A social-realist melodrama about a man (Khanna in his debut) who secretly marries a gypsy girl from the hills (Mukherjee). They have a son (Bunty) but misunderstandings arise and the wife ends up living on the streets of Bombay with the child. She dies, leaving the boy wandering the city’s streets, having his own little adventures while his distraught father searches for him. With its extensive actuality footage of Bombay’s slums, suburban trains and working-class life, the film evokes e.g. K.A. Abbas’s urban melodramas (Munna, 1954; Shaher Aur Sapna, 1963). The film deploys a simple set of oppositions to signal good and bad: jazzy music and discotheques signify the callous and modern rich while the poor display their human warmth through acts of kindness to the child. Although the soundtrack adheres to the ‘realist’ principle of using the pilot dialogue track for all speech except that of the hero and heroine, it occasionally inserts suspense music to plug the narrative gaps in the plot.
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This film was India's official entry under Best Foreign Language Film category at the 40th Academy Awards (1968). It was nominated under the name 'The Last Letter'. Read More