Miss Mala (1954)
Year – 1954
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Jayant Desai Productions
Director – Jayant Desai
Music Director – Chitragupta
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Kishore Kumar, Vaijayantimala, Jeevan, Samson, Umakant, Bipin Gupta, Neera, Satyanarayan, Agha, Manhar Desai
Miscellaneous Information –
Jayant Desai Productions’ “Miss Mala”, produced and directed by veteran movie maker Jayant Desai, was released in Bombay at the Swastik, Hindmata, Palace and other theatres simultaneously on March 14, 1954.
Starring the curvaceous, dancing lovely, Vyjayanthimala, in the title role, clearly written for her, with Kishore Kumar in the romantic lead opposite her and Jeevan and Bipin Gupta co-starred in important parts, the picture has Agha and Manhar Desai in brief appearances as guest artists and a competent supporting cast led by Samson, Neera, Umakant and Satyanarayan. Other credits
include music by Chitragupta, songs by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and Anjum Jaipuri, dialogues by Munshi Sagar Hussain and Ashkgari Seguin, photography by Saju Naik and choreography by Satyanarayan.
The story revolves round a young man with a guilt complex who believes he has murdered a famous psychiatrist and is in fact masquerading as the murdered man, a woman psychiatrist who sets out to cure the young man of his complex and falls in love with him, a benevolent elderly physician who helps her trace the real murderer, and the murderer who is also a psychiatrist and commits the crime to prevent his famous rival from displacing him as the head of the clinic where he and the woman are employed.
These characters and the story line are taken from the famous Hitchcock thriller, “Spellbound.” But beyond that fact, there is no resemblance and certainly no comparison between “Miss Mala” and “Spellbound.” The latter was a masterpiece of dramatic art loaded with suspense, a brilliant study of the neurotic mind. “Miss Mala” is merely a musical comedy in which the bare thread of the narrative is used for a string on which to thread a series of song-and-dance numbers, ballets, ensembles and duets.
Looked at in this light, “Miss Mala” is a good musical with many sparkling ensembles. In any other light, it becomes absurd. What Mr. Jayant Desai wanted to do was to make a musical comedy for a star with the talent, grace and personality of Vyjayanthimala. That he has done.
If the South Indian beauty is utterly farcical as a psychiatrist, there is no question but that she dances divinely, that the numbers in which she displays her talent, charm and personality are utterly delightful, and that the songs, hers as well as Kishore’s, make grand entertainment for the filmgoers who flock to the picture for just that purpose. Between them, they constitute all the entertainment there is in the picture, and there is a right good load of it.
Bipin Gupta and Jeevan are excellent in quite sharply drawn roles, and so is every member of the huge supporting cast.
In the matter of production values, the photography is good, the music score excellent and the songs delightful. The choreography is superb, specially in that lovely impressionist piece in which Vyjayanthimala gives such a vivid picture of a forest fawn slain by a hunter, and the dancing throughout is very beautiful.
The direction is crisp enough in the presentation of the song, dance and spectacle.