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1988 173’ col/scope Hindi d/s/p N. Chandra pc Aarti Ents Bombay,N. Chandra Prod. lyr Javed Akhtar c Baba Azmi m Laxmikant-Pyarelal lp Anil Kapoor, Chunky Pandey, Madhuri Dixit, Anupam Kher, Kiran Kumar, Suresh Oberoi, Mandakini, Annu Kapoor

Chandra, the maker of the Shiv Sena propaganda film Ankush (1985), had his first hit with this Bombay low-life crime movie. Munna (Anil Kapoor) is in love with the dancer Mohini (Dixit). Mohini’s father (Kher) is an alcoholic gambler who lives off his daughter’s earnings. To prevent the lovers marrying, he helps Lotiya Khan (Kumar), a criminal hostile to Munna. Lotiya Khan’s brother tries to rape Munna’s sister and Munna kills him, earning himself a year in jail. On his release, Munna is persecuted by Lotiya Khan, Mohini’s father and the police. Forced by his bail conditions to remain outside Bombay’s city limits, Munna becomes a noted criminal. Mohini’s father and Lotiya Khan quarrel and Mohini is kidnapped by Khan. Munna rescues her and defeats the villains. Most of the film is told in flashback, narrating the romance between Munna and Mohini and the violence it engenders (the film is subtitled ‘A violent love story’). The main title, meaning ‘Acid’, refers to the way Mohini’s father disfigures his wife and causes her to commit suicide, threatening to assault his daughter in the same way. Chandra places much of the action in recognisable parts of the city. However, the film’s spectacular opening sequence at a rock concert, featuring the hit song Ek do teen showing Mohini’s kidnap by a bunch of motor-cyclists weaving through the crowded streets, is shot in a studio and presents a fantasy version of New York’s Times Square. The fanatic communalism evident in Chandra’s Ankush is echoed here: the hero, identified as a Maharashtrian, disposes of several ‘outside’ thugs suggesting that ‘local’ Maharashtrian criminals are revered by the people who dislike outsiders interfering with their home-grown racketeers.