A pacifist film directed by Kapoor’s cameraman since Awara (1951). Set among the bandits of central India and by the banks of the Ganges, the story tells of Raju (Kapoor), a wandering innocent who believes in the purity of the Ganga and abhors violence (a trait influenced by the philosophies of Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Gandhi). He rescues a man who turns out to be a bandit chieftain and then reforms the gang after complicated negotiations with the police. In the process, he has to overcome the gang’s lieutenant, Raka (Pran), and falls in love with the chief’s daughter (Padmini). The film emphasised scenic shots, beginning with several slow pans over the Ganges and ending with a spectacular sequence in a valley when the outlaws finally lay down their arms and surrender to the law. Its most typical movement is a slow crane movement upwards, leaving the audience to ‘judge’ the characters and their contradictory ideologies. Kapoor, distinctly older than in his 50s classics, moves with the stilted gestures of a marionette in his characteristic role of the innocent country lad who ends up reforming the world.
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The film marks the directorial debut of Radhu Karmakar, who had been producer Raj Kapoor's long time cameraman. Read More