Dhake ki Malmal (1956)

Year – 1956

Language – Hindi

Country – India

Producer – Nanda Films

Director – J. K. Nanda

Music Director – O. P. Nayyar

Box-Office Status

Cast – Kishore Kumar, Madhubala, Ulhas, Sajjan, Raj Mehra, Rajen Haksar, Shyam Kumar, Jagdeep, Om Prakash

Songs List

Song
Year

Singers
Music Director(s)
Lyricist(s)
Ab to tum sang naina lage
1956
Asha Bhosle
O.P. Nayyar
Jan Nisar Akhtar
Diya to jala sab raat re balam
1956
C.H. Atma
O.P. Nayyar
Jan Nisar Akhtar
Jadugar sanwariya
1956
Asha Bhosle
O.P. Nayyar
Jan Nisar Akhtar
Main ban ka mor
1956
Asha Bhosle, Manna Dey, Kishore Kumar
O.P. Nayyar
Jan Nisar Akhtar
Pritam jab aan milenge ab who din door nahin hai
1956
Asha Bhosle, Shamshad Begum
O.P. Nayyar
Jan Nisar Akhtar

Review

Shot from a screenplay developed by J. K.Nanda from a short story by the well- known writer D. N. Madhok, “Dhake ki Mal­mal,” as the title indicates, depicts the legend­ary tale of the wonderful muslin of Dacca and of the forty-odd families of weavers who trea­sured with jealous secrecy the process of its manufacture among them, passing it on from generation to generation in the male line, until the British, envious of the product and unable to force its secret from the weavers, destroyed both forever from a world which had admired them for centuries.

It is a story which has long rankled in Indian hearts. Mr. Nanda is to be congratu­lated on having brought it to the screen with such vivid authenticity and poignant human appeal, embellished and embroidered with a polished artistry of presentation which lends gloss to the drama and adds the requisite touch of entertainment for relief from this grim and pitiful account of what was really a massacre of innocents as savage and ruthless as any in the record of man’s inhumanity to man. The crisp and firm direction and the knowledge­able treatment are reflected with admirable and impressive effect in the smooth narrative and imaginative plot which come vividly alive in characters, actions, events and an atmosphere so utterly natural that one is gripped instant­ly and absorbed into the story as it unfolds upon the screen.

The origin of the feud which divided the weavers of Dacca into warring factions is shown practically at the start and the characters, sett­ing and atmosphere of the story are quickly and clearly established. The story is fanciful undoubtedly and in its plot and action it owes more to Mr. Nanda’s imagination than to re­corded fact. But the requirements of authen­ticity are amply served by the setting, the cha­racters, the costumes, the main motives, the general atmosphere and the dramatic culmina­tion created by the efforts of the British to learn the secret of the fabulous weave and the brutal destruction of the tiny community.

Knitting it together is the romance between the daughter of the chief of one of the clans and the son of his rival. This begins in hate, develops credibly into attraction and climaxes in a crescendo of ardent devotion to provide a satisfyingly happy ending—affording along the way charming scenes of idyllic dalliance, gay interludes of song and dance and plenty of business of the kind that spells entertainment and box-office. More compression towards the end and greater restraint of the heroine and the rival chieftains, all of whom are raucous in the dramatic and emotional passages, would have greatly improved the quality and appeal of this picture.

The portrayals are excellent. Madhubala, whose beauty is delightfully captured by Av­dhoot’s brilliant photography, gives what is probably the finest performance of her career so far in the picture’s most captivating and important role as the Shivana maiden who falls in love with her tribal enemy Jeeva and solves with his connivance the ancient feud between their clans. Kishore Kumar as Jeeva has a powerful, straight role to which he gives splen­did expression in a performance which is natu­ral and true and happily free from the clown­ing antics to which he is normally addicted.

Jeevan and Ulihas have key roles as the heads of the rival clans. Om Prakash has an­other, less prominent one as the peddler who plays gooseberry to the lovers. They are all in­veterate hams, but though Jeevan and Ulhas rant and rave and fret and strut practically throughout the picture, they manage quite successfully to give their parts convincing and sympathetic expression. Sajjan acts quite zest­fully as the traitorous Indian Kalicharan Babu who betrays his people to the British, but is unconvincing in a character which is unrealis­tic and exaggerated to caricature. The rest of the support is excellent and the production values in every department, specially the pho­tography, are polished.

The exquisitely poetic lyrics, the melodies to which they are set, their excellent render­ing and presentation, the sparkling dialogue and the delightful dances with their rustic rhythms and charming grace add allure as well as en­tertainment to the picture.