Haar Jeet (1954) – Review
Year – 1954
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Filmkraft
Director – Jaggi Rampal
Music Director – S. D. Batish
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Sunder, Suresh, Shyama, Hiralal, Madan Puri, Manorama, Shyamlal
Miscellaneous Information –
FilmCraft’s “Haar Jeet”, produced by G.A. Thakur and directed by Jaggi Rampal, which was premiered in Bombay at the Swastik and other cinemas on June 11th, 1954, had a good theme, with potential enough to make an absorbing picture. But poor characterization, naive and amateurish direction and artificial treatment have combined to defeat the proper development of that theme. The result is that “Haar Jeet” is more “Haar” (loss) than “Jeet” (gain) and that goes as much for the audience as it does for the production itself.
The atmosphere is never established, not in the degree it should be to make the characters. their actions and behavior understandable in a drama so dependent as this is upon the psychology of three of its principal characters, one of whom, Dr. Behari, is a physician and a hypnotist.
He lives in the house of his millionaire brother and is driven by an overpowering lust for wealth to thoughts of murder because of a growing pile of debts. One is never told how he comes to incur the debts.
The doctor is the central character round which the picture and story revolve. He is shown making use of his hypnotic power to get his brother’s daughter Nalini under his control so that he can get her married to a rascally confederate of his, whom he introduces into the family as Prince Balraj.
Under his spell Nalini actually goes through the betrothal ceremony with a show of pleasure, sharing in the gaiety of the occasion. On the other hand, she is also shown growing suspicious of her uncle in scenes that follow. She refuses to marry the phoney Prince, and when her father insists, she runs away to Bombay, where she finds shelter with a young woman friend.
Nalini accidentally encounters a young man named Rajan and his friend Balam. Rajan falls in love with her. There are glimpses of a phoney Academy for Acting, where the lovers meet. But how that academy comes into existence, how it is managed and how the hero gets into it as a teacher of dramatic art one doesn’t quite know. In some comically unreal scenes she is selected to play the heroine in a film and Rajan is cast opposite her as the hero, presumably to enable the romance to develop.
The romance is interrupted, however, by the wicked uncle who turns up at this point with his bogus Prince Balraj, in search of Nalini, hypnotizes her and takes her back home.
In the final sequence, the doctor, desperate to get his hands on the money and pressed by his confederate, takes to violence and almost succeeds in getting what he desires, when Rajan and Balam burst in with the police to defeat him. He meets a condign end by falling off the roof and is killed. The film ends there.
Poor motivation, perfunctory treatment and utterly naive direction rob the narrative of all conviction despite some good acting by the cast. Hiralal puts over quite a convincing portrayal of the villainous Dr. Behari. Shyamlal is good as the millionaire brother, and so is Madanpuri, despite occasional touches of artificiality, as the polished rogue Balraj. Sunder manages to have a few bright moments.
Manorama, who is quite a good actress, is wasted in another very poorly written and badly directed role. Suresh is disappointingly dull and tame in the romantic role of Rajan. Shyama, who looks quite attractive, does her best.
The sets are realistic. The photography is mediocre and seems to have suffered a lot from indifferent laboratory work. The editor has not been able to give the film the requisite consistency in narration.
The music is depressingly drab and the unpoetic lyrics set to dull melodies are poorly sung.