Chor Ke Ghar Chor (1978)

December 02, 2016 03:16 pm | Updated 03:16 pm IST - DELHI:

Film actor Ashok Kumar.

Film actor Ashok Kumar.

A heavy star cast does not ensure success of the movie. This was a perfect example of some heavy weights of Indian cinema failing to lend credence to a story that had disaster written all over. A story that went nowhere and ran out of breath half way through, leaving the stage to some actors who must have been embarrassed by the end product.

For a movie to excel it is essential to have three ingredients – cast, story and music. Here, the cast was overwhelming. Ashok Kumar and Pran, Randhir Kapoor with Zeenat Aman as the leading lady, Helen and Bindu in cameos and Deven Verma, as delightful as ever. It had Anoop Kumar and Anwar Hussain; Raza Murad and Sulochana. Shetty too. With Kalyanji-Anandji as composer one could expect music to be a key component.

The movie, however, sank without a trace. The much-accepted notion that the cast, and not the story, contributed to a movie’s success did not hold true in this case. Neither did the argument that the story was more important that the cast because the audience had to be engaged. Only a strong plot could keep them glued to the seat. It must have been difficult for fans to sit through this forgettable movie.

Only compelling reasons would have seen Ashok Kumar and Pran give their acceptance for this movie. It had shades of “Chori Mera Kaam” and “Victoria No. 203” involving Ashok Kumar, Pran and Deven Verma. The script made a vain attempt to combine intrigue with some emotion and comedy but the effort fell flat because the actors did not seem to have their heart in the project.

Directed by Vijay Sadnah, of “Pyar Jhukta Nahin” fame, the movie follows a convoluted path, oscillating from one end to the other, mostly inane happenings adding to the farce. What defies logic is the reason for Ashok Kumar and Pran to have signed this movie. They were a hit in “Victoria No. 203” and the film maker in this case was obviously tempted to repeat the pair, and the idea. An old malady in Hindi cinema where actors tend to get stereotyped in their career. Like Ifitkhar and Jagdish Raj being offered roles of police officials, Farida Jalal the eternal sister and Nirupa Roy a mother in perpetual distress; Nazir Hussain rarely seen in a smiling pose.

Ashok Kumar (Ranjeet Singh) and Pran (Mangal) are involved in a common pursuit – locating a statuette of Devi Maa. Bindu is a princess who must acquire the statuette. Anwar Hussain is Sher Singh, saddled with the task of getting the statuette for the princess. This statuette is a double-edged sword because it inflicts a curse on the person who displaces it from its pedestal in the temple. The statuette is removed by a Thakur (DK Sapru) and now begins a trail of disaster that engulfs the Thakur’s family. A dying Thakur requests Ranjeet Singh to restore the Devi Maa to its position. In the process, Ranjeet gets separated from his daughter Meena, played by Zeenat Aman. As the movie takes wing, the plot thickens and assumes a crazy pace and way. Randhir Kapoor, as Birju who makes statuettes for a living, and Meena, a street dancer with a cow as company, come together to become part of the story.

Everyone moves in one direction with the common aim – to find the missing Devi Maa. Unless she returns to the temple no one can live in peace. As it happens in most Hindi movies, the characters converge at one place, with the cow playing its role of a saviour and the statuette returning to its exalted place in the temple.

At the end of this contrived journey, the viewer certainly is left wondering if the effort was really worth it. As for those involved in the making of it, the movie should rank as one of the most absurd projects. It certainly mocks at the idea that a cast of stars can make the movie shine. Certainly not in this case, as one discovered.

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