Toote Khilone (1954) – Review
Pragati Pictures’ “Toote Khilone,” premiered at the Roxy Theatre on March 19, 1954 is produced by N. Mehta and directed by Nanabhai Bhatt and it is a very good film based on a story-idea whose truth and simplicity invest it with an irresistible appeal.
The deeply moving and very human story, sensitively enacted by Shekhar, Purnima, Asha Mathur and little Romi, tells of a little child and his bewildered sorrow in the midst of domestic troubles.
Written by Akhtar Mirza, the story centers on a young married couple and their little son who dotes on his mother’s cousin, Sheela. When the mother dies of cancer, Sheela stays on to look after the little boy and eventually marries his father.
Trouble arrives in the shape of Sheela’s mother who moves into the happy household and builds up in her daughter a resentment against the child. The poisonous insinuations of the older woman turn Sheela into a confused and bitter foster-mother, but kindness and love triumph when the heart-broken child runs away. The film reaches a cleverly presented climax in which Sheela and her husband find the child safe and all three happily return home.
Playing his role with restraint and sympathy is Shekhar who puts over a fine performance as the boy’s father. His portrayal of a man who marries a second time so that his child may have a motger is quite flawless.
As the young wife, Purnima is superb. Hers is a natural and convincing performance, done with a fine understanding of the role.
A superb performance comes from Romi, as the little boy caught up in a web of circumstances he cannot understand. He is utterly lovable and, together with the wonderful canine star, Ginger, he walks away with the picture’s honors.
Gulab turns in another one of her brilliant cameos as the interfering mother-in-law, and Asha Mathur gives an appealing and warm interpretation of the tragic role of Shekhar’s wife.
The fine supporting cast is headed by Ranjit Kumari and Babu Raje who provide the comedy relief as the kind, devoted servants.
Gay and appealing dances punctuate the story, and the songs, with the music composed by Chitragupta, are melodious.
“Toote Khilone” is a charming film, well directed and acted, with polished production values and excellent sets, decor and photography. (Filmfare Review – 1954)