Some films in past have had all the potential to become a classic in true sense but failed somewhere due to certain loop holes or improper treatment to the script . Hanste Zakhm is one such film in my opinion which could have well been made into a real "timeless" classic film but the director Chetan Anand failed to do so. He had a really nice story that could have been well made into a good film with great performances . The story which was by Gulshan Nanda might largely look like a typical hindi masala film of those days but still it had something different from the other such films . The film has all the typical elements of a masala film like a willian (Jeevan in this case) , a wamp (achala sachdeva), a rich dad and a dad with principles , two friends cum sisters who get separated because of fate and a poor girl who is a victim of circumstances who eventually falls in love with the rich son of the rich dad . So the question arises that what is different .
Well , the answer to that question lies in the primary love angle that exists in the film . There is nothing new about a love story between a prostitute and a rich guy but in this film what impressed me was the certain level of honesty with which the whole love story was treated . One does empathise for the girl who suffers from a terrible turn of events and becomes a prostitute . She has no memory of her parents but she still has a faint memory of her loving dad who always cried out of joy whenever he met her . This character of hers was written in a real honest and fine way but what lacked was the acting performance by Priya Rajvansh . She acted really terribly and was good only in very few parts . She had some really fine lines that would have become legendary if someone like Meena Kumari would have delivered them . She just didn't have the talent to perform such a tough role and even her diction was bad which is of primary importance when you are delivering philosophical shayaris as dialogues .
Some dialogues of hers were really good and even certain scenes from the film are just great . The scene where she gets instructed by the Police Man (Balraj Sahni ; who is also her Father that she doesn't recognise) to live an ordinary life and leave the world of prostitution . She replies to him that how can she live an ordinary life and who would marry her or accept her as daughter . She delivers this fine Shayari that I really liked and it made me write this entire post just so that I could quote it . It goes something like this :
"Dikhate Hai Sab door se Raasta ,
Koi do kadam saath chalta nahi,
Jalaati hai duniya to jalte hai dil ,
Koi apni marzi se jalta nahi ... "
It really goes well at that moment when her own estranged dad suggests her to leave prostitution . Priya Rajvansh just didn't do justice to this and many such lines that she delivers . She acted the whole part in a very below average manner and in certain parts she almost looked like a zombie who has no idea what she is doing . But still , even though she acted really badly I still loved the whole love stroy between her and Navin Nishchol who didn't act as bad as her and did a fair bit of job himself .
Apart from the fine lines, what worked for me were the haunting melodies of Madan Mohan in the film's music . The best song from the film is no doubt "Tum Jo Mil Gaye Ho , to yeh lagta hai , ke jahaan mil gaya .." . The song has nice symphonic melody in it which is one of Madan Mohan's best for sure . I've not heard a lot of him but I can still say that this was and is for sure one of his all-time best . This song is a really different kinda track and sometimes such tracks give an eerie feeling as if they have something in themselves . It is haunting and is great . This track has also been sung beautifully by the great Md. Rafi himself who does a great job as usual . The reason I wrote almost a paragraph about the song itself is beacause it is that important to the film . It is during this song that one can really feel the passion with which the main characters love each other . This song has also been shot in really different way . Not only the song has a psychological angle to it but even the way it has been shot gives a strange feeling . It is shot in heavy rains and it shows Mumbai by night . A little strange but a beautiful track that leaves a lasting impression both visually and even music-wise .
There are also several other beautiful tracks like "Betaab Dil Ki Yeh Tamanna.." which is another classic from the film . Then there is also the famous qawwali , "Yeh Maana meri jaan, mohabbat saja hai, maza is mein itna magar kisliye hai.." . All these hit tracks have been written by Kaifi Azmi who had done a brilliant job . The music is also legendary by the legend himself , Madan Mohan .
Amongst the acting performances , the only acting performance that I really liked was that of Balraj Sahni's who is the father and a police inspector who gets caught between emotions and his duty . His was a very real and mature performance . Apart from him all other acters acted typical of their time and nothing impresses that much .
Warning ; a spoiler is ahead regarding the end . Skip this para if you don't want to know it .
It is also one of the few films where the leading lady in the film dies in the end . Her death sequence has also been done in a good way and the predicament of Balraj's character who loses her own daughter for the sake of his duty is really heart wrenching . A very brave but also a bit obvious ending to the film .
In all , it is a not exactly a typical masala film of those days but still has majority of elements of that type of cinema in it . Still , I would recommend the film because of the following three main reasons :
* The love story part and the honesty in it .
* The great and almost legendary music of Madan Mohan and lyrics of Kaifi Azmi .
* The acting performance of Balraj Sahni .
It could well have been made into a classic film if the director would have avoided certain cliche sequences and had casted some good actors in it .But I would still appreciate the way Chetan treated it in a still different way than what most films were in those days . It is a film from 1973 so one needs to watch the film keeping films of those times in perspective . I would love to re-make this one keeping the original music (a modern day version of it with some changes) and I guess a lot many like me would have thought of it already ... :)