indian cinema heritage foundation

Tinnu Anand


Writer, director, and actor, Tinnu Anand is known for directing some significant films starring Amitabh Bachchan, as well as his acting roles in a host of films in Hindi, as well as other languages, as well as television. His directorials include Duniya Meri Jeb Mein (1979), Kaalia (1981), Yeh Ishq Nahin Aasaan (1984), Shahenshah (1988), Main Azaad Hoon (1989), Major Saab (1998), and Ek Hindustani (2003). Films in which he featured as an actor include Pushpak (1987), Dayavaan (1988), Agneepath (1990), Khiladi (1992), Chamatkar (1992), Damini (1993), Anjaam (1994), Krantiveer (1994), Bombay (1994), Ram Jaane (1995), Trimurti (1995), Diljale (1996), Ghatak (1996), Masoom (1996), Lajja (2001), Saathiya (2002), Bluffmaster (2005), Laaga Chunari Mein Daag (2007), Ghajini (2008), De Dana Dan (2009), Dabangg (2010), Hasee Toh Phasee (2014), and Saaho (2019).

Born on 12 October, 1945 he was schooled at Mayo College, Ajmer. His inclination towards a career in films was not initially appreciated by his father, Inder Raj Anand, who was a well-known and highly paid writer in the film industry. Inder Raj Anand did not believe the film industry was the right place for both Tinnu and Bittu, his younger son, and had even had Tinnu enrolled in catering college. However, when Tinnu dug his heels in, his father ensured that he learnt from the ‘best school’ possible—under the guidance of maestro Satyajit Ray, no less. As Inder Raj and Ray were friends, the latter took Tinnu under his wing. He went on to work as an assistant director to Satyajit Ray for five years, in Bengali films Goopy Gyne Bagha Byne (1969), Aranyer Din Ratri (1970), Pratidwandi (1970), Seemabaddha (1971) to Ashani Sanket (1973).  

Tinnu had been given a role in K. Abbas' film Saat Hindustani (1969); however, when his father received the letter from Ray, agreeing that Tinnu could work with him, he turned down the acting offer and left for Calcutta. Bachchan, who was trying to break into films, went on to bag the role of the poet that had been offered to Tinnu. It was the start of a strong personal and professional bond between Tinnu and Bachchan.

Anand made his solo debut in direction in 1979 with Duniya Meri Jeb Mein. An action film, it starred Shashi Kapoor, Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh in pivotal roles. He directed Bachchan in four films—Kaalia, Shahenshah, Main Azaad Hoon and Major Saab. Kaalia was one of the highest-grossing Indian film of 1981, helping cement Bachchan’s status as a superstar in the angry-young-man mould. The film also featured the catchy number, Jahan teri yeh nazar hai, an iconic song of the 1980s. The story of his directorial Shahenshah was penned by leading man Amitabh Bachchan's wife Jaya Bachchan and the screenplay was written by Tinnu’s father, veteran screenwriter Inder Raj Anand, who died before the film was released. The film marked Bachchan's comeback to films after a three-year hiatus during which he had entered politics. Featuring Bachchan as a comic policeman and a crimefighting superhero, Shahenshah became the second highest-grossing film of 1988. It is remembered for the famous dialogue "Rishtey mein toh hum tumhare baap lagte hai...naam hai Shahenshah".

The next Tinnu Anand-Amitabh Bachchan collaboration was Main Azaad Hoon, a vigilante film adapted from the 1941 Frank Capra film, Meet John Doe. The film tells the tale of an opportunistic journalist who concocts a fictitious man in a fake article to boost newspaper sales. When the article gets a huge response, she finds an unemployed man to sit in as Azaad, the ‘man of the masses’. The unconventional film, which did not find takers at the box-office, features the stirring song penned by Kaifi AzmiKitne baazu itne sar. The film won the Filmfare Award for Best Dialogue for Javed Akhtar. Major Saab featured Amitabh Bachchan as Major Jasbir Singh Rana, who helps Vir (Ajay Devgn) regain his strength, fight those who wronged him, and win his beloved back. A hit, it was also the 9th highest-grossing film of the year. 

Tinnu Anand’s Jeena Teri Gali Mein is a musical romantic film produced by Gulshan Kumar. The film, initially planned for Home Video viewing, received a tremendous response for the music, and was released in theatres. Anand’s Ek Hindustani (2003) is an action film starring Sunil Shetty as the son of a freedom fighter, who rebels against the fact that the law in the city favours the powerful. Deciding to take on the system, ‘Ek Hindustani’ is born to enable all to stand up against evil and live minus fear.

Working with certain actors who consistently turned up late or and put in only a few hours, Anand gave credit to filmmaker Veeru Devgan who taught him how to unlearn what he had learnt. This, Anand revealed tongue-in-cheek, included learning how to shoot a film when the actor himself was not present! 

Anand also played several interesting roles in various films such as Chhupa Rustam, Paisa Vasool, Bluffmaster, Laaga Chunari Mein Daag, Ghajini, Dabangg, Rabba Main Kya Karoon (2013), Phata Poster Nikhla Hero (2013), Aisa Yeh Jahaan (2015), Santa Banta Pvt Ltd (2016), and Dabangg 3 (2019). 

Married to costume designer, Shahnaz Vahanvaty, the couple have two children, Esha and Diksha.