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Dastaan (1950) – Review


Musical Pictures Limited’s presentation Dastaan directed by Mr. A.R. Kardar from a story by Mr. Bannerji with music by Mr. Naushad, is a veritable dynamo of pulse pounding, heart throbbing drama. In comparison to the weak, feeble and semi-tottering results of cramped intelligence and doddering minds, as evident in some recent pictures Mr. Kardar’s Dastaan is a dynamic picture, possessing all the power, and the force of the roaring deep and the magnificent might of a colossus. From the bubbling, hilarious gaiety, which is sprinkled generously in the first half of the picture, the story swings on to swift action spurred on to gain momentum with every passing footage.

Dastaan is obviously inspired from Samuel Goldwyn’s story of love and suffering, Enchantment. The broken dreams of love’s awakening, the scattered pieces of young hopes, the shattered fragments of faith sublime is the sizzling current charged through every breath-taking moment of this well produced picture. Brilliant direction, superb performance and excellent production values all fused together succeed in creating a dramatic thunderbolt.

Though the characters and earlier sequences are taken freely from Enchantment yet Mr. Kardar has, to a great extent molded the delicate texture of the original material to fit into the Indian background. The master’s touch is most prominently conspicuous as every unfolding scene reveals an enchanting panorama of charm and delight – a fleeting landscape of human passion bared to the naked eye by the sheer brilliance of the histrionic talents of the artistes and Mr. Kardar’s vigorous and virile direction. Seeing Dastaan after an unending stretch of dry insipid pictures is like coming across a merry, sparkling fountain after experiencing the torrid heat and maddening glare of blazing sun. To a parched, weary traveler in the arid desert an oasis is God-send, to the critics and the public, who have day in and day out seen some decayed stuff of our industry, Dastaan is a healthy, soothing remedy to the highly strung nerves.

There are of course a few niches in this well constructed story – a few ungainly nooks and corners that mar but superficially, the perfect symmetry and faultless proportions of an artistic piece of creation. But fortunately they are so tiny and insignificant that they are hidden away in the surrounding brilliance. The sudden departure of the older brother, played by Mr. Al Nasir from the house when a word of explanation could have straightened out the misunderstanding was too flimsy to be convincing. Even his own explanation for this act offered to his brother later on in the hospital was utterly lame and ambiguous. The accident of Raj, the younger brother, was yet another sequence which appeared like an artificial bead in a string of faultless purity. But as I have said before, they must not be weighed against the innumerable commendable qualities of the picture.

The unchecked fury of drama really springs from the character of the aristocratic, haughty sister, whose iron will, ruthless mind and cruel determination wreck other happy lives, twist their joys, blight their hopes and shatter their fine and cherished world. Veena puts over the role of this proud, defiant woman with an ability which really astounded me. She brings into life the spirit of grim, sordid, obstinacy verging to hate, which cleaves and slashes its way with relentless persistence, the unbending hauteur, the scorn and the flash of anger and contempt. In Dastaan Veena’s was the best work of the picture and the greatest role of her career.

Raj Kapoor, as the younger brother, is presented to us in a new type of role altogether. Hitherto we had known him as a sorrow stricken, sobbing, frustrated lover; here he is presented to us, a sparkling, prank playing carefree lad. As a comedian and mimic, Raj raises himself to the caliber of Danny Kaye.

As for Suresh and Al Nasir, our milk sop heroes, the word is ham.

Suraiya as the unfortunate orphan and a victim of a cruel fate looks extremely coy, sweet and lovable.

Naushad’s orchestral compositions were extremely delightful. A couple of songs were well tuned though the rest were odd mixtures of Samba, Rhumbas, and Fox Trots. To a great extent the credit also goes to Dwarkadas Divecha for wonderful photography.

Dastaan is definitely an unmissable picture and must seen on the list.

Year – 1950

Language – Hindi

Country – India

Producer – Musical Pictures

Director – A. R. Kardar

Music Director – Naushad

Box-Office Status

Cast – Pratima Devi, Raj Kapoor, Al Nasir, Murad, Suraiya, Veena, Suresh, Shakila

Miscellaneous Information – Not Available.

Songs List

SongYearSingersMusic DirectorLyricist(s)
Aaya mere dil mein tu1950SuraiyaNaushad
Ae shama tu bata1950SuraiyaNaushad
dhadak dhadak dil1950Mohd Rafi, SuraiyaNaushad
dil ko teri tasveer se1950Mohd Rafi, SuraiyaNaushad
Mohabbat badha kar juda ho gaye1950SuraiyaNaushad
Naam tera hai zuban par1950SuraiyaNaushad
Nainoun mein preet hai1950SuraiyaNaushad
tarari tarari,yeh sawan rut1950Mohd Rafi, SuraiyaNaushad
Yeh mausam aur yeh tanhai1950SuraiyaNaushad
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