1944- Daasi

D01

The movie had Najm Ul Hassan and Raagini (called then as the doe eyed beauty) as main leads. In addition it has a significance in terms of introduction of another long lasting actor “Jijaji” of Chupke Chupke , yes one and only Om Prakash. This was the year where I can see only Rattan of any everlasting impression. This movie like scores of others of the year (including Jwar Bhata, inaugural of Dilip Kumar) is listed among flops. Probably the war effect?

Raagini was supposed to be a very highly rated actress and used to charge a lac at that age for every movie. Only eyes? I couldn’t find any other thing which could fetch that, neither a beautiful face (Nalini Jaywant or Suraiyya) nor exceptional talent. 

Anyway having watched these insufferable, I will just keep a record here. It might protect whoever is reading it from not doing the same mistake). 

Daasi.

The movie starts with four friends, obviously without a penny and huge debt. There are a group of creditors outside with court notice to attach their property (where is that?). They escape through spiral staircase (fire escape), pursued by the creditors.

Assuming the lead they had it is surprising that they were traceable. When they were almost at ground level, they were spotted and the pursuing people didn’t risk their legs by jumping out or following the same path but they used the normal route rushed out and came out through main entrance of the building. Even assuming they were Bolt, within those 4-5 minutes they should be untraceable in the concrete jungle. But they weren’t. Eevery time they hid somewhere and obviously the followers missed the obvious hiding place and overshoot, they would come out of the hiding before there is a safe distance between them.

They (penniless) enter a Sari store and come out in Burqa. Sari store may sell Burqa too, but on credit? And in public allow men to don that? However as usual our hounds identify the pants and shoes below the Burqa and this time they make final escape through a truck which was being driven till then at correct speed but then speeds away.

d02

Finally the truck stops after a long way, at some village (I don’t know why, that isn’t explained). The friends split up. Three of them are hungry and goes in search of food to the village and the fourth is sleepy and stays in the truck.

The friends lands up in a house. The owner more than welcomes them, and arranges for the welcome hot milk. But the daughter is away singing in the field and throwing stones (to scare away birds). One of the stones obviously has to and it does land up on our sleeping bird, in the truck. Which is still there and remains for some more time.

There is some bloodshed and our poor heroine (Ragini) becomes poorer, since obviously she has to tear off her “Aanchal” and tie it on her victim (Hero Najm-ul-Hassan)’s head. Her father (the host for the other three) is the local village vet, and there is no human doctor, but as she tells, he can take care of him too and takes him home where anyway other three are already there.

Her father of course allows them to stay there and romance (at least one) his daughter, and in fact asks them to stay till Shivratri celebration at his home. Obviously they don’t mind the free treat, longer the time, better it is, and Shivratri is only two months away. It suits all the five, the four friends and a girl, the father I am not sure of, but the invitation shows it is his wish too, to have some free boarders at his home.

The friends somehow don’t like that, why I am not sure. The girl’s father is quite well off and this is the only daughter. And of course the friend would take care of them, or they are afraid once he has his new family he would discard the older one?

D03

Each of them has now their own agenda. The hero stalks, the compliant heroine in the fields, even at night where they lie in the moon light and talk nothings. In that talk of nothing they hear something, that gives us a premonition that things would be not alright. A voice from darkness talks of the fleetingness of things and especially looks, beauty and happiness. The heroine informs that it is some ‘Baba’ who talks of things from the time his family has been ruined, how isn’t explained.

The other have their own agenda, every night the old man goes somewhere with the money earned in the day. Obviously they would like to know where his bank is. But at least they should have avoided white clothes, prominently visible in dark, while stalking. Anyway the old man is smarter than them. Either because he expects regular stalker or may be these lost the track in the dark. So failed in mission they come back to find him waiting outside the home for them. The bluff (they have gone in search of the fourth friend is accepted).

D04

There is surprise in store. He calls them in and gives them what they have gone for, a bag full of money, and a story. He had six children and all of them died in childhood. For the seventh, the mother took her turn. Someone advised him to pray to Shiva, and he went to Kashi and got a Shiva idol. From then due to its presence nothing happened to the household and the seventh child, the heroine now, survived, even motherless. Now since she was going to be sixteen, he had to put a golden crown on the idol, as per his “Mannat” and now is the time, so the boys should take the money and get him the gold crown.

The boys could have been happy or not I don’t know, but while they were still in shock, the hero steps in and takes the bag “I will take care of this, from now on

A bad thing, between friends, whether they would have or not I am not sure, but now definitely they would. Three of them vs one? They could have taken care of any time. But they are not violent but smart. The hero had kept the bag below his pillow. They make a hole below the pillow and pull out the bag (at least that’s what he finds in the morning).

Keep a big hard bag below the pillow (full of coins won’t be very comfortable one) and let it disappear at night and let’s see whether one could feel it or not.

But that is the movie. There could have been better ways to do it, even without murder. Anyway they have disappeared at night and no one knows when, or obviously where.

d05

Obviously the father considers him the chief of the robbers and isn’t going to believe him. However he takes an oath that by physical labour he would repay every pie that had been robbed. (Can one? I won’t ask). Helped by his daughter (not his, but his) who helps without salary, he strangely fulfils his oath soon, how soon isn’t clear, but seems to be within a season or may be within the two months (on Shivaratri?) not likely since in that time from sowing to harvesting shouldn’t be possible. But anyway for this hard work he gets his reward, first one and then the other. The second one is of course after the scheduled time, making the new Grandfather (he is still alive of course) very happy, now his blood line is in two, daughter and grandson.

The grandfather is worried, and smokes chillum outside the room while the father frets in the field. I would have expected him nearby but I would assume him to be too stressed.

D06

The child grows up and we had an interlude of a Yashoda model song, full with the butter churning et al.

D07

The child grows up and then our hero has the need to go to the town, for? He buys some toys and other things for the child. Just in the few years at the maximum that he stayed in the village he behaves like a pure countryman, walks at the middle of the road, runs frantically to cross and things like that. We know what would happen and it does. Clearly none of her fault, but the father reproves her and the assassin too feels herself guilty.

D08

So he is in hospital, doctor tells there is a head injury and brain might be affected. The producer/director/ script writers as well as viewers are affected already, how does it matter if the hero too is included? The tire has not passed through anywhere near his head. Had it been spinal cord or paralysis, it would have been OK. But those don’t entail amnesia, which we know would take place, especially considering that the assassin is millionaire’s daughter, feeling responsible for it. Not only she, but all including the surgeon hold her responsible, and she has to be obviously still unmarried and not even attached.

As a driver, sometimes under these conditions, I can only sympathise and say I Understand. But when it is you versus a person of foot, it would be your fault, even if it isn’t That is the law of the mob. Fortunately I have as yet missed being on receiving end, but just by a whisker, when just as I had started the car, some youngster on circus or may be Ghost Rider practice, had skid and entered, along with his two wheeler below my car. Fortunately I was on first and just had started the car and stop immediately, else…

Something had to happen, when hero and heroine despite all the hurdles marry within 45 minutes, he or she has to have amnesia, else he has to be bad enough to have a second wife, with or without the first one living.

This is clearly (with head injury), “Who are you, where am I and who am I” moment.

Through the commentary we come to know that five years have passed. Fortunately the father (in law) is still alive and is informed that his son in law is not only alive but is now a millionaire and has another wife (obviously the who am I girl).

The father goes to city to find the truth while the man is forbidden from telling anything to the girl, let her fret, if she wants to.

d09

At least one information given to the father in law is wrong, the hero had been millionaire, but yet to marry another woman. The Industrialist in the annual dinner tells us, that the person in five years, starting from a clerk in his company had become now at least a director of all the factories in Punjab, and at least half a dozen factories major partner. Did he mean Tata or Birla? Only those could have boasted of that in that time. Anyway as on date he is not married and only one company is missing in his portfolio, his one, which he offers to him now. Of course with that he would give him another responsibility, and what’s that we know.

However while he is romancing his would be new wife, the old father in law reaches there. In the insult and counter insult he is thrown out and finally had to go back home, with head injury, but fortunately no amnesia.  But that was expected. I haven’t seen any amnesic patient to die, in a movie, may be they forget even how to die? 

D10

Now at his last moment he tells the status to his daughter, of course with the blessing, and I know that all would be OK “Bholebaba is having special considerations for you and will ensure that you get justice

The father dead, she goes to town, no villager stops nor anyone tell her the address she on the way sleeps in the wild forest and then walks on street, searching for him, till she finds. Now whether to go or not is the question and that defines the name of the movie.

Duty of wife is to serve the husband, even if he kicks you, your place is on his feet” and so on…

With the title of the movie justified, she doesn’t have any further self doubt and goes in with the kid and joins as maid servant. The boy is, as village kid, sling shot enthusiast and automatically window pane breaker. When he is caught and brought to boss, the blood-line sixth sense theory operates and not only he doesn’t want him to be punished but has a breakdown when he looks at his eyes. The wife cum maid servant of course has rushed there to protect her brood, and is just outside the door and at the condition seems to be pained. At least she is aware that there is a loss of memory, which her father didn’t. (She prays ‘he has felt the attachment, now please give his memory back’). How does she know that he isn’t deliberately refusing to recognize (which her father was sure of) we don’t know. Anyway he isn’t going to get it back so quickly since still there is half an hour of movie left. 

d11

Of course the about to become step-mom doesn’t like her would be husband playing with lowly and smelly children. Not only that he fulfils each of his wish, he obviously his new would be high class wife can’t stand that.

And then one morning he wants to ride a horse and obviously he is permitted. And we know what happens when any horse is ridden.

D12

It creates a bit of domestic as well as Industrial problem. Since he is more worried of the welfare of the child and doesn’t want to go to club with his fiancée, she obviously isn’t pleased “for a servant’s son!

And the matter reaches crisis when the fiancée goes to the servant’s house and finds the maid-servant putting flowers on her would he husband’s photograph. It has only one meaning and she storms out.

Poor Madhukar (his name is that now), doesn’t understand anything and has to face not only fiancée but her father too. Her father of course is blunt, “I have made a great man of a beggar and I can and will bring him down to street again.” I am not sure of that, now he might be even more powerful than him, but then this is movie, and in the movie it is done and that too very easily and in one day we see various news papers stripping him out of power. In 1940s I’m not sure the ease of stripping a director of power, but majority partner? That definitely is not possible.

Meanwhile the “Dasi” had walked out with her still not recuperated son, and is obviously now untraceable. Our Madhukar/ Jayant hasn’t got his memory back or he would have gone to the village, and hence she is untraceable. Well through some more chance encounters with people we know that he would and he does for a nice family photograph.

D13

The story defies all logic- earning in a few months what the father in law earned over 16 years, rapid growth and rapider fall, the lack of road sense of a person who was just a couple of year back was street smart, literally, the one run over by a car even being alive,….

In addition all the above is compounded by substandard acting by all. The best might be by the father in law, that too may be because he was so heavily bearded that there couldn’t be any facial expression that one could see through the jungle. The voices (dubbing) were flat, un-emotive.

In single sentence, nothing is worth noting. Still if people (like me) watched, it was at their risk (and doubt may be cast on their IQ). At that time, definitely people didn’t, since it is count amongst flops. Om Prakash is one of the crowds and no specific impression is left by him.

However before being harshly critical, I have to bear in mind that most of the bollywood movies belongs to this category and would fit the description verbatim. But people still flock to see them due to the two ingredients that this movie doesn’t have, sex and violence.

However there is one positive point in the movie, despite the name and the dialogue, the woman hasn’t been shown to be crawling at the feet. She had been there as a maid servant to help, and when she found she won’t be she had walked out, not crawled for mercy. That doesn’t make it worth watching, but it can give a pat on the back of story writer for not denigrating to the depth it is usually done.

 

2 thoughts on “1944- Daasi”

  1. Hi! My name is Odell Verran and I live in Wilmington,DE. I have read your blog post about 1944- Daasi – Musings and I want to say that I am quite impressed with your professionalism on the subject!

    1. Thanks, frankly these are just a pastime. I watch these movies and put on my thoughts on them (so that I might not have to watch them again unless I really like these). As the site name says, it is just musings (own thoughts) on the movies. However it is quite rare to find one from there to be interested enough in Indian movies that too old, to go through the long post, when most of us, ourselves, don’t find them interesting. Anyway thanks for dropping by.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *