Pukar (1983)



Director:     Ramesh Behl. 

Starring:     Amitabh Bachchan (Ramdas / Ronnie), Zeenat Aman (Julie), Randhir Kapoor (Shekhar), Tina Munim (Usha), Prem Chopra (Montero the cop), Shreeram Lagoo (Purandare), P. Jairaj (Narvekarji), Chand Usmani (Saraswati), Viju Khote (Kiran Bhandare), Shubha Khote (young Julie's Mother), Hadhic Hartaki, Azad, Narendra Nath, Pratima Devi (Ma-Ma, deaf lady), Sudha Chopra (Mrs. Kamat).

after 1947 a boy who sees his father shot by a "revolutionary" fights to kill all revolutionaries such in Goa, but earns the hatred of almost every Goan 


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire movie. 

Goa, India.  A group of Portuguese jeeps races to a small village.  A young boy named Ramdas sees them coming.  He runs home to warn his father.  They lock the front door and go out the back door.  The police arrive but find no trace of the freedom fighter they are looking for.   The boy and his father meet with some other freedom fighters.  They decide to take Ramdas and his father across the border for a few days where they will be safe.  But their jeep runs into the Portuguese jeeps.  There is a jeep chase.  The freedom fighter jeep crashes.  They throw a grenade at the Portuguese jeeps to slow them up. The Portuguese chase them.  They shoot a few of the freedom fighters.  One of the wounded is Ramdas's father.  Ramdas hides nearby.  Ramdas's father does not want to be taken alive by the police and tortured to reveal information about the independence movement.  He asks one of the survivors to shoot him.  He says:  "Give me a martyr's death."  And the father asks the man to take care of his son Ramdas.  Ramdas watches as the man shoots his father dead.  The young boy wrongly concludes that the "patriot" or "revolutionary" murdered his father without reason.  Ramdas runs to a house and is let in by the owners

The police arrive at the house looking for Ramdas.  The owners send Ramdas and their son Shekhar out into the fields to hide.  The police arrive and start beating the father and mother.  The police then leave.  Later Ramdas learns that the "killer" of his father is set to arrive.  This causes Ramdas to run away from the house.  He takes a job rowing passengers across to the other side of a river.  Ramdas is abused by his employer and a woman and her daughter decide to rescue him from the abuse.  They take him to their restaurant where he starts to work for them.  The men there learn a bit about his background and tease him about his patriot father and the name Ramdas.  One day Ramdas has had enough and throws a beer in the face of a customer taunting and laughing at him and his father.  He then runs away.  Ramdas changes his named to Ronnie.  One day the local boys make fun of him and when he tries to stand up to them, they beat him badly. 

Ronnie is now a man.  He beats up quite a few men for calling him Ramdas instead of Ronnie.  A pretty girl named Julie asks him why he changed his name.  She also wants to know why he hates the patriots/revolutionaries.  He does not tell her the real reason, but only refers to a wound to his heart. 

A smuggler named Feni is on the same ferry boat with Ronnie and Julie.  Ronnie tells the fellow that the police are on the dock waiting to pick him up.  He then tells the smuggler to jump into the Arabian Sea.  The guy jumps.  Ronnie takes the fellow's box with him.  Later Feni arrives and takes the box from Ronnie.  Ronnie tells the man:  "I'm scared of only one thing:  my anger."  Feni wants to give Ronnie some money for what he did for him, but Ronnie won't take it.  The fellow then tells Ronnie that he would like Ronnie to work for him.   He can make a lot of money.  Ronnie is interested. 

Feni and three of his men bring a huge crate onto shore.  There they are stopped by another group of criminals who take the crate from Feni.  The crate stealers take the crate to their warehouse where they open it.  Out pops Ronnie and he then gives the eight men in the warehouse a beating they won't soon forget.  He then steals back many of the items stolen from Feni and his crew. 

A girl that Ronnie and Julie know well, Anjali, is getting married.  Ronnie tells her and her parents not to worry about money.  He has plenty to help pay for the wedding.  Bragging about all his money, Julie responds:  "I want Ronnie; not money."  She knows, however, that he is involved in illegal activities.  Ronnie tells her that he is going to be a very powerful man. 

Shekhar tells his mother that he has passed his exams.  Then he introduces Mr. Kamat, the Secretary of the Goa Government, his wife and daughter Usha to his parents.  Shekhar has future plans to marry Usha.  Mr. Kamat has arranged for Shekhar to go to the USA for more education.  But he needs the father's permission.  Dad agrees.  Usha will stay and take care of Shekhar's parents as long as he is in the US.  She says will wait faithfully for him.

Ronnie is happy working with Feni until he hears that the Goa revolutionaries have purchased ammunition from them.  Ronnie reluctantly agrees to deliver a shipment to the patriots in a graveyard.  The money is paid and the patriots pick up the ammunition, but then the police show up.  One revolutionary is shot and falls to the ground.  An older man is wounded.   The older man runs to the road and commandeers a car.  The driver turns out to be the patriot's nephew Shekhar.  They greet each other warmly.  The man takes off his wig and fake mustache.  It is the patriot that "killed" Ronnie's father. 

Ronnie tells the police that if he had been there, not one of the revolutionaries would have survived. As it was, only two died.  Later Julie asks again why does he hate the patriots so much.  He doesn't answer.  She then asks if he informed on the revolutionaries to the police.  Ronnie says no. 

Ronnie wants to move up in the world of crime.  He tells Feni that from now on he wants Feni to split the proceeds 50-50 with him.  Feni does not like it, but Ronnie is too important to refuse.  Feni agrees.  The corrupt Portuguese cop named Montero takes a bribe of a suitcase of small gold bars from the smugglers as they land their goods on the coast.  As the policeman returns to his car, he finds that all the tires have been taken off his vehicle.  The man then sees Ronnie laying on the hood of his own car.  Montero asks him what's going on and Ronnie tells him he was the one who took the tires off.  Ronnie is going to take the man's suitcase.  The policeman pulls his pistol and tries to commandeer Ronnie's car.  But he finds it with its back wheels lifted off the ground.  Ronnie knocks the cop down and leaves him behind with nothing. 

Ronnie and Julie attend the wedding.  But Julie is not too happy with Ronnie and his negative attitude to the patriots.  She starts to leave, but he stops her.  He sings and dances for her. 

The leader of a rival smuggling gang wants his gold back.  Ferni blames everything on Ronnie saying that Ronnie made a mistake.  The criminal leader wants Feni to send the gold to Baga Beach and the partner to Don Paula.  It is obvious that Feni is double-crossing his partner Ronnie.  Feni sends Ronnie to Don Paula on the docks.  There two men and Don Paula pull a gun on Ronnie.  They are backed by a number of men in the parking area.  Ronnies knocks the three men down, does a flip over the top of one of the crews' cars, gets in his own car and leaves.  Three cars start chasing him.  There is a grand chase which ends with all three of the pursuing cars destroyed. 

Thinking that Ronnie is dead and out of the way, Feni tries to rape Julie.  Ronnie arrives and beats up Feni very badly.  He then shoots Feni dead in the forehead.  Ronnie then tells his crew that the men will be offered equal shares from now on.  The men cheer Ronnie. 

A helicopter brings Ronnie to a party with his crew.  He gives all his people gifts.  And old woman shows up and he gives her a hearing aid as a present.  She is very happy when she discovers that she now can actually hear what is going on around her.   Later Ronnie meets with corrupt cop Montero.  He gives him  a lot of gold bars, which makes the bad guy very happy.  Now Ronnie will be working with Montero.  Then Ronnie becomes absolutely ecstatic when he learns that the Viceroy's personal assistant is coming to see him the next day. 

Ronnie takes Julie to a fancy restaurant to eat.  There Sehkhar and Usha are also eating.  It is Julie's birthday and Ronnie dances and sings for Julie and the customers.  Shekhar joins in singing and dancing for Usha. 

Ronnie and Julie leave the restaurant.  Outside a man tells Ronnie that a guy from the Azad Goa Party is there to talk with him.  Ronnie tells the man to send the guy to his house.  Ronnie meets the man, named Kiran Bhandare, at home.  Kiran tells Ronnie that the party needs guns, bullets, bombs and dynamite.  Then Kiran starts to mention Mr. Pundare, the man who shot Ronnie's father.  Ronnie's ears prick up and he demands to meet with the man.  He says he has a number of ideas to make the independence movement successful.  Ronnie adds that he has a lot of experience that he can use to infiltrate inside the Portuguese police.

Ronnie meets with Pundare and three of his men in a church.  Ronnie says he will help Pundare, but he wants to be paid in gold.  This upsets Pundare, but Ronnie tells him:  "Patriots may be your business, but they're not mine."  When Pundare and his men start to leave, they find the police waiting for them.  Apparently, Ronnie informed on the patriots.  Three of the rebels are killed with only Kiran surviving.  He is arrested.  Shekhar sees his uncle die.  But not before Uncle tells him that one day the blood of his relatives will call out to him to join the struggle for Goan independence.  Shekhar oversees the cremation of his uncle and decides to join the struggle. 

Ronnie decides he will use an airplane for the first time in the history of smuggling gold.  His plane makes the drop and Shekhar picks up one of the parcels.  He is then stopped by Julie.  But he starts talking to her about how the struggle needs the gold.  Sympathetic Julie lets him walk away with the package.  Shekhar then makes a plan to rescue Kiran from police custody in the hospital.  He dresses as a doctor and gets into see Kiran.  A stretcher in a net is lowered from the roof and Kiran lays down on the stretcher.  He is then lowered to the ground, gets into the escape ambulance and the ambulance pulls away from the hospital.  The police try to grab Shekhar but he eventually gets away by jumping into the sea from a roof of a building near the water. 

Usha's father is very upset with the news on the radio about Shekhar being the leader of the rescue of Kiran.  Usha leaves the dinner table.  Her rather tells her mother that those Goans branded as criminals don't usually live long.  Shekhar gets out of the water and goes to see Julie.  And Julie helps him again.  She even agrees to dig out the bullet that wounded Shekhar during the police chase.  Ronnie comes home.  A very worried Julie tells Shekhar to remain in the upstairs bedroom.  She will use her feminine wiles to keep Ronnie downstairs. 

The police arrive looking for Shekhar.  They found Shekhar's disguise doctor's coat on the beach at Ronnie's village.  They tell him that Shekhar may be hiding in the village.  Ronnie laughs heartily.  He tells the police that if Shekhar was in his village he himself would have killed the fellow already.  Ronnie volunteers to help them search the village.  Julie sends Anjali to warn Shekhar that the police are coming.  Shekhar is now hiding in Gopal's house.  Anjali is Gopal's daughter.  She warns her father.  The police arrive and start to search the house.  Anjali fools Ronnie by lying naked on top of Shekhar as if they were having sex.  Ronnie quickly closes the bedroom door.  After Ronnie and the police leave, Shekhar tells Anjali that he will always be grateful to her for what she did for him.  A fellow brings a message to Gopal to give to Shekhar.  They have gotten a new assignment.  During carnival, they are to assassinate the police chief.  They are going to need bullets and revolvers.

They go to Julie for help again.  She agrees to help them.  At the smuggling warehouse, Ronnie opens a box that Julie is guarding.  He finds heavy medical books inside.  He figures they must have landed here by mistake.  A worker named Pablo is suspicious and starts to watch Julie.  He sees her pull out a revolver hidden in one of the medical books.  But he will not turn Julie in to Ronnie.  He too believes in the struggle.  Later Ronnie finds the crate of books hidden rather than given to the local hospital as he had ordered.  Ronnie is furious.  He has Pablo visit with him at home.  He asks Pablo if he had delivered the books.  Pablo answers yes and Ronnie becomes livid again.  He shows Pablo the book with its revolver.  He then starts manhandling Pablo demanding that Pablo tell him the names of his associates.  Pablo refuses to talk. 

Shekhar walks around the music hall where the dance for the police chief is to be given.  Some of the police big wigs come in.  Shekhar listens as they make the security arrangements for the affair.  Ronnie and Julie attend the party.  Shekhar is in disguise as the orchestra leader.  While the dance goes on, Shekhar shoots and kills the police chief.  He then runs from the room.  Ronnie gives chase.  And a long chase it is through the ranks of the carnival party-goers.  Ronnie catches up with Shekhar and gives him a bad beating.  A police officer has to stop Ronnie from killing Shekhar. 

Ronnie gets a call from his Excellency, the Viceroy.  He is absolutely ecstatic about the Viceroy personally inviting him to tea.  Ronnie gets drunk and revels in his new position of power.  Now he declares openly to Julie that he is going to eliminate all the revolutionaries.  Julie, however, is not pleased. 

Shekhar in jail tells his lawyer to help all the patriots in the jail, not just him.  The lawyer refuses to do this and leaves.  Usha goes to the parents of Shekhar to stay with them.  They are a little shocked at first, but tgladly take her in. 

Back in Ronnie's village, Ronnie hears Gopal speak positively about Shekhar.  He walks over to Gopal shouting:  "You bloody bastard.."  Anjali tells Ronnie that she was the one who hid Shekhar in the village.  But then one after another villager shouts:  "No, he was in my house."  Ronnie shouts for them to "Shut up!"  The once deaf lady is so upset with Ronnie that she takes her hearing aide off and throws it at him.  The villagers then tell Ronnie that those nearest and dearest to him are with them, not Ronnie.  Ronnie is infuriated.  He immediately drives to the smuggling warehouse.  He knocks his wife down and then says that he is going to shoot her.  Julie tells him that the whole of Goa is on Shekhar's side.  Ronnie asks why.  The answer is that Shekhar is not a selfish person like Ronnie  --  he cares about the struggle for Goan independence.  She then tells Ronnie that he is like a mad dog.  She urges Ronnie to repent of his misdeeds and ask the pardon of Shekhar's parents.  Ronnie absolutely refuses to do this.  He adds that Shekhar's parents will be eliminated the next morning. 

During the night, Ronnie starts to assassinate Shekhar's parents.  But then he remembers how he watched as the police knocked Shekhar's parents to the ground  -- the parents that had provided him refuge.  Ronnie cannot fire.  Usha and her future in-laws talk to Ronnie.  Usha asks him who he has come to kill, but the father is very magnanimous to Ronnie.  Ronnie runs away.  He goes down to the ocean to drink and think.  He finally concludes that Julie was right.  If Shekhar is hanged, he, Ronnie, will be responsible for the man's death.  And he finally realizes the truth about his father's death.  He then asks himself is he the son of his father the patriot or a traitor to his country. 

The police take Shekhar from jail to be hanged.  Ronnie talks with Julie.  She gives him a revolver.   He tells her about his conversion.  And he asks her:  "Can I have my Julie back?"  She is so happy that she immediately embraces him.  She says:  "All of us are prepared to sacrifice our lives."  At the hanging site, Shekhar shouts "Long live the Revolution!"  Ronnie is now there and he asks policeman Montero not to hang the man in public for there might be a riot.  Ronnie and Julie dance and sing.  Then a bunch of smoke bombs are thrown.  In the smoke, Ronnie knocks out the guards and the executioner at the gallows.  He then helps Shekhar escape.  Ronnie tells Shekhar that he is not Ronnie.  He is Ramdas.  The two fellows have a tough time getting away from all the police and soldiers.  After a horrendous struggle, the two escapees make it to an airplane.  Shekhar starts up the plane and begins the take-off, while Ramdas uses an automatic weapon to hold back the police.  Then Shekhar is able to jump onto the moving plane.  In the air, Ramdas throws grenades down onto the police and soldiers.  Most of the men on the ground are killed. 

Montero in one helicopter along with another helicopter pursue the airplane.  They eventually shoot it down.  It crashes into the sea, but Ramdas and Shekhar survive. 

New arrives that the Indian army is marching toward Goa.  At a fort, the police decide to destroy the nearby bridge to stop the oncoming Indian forces.  Ronnie and Shekhar figure out what is going on and they attack the fort.  They are able to enter the fort and force the cannon barrels upwards so the cannonballs do not hit their marks.  Then Ronnie kills a great number of police with a sword.  He is wounded several times.  He even manages to kill Montero.  Then he turns the cannon onto the police and starts bombarding them.  Many of them run to safety. 

News arrives that "We've become free!"  Ronnie is shot again by a police officer, who is shot dead in turn.  Ronnie falls to the ground outside the fortress.  There Julie and many others gather around to help him.  The Indian flag is raised over the fort.  Ronnie says:  "Serve the flag, worship the flag, that is my Pukar (calling)."  He survives the wounds. 


Pretty good movie.  It deals with a man opposed to the Goa independence movement who has a catharsis and becomes devoted to the cause of independence.  There is also a lot of action in the movie.  At first I thought it was going to turn into a kind of Kung Fu movie.  But it didn't.  And yet at times Ronnie seems like a superman performing spectacular deeds of daring.  (Some of them are pretty far-fetched, but they probably thrilled the Goan audiences who suffered under Portuguese colonialism.)

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D. 


Historical Background:


Along the west coast of the subcontinent of India are the big states (north to south) of:  Gujarat, Maharashtra, Karnataka and Kerala.  Goa is located on the southwest tip of Maharashtra , northwest of Karnataka. 

1947  --  India becomes independent of Great Britain.  But Goa remained under Portuguese occupation. The Indian government of Jawaharlal Nehru insisted that Goa be turned over to India. Portugal refused.

1954  --  a few unarmed Indians took over the tiny land-locked enclaves of Dadra & Nagar-Haveli.

1960  --  the International Court of Justice at The Hague said that Portugal had a right to the enclaves, but India had the right to deny Portugal access to the enclaves over its territory.

1955  --  a group of unarmed civilians agitate peacefully for the independence of Goa.   The Portuguese military kills at least 22 Indians.

1955 (September 1)  --  the Indian consulate in Goa closes down after independence seekers took the fort at Tiracol.  They were then driven off by the Portuguese (with a few casualties).

1955  --  Nehru says the Portuguese presence in Goa will not be accepted.  A blockade is begun against Goa, Damno & Diu. 

1961 (December 19)  --  Indian forces invaded Goa.  Twenty Indians and seventeen Portuguese die in the 26 hours of fighting. Goa becomes a Territory of the Republic of India.

1987  --  Goa admitted to Indian statehood.


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