Kismet (1943)

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Shekhar Ashok Kumar is a pickpocket and con man, who is released from jail after serving his third sentence. It is at once evident that he has no intention of mending his ways, as he relieves a pickpocket of his catch, which happens to be an old, priceless watch.

Shekhar goes to a fence (David), where he meets the original pickpocket, Banke (V.H. Desai). Impressed by Shekhar’s prowess, Banke makes him a special offer: he is a small time thief currently working in the house of a very rich man, who has a considerable fortune stashed away in the safe at his house. Banke, who does not have the expertise to break the lock, asks Shekhar if he would be interested in helping him out. Uninterested in the plan, Shekhar leaves.

As he steps out of the fence’s establishment, Shekhar bumps into the original owner of the watch (P.F. Pithawala), an old man desperate for money, who intended to sell the watch and raise the money to see a live performance by Rani (Mumtaz Shanti). Out of compassion Shekhar takes him to the theatre. There the old man points out a prosperous looking man called Indrajit (Mubarak). It turns out that Rani is the daughter of this old man, who was once a rich man and the owner of that theatre. Indrajit was once his employee.

Fortune (kismet) turned things around and today the old man is indebted to Indrajit, from whom he is on the run. The moment the show ends, he flees, but not before he’s seen in the company of Shekhar by Rani, from whom he has fled in shame and remorse. Unknown to them, the tormentor Indrajit is himself a tormented man, after his elder son Madan ran away after a fight with his authoritarian father several years ago.

Due to a combination of circumstances, Shekhar ends up staying in Rani’s house as a paying guest. There he discovers that she is struggling with a limp, that’s affecting her ability to perform on stage. The limited means is a great problem for Rani, the sole bread earner in the house, having to support her younger sister Leela (Chandraprabha). To make things worse, she is constantly troubled by the ruthless Indrajit, who threatens to turn her out of the house if she cannot repay the next instalment of the money payable by her father.

Things take a turn for the worse when Rani discovers that Leela is pregnant out of wedlock with her lover Mohan (Kanu Roy), who happens to be the son of Indrajit. Shekhar, who is falling in love with Rani, decides to help her out. Desperate to raise funds for her cure, he takes up Banke’s offer to break the vault of his employer, who is none other than Indrajit. The attempted robbery goes awry, but Shekhar escapes, dropping behind the chain he always wears. Indrajit immediately recognises that as that of his long lost son Madan.

Desperate to get back his son, Indrajit organises a live programme featuring Rani, knowing that his love for the young lady will impel Shekhar to come. Rani’ father turns up at the theatre, as does Indrajit’s entire family. As expected, Shekhar turns up at the theatre, where he is immediately recognised as Indrajit’s long lost son Madan. Delighted to find his beloved son, Indrajit immediately turns a new leaf, cancelling his former boss’ debts and asking him for the hand of both his daughters for his sons.

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