Dev Anand, Usha Kiron, Agha, Lalita Pawar, Shivraj, C.S. Dubey, Krishnakant, B.M. Vyas

Usha Kiron had been in a relationship with the already married producer-director Amiya Chakraborty when she was signed for this high voltage melodrama, and only the second opposite a big hero, the first being the Dilip Kumar-Nimmi starrer, Daag where she had an insubstantial role – for the same banner. Subsequently, she starred opposite Dev Anand in Dushman and Baadbaan ; Dilip Kumar in Hrishikesh Mukherjee’s directorial debut Musafir and Raj Kapoor in Nazrana . It was also her first hit after two flops with the same director, and a make or mar totally woman-centric, purposeful social drama that prompted the uncompromising Baburao Patel to not only compliment the director but also the heroine while writing about it in Film India : “His quiet work has a screaming social purpose and…his pictures are bound to do good to our free people and help them build a good nation…Usha Kiron is the piece de resistance of the whole show.”

Subdued yet superlative

Although this was, perhaps, her fourth or fifth film, Usha Kiron provided a subdued and superlative performance, stealing the show with an author-backed role as the fallen woman. Amiya Chakraborty handled the difficult subject with sensitivity with eye-catching cinematography by V. Babasaheb (especially the light and shade effects in the indoor sequences). In fact, the narrative begins with the camera capturing a man, Nirmal Chander (Dev Anand) blowing cigarette smoke in a semi-profile and then a woman, Radha’s (Usha Kiron) hand with head bent entering the frame. There isn’t much to talk about D.B. Joshi’s editing.

Scripted by Rajendra Shankar with some well thought of, appropriate dialogue by Chandra Kant, it is the story of a beggar, Radha, making ends meet and supporting her crippled father in a shanty. She is forced to meet the landlord, Manohar (Shivraj) who assaults her instead.

Pregnant, she leaves the job and the habitat. Nirmal, an educated man with an idealistic outlook, not only falls for her, he even wants to marry her. The father, Sadhu Ram (Krishnakant) dies of shock. She tries to commit suicide but is prevented by a friendly vagabond, Mast Ram (Agha), an orphan himself.

Radha gives birth to a child named Chandu, starts living with him in a make-shift structure. She refuses to admit the child to the orphanage managed by Guruji (B.M. Vyas). In time Nirmal locates her, and persuades her to marry him promising to reveal the truth about her to his mother (Lalita Pawar). Circumstances prevent him from doing so. The cunning Manohar tips off her of truth, choosing a moment when Nirmal is away.

All hell breaks loose. To save her honour again Radha kills Manohar, and is tried. Follows a lengthy moralistic speech by the mother, ostensibly in a court room, that acquits Radha of murder, acting in self defence. In between is an interlude of a car with Nirmal crashing into a bridge, and he is believed dead but using a cinematic devise his presence and being alive is effectively conveyed to the audience, including the only solo that the hero gets to sing. Performance-wise, both Usha Kiron and Agha (he even gets two solos to lip sync) steal the thunder from Dev Anand who is missing from more than half the narrative, and is just about passable.

Shankar Jaikishen’s mellifluent compositions to some of Shailendra’s memorable lyrics in Talat Mahmood’s sonorous voice – “Andhe jahaan ke andhe raste jayen to jayen kaha”, “Hain Sab se Madhur woh Geet Jine Hum Dard ke Swar Mein Gaate Hain” (inspired by Shelley’s ‘Our sweetest songs are those that tell of the saddest thought’), “Tujhe Apne Pass Bulati Hai”; coupled with Lata Mangeshkar’s rendering of “Kisi Ne Apna Bana Ke”, “Mitti Se Khelte Ho” contributed substantially to the success of the film. Hasrat Jaipuri contributed the duet “Yaad Kiya Dil Ne Kahaan Ho Tum” rendered by Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. It added value to the product.

SURESH KOHLI

Shailendra’s memorable lyrics in Talat Mahmood’s sonorous voice – “Andhe jahaan ke andhe raste jayen to jayen kaha”, “Hain Sab se Madhur woh Geet Jine Hum Dard ke Swar Mein Gaate Hain” contributed substantially to the success of the film.

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