To procrastinate in my job search yesterday afternoon, I walked over to 74h Street in Jackson Heights and bought a movie at the Golden Hits Bollywood store. The movie is Shree 420… And what a perfect movie it was for me to see!
The movie opens with the main character, Raj (played by Raj Kapoor), heading to Bombay to look for a job, dressed in ragged clothes with his possessions in a sack that he’s carrying over his shoulder on a stick. During his futile search for work, he sometimes takes his Bachelor’s degree out of his jacket pocket, to show people that he’s educated. But it doesn’t do him much good.
Unable to afford a place to stay, he joins a homeless community sleeping on the pavement in front of the mansion of a crooked rich businessman. Eventually, Raj gets a job in a laundromat and also meets a schoolteacher with whom he falls in love. But he is still plagued by poverty, as is his beloved schoolteacher. (She is not as poor as he is, but she is struggling quite a bit, as is the school.) And when Raj thinks of his condition, he ponders how much he simply cannot afford to get married and raise a family.
But then his luck changes. Through some trick that he’s good at (which I won’t reveal here), he happens to fall in with the crowd of the crooked rich businessman – a fate that seems to provide his long-sought exit out of poverty…
Here’s a great scene that occurs when he visits the homeless community later and feels a tugging at his heart for the love and friendship of the honest people whom he’s abandoned:
P.S. I guess I should mention that Smarnika in my Prodigies post was playing a song from this movie too. Actually, I wanted to let a lot of people recognize that. I was very familiar with the soundtrack and song and dance clips too; the music comes from the fine team of Shankar Jaikishan. But this was the first time I had a chance to sit and watch the whole movie through, with subtitles.
P.P.S. There was a very nice review of this movie written last year by the Filmi Geek.