June 18, 2024

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Ujala (1959) – Rekha’s Sousaphone

7 min read

Ujala is produced on the design of the common ’50s social movie a la Shree 420 or Jagte Raho. Unfortunately—aside from the elementary shame of marooning Shammi Kapoor in what plainly wants to be a Raj Kapoor movie—it lacks each the coronary heart and the political heft that lend these kinds of movies their potential to move. Still left with minimal sympathy for its caviling hero, I located myself ready significantly impatiently for the upcoming tune. Ujala was made by F. C. Mehra for Eagle Movies. Its screenplay is by Qamar Jalalabadi from a story by director Naresh Saigal, with dialogues by Manohar Singh Sehraj.

Ramu (Shammi Kapoor) is effective as a porter to support his mom (Leela Chitnis) and a brood of youthful siblings who, depending on the scene, range in selection someplace among 8 and a few. The only kinds that specifically matter are eldest sister Sandhya (Ratna) and littlest sister Munni (Little one Shobha). Situation conspire to spot unforeseen demand from customers on the family’s finances although simultaneously relieving Ramu of the handcart on which his business enterprise has relied. Ramu consequently can take up a standing give from neighbor Kalu (Raaj Kumar) to be a part of him in a strangely unwell-described petty criminal offense undertaking. Chhabili (Mala Sinha), the dairymaid who for unfathomed factors fancies Ramu, gradually badgers him into locating one more truthful work. Continue to, in a moment of desperation, Ramu runs one past errand for Kalu. This leaves him as a witness to a murder, all while the back again rent is owing and Sandhya requirements her engagement bangles.

My views on why this movie does not just function will demand SPOILERS for the upcoming number of paragraphs. Ujala proffers an specific principle of the character of crime, said by the acharya (performed by Shivraj) whom Ramu providently encounters in its next 50 percent. The acharya points out that nobody on earth is truly a thug, a thief, or a pickpocket people today only turn to this kind of evils in extremities. By way of the believe in and implicit forgiveness the acharya extends to him, Ramu’s lifetime extremely little by little gets again on monitor. There are devoid of question passages and individual times in Ujala that conjure the sort of trapped-animal soreness that would the natural way direct a person to rejigger their moral program. There’s Chhabili and Ramu’s quest to supply for Munni’s funeral and that sluggish, awkward, exhausting battle in between Kalu and Chandu even at the stop, when Ramu finally recovers the ashram’s petty income, he’s kissing the notice like it is a holy e-book. Which is the type of imagery at which social dramas excel: depicting poverty (or some other structural affliction) as a motivating power from which the bulk of humanity is helpless to escape.

The rest of the film does not tend to uphold the acharya’s assertion. In the 1st location, Chhabili clearly has a position when hoping to convince Ramu that he is neither out of sincere alternatives nor as friendless as he imagines. At a single stage, after Ramu’s mother has realized about his stint with the gang, he snaps at her, inquiring whether she would maybe have been capable to get Sandhya married if he was not all-around to present for them. Nevertheless it’s Chhabili who both of those resources a dowry-free of charge match for Sandhya and pays for her engagement bangles just after maa has hocked her possess wedding ceremony jewelry. In the same way, when Sandhya and her mom start out performing for a neighbor, it is a horrible affront to Ramu. In simple fact, I’m confident that “horror” is specifically what that scene is making an attempt to express, with the black grease on their fingers on the lookout so equivalent to Munni’s blood.

In the next spot, the narrative places Ramu and Kalu on parallel tracks and then can make no exertion to demonstrate why only 1 would be salvageable. Just to glance at them, I would have assumed Kalu was intended to be worse off than Ramu his go well with jacket spouts extravagant puffs of loose lining and, perfectly, Raaj Kumar can glance pinched when he requires to whilst Shammi, g-d bless him, are not able to. Ramu and his chum Bholu (Dhumal) keep their gang’s honesty in significant regard, lending cash exactly where the lala won’t and offering some feeling of justice in which the police do not treatment to. If filmi criminals lie alongside a “good-natured thief” to “plummy gangster” spectrum, Kalu is certainly intended to slide on the hither side. But in the next 50 % of the movie, Kalu all of a sudden becomes a very diverse, much more determinedly wicked creature. I would have envisioned the acharya to expound on why that would be—perhaps a little something about have to have vs. covetousness, or theft vs. violence, both of those of which truly feel like nascent themes listed here. No like the ashram’s warden, Kalu all of a sudden exists entirely to pummel Ramu with all the ill fortune of Task, thus giving Ramu the possibility to show his forbearance, or the acharya his knowledge, or some thing.

To be distinct, I don’t need my films to have sociological theses in them. It is just that, when they do, I’d recognize possibly far more explicit support for reported thesis or more home to problem it. Ujala is at its most interesting in its early passages, throughout which the charm of crime alone, or probably of Kalu himself, is an obvious enticement to Ramu. We discover in their 1st exchange that Kalu and Ramu have been acquainted because childhood and that Kalu is angling to reestablish a friendship even just before Munni’s incident, he is conspicuously solicitous of Ramu. Ramu retains listening to Kalu’s voice in his head, including when he 1st resolves to sign up for the gang Kalu’s imagined perception of him is far more persuasive to Ramu at that instant than his perception of himself. “Tera Jalwa Jisne Dekha” reads convincingly as a remark on their relationship: the just one who saw your magnanimity has develop into yours. All of this evaporates from the next 50 percent of the film. To propose that becoming undesirable is enjoyable, or that staying trustworthy is lonely, would not healthy easily in the ashram.  

(SPOILERS hereby concluded.)

Poor Shammi, whilst extremely, really very, does not acquit himself properly in this article. He does at minimum squeeze in a number of appropriate shimmies in “Jhumta Mausam Mast Mahina” and “Chham Chham Lo Suno.” I also found myself upset and at times even irritated with Mala Sinha’s effectiveness. I simply cannot remember at any time getting observed her be so weirdly stiff and loud. Despite the fact that I appreciated the character, all the eyerolling and simpering in her overall performance wore on my nerves. When Kumkum turned up in an early scene established in the gang’s den, I was delighted to discover that she experienced a named character and at minimum a little dialogue. Sadly, she all but disappeared following that singular scene. There are two tunes picturized on her dancing, to predictably entrancing influence (“Tera Jalwa Jisne Dekha” and “Ho Mora Nadaan Balma.”)

If this movie has a conserving grace, it is the new music by Shankar-Jaikishan. Moreover the ones that I mentioned higher than, I specifically preferred “Suraj Jara Aa Paas Aa” and “Duniya Walon Se Dur,” both of which aspect the figures imagining by themselves in kinder worlds. “Suraj Zara Aa Paas Aa” follows immediately on the charming opening scene of the movie, in which Ramu tends to make believe that with his small siblings that the fairies have brought them invisible food. As the relatives dances down the street, they purchase extra and more hungry neighbors satisfied to indulge in the fantasy. “Duniya Walon Se Dur” arrives just after a scene in which Ramu, reluctant to expose to Chhabili that he has been doing work with Kalu, instead jokes that he is on his way back from the mythical land of “Premnagar.” In the tune, they explain the secluded entire world to which they desire to go, one complete of a good deal and gentleness. “Yaaron Surat Hamari Pe Mat Jaao” is also noteworthy for its exciting avenue scenes—at many junctures, you can see passersby accumulating on the road corners and at windows to observe the filming.

Lastly, I want to point out a passage that I located compellingly strange. Through “Yaaron Surat Hamari Pe Mat Jaao,” Bholu sits subsequent to a washerwoman played by Tun Tun and slyly cuts the corner of her pallu into which she’s tied her spare change. (Are Ramu and Kalu meant to have put on this full music and dance to distract from the stealing of a solitary purse? This is what I indicate by “ill-described petty crime”—!) When she realizes that she’s been thieved from, she takes off following the fleeing Bholu. So begins a odd freestanding comedic episode in which Tun Tun pursues Bholu tortoise-and-hare design and style. He has to halt and relaxation many occasions even though she jogs doggedly guiding him, never ever even breathing challenging. It is remarkably prolonged and virtually entirely visually driven. I’ve by no means viewed a little something pretty like that in the center of a Hindi film! The pretty strangeness delighted me.

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