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Teesri Kasam (1966)

A naive bullock-cart driver falls for a traveling courtesan.

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(story & dialogue) (as Phanishwar Nath 'Renu'), (screenplay)
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Hiraman / Meeta
...
Hira Bai
Dulari ...
Hiraman's Bhabhi
...
Thakur Vikram Singh
Asit Kumar Sen ...
Mela Announcer (as Asit Sen)
C.S. Dubey ...
Birju
Krishan Dhawan ...
Lalmohar
Vishwa Mehra
Samar Chatterjee ...
(as Samar Chatterji)
Pardesi
...
(as Hangal)
Shivji Bhai
Mansaram
Ratan Gaurang
Pachhi
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Storyline

After nearly getting arrested, Hiraman promises to himself that he will never assist any black-marketeer nor transport bamboo. This incident does cost him his bullock-cart but he did manage to get his two oxen away in time. He manages to save enough money to buy another cart, and is hired to take a female on a 30-hour ride to a Mela. He subsequently finds that his passenger is an attractive woman, Hira Bai, and he falls in love with her - little knowing that she is a traveling courtesan - and it is this attraction that will get him into a physical altercation as well as in the bad books of Thakur Vikram Singh. Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

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Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Romance

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Details

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Release Date:

1966 (India)  »

Also Known As:

The Third Oath  »

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Technical Specs

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Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)
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Did You Know?

Trivia

It is based on the book 'Paanch Lambi Kahaniya' written by Fanishwernath Renu. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Delhi-6 (2009) See more »

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User Reviews

 
The End of Innocence?
8 October 2007 | by See all my reviews

Teesri Kasam is set in Bihar (well Phanishwar Nath Renu's story was, so it has to be) in a completely rural area. Raj Kapoor plays a bullock cart driver who is almost caught smuggling contraband - this would place the film at the time between the two great wars. He wows to never smuggle; then he gets into an accident carrying bamboo and vows to never carry bamboo again. THEN he is asked to transport a lady from a nautanki company (Waheeda Rehman) to the village fair many miles away. One knows already what his third vow (Teesri Kasam) will end up being. Raj Kapoor is mind-blowing as the rustic, Heeraman. Heeraman is innocent, pure of heart – he only sees good in people. Heerabai (Waheeda) is not innocent by any means. As she meets and spends time with Heeraman one begins to feel that she may be able to recapture what she lost. But in the end she is faced with a difficult choice. Life is a nautanki - can she pretend/play the role of Savitri for the rest of her life? Can she rob Heeraman of his innocence by telling him the truth about herself? Or must she simply play the whimsical female and go away, leaving him hurt but not robbed of his illusions? Iftekhar plays the very young, dapper zamindar who lusts after Heerabai. In fact the entire crowd that watches the nautanki is mesmerized by her every step, every word coming out of her mouth. She is the dream they have never even dared to dream.

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.

RK - okay, he can act. As Heeraman he plays the ingénue but this is not a caricature of a role. When he says Isss - you can sense his embarrassment/disbelief/humor - Mr. Bhansali's Paro tried to copy it but that became a mockery! Raj Kapoor is the simple and genuine villager who believes the best of people and goes to great lengths to protect the honor of one whom he sees as a virtuous woman. You also sense an inherent high quality in the character when he tells you that he will not remarry if it means marrying a 7-8 year old girl! Renu Sahab was advocating reforms and support for the Sharda laws about legal age of marriage for women. He was also telling us that there is an inner core of strength in women, they may be tossed about on the storm of life, but in the end they will prevail and do the right thing.

The film progresses at a languid pace and is shot in black and white. The locales are very real, with the whipped up dust from the rolling carts, wind, flowing water at a river bank where HeeraBai first realizes how simple Heeraman is, earthen huts, tents, sheds, bullock carts – how much more real can it get? Basu Bhattacharya's first directorial venture and the film is simply awesome. He was assisted by none other than Basu Chatterjee. Phanishwar Nath Renu's story and dialogs evoked the times gone by in a simple rural setting. It is no surprise that this film won the National award for best film.

It is not the fluff stuff of today, but lovers of good cinema will find much that is excellent in quality and manages to tug at the heartstrings.


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