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Saloni (1952) – Review

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“SALONI” is like an express train hauled by a snail : a breezy, light-hearted story that is made to creep and crawl through its long footage. The simile between this film and the express train so pictured can be carried further. But this comparison does for our purpose.

There is, too, not a spark of originality in its conventional presentation, so much so that the pattern of the film is clear to the discerning cinegoer and robs him of the enjoyment of any surprises. From the fourth shot onwards he can accurately predict the next scenes of the picture.

To return to our simile, this express carries only two first-class passengers, Ashok Kumar and Nalini Jaywant, and ten third-class travellers. All of them are affected by the snail’s pace of the train. All are bored stiff and make futile attempts to amuse themselves and the audience by indulging in slapstick comedy, love-in-the haystack routines, made-to-order melodramatic court scenes and other devices. That all these attempts to amuse and entertain meet with pathetic failure goes without saying, particularly any in the case of the rotund hero, Ashok Kumar, who wears a grand-pa expression and suffers from “ants in his pants”.

Nalini Jaywant, however, puts over a chic performance which is apt to make one regret that she has to share the compartment with Ashok Kumar. Among the other artistes, who just stare at each other’s faces, Achla Sachdev and Purnima break out now and again and do some good acting. The others attempt to make you laugh with their giggles, but only succeed in causing you to squirm in your seat.

“Saloni” tells the story of a city playboy chased by the girls. He escapes from the city to the village, only to fall in love with the village belle. The story has nothing more to offer and the director makes the lovers play chameleon roles in order to test their love for each other. They become involved in the inevitable misunderstandings, but in the end surmount all hurdles and become united. However, throughout the story, Ashok and Nalini, in spite of her good work, wear the uncomfortable appearance of passengers traveling without tickets.

The film is directed by J .P. Advani. who can be compared to an over-zealous and nervous guard. He waves the red flag vigorously and more often than he should. There are in consequence too many jerks and stoppages, some of them almost full-stops. His handling of “Saloni” leaves much to be desired.

A thing about the film which impressed this critic is its music—and here the simile of the train does not apply. The music of this film might have resulted in the sound of wheels rattling over a track. Instead, it reminds one of the joyful chirping of birds, the gentle coming into bloom of the flowers and of the advent of the spring. The music is the piece de resistance of this film, and one unhesitatingly offers a bouquet to the music-director, Vasant Desai.

“Saloni”, in the final analysis had enough meat in it to be turned into breezy entertainment. Its failure to achieve this object is a tragedy for the makers of the film. In a larger sense it symbolizes the tragedy of the entire Indian film industry, where every good idea and story is sacrificed at the altar of the box-office.

Year – 1952

Language – Hindi

Country – India

Producer – Goodluck Pictures

Director – J. P. Advani

Music Director – Basant Prakash

Box-Office Status

Cast – Ashok Kumar, Nalini Jaywant, Purnima, Gulab, Mohana

Miscellaneous Information

Songs List

SongYearSingersMusic DirectorLyricist(s)
Dil de diya hai1952Shamshad Begum, Trilok KapoorBasant Prakash
Ek dil sharmata hai1952Rajkumari, Kishore KumarBasant Prakash
Meri beena ke sur saath re1952Lata MangeshkarBasant Prakash
muhabbat ne badal di halaten1952 Rajkumari Basant Prakash Arjun Dev
mujhe dard tumne kya diya1952 Rajkumari Basant Prakash Arjun Dev
Mujhe dard tune yeh kya diya1952Lata MangeshkarBasant Prakash
Zindagani ke sahara laut aa1952Lata MangeshkarBasant Prakash
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