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Jalwa (1955) – Review

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Shorey Films’ “Jalwa,” which was premiered at the Super Cinema and other theatres in Bombay on September 16th, 1955, has an impressive array of names in its cast and boasts some spectacular outdoor scenes taken on location in Patiala. But as an example of filmcraft, it is a deplorably poor production.

The story, reminiscent of every Hollywood and Indian Arabian Nights fantasy that has been made, is scripted clumsily, the narrative moving along the beaten track with interruptions by drably scored songs, trite lyrics and dances which are both trite and drab.

The theme revolves round the familiar figures of a prince who becomes powerless and a despotic dewan plotting to place his daughter on the throne. There are, too, the spirited village girl, who falls in love with the prince, a heroic young rebel and the people who are discontented and groan under the dewan’s tyrannies. In the end, the prince champions his subjects’ cause, destroys the dewan and marries the commoner, torch-bearer of the rebellion.

In spite of its hackneyed story, the film could have provided entertainment of some sort, had the director handled things with imagination. Unfortunately, this is a case of literally creaking direction, technique hoary with crude clitches, and situations obviously contrived. The tale could not be sadder.

The acting in the picture is on a par with the direction. With one brilliant exception— Hari Shivdasani—every player either hams outrageously or gawks miserably. Karan Dewan makes a gracious effort to look pretty, if not virile, mincing across the sets and tossing his shoulders with abandon. He contributes little to his role, which demands a hero’s demeanor and adventurous spirit.

Meena, in the role of the village belle who leads the revolt against the dewan, makes a brave display with coy glances, arch looks and pained expressions. They neither add to nor subtract from her ineffective performance.

Begum Para, in a poorly scripted and badly directed role, does as well as could be expected, but Amarnath, as the leader of the rebels, is ham from head to heel.

Production values in this picture are mediocre and the photography, which has proved ruinous to the dance which that talented Terpsichorean Roshan puts over, is drab and deplorable

Year – 1955

Language – Hindi

Country – India

Producer – Shorey Films

Director – Roop K. Shorey

Music Director – Vinod

Box-Office Status

Cast – Sunder, Rattan Kumar, Hari Shivdasani, Amarnath, Karan Dewan, Meena, Majnu, Begum Para, Jagdish Kanwal

Miscellaneous Information

Songs List

SongYearSingersMusic DirectorLyricist(s)
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