Radhakanta Barik

It is a film based on a powerful story of a young girl who has been charged of theft but she has not got involved. This made her to leave the uncle’s house where she was staying and working in another house as a maid. She confronted people who are hostile to her and want to exploit her as “gore gore hat’. She gets punished by the court. In such a hostile environment she is like a beautiful flower which grows without any blemish. The person makes her a thief and she wants to punish the person for which her life gets finished. The Police man wants to put into a women shelter home. It is a based on a rational without any mysticism or religiosity. In one occasion she tells it “there is no god and for me god is dead”. This is a powerful observation in any film of 1950s. She spends time with children while singing and telling the stories to poor children. She relishes the story and enjoys her life as a story teller. She finds the broken doll and she tells the story of a broken doll.

She goes to shelter home where she confronts the manager who is deeply involved in the human story of each inmate living in the home. By looking at the records he has doubt of the case and he looks at the case with sympathy and deeply involved in a human project. A human being faces a challenge of living and death when she prefers to die. “this brings to create an environment to recreate her life or allows her to be finished.” Powerful song like “Tu pyar ka Sagar ho” a song reminds of people and their spiritualism. In a troubled society every human being is reduced to a bird with little wings and it has to cross the ocean of love. Another side death and this side   struggling life ” Here the story has placed spiritualism beyond God and it is a prayer to create hope in disenchanted hearts and minds for creating hope to live further.  The world has many ways to improve the quality of life by confronting the reality not by crossing the ocean to another place. This is a Milton’s ideas that hell is better than heaven and there is every possibility to improve the life here not in heaven. This story has powerful observations of a society and its creation of psychiatric patients. Psychiatric patients are with roots in  a society and economy of a society. It is a society where Gauri wanted to survive in an honest and healthy manner by working as a maid but she was not allowed by her relatives or by the people where she was working as a maid. A small time thief put a chain in her sari and made her caught as a thief by the police.  The court punished her and after she returned back she did not get any work. On her head the crime gets written. The police station put her into an ashram of destitute women where the manager was a doctor for these women who wanted to come out of these petty crimes and lead normal life. Balraj Sahni a leading actor who treats each case differently and finds that these people are being forced by the society and economy to commit crimes. There is every possibility to come out of these crimes. This is called humanism and here humanism is not an empty word but real struggle in the ashram to revive these dead human beings into normal beings. He confronts this girl Gauri who behaves in a violent manner. She is not a petty criminal but branded as a criminal. She is revengeful against the person who made her so. She creates violent scenes which are getting tolerated by Sahni . He thinks that she is an honest girl that is the reason for her violent activities. She meets her friends in the Ashram and turns into a good human being. But goes to the Banke Lal’s house in the night by jumping the wall and gives him a thrashing which pushes Sahni to send his junior to Bankelal’s house to test it. He finds the truth behind the activities of Bankelal . Truth comes out which convinces the Ashram people feeling happy to bring her back to normal activities of the woman.She has gone to Bankelal’s house Sahni  sings a song ‘Kaha ja rahe ho ---“ a song explains the truth that the normal life can be revived here not in a far off distant place which is unknown. Ashram an organization has created inmate’s moral obligation towards it. Another active woman who is convicted of theft finds a villager from her village commits theft from the treasury of the ashram but she runs behind her and catches him and collects s the money for the ashram. On inquiry she tells that she was a habitual thief that helps her to catch him. This story is beautifully unfolded which brings the conclusion that Sahani gets married to a reformed inmate. This brings out the story in a song that ‘chota sa gudia and bada kahani’. This is lengthy story of a small toy. The man entered into ashram to kill the manager as the ashram has kept his wife. He claims that he has right to beat his wife and kill her that is his mercy. But Sahani shows him insaniat by taking him to have a round of the ashram where small children are staying as their parents have abandoned them. Out of them someone may be growing up into an apostle of humanism. Sahni does not talk that these children will be doctors or engineers or teachers but a good human being.  After recovering from their broken hearts they start their new lives.  The Director shows the fast cycling by an inmate of the ashram which explains that shows that life can move at a pace which gets slower by the pressures of circumstances.  Life can be rediscovered if it is treated properly. Today one gives an emphasis over the psychratic treatment of the patients but in the early the film maker Chakravarty has brought out a classic which turned as a great hit with all hit songs fitting into the story beautifully.

Prof Radhakanta Barik (retd), Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi

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Oct 17, 2020

Prof. Radhakanta Barik

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