Following his collaboration with Abbas on Awara (1951), Kapoor presided over and allegedly directed most of this social melodrama credited to his assistant. It is a story about two orphan children, Bhola (R. Kumar) and Belu (Naaz), who are forced to become beggars in Bombay by their wicked aunt Kamala Chachi. They are shown the straight and narrow path by the one-legged bootlegger, Uncle John (David), who encourages them to take up the honest trade of polishing shoes. The film established a realist precedent for e.g.Salaam Bombay (1988), which replaced its sentimental optimism with an unrelenting miserabilism. Kapoor’s film can be seen as an allegorical representation of the newly independent ‘infant’ Indian nation. As the upbeat marching song Nannhe munne bachche suggests, children can control their own destiny. Kapoor makes a guest appearance asleep on a train seat, being mistaken by Bhola as ‘Raj Kapoor the film star’ and silenced by the girl who sensibly remarks: ‘Everybody pretends to be Raj Kapoor.’ A shortened version was released in the USA in 1958.
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The film won the Filmfare Award for Best Film. Read More