The story of heroic pets in Hindi films
[dropcap]T[/dropcap]hey don’t deliver any dialogues in films. But by simply wagging tails and nodding their heads alongwith other playful antics, they have won the hearts of audiences. The key element being the various emotions that they exude. Yes, we are talking about pets who have appeared in films and till date maintain the same popularity as that during the film’s release. And that’s the reason why they need no introductions!
We have tried to capture such films made in 70’s and 80’s which became a rage due to the characterization of a pet for their heroic actions. Instead of just being used as a prop, these pets took the lead in the first or latter half of the movie. Let’s take a look at them.
Haathi Mere Saathi (1971) – In M.A. Thirumugham’s film Haathi Mere Saathi, the story begins with Raju (an orphan) being saved from a leopard by four elephants. One of the four takes a special liking to Raju, who in turn names him Ramu. The elephant and Raju become inseparable. But things get complicated when the wife asks Raju to choose between his family and the animal. Raju rebukes his wife after which she leaves him. At this stage, Ramu (the pet elephant) sheds tears and decides to play the peacemaker, following her in a bid to save their marriage. He ends up sacrificing his own life in order to bring Raju and his wife back together. Not many know that the original name of the hit film Haathi Mera Saathi was Pyaar Ki Duniya, but later looking at the important role of ‘Ramu’ the elephant, the filmmakers decided to name the film Haathi Mera Saathi. This film went on to become one of the most widely watched films of those times, courtesy Ramu and his antics. The USP of this film was indeed the relationship between Raju and Ramu.
Hum Aapke Hai Kaun (1982) – Filmmaker Sooraj Barjatya portrayed a pet as the most prominent character in the film Hum Aapke Hain Kaun. Tuffy, the fluffy Pomeranian could play cricket with Salman Khan, bring fighting lovers together, run for help when his mistress fell down the stairs, receive divine messages from Lord Krishna, guard the groom’s sandals during the wedding, and most importantly, reunite the lovers and save the day. The popularity of Pomeranians shot up amongst pet owners in many cities. Tuffy plays multiple roles in the film and was the real star of Hum Aapke Hai Kaun.
Teri Meherbaaniya (1985) – K.C Bokadia’s Teri Meherbaniyan would have been incomplete without ‘Moti’ – the labrador. Jackie Shroff, the protagonist who owns the pet, is killed in the first half of the plot so it all comes down on Moti to take the film forward. Out to avenge the murder of his master, Moti takes the lead in the second half of the film. He, in fact, outplays Jackie Shroff in terms of screen time, importance and performance. In the film, it is shown that pets also have feelings as they can cry, have fun and also take revenge if required. Teri Meherbaaniya is more popular for this wonder dog than the hero himself. The dog, Sheru, who plays Moti in the movie, received rave reviews for his never-seen-on-screen-before, emotionally charged portrayal of a revenge seeking pet.
Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) – ‘Kabooter Jaa Jaa, pehli pyaar ki pehli chitthi sajan ko de aa’ still echoes in the hearts of newly fallen in love couples and fans of this golden movie. In the film, Sooraj Barjatya once again presented a pet, but this time a dove (called ‘Handsome’) in a never seen before avatar in the role of messenger, which doves are known for since ancient times. Suman and Prem (the lead characters) are aided by a pigeon to whom Suman has been kind, and, notably, to whom the antagonist played by Mohnish Behl has been cruel. The bird carries messages of love between Prem and Suman when they are separated, and takes a pivotal role in the film’s climax sequence as he attacks Mohnish Behl and makes him fall off the cliff. Even birds seem to have an understanding of good and evil, love and hatred!
Doodh Ka Karz (1990) – Ashok Gaekwad’s Doodh Ka Karz could rightly be tagged as ‘the saga of a snake’s vengeance’. This snake flick had defied all logical possibilities by showing a snake charmer, Parvati, played by Aruna Irani, breast feeding the snake (called ‘Charles’) that had been starving for two days. The snake repays this good act at the end of the film by helping Parvati in troubled times. Parvati nurses the snake along with her son Suraj, played by Jackie Shroff, after her husband’s pitiful death and harbors a desire to avenge her husband’s killers, which is ultimately fulfilled by Charles. In the film, the snake has a strong hero-like screen presence with those cold black eyes and threatening hood. All in all, it was another story of a revenge seeking pet, but for the first time it was a snake, instead of usual dogs and elephants.