Blast from the past Friday Review

Mukti (1977)

Shashi Kapoor Photo Anu Pushkarna

Shashi Kapoor Photo Anu Pushkarna

Shashi’s Kapoor’s natural charm together with Vidya Sinha and Sanjeev Kumar’s acting prowess breathed life into this otherwise average film. The romantic scenes between Shashi Kapoor and Vidya Sinha in “Mukti” still look fresh. By the late ‘70s family socials like “Amar Prem”, “Aandhi” and “Abhiman” were fading. They were being replaced by larger-than-life action thrillers. In this scenario, Raj Tilak’s social drama emerged on the scene and scored some brownie points with the romantics.

Kailash Sharma (Shashi Kapoor), his wife Seema (Vidya Sinha) and daughter Pinky lead a happy and peaceful life at Kashmir. Their deaf and obedient servant (Bhagawan Dada) adds fun to their life. Kailash and Seema prepare for Pinky’s birthday when their peace is disturbed by an untoward incident.

Returning from work that evening, Kailash notices the local MLA’s (Sapru) son (Roopesh Kumar) is trying to rape their maid servant, Shanu (Anju Mahendra). Whilst trying to save Shanu, Kailash has a scuffle with the MLA’s son. The latter dies in a bullet injury. Kailash reports the incident to the local police station and surrenders. He is falsely convicted of murder and arrested.

With the help of a family friend, a senior police inspector (Kader Khan), Kailash manages to reach home to see his wife and daughter. In court Shanu, under pressure of the corrupt MLA, accuses Kailash of murder. He is sentenced to death. All efforts by Seema to get Kailash released even after appealing at the Supreme Court yield no results. Kailash advises Seema to leave Kashmir and settle elsewhere.

After reaching Mumbai, Seema takes up a tailoring job. She admits Pinky to a local school. The story takes a dramatic turn when Ustad (Sanjeev Kumar) a van driver ferrying goods sees Seema and falls in love with her. Ustad and his assistant Tony (Deven Verma) develop affection for Pinky. Ustad helps in healing Pinky after a road accident. Seema accepts Ustad as a life partner on basis of mutual understanding, not love.

Soon Ustad turns into a rich businessman after toiling hard. Pinky grows up (Bindiya Goswami) and loves a promising young man (Vikram), Kailash, in the meantime, completes his period of imprisonment after his death sentence is commuted. After getting released he passes through various circumstances of life and unknowingly comes across Pinky. The film ends on a happy note for Kailash, Seema and Pinky but not Ustad who contributes a lot for Seema and Pinky.

Based on a story and screenplay by Dhruv Chowdhury, “Mukti” has some memorable moments. The loose ends of the script are the unnecessary commercial gimmicks. Kader Khan’s dialogues are memorable. Raj Tilak’s direction is average and does not elevate the film. Formula-oriented sequences, unnecessary comic relief and lack of depth disturb the pace of this serious film. Editing by Pran Mehra, art direction by Banshi Chandragupta and cinematography by K.K. Mahajan are worth mentioning.

Shashi Kapoor and Vidya Sinha form an attractive pair and perform convincingly. Sanjeev Kumar underplays with expertise. Kader Khan gives a sincere and honest performance. Vikram and Bindya Goswami (her debut film) do not impress. Bhagwan Dada and Deven Verma do not contribute anything significant.

Lyrics by Anand Bakshi tuned by R.D. Burman are lifting. The songs “Pyar Hai Ek Nishan”, “La La La Lori” and “Suhani Chandni Raate” by Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh continue to be popular even today. The piano counters of the background score are effective.

Genre: Social drama

Director: Raj Tilak

Cast: Shashi Kapoor, Sanjeev Kumar, Vidya Sinha, Bindiya Goswami, Deven Verma, A.K. Hangal, Anju Mahendru, Kader Khan,

Screenplay: Dhruva Chatterjee, Keka Chatterjee, Renu Khanna

Story: Dhruva Chatterjee

Dialogue: Kader Khan

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Music: R.D. Burman

Box office status: Hit


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Printable version | Jul 5, 2022 6:17:38 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/mukti-1977/article8621742.ece