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1960 112’ b&w Hindi d Manmohan Desai pc Subhash Pics s Inder Raj Anand lyr Qamar Jalalabadi c N. Satyen m Kalyanji-Anandji lp Raj Kapoor, Nutan, Rehman, Shobhana Samarth, Pran, Moppet Raja, Ramlal, Gul, Shyamlal

Desai’s directorial debut is an unlikely drama about India’s Partition. Shanti (Nutan) is married to Kewal (Rehman) in Lahore on the eve of Independence. When the nation is divided, Shanti’s family and her husband migrate to Delhi, leaving her behind. She finds shelter for five years with the Afghan bandit Abdul Rehman (Pran) who has a sister of Shanti’s age across the border. Shanti bears a son, Anwar (Moppet Raja), and when she travels to Delhi with her child her husband disowns her, as does her father. She finds shelter with another generous criminal, Chhalia (Kapoor), who falls in love with her. Abdul Rehman comes to Delhi to pursue an old feud with Chhalia and threatens to kidnap Shanti. After an extended fight sequence, the two bandits call a truce. On the train back to Pakistan, Rehman is reunited with his sister. Chhalia arranges a reconciliation between Shanti and Kewal, renouncing his own chance at happiness. The film alludes to aspects of realism derived from radical literature as well as from Kapoor’s presence (cf. Phir Subah Hogi, 1958), but Desai seems impatient with the finer points of plot structure, a tendency that would later lead to his virtual abandonment of temporally coherent plots in the Bachchan films of the 70s and 80s. The film had several hit songs including the communal-harmony number Chhalia mera naam, sung by Mukesh.