wiki:Taxi Driver

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Taxi Driver

1954 138’(133’) b&w Hindi d/sc Chetan Anand pc Navketan co-st Uma Anand co-st/dial Vijay Anand lyr Sahir Ludhianvi c V. Ratra m S.D. Burman lp Dev Anand, Kalpana Kartik, Sheila Ramani, Johnny Walker, Ratan Gaurang, Rashid Khan, M.A. Latif, Bhagwan Sinha, Krishna Dhawan, Parveen Paul, Hamid Sayani, Vernon Corke

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.