Who doesn’t remember Mr. India? It has been the film all of us grew up watching and is one of India’s most iconic sci-fi films. The movie completed 32 years of release recently, strangely, two days prior to veteran action choreographer, Veeru Devgn passing away. His stunts in the film have been iconic as much as the work of the leads – Anil Kapoor and Sridevi. Directed by Shekhar Kapur, Mr. India has given us a lot of memories. It taught us about fighting the evil, and also gave us the iconic villain, Mogambo.
Taking a trip down the memory lane, Mr. India is the story of a simpleton played by Anil Kapoor, who runs an orphanage. He is unable to sustain and hence plans to rent out a spare room in his orphanage, and his tenant happens to be Sridevi. But, he is still unable to pay for the food and lifestyle costs of all the children in the orphanage due to the increasing price of food, and not to forget how sly politicians and builders are eyeing the land he has built his orphanage on. In all of this, help comes in form of a gadget invented by his late father, who was a celebrated scientist which he later uses to take on Mogambo, a villain who wants to rule the world.
Mr. India is a film that for years has been taught in film schools as a case study on Indian sci-fi. The crux of the story is the victory of good over evil, but the way it has been explained forms a very good narrative. It has a message of how builders were trying to fleece the common man for their land, which was happening in Mumbai at the time. Shekhar Kapur, the director of the film, tweeted marking the 32nd anniversary of the film.
Anil Kapoor, who played the titular role of Mr. India, paid homage to Veeru Devgn and his lead actress Sridevi, in this tweet.
#MrIndia was made iconic by its children friendly action scenes & Veeru’s Midas touch. I want to dedicate its 32nd anniversary to the man who made these unforgettable moments possible. #VeeruDevgan was an amazing man & I'm lucky to have worked with him. He is sorely missed... pic.twitter.com/jdw1w6ULtI— Anil Kapoor (@AnilKapoor) May 29, 2019
Mr. India to this day and age, remains one of India’s finest movie watching experiences. The dialogue, 'Mogambo khush hua', by Amrish Puri remains a pop-culture reference today. What is more interesting is how a masala film can connect with audiences of all ages even today. The film even had a scene of a bomb-blast where one of the kids from the orphanage passes away and had a subtle hint of terrorism in that. The people of Mumbai would only get to experience a series of terrorism backed blasts a few years later. Mr. India struck a chord with everyone.
To this day, whenever people talk about Hindi film villains, the first name that comes to people’s mind is Amrish Puri’s Mogambo from Mr. India. A larger than life persona, which he had in the film is what makes up for conversations on villains, even today. The late Sridevi, whose song 'Hawa Hawaii' is also an iconic song, was recreated in the Anurag Kashyap film Shaitan. Her role of a ditzy yet career-oriented journalist resonates with most of us. Not to forget the sizzling chemistry between Anil Kapoor and Sridevi in the song ‘I Love You.’
The fact remains that when faced with dire challenges, even a common man can turn into a superhero and take on evil. Kind of like, real life, isn’t it?