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Moti Mahal (1952) – Review

Moti Mahal (1952)
N/A|Fantasy, Drama, Mystery|N/A
Rating: Metascore: N/A

IF Bob Hope ever comes to India and sees to what lengths his film “The Cat and the Canary” has been plagiarized and made in Hindi under the title “Moti Mahal”, he would howl with laughter at the childish attempts of our producers to imitate foreign films.

In “Moti Mahal” the opening scenes create something of the atmosphere witnessed in earlier Indian mystery films like “Mahal” and “Nagina” and the audience settle down to enjoy what promises to be an excellent spine-chiller. However, nothing but disappointment is in store for them. The mystery film turns into a listless romance with the innocent hero framed on a murder charge and meeting the heroine whose motor-car fails obligingly in order to give them the opportunity of introducing themselves to each other and provide the former with a means of escape from the police. The song that Suraiya sings while repairing her car is one of the silliest pieces of film music this reviewer has heard in a decade of seeing and reviewing films.

Probably the writer of this celluloid thriller has never read the works of authors like Agatha Christie, otherwise he would have understood the simple fact that the beauty of a mystery story lies in the identity of the criminal being cleverly hidden till the last scene. In this film, looking for the motive of crime, we have the mysterious abduction of a rich man’s son and it is obvious that the only person who can gain from the child’s disappearance is his half-brother. Once the audience guess this, the story loses its suspense.

The picture is poorly edited, photographed, directed, acted and burdened with a poor musical score. Good performances are turned in by Shreenath in the role of the police inspector and Veera as the maid-servant. After seeing the film, one is left with the conviction that it would have been improved vastly, had these two artistes been cast in the main roles. The wooden-faced Ajit has largely himself to thank for his failure as hero, while Suraiya’s talents have been wasted entirely by the director and the writer of this screenplay. Suraiya, a singing- star in her own right, is a double disappointment for even her songs for once fail to attract and the blame for this must be laid at the doors of the music-director, Hansraj Behl, and the lyricists.

“Moti Mahal” suffers from a weak screenplay. The chain of incidents is so artificially linked that the whole thing becomes a farce. The chase sequences in which the hero Shekhar escapes from the police show lack of directorial imagination. The pursuit occurs amidst solitude and quiet, with two perfectly harmless policemen chasing the hero in and out of empty streets with not a single passer-by in evidence.

The film is a departure from the usual sentimental tear-jerkers that have flooded the cinemas in the country in the last six months. It is a change—but for the worse. For what could have been turned into a thrilling crime story is reduced by mediocre direction to a film much below average. It is little short of 14.000 feet of boredom.

Year – 1952

Language – Hindi

Country – India

Producer – Nigaristan Films

Director – Ravindra Dave

Music Director – Hansraj Behl

Box-Office Status

Cast – Ajit, Veera, Suraiya, Jeevan, Tabassum, Satish, Rattan Kumar

Miscellaneous Information – Not Available.

Songs List

SongYearSingersMusic DirectorLyricist(s)
Are kaun desh se laya re1952Shamshad Begum, DevendraHansraj Behl
Chhee chee rona kaam hai1952Suraiya, Shamshad BegumHansraj Behl
Dekh meri ada hue lakhon fida1952Shamshad BegumHansraj Behl
Jayega jab yahanse kuch bhi na saath hoga1952Mohd Rafi, Madhubala ZaveriHansraj Behl
Kabhi na bigde kisi ki motor1952SuraiyaHansraj Behl
Kismat ne humein rone ke liye duniya mein akela chhod ,1952SuraiyaHansraj Behl
Koi laakh kahey aisa waisa1952SuraiyaHansraj Behl
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