Wearing torn Japanese shoes, English trousers, a red Russian cap, and a Hindustani heart, orphaned Ranbir Raj comes to Bombay to make his fortune. He pawns his gold medal, gambles with the ... See full summary »

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(story & dialogues) (as K.A. Abbas), (screenplay) (as K.A. Abbas) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Vidya
Nadira ...
Maya
...
Ranbir Raj / Raj Kumar of Pipli
Nemo ...
Seth Sonachand Dharmanand
...
Ganga Mai
M. Kumar
Hari Shivdasani ...
Philachand
...
Gambler with goatee
Bhudo Advani ...
Gambler
Pesi Patel ...
(as Pessi Patel)
Ramesh Sinha
Rashid Khan ...
Radiwala
Sheela Vaz ...
(as Sheila Vaaz)
S.P. Berry
Kathana
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Storyline

Wearing torn Japanese shoes, English trousers, a red Russian cap, and a Hindustani heart, orphaned Ranbir Raj comes to Bombay to make his fortune. He pawns his gold medal, gambles with the money, loses everything, & the balance is pick-pocketed. He ends up on the beach, meets with Vidya Shastri, a teacher who runs a private school, and both fall in love. Ranbir gets a job in a laundry. When he goes to deliver some clothes to Maya, she notices that he has a way with cards, gets him to accompany her to a casino of sorts, where he wins Rs.20000/-, which unfortunately is pocketed by Maya. Then a rich industrialist, Sonanand Dharmachand, approaches Ranbir, hires him to work for him, and soon Ranbir is on his way to a wealthy life. Vidya gets a first hand look at this wealthy life, and decides to break up with him. Sonachand teaches Ranbir that in order to make money one must never discriminate between the rich and poor. So they set out to offer homes to the homeless for Rs.100/-. Watch ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

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Details

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Release Date:

6 September 1955 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Mr. 420  »

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(RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Trivia

"To Biaa Yaadam Bede" by Toofun was a cover version of "Ramaiya Vastavaiya". See more »

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Spoofed in Ready (2011) See more »

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O Jaanewale Mud Ke
Music by Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi & Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal
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User Reviews

 
Kapoor's technique
7 March 2005 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

Shree 420 is a classic Bollywood "social" of the 1950s. Its romanticized populism deserves comparison to Frank Capra's films. As in Kapoor's earlier Awara, the hero is a Chaplinesque tramp, another vagabond (as in Awara). Poor but honest (and happy), he falls in love with Vidya (Nargis), but is soon tempted to partner with a fat millionaire who makes money through fraud. Raj soon becomes rich but just as quickly regrets his choice, with Vidya serving throughout as the voice of his conscience. Songs in Kapoor's films are classics, but beyond their quality, the way Kapoor uses them is an important aspect of his directorial technique. In a pivotal scene, Raj (Kapoor's hero shares his first name) staggers drunk from a nightclub to encounter a stone-faced Vidya outside her poor home. The narrative problem here is that she – and the viewer – must condemn Raj but, at the same time, the movie has to communicate that she still loves him. Kapoor deftly solves this problem by showing Vidya staring coldly while a white-robed specter of Vidya sings a love song to the departing Raj: two Vidyas, one who censures him, another who reaffirms her love for him. And a good song. Imagine how a Hollywood film might resolve this. How many words would it take? How many tears? Kapor allows the stone-faced Vidya to image our disapproval while the spectral Vidya's song reveals what is going on in her mind.


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