|Index||3 reviews in total|
And Dev and Nalini Jaywant. This was a classic tale of a young man who discovers his father has been sentenced to life imprisonment (Kala Pani) for a murder he did not commit, and vows to get justice for his family. There is a mysterious murderer, a secret that has been hidden for 15 years, a conniving lawyer, a self-less (most Chandramukhi like, in fact better than Vyjayanthi) prostitute, a newspaper reporter (a beautiful and talented woman in the 1950s? GASP!) who falls for our hero, and their quest for the truth. I loved this story. Madhubala as the reporter and Nalini Jaywant as the fallen woman were excellent. Dev was Dev - irrepressible and charming as hell. There was a trio of comedians - but Mukri as the Shayar and Agha as the hotel waiter were never slapstick, rather they were necessary to move the story along. Music was soulful - Sachin Burman created some great tunes. Notable were Achcha ji main Haari Chalo Maan Jaao Naa, Hum Bekhudi Mein Tumko Pukare Chale Gaye, Nazar Laagi Raja tore bangle par. This one is worth watching and keeping. Navketan pictures (Dev Anand production) knew how to make good films.
Raj Khosla, Guru Dutt's assistant, who had already made a mark with "Milap" and "C.I.D", showed his command over the medium with this film. His acknowledged forte in the picturisation of songs, along with such masters like Raj Kapoor, Bimal Roy and Vijay Anand, was witnessed in the scene with two songs, wherein Nalini Jaywant first sings "Najar laagi raja tore bangle par", almost immediately followed by Rafi's evergreen number "Ham bekhudi mein tumko pukaare chale gaye". The three characters forming the love triangle, played by Dev Anand, Madhubala and Nalini Jaywant, gave excellent performances. Dev and Nalini won the Best Actor and Best Supporting Actress awards from Filmfare in this movie. The film had a lovable musical score, with numbers "Dil laga ke kadar gayi pyare", "Jab naame mohabbat leke kisi nadaan ne daman phailaya", sung by Asha Bhosle being other very good numbers apart from the two mentioned above. The romantic interludes between Dev Anand and Madhubala, including the duet "Achha ji main haari, chalo maan jaao na", are the highlights of the film. The dance song "Dil wale, ab teri gali tak aa pahunche" is a lovely number, excelled only later by Burman da's "Jewel Thief" number "Hothon pe aisi baat main daba ke chali aayi".
This wasn't as great film as it is made out to be. At least it doesn't
seem to be as entertaining today. Which means Kala Pani is not timeless
in the vein of some of Dev Anand classics like Jewel Thief and Guide.
From scene one, the film gets bang on point when Karan (Dev Anand) gets to know that his father, who he believed was dead all through life, was alive and sentenced to life imprisonment in Hyderabad jail. Karan immediately goes there to meet his father who pleads of being innocent and falsely implicated through fabricated evidence. Thereby starts Karan's attempts to study the 15 year old mystery, gather fresh evidence and reopen the case. One feels that the story is tight and focused on cracking the crime case.
But what starts as a crisp screenplay soon starts wandering into a slack love story (Madhubala's natural appeal is the only saving grace) and a more uninspiring courtesan track (played by Nalini Jaywant, Kajol's cousin maternal grandmother) with verbose shayaris and ghazals. The courtesan, Kishori had some secret letters that can serve evidence in favour of Karan's father so Karan is manipulating love with her to get hold of that proof. The fact that Kishori was a courtesan 15 years back and continues to be a charmer even now doesn't seem digestible.
After much time has been spent on these love tracks, the film gets back on solving the murder mystery but is handled very carelessly and conveniently. The flashback of the murder scene is never detailed properly. The actual murderer surfaces from nowhere and has no background account. The reason for him committing the crime is never revealed. And what the viewer actually looks forward as the most interesting episode in the film in the form of a courtroom drama in the climax (since the film is about Kala Pani life imprisonment) is unfortunately merely rushed in just one scene. The lawyer abruptly confessing of his crime in the climax seems confusing was he guilty or he intended to save the real murderer?
Can't comment on the authenticity of the adaptation since I haven't read the original source material a novel 'Beyond This Place' written by A J Cronin which was subsequently directed as an English film 'Web of Evidence' by Jack Cardiff (which released after Kalapani).
Dev Anand's charm, Madhubala's beauty and S D Burman's songs like 'Acha Ji Main Haari Chalo Maan Jao Na' make you sit through the film.
- Gaurav Malani
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