Bollywood's animal kingdom: Films that feature animals in prominent roles

Monday, 23 June 2014 - 8:04am IST | Place: Mumbai | Agency: dna

With a dog playing a pivotal role in Akshay Kumar's It's Entertainment, we take a look at other films that have featured animals in prominent roles
  • dna Research & Archives

Akshay Kumar has a very special co-star in the upcoming film It's Entertainment. No, we are not talking about Tamannaah Bhatia, with whom he is teaming up for the first time, but a huge Golden Retriever. The dog, which will be seen with the Khiladi throughout has an important role in the film. This is not the first time, an animal has been given so much importance in film. Bollywood has had a unique relationship with the four-legged creatures. From playing cupid to saving the hero/heroine's life, animals have gone beyond just being pets in cinema. Here's taking a look some of the most memorable roles played by canines, pigeons, tigers and elephants.

Haathi Mere Saathi: This Rajesh Khanna-Tanuja film had an elephant Ramu taking centre stage. Not only did he regale kids with his antics, Ramu clinched the climax scene too! Tanu (Tanuja) leaves the animal-lover Raju (Rajesh) when he refuses to let go of Ramu which she fears will harm their child. Ramu then plays the peacemaker and in the process of bringing the estranged couple together sacrifices his life. Ramu tugged everybody's heartstrings with his unflinching devotion. A super duper hit, Ramu had a lion's share in the success of the film and the song Chal chal mere saathi, dedicated to the haathi remains evergreen.

Teri Meherbaniyan: This was one film that had a dog not only playing the lead role but taking over completely after the hero dies! Jackie Shroff and Poonam Dhillon starred in the film, but their characters get killed midway by the villain. Moti, Jackie's pet who witnesses the killing decides to avenge his master's death. The canine with his sharp jaws and intelligence kills the Thakur. The scene where he is shown yearning at his master's graveyard moved everyone to tears. Even the emotional title track that Jackie sings to the dog was a charbuster and the film a big hit.

Maine Pyaar Kiya: Kabutar jaa jaa... this song from Maine Pyaar Kiya has the heroine Bhagyashree pleading with the pigeon to deliver a love letter to Salman Khan. When the pigeon delivers it to him, he rushes back to meet Suman. That's the first time the duo realise they are in love with each other. That's not all, the pigeon is again seen in the climax of the film when it attacks the baddie Jeevan (Mohnish Behl) remembering how he had tried to kill the bird earlier. Here the pigeon not only played cupid to the lovers but was instrumental in bringing about a happy ending!

Hum Aapke Hai Koun: If not for Tuffy, the cute pomerian dog, Madhuri Dixit and Salman Khan would never have got married in Hum Aapke Hai Koun! Yes, the dog plays a crucial role in bringing the lovers together. When Nisha (Madhuri) is on the verge of getting married to her brother-in-law Rajesh (Mohnish), she writes a letter to Prem (Salman) explaining why she cannot be his wife. She tells Tuffy to give the letter to Prem, but Tuffy decides to give it to Rajesh, who on reading it confronts Prem and Nisha. When he dsicovers the truth that they love each other, he steps aside to let his brother Prem marry Nisha. The film was a blockbuster and Tuffy with his designer goggles and outfits a big hit!

Nagina: The song Main teri dushman.. mein nagin tu saphera, which had Sridevi doing a snake dance in Nagina is the highlight of the film. Based on the theme of iccha nagin, where the snake is believed to shape-shift into a human, the film had Sridevi playing one! A blockbuster, it was hailed for Sridevi's performance and even had a sequel Nigaahen with her reprising the naagin role.

Himmatwala: Ajay Devgn was a real himmatwala in this film as he bare-handedly fought a tiger, no less! When the heroine Tamannaah Bhatia unleashes a tiger to teach him a lesson, Ajay not only fights him but ends up saving her from its claws. He then pets and jokes with the tiger before it disppears into jungle! When Ajay is being attacked by the goons in the climax, it's the tiger that comes and saves him. However, it couldn't save the film from being a disaster at the BO.

Life of Pi: Completely based on the relationship between a tiger Richard Parker and a young boy Pi who are stranded on a boat in the ocean, it was the highest grossing film of director Ang Lee. Though it was a fantasy drama, and the tiger was created by CGI it managed to make you angry and emotional. The tiger made the entire journey on the sea real!

Coolie: "Bachpan se hain sar par Allah ka haath, aur Allah Rakha hai mere saath..." is the famous Amitabh Bachchan dialogue from the film. Allah Rakha is an eagle that formed an integral part of the film. A faithful companion of Bachchan, it was always shown perched on Bachchan's wrist. The bird played an important role in the final fight sequence clawing the villains and saving Bachchan.

Maa: This Jaya Prada-Jeetendra starrer had a dog that could see ghosts! The paranormal film had Jaya Prada's character being killed mid-way. However, she comes back as a ghost and is distraught to see the condition of her child and husband. She wants to help them but is powerless despite being a ghost! The family's pet dog Dobby is the only one who can see her and so she uses him to avenge her death.


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