Abbas’s only venture into the star-studded Hindi film mainstream. It tells a parable about love and community using three stories, each featuring a hero, his lover and a villain. The Ahir youth Govinda (Kapoor) is prevented from marrying his childhood sweetheart Chavli (Kumari) because she is an Untouchable. Chavli is driven out of the village but Govinda goes and waits for her at a crossroads. Dilawar (Ajit), a Pathan chauffeur, rescues the dancing- girl Pyari (Nimmi) from the clutches of his employer, a villainous nawab, but Pyari refuses to escape without her mother. Pyari then settles down at the same crossroads and starts a small shop, waiting for Dilawar to relent and to accept both of them. The hotel employee Johnny Braganza (S. Kapoor) falls in love with Stella D’Souza (Kumkum) who is coveted by his boss Ferreira (David). Ferreira frames Johnny and has him jailed. Johnny later joins the group at the crossroads and starts a garage. The trade union leader Nirmal Kumar (Jairaj) eventually enlists the trio at the crossroads to help build a road. Blasting through a hill, Govinda finds Chavli again and the whole community walks down ‘their’ road singing the socialist song Sathi re kadam kadam se dil se dil mila rahe. Later, in an interview with Vasudev and Lenglet (1983), Abbas blamed the film’s failure on the stars’ lack of screen glamour: ‘Meena Kumari was blackened, Raj Kapoor was put in a dhoti, Shammi Kapoor was made into a waiter, Nimmi was made into a prostitute’. He never worked with major stars again.
Did you know?
Though it failed at the Indian box office in 1959, the film went on to become an overseas blockbuster at the Soviet box office, where it drew 39.8 million viewers in 1962. Its overseas Soviet gross exceeded the domestic Indian gross of all films released in 1959 and 1962. Read More