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Indian cinema’s first real blockbuster film. Released in 1943, the movie is therefore now out of copyright according to Indian and other international copyright laws. Kismet produced by Bombay Talkies and directed by Gyan Mukherjee has Ashok Kumar, Mumtaz Shanti and Shah Nawaz in lead roles. This film was the first successful Indian film with an anti-hero and also the first to feature a double role. It had music by Anil Biswas and lyrics by Kavi Pradeep.
About Kismet (1943)
A former theater owner and his crippled daughter live in poverty until a chance encounter with a young pickpocket brings romance for the petty criminal and daughter as well as a chance by the father to get back at the villainous new theater owner who ousted him from the business years before.
Kismet is a 1943 Indian film, written and directed by Gyan Mukherjee and produced by Bombay Talkies during the second world war period, while it was in a succession battle between Devika Rani and Sashadhar Mukherjee after owner Himanshu Rai’s death. The film is one of the biggest hits in the history of Hindi cinema.
The film came with some bold themes for the first time in Indian Cinema showing an anti-hero character and an unmarried girl getting pregnant. The movie also has the distinction of first ‘double-role’ played by any Indian actor.
The lost and found crime drama, had screenplay by Niranjan Pal and the film stars Ashok Kumar, as a pickpocket and trying to be con man who ends up falling in love, with Mumtaz Shanti. He is wrongfully jailed while trying to help his sweetheart but fate (Kismet) comes to his rescue. In between he encounters his enemy’s long lost innocent son (also played by Ashok Kumar) who helps him in clearing his name.
The film went on to become a major success, at a theatre in Calcutta it ran for three years, and gave Indian cinema its first title of superstar, Ashok Kumar. According to the numbers, it has been given the status of All-Time Blockbuster. In the decade of 1940s, this movie made the most money. Its net gross came to Rs.10 million in 1943, which in today’s date is equivalent of Rs.632 million. This record was beaten in 1949 by Barsaat.
Ashok Kumar as Shekhar & Madan
Mumtaz Shanti as Rani
Shah Nawaz as Rani’s father
Mubarak as Indrajeet Babu
David as Fence
Chandraprabha as Leela (Rani’s sister)
Kanu Roy as Mohan (Leela’s lover)
V.H.Desai as Baanke
The music of the film by Anil Biswas introduced ‘full chorus’ for the first time in Hindi cinema. The film gave memorable hits like the patriotic, Door Hato O Duniyawalon Hindustan Hamara hay, the sad Ghar Ghar Mein Diwali and a soothing lullaby, Dheere Dheere Aa. The last was a duet between Amirbai Karnataki and Ashok Kumar, which added to the success of the film that is still known as one of his finest works.
- Aaj Himalay Ki Choti Se – Door Hato Ai Duniya Walo, Singer: Ameerbai Karnataki, Khan Mastana
- Ab Tere Siwa Kaun Mera Krishan Kanhaiya, Singer: Ameerbai Karnataki
- Ai Duniya Bata – Ghar Ghar Me Diwali Hai, Singer: Ameerbai Karnataki
- Dhire Dhire Aa Re Badal, Mera Bulbul Sau Raha Hai, Singer: Ameerbai Karnataki
- Dhire Dhire Aa Re Badal, Mera Bulbul Sau Raha Hai, Singer: Ameerbai Karnataki, Ashok Kumar
- Ham Aisi Qisamat Ko, Ek Din Hansaaye, Singer: Ameerbai Karnataki, Arun Kumar
- Papihaa Re Mere Piyaa Se Kahiyo Jaay, Singer: Parul Ghosh
- Tere Dukh Ke Din Phirenge, Zindagi Ban Ke Jiye Jaa, Singer: Arun Kumar
Door hato O Duniya walon
In the patriotic song, Door hato O Duniya walon, Hindustan hamara hay (“Step away, People of the World, Hindustan is ours”), penned by Kavi Pradeep, a negative reference to Japan was used -Tum na kisike aage jhunkna, German ho ya Japani (“Don’t you bow in front of anyone, be it the Germans or the Japanese”) – which allowed it to get past the heavy British censorship of the time. But the hidden meaning got through to the people and backed by Anil Biswas’s uplifting score, the song became an instant hit amidst the atmosphere of rising nationalistic fervour. The British authorities soon realized their mistake, and wanted to ban the film. An arrest warrant was issued for the film’s lyricist Pradeep, who had to go underground to avoid arrest.