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1970 140’ b&w Hindi d/s Rajinder Singh Bedi pc Dachi Films lyr Majrooh Sultanpuri c Kamal Bose m Madan Mohan lp Sanjeev Kumar, Rehana Sultan, Anju Mahendroo, Shakila Bano Bhopali, Anwar Hussain, Manmohan Krishna, Niranjan Sharma, Kamal Kapoor, Yash Kumar, Jagdev

Author Bedi uses his own outstanding script for his directorial debut financed by the FFC as part of early New Indian Cinema. Hamid (S. Kumar), a clerk in Bombay, and his bride Salma (Sultan) live next to the red-light district in a small apartment formerly inhabited by the famous prostitute Shamshad (Bhopali). Clients still turn up, to the annoyance of the young couple who strive to achieve respectability. In contrast to the abstract commands of ‘respectable’ morality, the grossly materialist economics of prostitution offering more concrete and immediate benefits acquire liberating overtones for the couple. When Hamid refuses a bribe and finds himself unable to buy his own house or to raise money for his sister-in-law’s marriage, he displaces his anger and frustration into sexual exploitation. He rapes his wife and fantasises her as a whore in order to be able to respond to her sexually. For Salma, it is the association between prostitution and classical music which provides the link to her family inheritance. Eventually the two realise that there is no escape from prostitution (in reality or as a metaphor) in the urban world. Commercially, the theme had obvious voyeuristic attractions exploited fully in its publicity: the notorious scene where Salma lies on the floor, naked, features prominently in the advertising campaign. Unfortunately, the script, published as a book (1971) with considerable literary merit, was greatly marred by the screen adaptation. Songs include Bahian na dharo and Hum hain mataye-kuch-o-bazaar ki tarah, both sung by Lata Mangeshkar.