked rather old and haggard in this film. 

  30. Look, Hema was a reasonably competent actress, but never on par with Jaya Bhaduri or Rekha (among her contemporaries). Rekha never took her career very seriously which is why she ended playing souten or Kothewali in film after film after film. There was a lot of potential there, still untapped.

  31.  Actually this is more about Hema. Yes, I agree that Gulzar was the one director who got good stuff out of her (Khushboo is unforgettable), but she was good in Ek Chadar Maili Si, that in spite of that tamil accent (for a punjabi woman). But yes, she was everybody's perfect dream girl. And yes, Trishul was one of AB's best ever, and Sanjeev Kumar's too.

  32.  She *was* beautiful. Heck, she still is amazingly so! She was competent in quite a few films, but I do not think anyone took her for any role demanding deep histrionics. There were a few directors who extracted good work from her. I think her turn in Sholay was probably one of her best. She never did get rid of that Tamil accent, did she? :) I'm impressed with Rekha actually - she worked hard on herself.


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