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Dastak (1970)

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Tells the story of newly weds Hamid and Salma. They move into a rental flat next door to the local red light district. The flat had been the former home of a well known mujra and qawali ... See full summary »

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(as Rajindar Singh Bedi)
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Title: Dastak (1970)

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Sanjeev Kumar ...
Hamid Ahmed
Rehana Sultan ...
Mrs. Salma Ahmed
Shakeela Bano Bhopali ...
Shamshad Begum (as Shakil Banu Bhopali)
Anwar Hussain ...
Akhtar Marativale (as Anwar Husain)
Manmohan Krishna ...
Shahid
Niranjan Sharma ...
Salma's Father
Kamal Kapoor ...
Brijmohan
Jagdev
Yash Kumar ...
(as Yesh Kumar)
Dev Kishan ...
Mirza (as Dev Krishan)
Bhanumati
Shahgul
Mahugul Durrani ...
(as Mahgul)
V. Soni
Prince Shakeel
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Storyline

Tells the story of newly weds Hamid and Salma. They move into a rental flat next door to the local red light district. The flat had been the former home of a well known mujra and qawali singer, Shamshad. Men still come to the door in the hope of seeing Shamshad and do not seem too put out by seeing Salma despite her protestations. The couple struggle to live within the bounds of their own moral code while the earnings of prostitution seem to be flaunted around them. Hamid gets more and more angry and seemingly unable to reconcile his morality with the immorality of the world and at one point beats his wife and then rapes her making her into a 'whore' of his fantasy. The story here bears resemblance to the later 'Ek Chadar Maili Si' by the same director and seems to explore the complex world of women and sexuality as viewed by Indian men: mother, goddess, whore. This film also explores the ethos of prostitution in its reality and as a metaphor for the outside world. Written by <raju@ihug.co.nz>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Musical

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Details

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Release Date:

31 December 1970 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Koputus  »

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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Mai Ri, Maah Kahse Kahoon Peed, Apne Jiya Ki, Mai Ri
Music by Madan Mohan
Lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri
Performed by Lata Mangeshkar
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User Reviews

 
Dastak is one of the real gem of Hindi Parallel Cinema
26 March 2011 | by (India) – See all my reviews

Dastak (the knock) is one of those rare movies of Indian Film Industry whose story is as relevant today as when it was first performed in a All India Radio play "Naql-e-Makani" (moving to a new house) in 1944, and again when it was adapted in this film in 1970 by its original playwright Rajinder Singh Bedi, the finest writer of Urdu fiction.

Making a directorial venture with this film Bedi sahib depicted the experiences of a newly married lower middle class couple whose respectability and integrity was tested time and again by their neighborhood, when they unknowingly moved into an apartment formerly occupied by a prostitute. From this film the Mr. Bedi brilliantly portrayed the psychology of a man whose honesty and morality, which are the only assets he possess, is in question, a woman whose integrity and character is painted by the sexual brush, due to which she feels like an imprisoned bird, and a bourgeois society whose benchmark of morality is based on a person's external appearances and environment and have no more space for internal standards of respectability.

This film not only tries to express the psychology of such complex nature but also tries to test the limit of the one's border of tolerance after which one could collapse and departs from one's own standard of morale and principles to save one's hard real life.

I very much like this film not only for its story (if you like, you could buy a Paper book novel of the same name from Hind Pocket Books and will have same profound effect if you read it), but also for sheer acting prowess of Sanjeev Kumar who as always gave his finest shot as Hamid and Rehana Sultana who, despite being a débutant in this film, beautifully characterized the role of restricting, stultifying and imprisoning Salma whose life as housewife was marred by the "Prostitute" label she got from the greedy neighborhood.

Another highlight of this film is its soul-touching songs which are, I think, is the finest creations of Madan Mohan Sahab's as a musician and Majrooh Sultanpuri's as lyricist, and Lata Mangeshkar's & Mohd. Rafi sahib's as singers. Because as you listen to each song you will literally feel the pain or pleasure of character for whom these songs were written. Whether the private moments of love through "Bainya Na Dharo"(don't hold my hand) and "Tumse Kahoon Ek Baat Paro Si" (Let me tell you a word as light as feather) or the silent cry of "Mai Ri Main Kaa Se Kahoon Peer" (Oh Mother ! who should i tell my pain) or the agony of a woman whose honor is bleeding, "Hum Hain Mataye Koocha Bazaar Ki Tarah" (We are like an item-on-sale in the street).

Moreover, Kamal Bose too had done a great job with its B/W cinematography. So the great Hrishikesh Mukherjee as Editor.

All in all I give it 10/10 for its traumatic yet beautiful story, excellent piece of work from a Rajinder Singh Bedi, unforgettable songs and more than impressive acting by its lead actors. I would highly recommend it if you like serious film.

Though it was way ahead of its time in treatment and statement explicitly, the film had very implicit meaning. Dastak is a classic in its own term.


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