Avtaar is a 1983 film starring Rajesh Khanna and Shabana Azmi. It was directed by Mohan Kumar, and the music was by Laxmikant Pyarelal. Rajesh Khanna did achieve success from Amardeep and Prem Bandhan onwards, but this was Rajesh Khanna's biggest hit film in terms of box office collections after his bad phase from 1976 to 1978. Avtaar was a commercial hit, and was critically acclaimed. It also earned several Filmfare nominations. However Rajesh Khanna missed the Best Actor award to Naseeruddin Shah for Masoom. In 1986 Mohan Kumar made Amrit with Rajesh Khanna in the lead as an old man but with different story line. Rajesh Khanna bagged All-India Critics Association (AICA) Best Actor Award for his performance in this film for the year 1983.
The film was later remade into the Telugu film O Thandri Teerpu (1985) starring Murali Mohan and Jayasudha, in Kannada as Kaliyuga starring Rajesh and Aarthi, in Malayalam as Jeevitham starring Madhu and in Tamil as Vaazhkai with Sivaji Ganesan. Baghban in 2003 starring Amitabh Bachchan and Hema Malini was partially inspired from this film.
The film starts with a mourning being held at Avtaar Industries. Radha Kishen (Shabana Azmi) garlands her husband Avtaar Kishen's (Rajesh Khanna) bust. The story starts from a flashback. Radha is the only daughter of Seth Jugal Kishore (Madan Puri). Radha is in love with Avtaar, a poor boy. Jugal Kishore resents Radha's love. Hence, the duo elope and get married.
Avtaar and Radha face various hardships in life, but ultimately succeed. After 3 decades, Avtaar is owner of a small house and fortune. He has two sons, Chander (Gulshan Grover) and Ramesh (Shashi Puri). Chander is married to Renu (Rajni Sharma), while Ramesh is married to Sudha (Priti Sapru). Avtaar also has a servant named Sewak (Sachin).
Like Avtaar, his sons have also married rich girls, daughters of Seth Laxmi Narayan (Pinchoo Kapoor). But, they are totally henpecked. When Avtaar discovers this, he leaves his home. Radha and Sewak also follow him. With help of a moneylender Bawaji (Sujit Kumar), Avtaar starts his own garage.
Avtaar faces an uphill task, since he has no money to buy equipment, is aged and his right hand is paralysed in a freak accident. Sewak helps his master by illegally donating blood to arrange for money, but when Avtaar thinks that Sewak resorted to robbery, Bawaji tells the truth. Moved, Radha and Avtaar regard him as their own son.
Meanwhile, both Ramesh and Chander are enjoying their own life. Avtaar's luck changes again when the carborator he is working on gives a successful result. Soon, Avtaar starts manufacturing the engine parts. This gives way to an industrial empire headed by Avtaar, Radha and Sewak. To help other old people like him who were spurned by their own families, Avtaar starts some social institutions.
Avtaar's success takes a toll on Laxmi Narayan's business and he holds Chander responsible. Meanwhile, Ramesh commits fraud with the bank and is arrested. Shobha come to Avtaar for help, but he rebukes her and sends her away. Radha gets angry over this, but keeps silent. Avtaar secretly gives Bawaji the bail money on the condition that he tells no one the truth. Bawaji bails Ramesh.
Meanwhile, holding Chandar responsible for the loss in business, Laxmi Narayan throws him out of the house. Ramesh, Chandar and Sudha go to Radha for help. Although Avtaar is not willing to help them. Next day, Avtaar goes to office and does not return. Radha calls him many times and finally reaches office late night. She tries to convince him that she is a mother too. But he doesn't listen to all that. Deep in emotions, Radha accuses him of having turned heartless. Same day, Bawaji meets Radha, whereupon Radha tells him the whole story. Bawaji has to tell the truth to her as he cannot bear Avtaar being insulted despite his big heart.
On learning the truth, Radha realizes her mistake and tries to call Avtaar. Sewak informs her that Avtaar had a heart attack. Everybody goes to Hospital, where Avtaar had already written his will and hands it to Radha and dies. The story comes to the present, where Radha garlands Avtaar's bust and the film ends.Rajesh Khanna as Avtaar Kishen
Shabana Azmi as Radha
A. K. Hangal as Rashid Ahmed
Madan Puri as Seth Jugal Kishore Radha's Father
Gulshan Grover as Chander Kishen
Shashi Puri as Ramesh Kishen
Sachin as Sewak
Yunus Parvez as Paanwala
Pinchoo Kapoor as Seth Laxmi Narayan
Sujit Kumar as Bawaji
Priti Sapru as Sudha R. Kishen
Rajni Sharma as Renu C. Kishen
Ranjan Grewal as Anwar R. Ahmed
Madhu Malini as Zubeida Anwar
Shivraj as Gopal
Best Director-Mohan Kumar
Best Actor-Rajesh Khanna
Best Actress-Shabana Azmi
Best Story-Mohan Kumar
Best Dialogue Writer - Mushtaq Jalili