TEESRI KASAM: 1966
PRODUCED BY : SHAILENDRA
STORY &DIALOGUES: PHANEESHWARNATH RENU
DIRECTION: BASU BATTACHARYA
Saw this movie in Ambarnath, Vandana theatre, in 1976, in its reruns. I was just taken by surprise, by the minute detailing, the filmmaker has gone into. No stone left unturned, to keep its soul, the rural authenticity alive and vibrant. To me this commitment to retain the authentic rural aroma, which is found in Renu’s novel, is the essence of the movie.
This movie is a classic Broadway musical stuff. Had it been made by a big production house from Hollywood, they would have made it on a scale far larger than what Shailendra’s limited resources permitted. They would have gone that extra mile to retain the essence of the writers’ message.
The story is very simple. Hiraman, is a simple villager, makes his living by his bullock cart, carrying loads in the countryside. The movie opens with, Hiraman, carrying, some contraband goods, and his caravan getting caught by the cops and he escaping , leaving his cart behind , just managing to run away with his pair of bulls. He takes his first oath “ never ever to carry contraband goods” The second incident is where he escapes from a similar , situation carrying stolen goods, so there comes his second oath” never to ferry stolen goods”
He Manages to ferry a lion in a circus and gets a good price for doing that and invests that money to buy a good covered cart . He now gets a passenger to ferry to a distant village, and the passenger is a beautiful dancer, who performs in village fairs. Her name is Hirabai..While ferrying his cart, he hears her sonorous voice and is overawed by her beauty.
The scene before the climax, where Hirabai, is seen confronting a rich zameendar ( landlord) who is hell bent on having her to fulfill his lust. This scene is a gem, where, she tells this guy “ You think I am a whore, which I am not and he( Hiraman ) thinks I am an Angel which is also not true. But there is grea thrill in his innocent illusion, which compels me to commit any mistake “
The next scene where Hirabai is seen discussing her predicament with her mates in the troupe is made to realize, the pain she will cause to Hiraman, once he knows the truth. So the best option is to tell him and move on with our reality, than accepting him and living with a lie, and struggling to make it a truth..and she allows her head to rule over her heart and move on, and the Hiraman takes his Third Oath “ ferry a woman from the Dance troupe”
The climax scene , where he sees the train move away, and when he looks at his pair of bulls, turning around, he yells at them , for turning back..
This beautiful story of two simple souls, and their predicaments is exceptionally touching. Hats off to Shailendra for daring to make this poem on celluloid without compromising to anyone’s suggestions and keeping the soul vibrant. Such movies give you a kick of having lived your dream, against all odds.
Raj Kapoor was very good in the role of a simple Hiraman as he is blessed with an innocent face to pull off such roles. Waheeda as the demure dancer Hirabai is just great and so tender and delicate like the best porcelain toy, which will break at soft breeze..
This classic story and dialogues by Renu himself , is so beautifully supported by SJ’s music and Shailendra, Hasrat’s lyrics. The casting of the movie is another area where , great care has been taken to pick the right man /woman for each role however small it may be.
The movie is a classic gem, and can be enjoyed as many times as one can…for its sheer cinematic excellence.
My salute to Shailendra for his faith in his dream.