The fact that a surging mass of humanity is to be found at the box office to claim the refund, during the interval on their tickets is in itself a sufficient commentary on the merit of Nirala. The tongue in the cheek impudence with which its producers and distributors made this audacious but foolhardy offer has acted like a boomerang and recoiled on their own heads. The cause for such disastrous consequences is not far to seek, for Nirala is one of the most irritating and exasperating picture that I have ever had the misfortune of seeing.
Seeing M & T Nirala, I was reminded of a delinquent child who despite all threats, beating and cajolings still persists in indulging in idiotic pranks and pernicious mischief. It has the obnoxious servility of a vagrant, the open defiance of a waster and all the hysterical symptoms of a confirmed psychopathic case.
At the outset I mentioned that Nirala reminded me a delinquent child and this is profoundly true because inspite of indignant public reception of such pictures and their intense disgust, our producers are regularly and systematically dishing out such humbug.
Nirala has every ingredient that comprises a box-office flop. It has a story that mocks commonsense and makes light of reason. There is no motivation, for the actions of its characters have been repeatedly told to us. When the hero Dev Anand falls in love with the heroine Madhubala he does not marry her for a reason which none could understand. And of course, as was to be expected, the hero is England returned and the heroine is a village maiden. The latter chases the former and winds up in the arms of a different man with the end of the story looming large and self-evident to even a blind person in the audience.
In between, there are innumerable hysterical outbursts from almost all the characters not to mention the ghosts of the three dead wives of the Maharaja (the latter being played by the Late Mr. Mazhar Khan) who shrieks, screams and creates all sorts of furor that would send even a deaf man running pell mell out of the theater. Miss Madhubala tries to look heart broken and Dev Anand guilty which does not succeed in convincing anybody.
The time has come when Indian producers must stop insulting the intelligence of the moviegoers and refrain from producing such low grade pictures. And yet Messrs. M & T and Chirawala and Co. had the audacity to offer the money back to the public. Well, as I have said, the public lines up to take advantage of this offer at the booking office and it gave me a peculiar sort of malignant satisfaction to see that, for if ever a picture deserves to fail at the box-office, it is this.
Santoshi who wrote it seems to be in mental trance at the time. Neither his songs, dialogues or story have anything even tolerably good., Direction by one Mr. Debendra Mukerji was as inconsequential as the theme and he had hardly any scope to prove its abilities, if he had any. Music by C. Ramchandra was a humdrum affair and technically the picture was far below the usual high standard of Indian pictures.
Miss Madhubala was good enough in a role which we have seen often on the screen. Dev Anand has a personality which is self-effacing and in Nirala, it was most conspicuous. He ambles all over the picture without knowing what he is doing. The rest are too insignificant to deserve even a mention.
I would not advise the risk of seeing even half the picture and thus forfeiting even the money for the entertainment tax!
Year – 1950
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – M & T Films
Director – Shanker Mukerji
Music Director – C. Ramchandra
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Leeta Misra, Mazhar Khan, Madhubala, Yakub, Radha Krishnan, Narbada Shanker, Dev Anand, Mumtaz Ali, Shanti Madhok
Miscellaneous Information –