Stylised parable about human virtue. An idealistic cop, Adinath (Shantaram), believing people to be fundamentally good, takes six simple-minded murderers to a desolate area and sets up a farming commune. In spite of the threats of violence, they produce a decent farm and come into conflict with the ‘virtuous’ citizens in a nearby village who see their economic interests threatened and reveal themselves to be the real nasties. Shantaram’s characteristic neo-expressionist imagery is much in evidence, e.g. juxtaposing eyes and palm prints with prison bars, patches of light on parts of the hero’s mouth and eyes. In one of the more successful sequences, armed men are depicted in looming shadows against the threatened hero shown in extreme long shot. Sandhya plays Champa, an itinerant seller of children’s toys who befriends all the prisoners and the only female in this oppressively male world. About her, Godard reported in a telegram from the Berlin Film Festival (1958): ‘Sandhya charming in story Indian jailer.’ A 124’ version was shown at the San Francisco Festival that same year.
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The song "Ae Maalik Tere Bandhe Hum" sung by Lata Mangeshkar was adopted as an anthem by a school in Pakistan. Read More