When Ranjit made Jogan, the critics and the public gasped in wonder, not only as it’s breath taking beauty and it’s soul stirring saga, but also at the indisputable fact that it was Ranjit that had made it. We were all carried away in an over whelming tide of enthusiastic applause and admiration to discover that Ranjit had at last turned over a new leaf; we were on an edge of anxious expectation awaiting with eager delight and keen anticipation a further opening of new chapters in the Ranjit history.
But hopes are far removed from certainties and dreams from reality. A blinding flash of lightning which dazzlingly illuminates the darkness all round is always of a fleeting instant hurling the landscape into a still greater darkness. Jogan was such a flash, Madhubala is that deep and dark blackness. The rich harvest of mind in Jogan is sadly beggared in Madhubala, the sharp edge of imagination is blunted and in place of high ideals and lofty aims of Jogan, which soared triumphantly like an eagle into space, we have in Madhubala the lethargic indifference of an indolent cow which refuses even to get up on it’s feet.
I do not think it fair to blame Mr. Chandulal Shah for the mistakes of others. I am certain that when Mr. Shah selected the subject of Madhubala he did it with the hope of making it a worthy successor to Jogan. I am inclined to this belief in view of the original story idea which possessed every ingredient of a heartwarming story, sizzling with an electrifying drama. The basic material afforded a full scope of developing it into a screenplay of thundering episodes sweeping onward into the crescendo of a terrific climax. It is a story of rich girl living a fast existence because she has no aim in life, a mere drifting spar on the fast eddying current of life, swept on to an untimely end who suddenly finds peace and purpose and the desire to live in the love of an honest man. This is the basic theme. In full justice to Mr. Shah I must state that he did his job well. Where unfortunately he failed was to hand over the picture to Mr. Prahlad Dutt. In this too he may not be fully to be blamed since he has limited directors at his command and Mr. Dutt happens to be on the company’s permanent pay roll.
Mr. Prahlad Dutt is the gentleman who wielded the megaphone and created the super colossal failure Shirin Farhad. Not satisfied with his deplorable feat he crowned himself the king of clowns by making an antiquated but according to one eminent critic a “honey” of a picture. According to some it may have had “honey”, but to me it had the sting of a bee. That such a man, who does not possess the the basic requirements of a sensible director, should have been entrusted with the material in Madhubala is very lamentable indeed. That what I say is correct is evident from what has been finally made of Madhubala.
Under Mr. Prahlad Dutt’s slow stupid and inane direction, Madhubala loses all coherency and logic. It stumbles forward in a clumsy manner till you lose all patience with it and curse under your breath every minute of the two hours.
Here are a few instances of irrelevancies in the depiction of human nature and inconsistency in logic.
Madhubala is a rich city girl, well-bred, cultured and educated, who has fluttering around her like moths a host of love sick admirers. But Madhubala prefers to fall in love with a fruit seller who does not possess any qualities to appeal to the susceptible heart of a beautiful girl. Of course he looks handsome in a sort of a sleepy hangdog manner. He is boorish, ill-mannered and of a highly inflammable temper. If he is educated (which is not clarified) then he belies that by his senile behavior. And Mr. Dutt would have us believe that a modern sophisticated girl of discriminating tastes falls head over heels into the deep throes of love for him just after she has heard him singing a song and seen him behaving like a wild boar.
Another illustration of the stupendous imposition on the sanity of the spectators is evident in the fact that though twice the doctors had given up all hopes for her life yet both those times she managed to transform herself into a healthy, blooming girl because of her inexplicable love for her uncouth fruit seller. This constant hovering between the shadows of death and the light of life would be sufficient to send even God’s messenger of death into a mad hysteria. There are numerous implausible situations like the hero throwing money to Madhubala in the theater in front of the audience and the connived accident that blinds him.
It really hurts me to think that a beautiful theme should have been so gruesomely murdered in cold blood. Mr. Dutt has thrown cold water over the burning fires of an impassioned story till not even the slightest glow of drama remains. The flow of the story is disjointed and continuity of events and sequence is lamentably absent.
Nothing more remains for me to say about the direction of Mr. Prahlad Dutt. But I repeat again that if Madhubala is a poor picture it is not despite Mr. Dutt but because of him.
Madhubala as Madhubala gave a sparkling and a vibrant performance. Dev Anand as the fruit seller had a sheep’s expression constantly on his face and behaved like one throughout the picture. Jeevan and Randhir were very far from good.
Music by one Mr. Lachhiram was nondescript through the lyrics by Mr. Bharat Vyas were well composed.
Technically, Madhubala was slightly above the average.
Unfortunately inspite of a very good story idea Madhubala remains a very poor picture,
Year – 1950
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Ranjit Film Company
Director – Pralhad Dutt
Music Director – Lachhiram
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Madhubala, Jeevan, Randhir, Ramesh Talwar, Ram Avtaar, Banke Bihari, Manju, Dev Anand
Miscellaneous Information –