Friday, October 2, 2015

Teesri Kasam 1966

Teesri Kasam , The Third Vow (1966) is a Hindi language drama film directed by Basu Bhattacharya. It is based on the short story Mare Gaye Gulfam by the Hindi novelist Phanishwarnath Renu. The film stars Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman. The duo Shankar-Jaikishan composed the film's score. The film's cinematography is by Subrata Mitra. Dialogue is by Phanishwarnath Renu and the screenplay by Nabendu Ghosh. Teesri Kasam is an unconventional film that portrays rural Indian society. It is the story of a naive bullock cart driver who falls in love with a dancer at nautanki, the popular folk theatre of the Bihar region. The film also deals with the issue of exploitation of women in the performing arts, especially in travelling folk theatre.
Directed by Basu Bhattacharya
Produced by Shailendra
Written by Phanishwar Nath Renu (Dialogue)
Screenplay by Nabendu Ghosh
Raj Kapoor
Waheeda Rehman
Asit Sen
Keshto Mukherjee
C.S. Dubey

Music by Shankar-Jaikishen
Cinematography Subrata Mitra
Release dates 1966
Running time 159 min
Language HindiThe film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film at the 14th National Film Awards.

Hiraman (Raj Kapoor) is a rustic villager, a bullock cart driver, from a remote village in Bihar. Hiraman takes two vows based on difficult situations in his life. He then meets and befriends Hirabai, a nautanki dancer. In the end, Hiramen takes a third vow.

Hiraman has traditional and conservative values. While smuggling illegal goods on his bullock cart and narrowly escaping the police, Hiraman takes a vow (the first kasam) to never again carry illegal goods. Subsequently, while transporting bamboo for a timber trader, Hiraman's load upsets the horses of two men. The two men then beat Hiraman. After this, Hiramen takes a second vow (the second kasam) to never again carry bamboo in his cart.

One night, Hiraman is asked to carry Hirabai (Waheeda Rehman), a nautanki dancer, as a passenger to a village fair forty miles away. As they travel together Hiraman sings to pass the time and tells Hirabai the story of the legend of Mahua. As the journey progresses, Hirabai is mesmerized by Hiraman's innocence and his simple philosophy of life. Hiraman sees Hirabai as an angel of purity.

Once they reach the village fair, Hiraman joins his band of bullock cart drivers and Hirabai joins the nautanki company. Hirabai asks Hiraman to stay at village fair for a few days to see her dance. Hirabai arranges free passes for Hiraman and his friends to see the nautanki on every night for the duration of the fair.

As Hiraman attends the nautanki, he becomes aware that other people see Hirabai as a prostitute and this disturbs him. He tries to shield and protect her from society. As the days pass, the bond between Hirabai and Hiraman grows stronger. When Hiraman becomes involved in fights with local people who disparage Hirubai and her profession, Hirabai tries to make him understand the harsh reality of her life. Hiraman asks Hirubai to leave her profession and to start living a respectable life. Hirabai refuses to leave. Feeling depressed, Hiraman leaves the village fair and returns to his village.

Hirubai meets with Hiraman and tells him her secret that she had been sold and she was not a virgin beauty and then leaves. Hiraman then takes a third vow (teesri kasam) that he will never again carry a nautanki company dancer in his cart.

This film portrays story of Hiraman, a bullock cart driver and a dancer Hirabai. Hirabai is attracted to Hiraman due to his simplicity. She is going to a fair by Hiraman's bullock cart to perform in drama. The bond between two grows stronger as the day passes at fair. But finally as the fair comes closer to end, the parting seems imminent due to external factors. Finally when fair is over, Hirabai has to go and two separates.

To quote Star and Style's review of the film, "The way the cart driver and nautanki dancer meet, talk and discover each other and themselves at the same time and the manner in which they part are like a poem on celluloid with a thread of pain running through it." Raj Kapoor and Vaheeda Rehamn has given the best performances of their career. Songs are worth listening for hours. A must watch.

A wonderful and musical drama, Teesri Kasam tells a simple story of cultural clashes and unrealised love. It is a rather captivating watch, well directed and narrated, and is aided by fantastic performances. Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman are absolutely outstanding in their roles. Kapoor's character in this film is not an unusual one in his career given he often played roles of this sort (the overly innocent romantic fool) but his performance definitely is. The way he displays Heeraman's sincerity, fear, love and ultimately his realization is terrific. Rehman is unsurprisingly excellent as Heerabai - the strong, dignified and talented dancer. Her dance numbers were well done, but it is the depth with which she conveys Heera's feelings and her inner devastation that marks this performance. Needless to say, she is as beautiful and graceful as always.

The music by Shankar Jaikishan is divine and is mostly set in two settings, either on a slowly moving bullock cart or on a nautanki stage and yet one is never bored - the tunes are amazing, the lyrics soulful and the songs bring a lump to your throat with their poignancy. There is the somber Sajan Re Jhooth Mat Bolo, followed by Sajanwa Bairi Ho Gaye Hamar, the folksy Chalat Musafir Moh Liyo Re, the sad Duniya Banane Wale. Then we have the awesome nautanki numbers starting with Paan Khayen Saaiyan that had me as mesmerized as the crowd of men watching HeeraBai perform! There was a Laila Majnu song and then the most pleasant Mare Gaye Gulfaam, the number full of longing and pain Aaa Aa Bhi Jaa. Added into these real songs was the rustic number Laali Laali Doliya Mein sung by a bunch of children running after the cart - without a word spoken the lead pair conveyed how they longed to be the Dulhaniya and Sajna! Waheeda was luminous, charming, and completely charmed by the simplicity of Heeraman. Her addressing RK as Meeta throughout the film, gave a sense of deep intimacy that was beyond the physical realm. You could sense her virtuosity in dance that was very much restrained as she played the low brow nautanki belle. In the "Laila Majnu" skit she danced unbelievably well in a non Indian classical mode. Lachchu Maharaj choreographed excellent numbers for this film.

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