Shahenshah is a 1988 film that was directed by Tinnu Anand and had Amitabh Bachchan playing the dual identity role of a corrupt and ineffective cop during the day and a vigilante costumed hero at night time. The movie created a lot of buzz during that time because this film was a kind of comeback for Amitabh after he quit the messy world of politics.
Cop and Vigilante
By now, everyone knows of the efforts Amitabh puts in when doing roles that require added prosthetics or make up; he is famously known to be patient and unquestioning when donning the costumes required for even a difficult role, as was seen in the film Paa.
Whether the role of the vigilante hero demanded the usage of a costume that was slightly incomprehensible and illogical, is questionable. Sometimes, directors go overboard with their idea of a hero; but here, at least, Amitabh’s vigilante look was completely original.
Warden of the Night
Amitabh had to wear an artificial left arm, which had metallic elements on it ‘All the better to deflect any possible flying bullets!’ The arm weighed an incredible 14 kgs and must have weighed down our hero, though of course, in the film it didn’t seem to hamper the vigilante’s movements.
We also got to see the addition of a wig that was grey in colour! Why was there a need for an aged looking vigilante, is anybody’s guess! But, probably it was to fit the now famous dialogue “Risthey Mein Toh Hum Tumhare Baap Hote Hain, Naam Hai Shahenshah”! To complete his disguise and throw off his enemies he had to wear a grey wig and moustache to top it all; probably, to hide his famous visage from them, but not us, the alert movie watchers!
Naam Hai Shahenshah!
Then there was a flick or lock of heavy hair that rested on Amitabh’s one eye, which I’m sure affected his three dimensional sight and troubled him while dodging bullets and knives thrown by the dastardly villains!
Amitabh also donned a leather jacket and trousers that are not only politically incorrect and anti-animals, they are extremely uncomfortable and an absolute no- no for the muggy coastal climate of Mumbai!
Vanquishing The Bad
But, as usual with the magic of the movies, one suspended all intelligent faculties to enjoy the movie, where it is to Amitabh’s credit that he made his costumed look look simple and effortless.