Bewafa 1952

This post has been pending for a long time!!! I’m so glad that I’m finally writing it.  It was Raj Kapoor’s birth anniversary on the 14th and  I somehow managed to watch this movie but didnt have time to review it.

Raj Kapoor’s films dealt with diversified subjects which sometimes involved teenage romance , sometimes oppression of women and sometimes (or most of the times) corruption in the society. And no doubt  that all the movies of his (at least the ones that I have watched so far) were superb (Anari, Awara, Shree 420, Jaagte Raho, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Chhalia, Diwana to name a few). They had amazing actors, great story line, faboulous music and these are movies made to perfection (almost).  I like and respect Raj Kapoor as an actor and as a film-maker. But most of his movies are so socially awakening that they usually leave me morally (or should that be socially) depressed for days. Except for Chori Chori, I cant think of re-watching any of his other movies. And I usually have to prepare myself to bring myself to watch his movies.

After mentally preparing myself for more than a week I eventually watched this.

Roopa (Nargis) lives in a chawl with an alcoholic uncle (is that Siddiqui in the second screencap?).

He’s unemployed himself, sits at home and drinks the whole day. But he forces her to go out to work and earn money so that he can buy alcohol with it.

He mistreats her and literally beats her when she fails to get money. Everybody in the chawl is aware of Roopa’s fate. The children in the chawl enact the scene of Roopa’s uncle scolding her and punishing her on the streets where one becomes Roopa and another Roopa’s uncle. But it’s only Raj (Raj Kapoor), her neighbour who offers to help her. He even lends her some money when her uncle beats her and throws her out of the house saying she cant come back till she gets some money to buy alcohol for him.

Reluctantly she takes the money from him, unsure how and when she’ll be able to repay him. But he says he feels sorry for her for all that she has to go through and especially when he sees her dressed in rags. Also tells her that she doesn’t have to repay him. On a second thought he adds that she could come to his room and clean it up for him if she really wants to do something in return.

She feels so indebted that she lands up in his room the following morning to clean it. He is awed by her innocence and playfully sings Kaam haathon ka.

Her uncle keeps illtreating her so much that on one occasion when he throws her out of the house, she vows never to come back again and goes to kill herself.

But she realizes that she has never lived her life so she doesnt have the right to take it either (thankfully she realizes it on time and saves all the effort and trouble that hero would have had to go through otherwise to save her;-))

Innocent and unexposed to the outside world, she doesn’t know what to do or where to go. All that she knows is that she has to live and that she’s not returning back to the chawl. She just keeps walking aimlessly. Exhausted she sits under a street light, leans on the post and falls fast asleep.

She wakes up to find an artist’s easel infront of her.  And from behind the easel appears Ashok (Ashok Kumar), a painter who’s been making a portrait of her.

She’s scared first, then angry that he made her portrait without her consent. But when she sees the artist’s work and he promises to pay her Rs. 5 if she lets him complete it, she gives in. She agrees to be his model and accompanies him to his studio. He tries to make her sit in the same position and completes his painting.

And she…she’s more than happy to earn Rs. 5 for posing 🙂

Ashok is not a very successful artist himself.  He’s been painting for a long time but nobody ever cares to buy any of his work. And very predictably she becomes his lucky mascot. Once he starts making her portraits he gets his recognition as an artist, his work becomes popular and people start buying his paintings for thousands.

In the meantime he also teaches her how to read and write.

To celebrate his success Ashok throws a big party and Roopa (who’s been living in his house all this while and quite rich and popular herself now through his paintings) is his co-host. She looks gorgeous as she accompanies him all dressed up for her first public appearance.

Ashok’s looking so good here that I couldn’t resist myself from putting up this one!

Party without a song sounds so incomplete….so here comes the song, and that too quite a catchy one O tana derna tana mere dil mein aa jana. I wonder who this pretty lady (the one singing the song) is. Since she was dancing the whole time, I couldn’t get a clearer screencap, will have to check memsaab’s gallery for her name.

It’s so obvious that Ashok is in love with Roopa that everybody at the party keeps asking Ashok when he’s getting married. After the party when everybody leaves Ashok tells Roopa about it.

Ashok : Everyone was asking me when I am getting married.

Roopa : You are getting married?

Ashok : Yeah, I think I should. What do you say?

Roopa : I think so too. (After a pause) So when’s the wedding?

Ashok : You should be the one deciding the date.

Roopa : Me? You could have done it yourself and just informed me.

Poor Ashok, Roopa doesnt figure out that he’s asking her to marry him!

All’s well till now, but that’s just the first 40 minutes of the movie. Now comes the twist in the story. Raj re-enters Roopa’s life. He sits outside the wall (of Roopa’s  house), under a tree singing Tumko fursat ho expecting her to come out after she hears his voice while Roopa is swimming inside. But she doesn’t. So he jumps the wall and gets in.

She’s delighted to see him. She gets him introduced to Ashok and also asks Raj to stay back for dinner.

After dinner he sings Dil matwala and I fell in love with this song instantly. And I guess so did Roopa because she gets up the following morning singing it herself  Dil matwala (It’s the same song but tunes are different. Lata’s version is different from Talat’s).

The first time they meet Ashok senses that something’s wrong and doubts Raj’s intention. When he sees Raj trying to woo Roopa, followed by Roopa’s inclination towards him, Ashok warns Roopa to stay away from Raj. But all his efforts to do so prove in vain. Roopa is no longer interested in sitting still and posing for Ashok’s paintings. Half the time she waits for Raj to come and when he shows up, she leaves Ashok and his incomplete painting and leaves with Raj.

He takes her to a club one night. And oh god Roopa looks so beautiful and innocent.

Here we are treated to this lovely number Aa jao mere dilruba by another lovely lady (whose name I am yet to figure out).

By the way, I kind of like her outfit!

Coming back to the story, Roopa and Raj get pretty late that night. And Ashok scolds Roopa for coming home so late. He also points out that Raj is interested in her wealth and not in her. At this she promises Ashok that she will never see Raj again. So when Raj comes to meet her the following day she sends a word through her maid, Neeli (Neelam) saying she’s not at home. However, Raj sees her standing by the window seeing him leave. To convince her that his feelings for her are true, he sits almost all night singing Tu aaye na aaye teri khushi in the rain. This melts Roopa’s heart and she forgets all about her promise to Ashok.  She goes running to Raj and asks him to take her away with him.

He agrees to it and they fix a time. Raj is to come the following night at 10 and take her with him and go. Excited, she packs her things the whole day and is all set to leave. Ashok tries to convince her but she doesnt listen to him.  She goes outside the gate, sits on a bench and waits for Raj the whole night.

But unfortunately he doesnt turn up and she returns back home. Heart-broken and depressed she sings Ek baar jhalak dikhla ke hume . After a couple of days Raj turns up to apologize saying he’s extremely sorry that he couldn’t come that night to take her and begs her for one more chance. After a little bit of convincing she agrees. There’s nothing left for Ashok to say now. But Neeli, tells her that she’s making a mistake by trusting Raj again and pleads her not to go with him.

But Roopa has already made up her mind and this time Raj does come to take her. And she goes away with him.

She comes back home later on to find this painting.

Now, why does Roopa come back home again? What happens to Raj? Why is Raj’s character so mysterious? Is he really after Roopa’s wealth or is it just Ashok’s jealousy trying to create misunderstandings between them? What stopped Raj from coming that night, the first time they decide to leave Ashok’s house? Is Ashok really as good as he appears to be? And finally the million dollar question – who’s bewafa? Who betrays who?

Here, I take back my word – “Except for Chori Chori, I cant think of re-watching any of his other movies.” I wouldnt mind watching this movie again! What a power-packed performance, great songs (though I had never heard some of them before, I liked them a lot), and a good story with an apt title!

M.L. Anand’s direction, Akhtar Hussain’s story and  Sarshar Sailani’s dialogues were neither below the mark nor over the board. Music by A.R. Qureshi was pleasant and melodious, songs perfectly rendered by Talat, Lata, Shamshad Begum and Geeta Dutt and in situations and places where you expect them the most, pretty predictable.

I actually enjoyed watching this movie and wasn’t even depressed at the end of it (at least not as much as I had expected to)! May be that’s because it’s more of an emotional drama than a social. It has its own share of fun moments, romance, jealousy, competition, poverty, failure, innocence and betrayal. I would call it a complete package. And to top it all, it’s just 1 hour 46 mins long or should I say it’s just 1 hour 46 mins short? 😉

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7 Responses to “Bewafa 1952”

  1. dustedoff Says:

    Thank you for suggesting this one! Like you, I find most of Raj Kapoor’s films too depressing to merit a rewatch – and yes, for me too Chori Chori is the only RK film that I like watching again and again, mainly because it’s usually happy and doesn’t depress me. I’m off to find Bewafa now (how sad is it that every time I see a Raj Kapoor film in my DVD rental company’s catalogue, I pass it by because I don’t want to be depressed?)

  2. sunheriyaadein Says:

    Exactly, Chori Chori is so much fun and happy throughout. Same here, I had bigflix subscription for around 4 months but in those 4 months I never ordered for a RK movie. The rental guy who used to come home to deliver DVDs even asked me once – “Yun toh itne purane movies dekhte ho…aap Raj Kapoor ke movies nahin dekhte? Haven’t seen even a single movie of his in your queue.”
    Me : I have a DVD of Chori Chori . I watch that everytime I miss Raj ji 😉
    (It’s really sad that we generally tend to skip his movies. Have seen most of them as a kid, but still can’t think of rewatching them :-()
    I dont think I would have bought this one too. But I got three-in-one DVD and one of the movies was Chori Chori (the other two being Bewafa and Raat aur Din). Since this was the only movie in the DVD that I hadn’t watched before, I thought of giving it a try. And thankfully, it wasn’t too depressing 🙂

  3. bollywooddeewana Says:

    wow Poor daadi maa he always seemed to be the victim of such cases this looks like a must buy on my next dvd spree i’m hoping its available on dvd with subs. Regarding Raj i love his films but as you’ve pointed some like awaara, barsaat, shree 420 etc.. i would only watch once however i can watch Sangam over and over again. i haven’t seen the rest like jIS DESH, CHORI CHORI OR aNARI

  4. sunheriyaadein Says:

    It’s Dada mani (Daadi maa is grandma) 🙂
    When I wrote that I can’t think of re-watching Raj Kapoor’s movies, I was scared that I might offend someone. But feels good to have company 🙂
    I’m glad that I am not the only one who feels that way (with all due respect to his films and film-making).
    Please do watch it and let me know your take on it.

  5. dustedoff Says:

    I think he was a fine actor, and also a fine director… but I guess I’m one of those people who would much rather see something frivolous and not too sensible, as long as it’s happy! Which is why Raj Kapoor doesn’t quite make it to my list of must-watch people. And those Chaplin imitations get my goat!

    • sunheriyaadein Says:

      Totally agree….as long as it’s happy and frivolous it doesn’t matter even if it doesn’t make much sense. In the little free time I get I prefer watching movies that are fun and refreshing, not something that would make me sad.
      Oh yes, the Chaplin imitations…had it been to a certain extent in a movie or two I wouldnt mind so much, but I always find it go over the board in almost all his movies 😦

  6. My Tribute to Raj Kapoor « Bhooli Bisri Sunheri Yaadein Says:

    […] Dil matwala lakh sambhala (Bewafa, 1952) : This movie is one of my recent discoveries and I have fallen in love with this […]

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