Pakeezah (1971)

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I’ve seen your feet; they are very lovely. Don’t set them down on the earth they will get soiled.

70s was the bollywood age of metamorphosis, where creative art were being tarnished day by day with complete bollywoodish masala musicals. In the midst of this errosion, came Kamal Amrohi’s magnum opus Paakeezah – the story of a courtesan, with a pure heart (PAKEEZAH), and grand dreams.

Cast: Ashok Kumar, Meena Kumari, Raaj Kumar

Pakeezah is lavish in its treatment of a courtesan’s turbulent story, but its splendour fills the eye, stirs the senses. And it ultimately showcases the heart beating at the film’s core. Amrohi narrates a story imbued with the despair and the euphoria of human desires so deftly that you are caught up in the swirl of the visual maximalism in the fanciful, almost surreal setting. And by the romanticism of the wish-fulfillment end.

This movie is about the pure of heart (Pakeezah) Nargis (Meena Kumari) who was brought up by brothel madame Nawabjaan (Veena). Unable to break away from the vicious circle, Nargis grows up and becomes a beautiful and popular dancer/singer Sahibjaan. Aristocratic Salim Ahmed Khan (Raaj Kumar) is enthralled by Sahibjaan’s beauty and innocence, and eventually convinces her to elope with him, which she does. But trials and tribulations await Sahibjaan as she is recognized by men wherever she goes in the company of Salim. When Salim re-names her “Pakeezah” and takes her to a priest to be legally married, she refuses, and returns to the brothel.

Salim eventually decides to marry someone else, and invites Sahibjaan to dance at his wedding, Sahibjaan agrees to this, not knowing that many secrets will be revealed at this wedding.

Pakeezah took nearly 14 years to shoot.

This movie is also memorable for its songs:

Chalo dildar chalo chand ke par chalo, hum hai taiyar chalo….,
Chalte chaltey yunhi koi mil gaya tha sar raha chalte chaltey…,
Inhi logon ne le liya dupata mera…,

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