In hopes of improving his lifestyle, a poor peasant re-locates to Bombay virtually penniless. It is late at night and he is thirsty, and he is unable to find water anywhere. A singing drunk...
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In hopes of improving his lifestyle, a poor peasant re-locates to Bombay virtually penniless. It is late at night and he is thirsty, and he is unable to find water anywhere. A singing drunk offers him money to buy some alcohol, but the money is snatched away by a taxi-driver. In desperation, the peasant attempts to drink from a fire hydrant, but is stopped by a Police Constable. Then he sneaks into a multi-storied apartment complex, and is mistaken for a thief. The entire building, which consists of over 200 units, housing nearly a 1000 people, set out to hunt him down. He first stumbles into the house of Kailash - who makes illicit alcohol, while his daughter is secretly romancing another tenant, Pradeep; the peasant then runs into another apartment - just in time to see the husband attempting to steal his wife, Meenu's valuables, so that he can get enough money to gamble on a race-horse; he hides in a drum and makes his way around the huge building and ends up as a corpse at the ... Written by
Jagte Raho is one of the most amazing classics of Indian cinema. It is sad, comic, tragic, humorous, authentic, educative and entertaining. This magnificent social dramedy relates the story of one poor and innocent peasant who comes to the big city of Bombay in hopes of improving his life. However, while looking for some water to quench his thirst, he is constantly branded a thief by the citizens of the city and chased like a criminal. Looking for a hideout, still thirsty and hungry, he enters an apartment building, running from one flat to another, and ironically, every flat he hides in, he meets different "elite" citizens, all of whom can be easily called thieves.
The film shows the double standards of our society, the cruelty and the corruptness, but not in a stereotypical way. It is natural and real. This naive peasant represents the simple common man who becomes a victim for no fault of his own, not only in India but in the entire world. He encounters different sorts of thefts and crimes committed by those so-called "respectable" citizens of the city, those who call him a thief and chase him just because he yearns for a few drops of water so that they can hide their own misdemeanors. This is so unbelievable yet so true.
Raj Kapoor is the film's main protagonist and may I say, this is one of the finest works of his career, both as a filmmaker and particularly as an actor. The fear in his eyes is so haunting. You really feel for him as you witness his pain, his thirst, his misery, his innocence and his helplessness. The film's final scenes are absolutely fantastic. Kapoor's outburst on the roof of the building in front of the entire nation as he reproaches them for their inhumanity is well-done.
The next two scenes are the film's final and finest. The first, when he gets onto the porch of another flat where he meets the cute-as-a-button Daisy Irani is heart-breaking. Irani's five-minute role of a kind-hearted, joyful and fearless little girl (which is contrary to the rest of the building's residents) who motivates the peasant to exit the building and face the people, is very memorable. There starts the film's best song, "Jago Mohan Pyaare" and we meet a young woman played by Nargis. The graciousness in her eyes and the brief, wordless interaction between Kapoor and Nargis create a magical, unforgettable scene which brings to a beautiful ending. See the film to understand how beautiful it is. This truly is an extraordinary picture.
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