Krishan Chopra, who made his debut as a sensitive, artistic director in “Heera Moti” which won awards in India and abroad, does better still in “Char Diwari” — but only as a director.
As a writer he fumbles, for “Char Diwari” has anything but the smooth screenplay that “Heera Moti,” based on Premchand’s story, had. As a director he has his moments of triumph in several sequences, notably the delicately-handled bridal scene and the poignant sequence in which the mother breathes her last.
In these sequences Chopra shows his scorn for the cheap tricks of the trade. Yet, despite his valiant attempt to fulfill the mission of the cinema, this sensitive film maker has at several places compromised with the gods of the box-office. The title music gives the impression of the film being an action-packed crime thriller and there are the patchy sequences in which Manmohan Krishna romps about with children and sings a rollicking song. They are quite out of place in this realistic film. In his anxiety to meet box-office demands, Chopra seems to perform a veritable somersault.
On the whole, the performances, helped by the direction and the apt dialogue, are satisfying. Nanda, as the wife who turns the four walls of the house into a home, puts over a memorable performance. It is perhaps the best of her career so far. Shashi Kapoor, the youngest of the Kapoors, gives a sterling performance. This is his debut as a leading man, but he proves that he has an individual style and personality, while his histrionic talent is undoubtedly of a high order. Among the others in the cast, Leela Chitnis, the scintillating newcomer Neena and the child star Raja are competent performers. One of the dark spots which leaves a bad impression is the boy who portrays the loon who betrays Neena.
The music is pleasing and the lyrics are in tune with the mood of the film.
In spite of its faults, “Char Diwari” is a bold and laudable venture, a valuable contribution to the art of film making in India.
Year – 1961
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Chhaya Dhwani
Director – Krishan Chopra
Music Director – Salil Choudhry
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Leela Chitnis, Laxmi, Shashi Kapoor, Nanda, Manmohan Krishna, Satish Vyas, Pravin Paul
Miscellaneous Information –