Cast: Amitosh Nagpal, Anuradha Mukherjee, Yashpal Sharma, Rajesh Sharma, Ravi Jhankal, Brijendra Kala, Lalit, Parimoo, Pranay Narayan, Iqbal Sultan, Punyadarshan Gupta, Arup, Zaigirdar, Malini Sengupta, Nayna Bandhopadhyay, Uma Basu, Arunima
Director: Prem Prakash Modi
Rating: * *
A rather dull, uninteresting and unenterprising feature length expansion of Phanishwar Nath ‘Renu’s much loved story Panchlait, this film loses the plot focusing on an old fashioned and entirely filmy love story between the village outcast and a widow’s daughter.
While kerosene lamps and oil lamps were common in North India’s villages during the 1950’s, the petromax was largely unheard of and unseen. So, when the neighbouring Tolas(villages) exhibit their Panchlait’s with pride, Mahato Tola feels left out. The village elders decide to procure one for themselves. But once they procure it, they are unable to light the lamp. So after a lot of procrastinating and after a rather tedious and stylised (60’s Bollywood) romance plays out in non-linear fashion, the elders arrive at conclusion that the outcast could be reinstated provided he operates the lamp.
The narrative might have had more meaning if the director and writers had prepared solid ground for exhibiting the need for a Petromax-instead we get unedifying routines of clichéd, stereotyped romance being played out while the original theme takes a backseat. Amitosh Nagpal as the Raj Kapoor inspired ‘Awaara’ Godhan, is grating, Anuradha Mukherjee-as his Sharmila Tagore inspired love interest, Munri, is irritating and generally the entire narrative is lacklustre and flaccid. The grittiness is entirely missing here and even the intended realism plays out in fake fashion. There’s not much room for interest here!