Bimal Roy Productions’ “Parakh” is a satire which entertains without resorting to slapstick.
The story, by Salil Chowdhury, tells of an anonymous gift of five lakhs of rupees by a wealthy man to be used for the welfare of a village community. The donor sends the money to the postmaster with instructions that it should be entrusted to the most upright man in the village.
The postmaster calls a meeting of the panchayat and announces the gift. He also tells them that only a deserving man can take charge of the money.
Soon the local leaders vie with one another to get hold of the princely sum. Each tries to outwit the other, being on his best behavior. In the process, the village enjoys a spell of happiness. But as the day for the election of the most honest man draws near, the villagers are caught in a web of plots and counter-plots of the avaricious leaders.
It is only towards the very end that the identity of the wealthy man is known – he had taken a job as a postman and had been working in the village all along to make sure that the gift does not fall into the hands of unscrupulous people.
The even-paced unfolding of the story reveals skillful direction and Shailendra’s pithy dialogue imparts the necessary subtlety to the narrative.
There is ample scope in the situations for slapstick, but the director refrains from making this concession to the box-office. He maintains the appropriate accent on satire through subtle comedy.
The portrayals are uniformly good. Veteran Motilal as the wealthy philanthropist in the guise of the postman excels himself. He dominates the entire film. Kanhaiyalal as the village priest, Jayant as the zamindar, Asit Sen as the landlord and Rashid Khan as the doctor also put over fine performances.
Sadhana and Vasant Chowdhury, who provide the romantic interest, acquit themselves creditably. In the emotional sequences Sadhana acts very much like a seasoned artist.
The film has few songs but Salil Chowdhury’s music is melodious and Shaildendra’s lyrics are apt. Kamal Bose’s photography captures the mood of the theme.
Year – 1960
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Bimal Roy Productions
Director – Bimal Roy
Music Director – Salil Choudhry
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Vasant Choudhary, Sadhana, Motilal, Nazir Hussain, Nishi, Kanhaiyalal, Jayant, Mumtaz Begum, Asit Sen, Paul Mahendra, Rashid Khan, Durga Khote, Leela Chitnis
Miscellaneous Information –