Cinema of the Week ‘BEGUNAH (बेगुनाह)1957 (INNOCENT) in REEL


Cinema of the Week: BEGUNAH (1957)


BEGUNAH (1957), a comedy thriller Movie was produced under Roop Kamal Chitra banner by brothers Mahipat Rai Shah and Anupchand Shah & Directed by Narendra Suri. The Producers had earlier produced Shri Vishnu Bhagwan-(1951), Adhikar (1954) and Riyasat (1955) The story of BEGUNAAH was written by I.S.Johar. It was based on the story of Paramount Picture’s Hollywood Movie ”KNOCK ON WOOD ”(1954) with Danny Kaye and Mai Zetterling in the Lead.. The story was adapted to Indian conditions. While in the original the Hero is a Ventriloquist, here he is a stage performer and singer. In the original, the Heroine is a Psychiatrist, here she is a Doctor.

BE-GUNAH (બે ગુનાહ ) {BE (બે) in Gujarati means TWO}

The Directors who were Businessmen from Saurashtra, Gujarat were held Guilty on TWO COUNTS for Plagiarism & violation of Copyright.

1.Within 2-3 days of the Movie’s release, Danny Kaye, Hero of the Hollywood Movie KNOCK ON WOOD’ had come to Bombay for some work & was informed about this Movie. He watched the Film and though he could not follow Hindi, Danny got an idea that much of the Movie has the same story as his Movie. He immediately contacted Paramount Picture in America. Next day their lawyers came to Bombay and with the help of local solicitors, they filed a case in the Court seeking a Ban on the Movie and destroying all Negatives & Prints. Much to the surprise of the Indian Film Industry and the local Lawyers, within a Month, the Verdict was announced and the Court gave orders to destroy the Master Prints, Original Negatives and all Prints within 3 months and to immediately withdraw the Movie from Theatres.

The Producer brothers lost heavily as they had to refund money to Distributors. They did not go in for appeal as advised by their Lawyers, since the points raised by Paramount Pictures were irrefutable. The Shah Brothers closed down their Film Business and entered into a Chemical Business.

Had the producers at least acknowledged that the Movie was based on ‘Knock on Wood”, may be they would have got off with only some fine.

Unfortunately it was not the end of their misery.

2. Somehow the prints which had gone to the then Nizam Territory (Hyderabad) could not be destroyed for almost 2 years. Paramount Pictures complained to the court and the Producers were once again fined heavily for Contempt of Court. They were served Notices for default of dues and their Factory and Business was liquidated to pay off their Debt & the Fine.

And thus the Producers were NOT proved BEGUNAH and paid a heavy Prize under the Copyright Act.

1, Producers Mahipat Rai and Anupchand Shah had worked with well known Directors, but in all their earlier three films their Music Director was Avinash Vyas, whom they knew well. When BEGUNAAH was planned they wanted Shanker Jaikishen as Music Directors. Looking at their financial condition SJ and Kishore Kumar took advance money . During the Mid 1950s & 1960s, Kishore Kumar was Distributors’ delight and his films were in demand by Distributors even before film was completed.

2. The Manna Dey-Lata Duet song “Din Albele Pyar ka Mausam’-Originally Kishore Kumar was to sing this song. He asked for advance payment. Instead of agreeing to this demand, Shankar Jaikishan called in Manna Dey who sang this song despite Kishore Kumar objecting to it. This caused bitterness between the two of them for some time.

3. As the prints of the Film were ordered to be destroyed by the Court for Copyright Violation, SJ Fans were the second worst affected after the Producer Duo, as they are not only deprived of the Movie-unable to watch Jaikishan perform on Screen-but also of the Videos of the songs and have to be contended only with the Audio.

Here is the Youtube Link to the song “Din Albele Pyar ka Mausam”-

Venkata Raman G's photo.
  • Ashok Ballal Venkata Raman G, Sir, first of all, thanks a lot for such a beautiful and Informative write up. Till now,we the SJ fans were not aware of so much details about the Banning of this film under Copyrigh Act. Your article has made all the details clear. ItSee More
    12 hrs · Like · 5
  • Surendra Kumar Batra Beautiful write-up, Shri Venkata Raman G!
    11 hrs · Like · 1
  • Vijay Mistry Nice films
    11 hrs · Like · 1
  • Harish Joshi Thanks for elaborating the details regarding the inner facts of movie. But the solace is that musical part is saved for our enjoyment.
    10 hrs · Like · 2
  • Prem Bhatia This movie was released in March 1958 and was taken off from theaters under new copyright rule of 1957. Everything related to the movie was ordered to destroy November 1958 Since songs was on 78 RPM and were in public domain so still some songs are available.
    Mukesh had given voice on screen
    Jaishan and the song was Aye pyase Dil be . Still very popular.
    9 hrs · Edited · Like · 2
  • Bakulesh Mandora Wow nice…..
    9 hrs · Like · 1
  • Ashok Parekh Thank you so much for elaborate information Venkata Raman G. Thanks Ashok Ballaji for value addition.
    7 hrs · Like · 1
  • Mukund Marulkar Nice write-up Venkataji.Last year when i was approached National Film Institute of Archive in Pune,they said privately that they have the full film-Begunah.Further they added that film is in NEGATIVE form,if it is to be printed for Positive process,it requires approximately 1.5 Lakhs Rupees to process it.then i said i will manage to pay whole amount to process it.They further told that this central Govt. is so rigid to do that as there are so many parameters to process lab. activities,funds are with us,no problem but there is no influences to take action to do it.
    7 hrs · Like · 4
  • Mukund Marulkar My humble request to both SJMF,Ahmedabad and SJfoundation international, Hyderabad to take jointly efforts to SAVE the Begunah Film for all SJ music lovers.I am with them to help.
    7 hrs · Like · 4
  • Shashank Dubey इस ज़बरदस्त जानकारी के लिए हार्दिक धन्यवाद Venkat Raman ji
    7 hrs · Like · 2
  • Nandkumar Kadwe As usual.. Venkat Raman G.. A great job indeed.!!
    Interesting Article if just seen the movie ..!!!
    7 hrs · Like · 2
  • Shrikrishna Lele Great info on banned film Begunah
    7 hrs · Like · 2
  • Meeta Mukherjee Mr. Mukund Marulkar I sincerely pray that your efforts for a genuine cause is rewarded and we viewers are benefitted by your sincerity…
    5 hrs · Like · 4
  • Romesh Dalal Thank you Venkata Raman G for such an informative write-up. GOOD MUSIC, SONGS & GOOD LYRICS!!!!!!
    3 hrs · Like · 2
  • Ashok Ballal Mukund Marulkar ji, your abovementioned comment has given a ray of to all those SJ fans who are anxiously waiting to watch the Videos of the full movie and songs of the banned movie, “Begunah”!!! All will be ready to contribute any amount to be paid for processing. But real problem will be to obtain ” No objection certificate”from the proper Govt.Authorities to re release the Banned film.The matter may need clarification from Court also. Hope you alongwith Admin of this forum may be able to cross all these Hurdles !!!
    2 hrs · Like · 4
  • Mukund Marulkar Dhanyawad,Ashokji for support.Be prepare ready to come in Pune to achieve the Target Legally by all SJ Lovers.
    2 hrs · Like · 2
  • Mukund Marulkar We will meet the present Director of NFA of Pune and expedite the matter seriously.
    2 hrs · Like · 2
  • J.k. Mehta I donot know what I am about to tell will interest any one but I find it irresistible to avoid it.Again it was narrated on this very space to some friend who no longer is here.
    Yes,I saw Begunah on its release watching it was destiny ‘s grand design.My father was.posted as sessions judge at. sirohi,a town near Mount.Abu.
    Begunah had just released and.I was dying to see it but how?
    In those times new films took months in reaching small places like Sirohi.But fate intervened.Father had to attend.a judicial conference at.Jaipur.and wonder of wonders he and my sister along to.Jaipur and for stay chose Polo Victory hotel which also housed Polo Victory cinema in.same premises.and.on.very first day of our arrival and stay in that did not look any thing different to me at that time but after some time when news broke out of film being banned on copyright issues,I was so.overjoyed on the chance that I got to watch Jai singing on screen.
    Reminds me of Shahrukh’s famous dialogue in Om ” जब तुम किसी चीज़ कॊ शिद्दत से चाहो तो सारी कायनात तुम्हे उससे मिलाने की साजिश करने मॆ लग जाती है “
  • Vidya Banakar Extensively described with the background of banning Begunah film.Thank you so much dear Venkata Raman G.Truly said Ashok Ballal ji and wondered Indian Judiciary’s super fast react. A very good thought of Mukund ji, to save Begunah Film. And now my question is why none of Bollywood actors, actresses, singers take initiative to save this film ? Since they are earning crores, 1,5 Lakhs rupees are peanuts for them. Hoping for the positive news and we all could see KK, Shakila and SJ ji are “BEGUNAH”.
    2 hrs · Like · 4
  • Dilipkumar Rao Wah sir bahut achhi jankari de hei excellent songs I listen these song still I hv one HMV record with song aaja raat biti jaye n yee pyse dil bejuma mukeshji thnx a lot

4 thoughts on “Cinema of the Week ‘BEGUNAH (बेगुनाह)1957 (INNOCENT) in REEL

  1. I am very much interested the music of Begunah ,I have tried many places
    for audio video ‘songs but in vein so, now I request our friends to face the financial and legal aspects and bring video…thankyou


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