A mish-mash of Hindi and Urdu with a smattering of English, the 1980 release Qurbani, starring the late Bollywood star Feroz Khan, was a beast of its time. Because it was the 80s, we had the disco influence in the soundtrack, and because Kader Khan was the dialogue writer of the feature, the film had lots of masaaledar dialoguebaazi. For instance, sample this line: “Maine jab se hosh sambhala hai … khilono ki jagah maut se khelta aaya hoon,” uttered by Vinod Khanna’s Amar, or the corny but effective “Nasha toh ab utrega … dosti ka, pyaar ka, insaaniyat ka,” mouthed by Feroz’s Rajesh
And then there was the Feroz Khan influence itself. The bikes, the lovely women and the stylish men; the whole drill. Feroz had not only starred in the movie, but had also bankrolled and helmed it. The actor portrayed the thief Rajesh who gets enamoured by the stunning Zeenat Aman’s Sheela. Zeenat Aman did have some agency in the movie; she was her own woman who chose to be first with Rajesh until he lies about the work he does, and then befriends the dashing Amar (played by Vinod Khanna), who was a widower. But Zeenat, who reigned those days as the sexy diva, was also in Qurbani for her sheer sex appeal. And to be fair, she did look breathtaking and shared a great chemistry with both Feroz and Vinod.
Sure, the film had some problem areas, especially in terms of how fully it capitalised on Zeenat’s looks while overlooking her acting skills. She could have been given something meatier to play with, but when commenting on the nature of such films, it’s significant to note that every movie is a product of its time, especially a full-on commercial feature like Qurbani. So even though we cannot ignore those flaws, but who said it is impossible to appreciate a movie while also critiquing it? The charm of its lead stars made Qurbani what it is, a Hindi cinema classic (at least in the mainstream space). And lest you think Qurbani only had Feroz Khan chasing after a romance with the incomparable Zeenat, it is important to note the film’s ‘dostana’ theme, the bromance of its two male leads, played by real-life fast friends, Vinod Khanna and Feroz Khan, who incidentally also passed away on the same date (April 27).