Bollywood Wisdom – Deewar (1975)

Indian Wisdom is manifested not only in religious teachings, vedas and scriptures. Even mainstream movies carry a lot of messages. The way of life and the consciousness here in India is pregnant with wisdom, even though it is not apparent in the daily transactions we undertake. Take for instance the Amitabh Bachchan starrer Deewar (1975) for instance.


Deewar tells the story of two sons of a trade union leader in a coal mine. The attachment to his family causes the trade union leader to compromise on the union’s demands to the management and soon the hero of the revolution turns into a thief in the society’s eyes. Even the family is tormented so much that the mother had to flee with both her sons to Urban Bombay with scars so permanent that life cannot delete it. The Elder son Vijay turns to materialism in such a strong way that the thug life of the city and the seedy underbelly seemed to answer his calling. Money and prestige seemed to answer his calling against the injustice of his boyhood. The younger son Ravi turns to academics and straight forward living which eventually leads him to a career with the Police Force.

An interesting observation in the movie is where Vijay and Ravi goes their own ways from a Temple, where their mother performs her daily pooja. Vijay never enters the temple as he feels that concept of God is absurd for him. The bitter experiences life presented to the boy is so deep that there is no faith in him. No one forces him to bow his head to the deity. “When faith arises in this boy, he will come here automatically” – tells the priest to the mother. Yet, it so happens that his labour badge reads 786 – equivalent to the Islamic “Bismillah” – God before all. Even though paying respects to a deity seems off for this man, the value of the badge is quite high for him. In typical Bollywood style, the badge does save his life from bullets and bad men. Call it faith, call it devotion, call it a lucky charm – we really don’t know what causes Vijay to follow the 786. Symbolisms are so strong here.

Ravi’s upbringing, his courage, tact, valour and love for principles turns him against his gangster brother even though there is high respect and love for him. Principles and ideals are so much more important for a human being than the apparent relationships he may be having through birth or life. Some may argue that it is not the case today in life. However, I feel that there is still a lot of value for one’s principles and ideals in life. How else do you face the trials and tribulations of life. This was the same debate that Arjun had with himself when preparing for the great Kurukshetra war. There is a Kurukshetra war happening within us on a real time basis.

Finally the materialistic gains of Vijay ends up on a temple veranda in his mother’s lap. “All the wealth in the world never gave me sleep mother. Now I am feeling sleepy. Please hold me closer mother” – and the Gangster passes away. Nothing with him. Back to the basics.

Deewar – a masterpiece of a movie that can happen only in India.

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