About the story: Widower Dinanath Kumar (Satyen Kappu) lives in Pune with his widowed sister Kalawanti (Shubha Khote), his daughter Payal and his two sons Rajeev, called Raju (Raj Babbar), and Sanjeev, called Sanju (Sanjay Dutt). Raju is educated and goes in for a career, while Sanju works as a car mechanic for Tahir Khan (Dinesh Hingoo) and tends to drinking and getting into trouble. When Sanju wants to protect his sister from Premnath’s (Ramesh Deo) stalkings, he happens to set his house on fire, and his father has to plead with Premnath to get his son released. But Raju, whose relationship to Sanju never was the best, finally is fed up with his younger brother and drives him out of the house. Sanju goes to Bombay and initially works in the bakery of Chandulal "Paowala" (Madan Puri) whose niece Bela (Jaya Pradha) loses her heart out to Sanju while he, for his part, falls in love with Archana (Rati Agnihotri), daughter to the wealthy Ganga Prasad (Col. Kapoor). Then he meets Sahir Khan (Dinesh Hingoo), his Pune employer’s brother, who hires him as a mechanic and taxi driver. One fine day, Raju boards Sanju’s taxi. He has worked his way up to a job as Company Director at Ganga Prasad’s, looks down on Sanju more than ever and above all plans to marry Archana. Sanju, who in spite of everything still loves his brother and doesn’t want to stand in his way, decides to forcibly break Archana’s heart...
Main Awara Hoon (= I’m a tramp) is a title which calls forth associations to Raj Kapoor’s film classic Awara and its famous song "Awara Hoon" which an inebriated Sanjay even warbles away at his film entry. For that matter, both films are only indirectly connected; Awara featured a father-son-conflict while in Main Awara Hoon it’s two brothers who share a tensed relationship. Nevertheless, what both films have in common is a rigid clinging to prejudices as the reason for the story’s conflicts: In Awara, it’s the judge who is convinced that a criminal’s son always becomes a criminal too, and in Main Awara Hoon it’s Raju who’s written off Sanju right from the beginning and never gives him a chance to prove himself. And both, the judge and Raju, finally have to pay a heavy price for their misbehaviour and, moreover, have to live with the guilt that they made their victims pay a still heavier price.
The Sanjeev-"Awara" is a kind of role which Sanjay after Naam was to play regularly: a seemingly useless young man with a golden heart who proves himself through a lot of ordeals in his life. I admit that I was amazed to learn that he already in this early stadium of his career played such a character – and that he played it remarkably well. Even though I nevertheless shed one or two tears thinking what a great film this might have been, had Sanjay made it, say, six or seven years later after becoming clean and having made that quantum leap in his acting skills – but even so, he played Sanjeev with a lot of input and a big sympathy factor which continuously escalates till the hanky-demanding climax.
Raj Babbar shapes the ungrateful role of the biased brother in a pleasingly retentive way which makes it easy for the public to even pity him a bit. Rati Agnihotri redeems herself with a good performance for her indifferent achievement in Johny I Love You. Though supposingly Jaya Pradha got more of the viewers’ sympathies, be it just for the partially very unexpected twists in her role. On top of the supporting actors, Shakti Kapoor convinces as the drug dealer Kundan. Main Awara Hoon is also memorable for a lot of funny details like a scene showing Raju in front of a clock reversed left to right (did someone insert the film wrongly while editing it?), or Sanju’s first scene in which he, inebriated and in juvenile cheekiness, respectlessly addresses a life-size poster of Amitabh Bachchan.
Unlike its lame predecessor Johny I Love You, Main Awara Hoon is a film I would recommend for a DVD release with subs. It has a good story with some really unexpected twists and, more than that, a Sanjay Dutt who obviously already back then loved this kind of role and acted laxly and appealingly. Among his early films, Main Awara Hoon definitely counts to the better ones.
Produced by Shakti Samanta; Directed by Ashim Samanta
153 Min.; DVD: T-Series, without subs