Director: V. Shantaram; Writer: A. Bhaskarrao, Anant Kanekar; Cinematographer: V. Avadhoot; Editor: A. R. Shaikh; Cast: Shahu Modak, Shanta Hublikar, Bai Sundarabai, Buasaheb, Ram Marathe, Master Chhotu, Gauri, Manju, Narmada Shankar, Ganpatrao, Raja Paranjpe, Manajirao
Duration: 02:26:25; Aspect Ratio: 1.333:1; Hue: 87.097; Saturation: 0.000; Lightness: 0.263; Volume: 0.213; Cuts per Minute: 9.595; Words per Minute: 50.402
Shantaram's classic adaptation of the Kammerspiel style is a love tragedy featuring a policeman, Ganpat [M] / Moti [H] (Modak) and a prostitute, Maina [M] / Kesari [H] (Hublikar). Ganpat saves Maina from a police raid on a brothel and they fall in love. Her reputation and sense of guilt resist his attempts to rehabilitate her. Ganpat's respectable middle-class mother (Sundarbai) symbolises all that Maina would like to be, but she is arrested for murdering her evil uncle and refuses Ganpat's offer to release her from prison. The film ends on a falsely positive tone set to the rhythm of marching policemen. The film is shot entirely on sets including street corners, alleys, corridors, etc., and consists mainly of night scenes often in heavy shadows. The only location sequence is the film's romantic duet (Hum premi premnagar mein jaayen
) as the loving couple blunder on to a film set. Shantaram uses the occasion to include a surprising spoof on the Bombay Talkie style of cinema: hero and heroine sit by a tree in a posture similar to Ashok Kumar and Devika Rani in the Main ban ka panchhi
song of Achhut Kanya (1936)
, after which the Anglo-Indian heroine, who speaks and sings with an English accent, throws off her sari to walk away in Western dress. Shantaram deploys the expressionist technique of making physical spaces represent mental states, perhaps because Modak and Hublikar use a fairly restrained gestural repertoire rare in Shantaram's work. The film's classic number Ab kis liye kal ki baat
(Hublikar's seduction number) is also a kind of spoof set in five different languages (Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Gujarati and Punjabi in addition to its Marathi/Hindi refrain) alluding to familiar stereotypes from the corresponding film centres. There were suggestions that the plot was borrowed from Robert Sherwood's Waterloo Bridge
(James Whale, 1931).