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Bond of Brotherhood



By Jaideep Sen


Undoubtedly two of the most significant films in Salim Saab’s glorious career both as a writing duo and as a solo writer are Deewaar and Naam. The common thread that runs between both films is the Bond of Brotherhood.

As I sat down to write this piece, two interviews came to my mind very vividly. The first was an interview with Salim Saab’s eldest son, Salman Khan, who had mentioned that during the days of his father’s collaboration with Javed Saab, “Dad was never the front-man, he was always behind, much like an older brother to Javed Saab”. The second was a recent interview in which Javed Saab mentioned that their partnership was not of equals as Salim Saab was an elder whom he looked up to almost as a parent.

I guess the pure and unadulterated love that emitted from Salim Saab as an elder stemmed from his deep understanding of human relationships.

A still from Deewaar
In Deewaar a young Vijay telling his Mother that you don’t earn enough to educate the two of us but the two of us can earn enough to educate Ravi laid the foundations of a selfless elder brother who gives up on his dreams to support his Mother.  This brilliantly played out in the latter part of the film when the relationship between the two brothers is tested as they find themselves on opposite sides of the law.  

The dilemma that Ravi faces on discovering that his elder brother has gone illegal is so palpable when he says that his brother had played a huge role in his life and  taking him down in the name of duty is an impossible task for him.

How the impossible becomes possible is perhaps one of the most emotionally impactful scenes ever written featuring Shashi Ji and A.K Hangal Saab which culminates with Shashi Ji saying one of the most enlightening dialogues I’ve ever heard in Indian cinema: “Itni badi shiksha kisi teacher ke ghar se hi mil sakti thi”.

A still from Naam
How uncanny it is that Naam, the first film Salim Saab wrote as a solo writer was also a story of two brothers. And, how fitting that it should also be about a relationship and emotion that he was so aware of. Salim Saab struck gold with this tale of two half-brothers who have tremendous love for each other which only gains strength even after they come to know that they are not real brothers.

The scene in which Vicky reveals to Ravi that they are not real brothers has a huge impact on him. For till then, whatever Ravi had done for him, he had accepted as his “right” but now it all feels like a favour. This is such an emotionally overwhelming scene that even today on watching it your eyes well up.

Later when Vicky goes astray Ravi leaves no stone unturned to get his brother out of trouble, and that too in a foreign land, but alas…

Both the films leave a lump in your throat but they also leave you with reverence for Salim Saab’s soul-stirring writing in creating such wonderful characters of both the Ravis – one for not compromising on his ideals even if it means firing that fatal shot and the other for going all out to take the real son back to their mother against all odds.  Even in their loss there is a sense of victory since they give their all to sanctify the Bond of Brotherhood.


Jaideep Sen is a filmmaker and a connoisseur of the art of storytelling.
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