“Poonam” is worth a visit, if only to see Kamini Kaushal stage a grand comeback. Whatever maybe the virtues or defects of “Poonam” as a kinematic offering, you will find relief in the fact that Kamini hasn’t changed. She’s as glamorous as ever and acts with confidence and gusto in a story obviously written for the exploitation of her particular talents.
You are likely to be dazzled by the super-craftsmanship of the photographer and of the director, who have captured the lyrical beauty of the Kulu Valley. Its gorgeous indoor sets, too, find depth and grandeur in excellent camera work. Its music is an added attraction as is that of the dance sequences in which Kamini seems to challenge all others on the Indian screen.
You may enjoy the entire film too, if you are not very particular about there being a reason why. Take the first shot of the film. It opens at the entrance of a stately mansion with a servant rushing around calling aloud for his master. The camera follows him through the empty house to Rajan seated alone on a balcony. From the hurry, bustle and confusion you would expect the servant to be the bearer of momentous tidings. Instead Rajan quiety tells him he wants to go to the countryside the next day and the scene ends.
Such meaningless scenes fill the picture from beginning to the end. Without rhyme or reason some sequences are shot in the Kulu Valley. It is a picture, too, in which the characters run into one another by sheer accident. All of a sudden a blind child is found by Chanda and, just then, from nowhere appears a woman to claim the child as her daughter and Rajan as her husband. Again, in the scene depicting Rajan’s fateful car accident, he is seen surprisingly with no marks of injury on his person. Still more miraculous is the conversion of the smashed car into the beautiful limousine it was, in a village which does not boast even a petrol pump.
However, if you don’t put your intellect too much to play, you are sure to be thrilled, The film may drag in parts but if you don’t worry about causal continuity you will enjoy each individual scene. Kamini Kaushal, who plays the role of Chanda, establishes herself as a danseuse of high order. In fact she is the body and soul of the film. She acts with dignity and is beautiful withal. Ashok Kumar, called upon to play the sitar most of the time, looks more like a statue than a living being. Only in the last sequence, in which he renounces home and wife, do glimpses of the artist in him emerge. Sajjan also fails to impress although the role of a typical rustic generally fits him like a glove. Om Prakash as a doctor is allowed to welter in murder just for the fun of it. Most disappointing in the lot, however, is Asha Mathur. She goes through the picture in stereotyped fashion, never once warming up. She looks at least ten years older than Kamini in this film.
All said and done “Poonam” is a “sentimental musical-lyric”. You’ll enjoy the music even when somebody dies to it. Its scenes of the snow-covered Kulu Valley, children’s gala parties, picturesque dance-ensembles, speak eloquently of the poetic talents of its makers. It was planned as a piece of poetry and it is a piece of poetry on the screen. You have to adjudge “Poonam” in that light and just not bother about the causal relationship between the stanzas of the poem. You have to skip over the theory of causation while seeing it. It’s a work of art and in it everybody including the producer, director, photographer and even the stars is a poet.
Year – 1952
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Kayarts
Director – M. Sadiq
Music Director – Shanker
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Kamini Kaushal, Ashok Kumar, Om Prakash, Sajjan, Asha Mathur
Miscellaneous Information –