Victoria No. 203 (1972)

Victoria No. 203 is a 1972 Hindi film produced and directed by Brij.The film stars Navin Nischol, Saira Banu, Ranjeet, Anwar Hussain, Helen and in an inspired bit of casting -Ashok Kumar and Pran- who play key supporting roles in the film and who earned the only Filmfare nominations for the film.The music by Kalyanji Anandji and the roles of Ashok Kumar and Pran made this a “superhit” at the box office.

Cast: Ashok Kumar, Pran, Saira Banu

After a daring diamond robbery, the thief, while attempting to double-cross his partners, is mortally wounded, and hides the diamonds in a lamp of a horse-carriage(Victoria) No.203. The owner of this Victoria is blamed for wounding the thief and is arrested. The wounded thief gives a key, a piece of paper, and verbal instructions to a hospital ward boy, and dies. The wardboy follows the instructions, goes to Bori Bunder Railway Station, opens the locker with the key, deposits the paper in the locker, and goes on his way. Then Raja and Rana are released from prison, and come across the key and hilariously set about trying to find the lock to this key, not knowing that they are putting their very lives, as well as the lives of the owner of the Victoria, her boyfriend, and a child, in jeopardy

This is pure escapist entertainment. A handful of diamonds are hidden in a Victoria (horse cart) and world goes mad about it. All the cast is perfect with a absolutely amazing chemistry between Pran and Ashok Kumar. Film also has a sultry Saira Bano. Such 70s films were made with keeping a popular appeal in mind. That was also the time when Hollywood started to cast its giant shadow over Hindi films. The escapist art is all right if it is not a direct takeoff from any other source. This is certainly the original one. Many films on a similar plot have been made but none comes anywhere near to this one. See it on a holiday and it will be a time worth spending.

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