Among all of Manmohan Desai's blockbusters, the one that is most loved by his fans is Amar Akbar Anthony, the splashy melodramatic 1977 entertainer where Amitabh Bachchan, Vinod Khanna and Rishi Kapoor played long-lost brothers brought up as a Christian, a Hindu and a Muslim, respectively.
Surprisingly Manji, as everyone affectionately called him, didn't think much of the film.
If the truth be told, he hated it.
In a lengthy interview with Subhash K Jha, stretching over two sessions on two consecutive days at his residence in Mumbai in 1986, Manji, never known to mince words, flatly denounced Amar Akbar Anthony.
As soon as the film was mentioned, Manji interrupted and said, "Oh, that was a fluke hit."
"Among all the films that I've so far done with Amit, Amar Akbar Anthony was my least favourite. I prefer Naseeb, Coolie and Mard."
"Amar Akbar Anthony involved my minimum effort, labour and money. When it was released, I thought it had good songs, but I never thought it would be such a success. I was sure Aa Gale Lag Jaa (featuring Sharmila Tagore and Shashi Kapoor) would be a superhit while Amar Akbar Anthony would flop," he had said.
The last film that Manji directed Mr Bachchan was in Ganga Jamuna Saraswati. The sprawling saga was ridiculed for a sequence showing Meenakshi Seshadri being impregnated by Mr Bachchan while giving her 'body heat'.
But Manji stood his ground: "People ask me how this is possible. I say, anything is possible in the world. In China, a woman gave birth to a baby in a coma. If that can happen, why can't three estranged brothers come together to give blood to their ailing mother (Amar Akbar Anthony)? And why can't a man give body heat to a woman and impregnate her?"