Year – 1953
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Rajkamal
Director – V. Shantaram
Music Director – Shivram Krishna
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Ulhas, Shashikala, Vinod Kumar, K. Date, Vikas, Sheila Ramani, Chandrashekhar, Joginder
Miscellaneous Information –
Premiered with fanfare befitting a Shantaram release at Bombay’s new luxury air-conditioned picture palace, Naaz, on Friday. September 18, 1953, “Surang,” long and widely acclaimed as the Maestro’s saga of India’s quarrymen, testified by its title, turned out to be a misnomer and a poor, misconceived and misdirected one at that.
The setting is actually a real live quarry and there are ample and frequently quite imaginative shots of the quarry workers at their arduous and occasionally perilous occupation. But they are merely shots. They don’t make the story, which is about something very much else. Boy meets girl a little differently here; but having met, they flounder along the old ‘familiar beaten trail, driven by hackneyed direction which creaks with age along a stereotyped plot which meanders aimlessly. The characters are too feeble to grip, and too unreal to convince. Ullhas, for all his pompous fluster and flurry, makes a singularly poor impression as the quarry owner. His acting is heavily ham from first to last, and his portrayal as artificial as a wig.
As the romantic lead and the quarry owner’s son, Vinod Kumar, who incidentally also wrote the story, is unimpressive.
Shashikala as Pagli, the slightly mental young woman who is the picture’s heroine, with her bizarre costume and off-beat character, gives full effect to a role which in the set-up is like “hair on soup” as the French say.
Sheila Ramani, who is poorly photo¬graphed, is stiff in a role which is unsympathetic to the point of being grotesque. Chandra¬shekhar who has a fine part as the young leader of the disgusted quarrymen gives it a sound performance, while Jogendra as the oily rogue Langad is very good, too.
The melodies scored by Shivram Krishna for Shewan’s beautiful lyrics are disappointing, and Vasant Desai’s background score ‘a drab. The dance direction, such as it is, is poor and uninspired.