Panel Discussion: Amar Akbar Anthony

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Carsey-Wolf Center


"Amar Akbar Anthony" was a Bollywood blockbuster when it was released in 1977 and has become a classic of Hindi cinema and a touchstone of Indian popular culture. Delighting audiences with its songs and madcap adventures, the film follows the heroics of three Bombay brothers separated in childhood from their parents and one another. Beyond the freewheeling comedy and camp, however, is a potent vision of social harmony, as the three protagonists, each raised in a different religion, discover they are true brothers in the end.

The film screening was followed by a panel discussion with the authors of Amar Akbar Anthony: Bollywood, Brotherhood, and the Nation: William Elison (Religious Studies, UCSB), Christian Lee Novetzke (International Studies, University of Washington) and Andy Rotman (Religion, Smith College). In their co-authored book they offer a sympathetic and layered interpretation of the film’s deeper symbolism, seeing it as a lens for understanding modern India’s experience with secular democracy.