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Kanoon (1960)

| Drama, Crime, Mystery
A lawyer holds the eyewitness evidence to catch a killer, but the identified criminal is the lawyer's own mentor, prospective father-in-law, and also the judge who presides over the case.



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Credited cast:
Advocate Kailash Khanna
Judge Badri Prasad
Meena Prasad
Manmohan Krishna ...
Prosecuting Attorney
Vijay Prasad
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Moolchand ...
Sub-Inspector Das


A young lawyer accidentally witnesses his prospective father-in-law, a respected judge, murdering a moneylender. A burglar who stumbles across the body is then arrested for the murder and is put on trial before the judge's court, leaving the lawyer with a moral dilemma. Thus giving rise to more burden on the story and a series of events to unfold the future. Written by gavin@sunny_deol2009@yahoo.com

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User Reviews

Definitely One of the Best Courtroom Dramas in the Indian Film Industry
6 September 2017 | by See all my reviews

While the movie is 57 years old (released in 1960), it is still relevant in terms of the debate on capital punishment, especially in the convictions that are not proved through exact science (forensic evidence).

I watched "Kanoon" only a couple of years back and again, a few days ago. In spite of knowing the suspense, the movie is still a great watch for great story-line, brilliant direction and amazing performances from Rajendra Kumar, Ashok Kumar and Nana Palsikar.

Story (10/10): Advocate Kailash (Rajendra Kumar) is a budding public prosecutor with a very promising career ahead of him under the able mentor-ship of his guru Judge Badri Prasad (Ashok Kumar). However, in a dramatic turn of events, Kailash ends up witnessing the murder of a local money lender Dhaniram, committed by none other than his own mentor, Badri Prasad. However, as fate would have wanted it, a local small time thief, Kaalia (Nana Palsikar), is arrested on charges of Dhaniram's (Om Prakash) murder as he is found fleeing the crime scene with hands soaked in Dhaniram's blood which he bumped upon while trying to make his way through the home in darkness. As Kailash comes to know about this development, he decides to defend Kaalia, while still torn apart between his duty as a lawyer (to bring culprit to justice) and his affection towards his mentor, who is also going to be his father in law. The least he can do is to ensure Kaalia is not sent to gallows by defending. To make things worse, the culprit himself is the judge of the case. With a weak case, to begin with, he logically places the pieces together, exposing key flaws in the investigation as well as prosecution's arguments. However, it is still not convincing enough defense for the accused without uncovering the culprit and bringing in front, the prime eye witness of the crime - himself. The main plot of the movie is very brilliantly written. The story starts with a prologue Judge Badri Prasad's court comes across a strange case where a man is convicted of a murder of the same person twice (he was falsely convicted the first time, because of which he kills the supposed victim, who is actually alive, after being released from the jail). This sparks a debate in the legal circle about death sentence and its necessity, especially in cases where the conviction is based on circumstantial evidence and eye witnesses. The prologue sets the tone of the movie and keeps playing in the minds of the audience throughout the movie.

Acting (9/10): Today's audience will find the movie a bit high on melodrama, which was perhaps the normal in that era. However, the brilliance of Rajendra Kumar and Ashok Kumar's performance can inspire any generation of actors and entertain audience across eras. Nana Palsikar, playing the accused, showed great commitment into projecting a character of poor petty thief who cannot fathom how fate can play such a cruel game with him when he is already struggling to ensure a daily meal for him and his kid. His expressions and dialog delivery is enough to evoke sympathy - raw acting brilliance. Mehmood plays, a quite rare, negative role in the movie which is pretty much okay even as it has some humor into it. Nanda gets her due part in the second half of the movie when she is in a dilemma due to her love for her father as well as fiancé and needs to take some tough decisions.

Direction (9/10): B.R. Chopra's direction is almost impeccable, except for a few scenes such as Mehmood's hysterical laughter that stretches beyond the tolerance limit. Background score was used cleverly to create a greater impact. Except for a few scenes, the entire movie has been shot in a studio set up with greater control on lighting. In terms of length, the movie is a little long for a crime mystery but it doesn't come at the cost of pace because of which it still holds audience's interest.

Overall (9/10): Overall, it's a great watch for the topic it takes up and builds a very compelling and seemingly thriller movie out of it.

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