Religion And Society: Movie Analysis

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The movie I have taken is ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ this movie is directed and produced by Manmohan Desai written by Kader Khan screenplay by Prayag Raj story by Jeevanprabha M.Desai Pushpa Sharma (story idea) and the cast of the movie is as follows ‘Vinod Khanna as Inspector Amar Khanna, Rishi Kapoor as Akbar Ilhabadi, Amitabh Bachchan as Anthony Gonsalves, Shabana Azmi as Lakshmi, Neetu Singh as Dr. Salma Taiyyab Ali, Parveen Babi as Jenny, Pran as Kishenlal, Nirupa Roy as Bharati, Jeevan as Albert and Robert, Mukri as Taiyyab Ali, Nazir Hussain as the Catholic Priest, Ranjeet as Ranjeet, Yusuf Khan as Zebisko, Helen as Fake Jenny (cameo appearance) Kamal Kapoor as police superintendent and Pratima Devi as Laxmi’s Grandmother the movie was released on 27 May 1977.

Religion can be defined by M.Reville ‘Religion is the determination of human life by the sense of a bond joining the human mind with the mysterious mind whose domination of the world itself recognizes, and with which it takes pleasure in feeling joined.’ The movie’s main theme was religion when three brothers were adopted by three different religious persons like ‘Amar by a Hindu Inspector, Akbar by a Muslim tailor and Anthony by a Christian priest.

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In the reading ‘Secularism in Its Place’ by T.N Madan it points that minorities dream about secularism when they want to shape the majority in its own way, and moreover wants to impose its will upon history but lacks the power to do so under a democratically organized polity the author further adds that Secularism is a Social Myth which separates minority from politics from religion in the society but for majority Secularism seems to a bad word for them they don’t want to privatize the religion T.N Madan further highlights that Religion is multivocal meaning there are different voices coming from different directions and sometimes we ignore these voices for our own benefits.

Jawaharlal Nehru on 1936 said that ‘The Communal problem is not a religious problem, it has nothing to do with religion.’ (1972-82,7:82)for him it’s like believing in the supernatural ‘the belief in a supernatural agency which ordains everything has led to a certain irresponsibility on the social plane and emotions and sentimentality have taken the place of reasoned thought and inquiry’ (Nehru 1961:543) he thought if we would think it in the economic factor then the religious difference will be in the background and there will different bonds which will form. He said that there will be ‘class conflicts’ but not ‘religious conflicts’ (1961:406)

In the song ‘Shridi vale Sai Baba’so Sai is said to be the God of both Hindus and Muslims and in this song it was shown that there were Muslims as well as Hindus it tried to show a picture of secular of unity. Gandhi believed that ‘all religions are true , that they give meaning to the moral life , and that Indian society can be built on a community of religious communities.’ All religions practice tolerance. In the Beginning of the Movie it was shown that how three people from three different religions are giving blood to their own birth mother it kind of shows secularism that religion doesn’t matter when are doing something good. While Militant Hindus tries to exclude Muslims but in this movie it shows the opposite they all are shown as equal.

Our Constitution has given us some ‘Right To Freedom Of Religion’ it says there is equal respect for and protection of all religions Article 25 says that we can freely profess, practice and propagate our religion.

The movie ‘Amar Akbar Anthony’ shows that there can be tolerance, peace and that they can live with harmony together we should also notice that before this movie was released first, there was partition that happened in 1947 in which there were many Muslims went to Pakistan and the other half stayed in India and second, there was an Emergency after 2 and months this movie came out and this was a big hit.

Emile Durkheim classifies into two terms the sacred and the profane we say that god is sacred and in the in the movie it’s seen that when Akbar sings then his birth mother gets her eyesight back and it was shown that god has given her eyesight from his own two eyes it shows that man is dependent on god and the god is dependent on man for offerings and sacrifices for example We make offerings to god and sacrifices to god so that the god will fulfill our wishes we pray when we are in problem or when we do a very bad exam and we pray to god to pass us and we will do better next time for that Emile Durkheim says that people themselves fill their blanks when they cannot find meaning in it

Daniele Hervieuleger highlights that individuals fill the gaps themselves which are left behind their expectations when they are not able to fulfill this in their real life they create the need for religion themselves. For example, whenever we face any problems we think of god and pray to god like recently the outbreak of corona virus epidemic people are praying to god, singing bhajans, hawans, reading hanuman chalisa, but this cannot help finish the pandemic we need more sincerity and our responsibility.

The Conversion of religion strangely Parveen Babi who played the role of a Christian girl was a Muslim but because of her western dressings she was given in the role of a Christian later in life she converted her religion to Christianity and the example can be my Aunt who is Muslim converted herself into a Hindu and now she follows all rituals of Hindu religion.


I think the movie beautifully shows the friendship between a Muslim and Christian and the idea of equality as our Constitution suggests in Article 14 (Right To Equality) This movie shows a soft secular side, Moreover God was the supreme deity in the movie in the scene where Anthony adopted father dies and he is seen questioning God or when he says that whatever he earns he gives 50% to God there were symbols that can be seen like locket of cross and the cap which Muslims wear and in the last song ‘Unhoni ko Honi kr de’ where all three of them comes together. The movie avoids Inter-religious marriages between these three religions to avoid conflict and there was a lack of friendship on the part of Amar as he is shown as police officer but it was not shown that they could be friends. The part where Amar says ‘Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Isai sab hi toh hai bhai bhai’ that tries to give the message that everyone is brother and the bond of brotherhood.

As we can see this movie shows freedom of consciousness but in reality we are bound by our cultural norms we think of ourselves as secularists but we also take sides we cannot be neutral now these political parties take sides on religions to get votes for their benefits there are many cases of which the supporters of the party do in the name of religion like eating beef when people used to beat them for taking cows with them and it all started with BJP the ban on beefs and killing of people it was bad.

Ashish Nandy says that ‘There is now a peculiar double-bind in Indian politics: The ills of religion have found political expression but the strengths of it not been available for checking corruption and violence in public life’ (1985:17)


  1. Desai, M.(Producer) , & Desai ,M (Director).(1997).Amar Akbar Anthony (video file) Retrieved from
  3. Maria, A (2019) Parveen Babi: The Actress who was unafraid to speak her mind#IndianWomenInHistory
  4. Madan, T.N : The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol.46, No 4 (Nov 1987), pp.747-759
  5. Brass, P (2005) Indian Secularism In Practice This article was printed in IJS Vol 9 No1 , Apr-Jun 2005
  6. Kashyap, S (2015). Our Constitution :An Introduction to India’s Constitution and Constitutional Law. India. National Book Trust
  7. Fields, K. (1912). The Elementary Forms of Religious Life. Paris: The Free press


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