Year – 1952
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Filmistan
Director – D. D. Kashyap
Music Director – Basant Prakash
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Prabhu Dayal, Sheila Ramani, Balraj Sahni, Shyama, Ulhas, Narendra Kumar, Jankidas, Pappu, Murad
Miscellaneous Info – Sheila Ramani’s debut film.
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“BADNAM” is a film set against the exquisitely beautiful background of the Kulu Valley. The outdoor sequences, the colorful costumes of the mountain people, the gorgeous canvas on which this story is sketched is a thing of sheer loveliness that casts an enchanting spell over the audience.
But there the superlatives must end. For “Badnam” is a picture that lacks character. It tells the usual story of love and hatred with a sprinkling of mystery and comedy, with a sophisticated schoolteacher as the central figure and a rich, elegantly-dressed Dewan as the gentleman criminal. Seeing the film, you get the feeling that the mountains and their inhabitants do not form an integral part of the story; they are there merely to give a publicity handle to the picture and attract crowds.
The characters in this picture talk and behave and act in a most unnatural fashion in some of the sequences. Those of us who saw “Sohag Raat”, Kidar Sharma’s classic film about the people of the Kulu Valley, would in vain try to find in the film under review the note which distinguishes an idyllic love story and is absent from a sophisticated romance.
The film is well-directed and it is after a long time that director Kashyap is seen at his best. At places, his brilliant touches lift the film to the realm of realism. Supported by a more daring and unconventional screenplay, he could have molded it into a rare cinematic gem.
“Badnam” is also a well-acted film. But in many sequences Balraj Sahni, who plays the second major role of his career in this film, shows mannerisms which remind us of his portrayal of a frustrated young man in “Hum Log”. This is most unfortunate, for in “Badnam” he is most of the time a romantic, happy-go-lucky young schoolteacher, Balraj Sahni’s age is against him and the long-winded speeches he is made to utter do much to detract from the good points of his role. Shyama is good in her goody-goody role. Both Ullhas, in the role of a sturdy father, and Murad, as the gentleman criminal treating everyone taciturnly and correctly, put over convincing performances. Sheila Kewal Ramani is slightly disappointing, but the fault lies in the casting. A new artiste like her should not have been given so difficult a role. However, considering that this is her first assignment, she certainly shows promise and may be expected to do better in future. Histrionic honors are undoubtedly stolen by the child artiste, Papoo, who lights up the entire picture with his ebullience.
Probably, the biggest drawback in the film is its musical score. In a love story the music should dominate the film. Except for a couple of pieces, the music in this film is not impressive. One of the compositions is reminiscent of the theme song “Ayega aanewala” in “Mahal” and another makes a futile effort to create the atmosphere of the opening song in “Rattan”.