Sone Ki Chidiya (1958) Poster

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The naive golden bird and the exploitative world
jmathur_swayamprabha27 June 2014
Sone Ki Chidiya (1958) is a cinematic adaptation of a story of eminent Urdu authoress - Ismat Chugtaai. This brilliant movie, despite certain deficiencies and minuses, is a classic piece of art. It pinches you, it pains you, it moves you and make you relate to it if you are also a sufferer in the hands of the exploitative world around you. It's an eye-opener for every talented person who is unfortunately surrounded by the selfish who are interested in exploiting his / her talent to fill their own pockets and nothing else.

Sone Ki Chidiya (golden bird) is the term used for its protagonist - Lakshmi (Nutan) who is an orphan girl whose guardians throw her into the house of another distant relative whose wife treats her as a maid-servant whereas the alcoholic and gambler younger son tries to sell her to his creditor against his debt. Fortunately her talent comes to the fore and she gets a movie contract and becomes a film-heroine. Then all of a sudden, this unwanted girl becomes a Sone Ki Chidiya (golden bird) for this greedy family in which but for her sensitive uncle, everybody is after her earning only. However being quite naive and sensitive by nature, she does not mind giving her earnings to them only without keeping anything for her. However being a young girl, she is also starving for the love of opposite sex and wants to tie the sacred knot with a suitable boy which is, quite naturally, not acceptable to her 'family' members who can't afford their golden bird to fly away.

An ambitious youth named as Amar (Talat Mahmood) enters her life and she falls in love with him under an expectation that he'll marry her but soon she comes to understand that she's only a ladder for him to become a hero in movies and build a glamorous and lucrative career through her. After seeing his real face, utterly disappointed and lonely Lakshmi decides to end her life but a song authored and being sung at that moment by a poet Shreekaant (Balraaj Saahmi) stops her from taking that extreme step. Shreekaant does not know her because he's not fond of movies but she knows him due to being the fan of his poetry. Both come close and Lakshmi suddenly starts feeling that she's ascertained her final destination, i.e., being the life-partner of Shreekaant who is a man of principles and definitely not after her wealth and earning capacity. But still certain shocks and twists of destiny are there in store for her. However the movie ends on a happy note with this golden bird (Sone Ki Chidiya) flying away in the free air with the love of her life, breaking open the cage of vested interests and greedy ones which had kept her captive hitherto.

The story is a highly touching one all the same, baring the harsh reality of the selfish world. The message given by the so-called matured elders to the innocent children is - 'live for others' but the poor child who learns to live for others finds himself (or herself) as the biggest sufferer in life with everybody taking advantage of him (or her). Not only in that era but even today, this world appears to be meant for only those who know how to use others and the poor ones who do not know it are reduced to the used and exploited ones only with the cunning ones usurping all the rewards of their toil and talent.

The movie highlights the exploitation of the junior artists in the film-industry. The filmmaker has very skilfully and realistically highlighted that the major part of the budget of the lavishly made movies is usurped by the starts signed for them only and that's why the hard-working major chunk of the unit barely gets its due. This true even today also with the stars being paid in billions and the hard-working cast working without any limelight not being paid enough to lead a reasonable life.

Despite being written by the bold authoress who was always ahead of her time, this story could not escape male-chauvinism. Shreekaant misunderstands Lakshmi when he comes to know of her identity without trying to see her point of view. In the end, he is shown as sacrificing his love for the sake of others' good but firstly, his love for Lakshmi has never been shown as passionate as Lakshmi's love for him and secondly, he had no right to sell her sentiments and leave her alone in the stinky, suffocating environment for whatsoever noble purpose. Sacrifice is genuine only when it adversely affects self and not when it adversely affects some other one.

O.P Nayyar has composed very good music with the help of damn good lyrics. The great inspiring song of Mohammed Rafi - Raat Bhar Ka Mehmaan Andhera, Kiske Roke Ruka Hai Savera is the best song which has been authored by the great Shaayar Saahir Ludhiyanvi.

Sone Ki Chidiya is one of the best performances delivered by Nutan in her illustrious acting career. She is the heart and soul of this movie and the title is meant for her only. Hers is the performance of a lifetime which remains with the audience forever. The ever-dependable Balraaj Saahni has performed according to her reputation. Talat Mahmood as the gold-digging fake-lover has been less natural, more theatrical.

This classic black and white movie is meant for all those who are fond of meaningful cinema.
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