In 1946 Shantaram and Jayshree costarred in “Dr. Kotnis ki Amar Kahani” to make one of the finest films of the Indian screen.
Six years later, Shantaram again steps on the screen with his star-wife Jayashree. The Shantaram of today is not the Shantaram of 1946. The Jayshree of “Parchhain” is not the Jayshree who played the brilliant role of a Chinese girl in “Dr. Kotnis”.
Shantaram, the man, is still vital and young enough to play the role of a hero. But Shantaram, the director, is mute. “Parchhain” means “shadow” and this film is an oblique shadow of the mighty Shantaram.
But Shantaram is a giant; so is his shadow. And even “Parchhain”, which may be classed as a tame direction of Shantaram , towers over other Hindi films made in Bombay in the past six months.
The film tells the story of a blind man’s love and disillusionment. Yet the story is familiar in theme, especially after the release of “Nau Bahar” in the recent past; and “Parchhain” bores one with discourses on philosophy. The publicity blurbs of the picture tell us that it is not an escapist story, yet we find in one sequence that a mother, despairing of her daughter’s life, offers her prayers a la the episode of King Babar, and miraculously saves her daughter to die herself.
For the first time, Shantaram has said good-bye to his individualistic style and tried to imitate other producers. A dream sequence, lavish indoor sets and many other aspects of the film under review make us wonder whether this master craftsman has lost his original touch.
But there we are wrong. For Shantaram is Shantaram. His craftsmanship lends glamour to more than one sequence. Shantaram is a master of symbolism : the conscience of a man symbolized in his shadow, the sorrow of a woman’s heart symbolized by the falling of dew-drops from a leaf, the light of God in a temple symbolized by the bursting sun, the mortality of a man symbolized by the earth…a score of such beautiful shots in the film tell us that only Shantaram could do it.
Among the artistes, Shantaram and.Jayshree come up to expectation but Lalita Pawar is superb in her mother’s role which ranks among her finest performances to date. But how could an intelligent director like Shantaram allow an absurd piece of characterization in the film, played by Wasti, to escape his vigilant eye?
C. Ramchandra’s musical score in the film is exceptionally good : the more so because, contrary to C. Ramchandra’s tradition, it is entirely Indian in style and orchestration and there is not a single foreign note in the entire musical score of the film.
Shantaram today enjoys a unique reputation as a director. He is still the lighthouse to brighten up his own “parchhain” and it is hoped that the light will shine brighter in the fathoms of the future.
Year – 1952
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Rajkamal
Director – V. Shantaram
Music Director – C. Ramchandra
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Lalita Pawar, Wasti, Jayshree, G. Nirula, Shams Lucknavi, Saroj, Sandhya, Baran, Nimbalkar, V. Shantaram
Miscellaneous Information – Not Available.