Dev Anand’s best-known ‘proletarian’ performance as a taxi driver in a story inspired by film noir. Mangal, alias Hero (Anand), rescues Mala (Kartik) from some hoodlums. This act of chivalry leads to a series of encounters with a violent criminal gang who, later in the film, steal Mangal’s cab to commit a bank robbery. Mala, who has ambitions of becoming a singer in the movies, finds shelter in Mangal’s room, which also forces her, in the most dramatic part of the film involving a mysterious sister-in-law who appears and equally suddenly exits from the story, to cut her hair and to masquerade as a man. Mangal teaches her the foul-mouthed habits of the city’s proletariat, their swaggering gait and their way of lighting a cigarette. Much of the film’s action takes place in a nightclub where an Anglo-Indian cabaret dancer, Sylvie (Ramani), works and who is in love with Mangal. The film climaxes with a shoot-out in the club between the gang, aided by a bunch of film-industry types, and Mangal’s friends. The film’s explicit invocation of Hollywood is particularly well realised in the character of the flaxen-haired Anglo-Indian drummer in Sylvia’s band, Tony (Corke). He also washes cabs, helps to save Mangal’s life and, in a remarkable shot, lies resplendent on the roof of Mangal’s taxi in the background during a drunken chat between Mangal and his comic sidekick (Walker). Most of the songs were Ramani’s cabaret numbers with a few additions: the upbeat ‘socialist- realist’ taxi drivers’ number Chahe koi khush ho chahe galiyan hazaar de sung by Kishore Kumar and the tragic Jaye to jaye kahan sung by Talat Mahmood.
Did you know?
While filming the movie, Dev Anand was mistaken to be an actual taxi driver by a foreigner at Taj hotel in Colaba. The man got into the cab and it took Dev a while to explain to him that they were shooting a scene for a movie. Read More