# 45 #Scriptors100BestFilms #Jaagte Raho
A visionary, who was an ardent filmmaker and a groundbreaking storyteller, is credited with the emergence of socialism in the Hindi cinema. When the Hindi cinema was in the midst of ‘trending’ socialism, he brought us a movie that may not have proved to be the ‘highest grosser’ of the year of its release, but it left the impact on the viewers’ mind that has lasted forever. That visionary was Raj Kapoor. That year was 1956. And that movie was Jaagte Raho.
An unnamed, destitute, tattered, hungry, and especially thirsty country-dweller wanders the Mumbai streets in search of water. He follows a stray dog into a middle-class society building and is mistaken for a thief. In order to evade the paranoid mob he runs in-and-out of the residents’ houses and on the way witnesses the usually hidden facet of the ‘sophisticated’ middle class. Disillusioned and hurting, he bumps into a cute little girl who innocently says, “If you haven’t done anything wrong, why are you sacred?” These simple and honest words, followed by an unknown woman’s beautiful voice singing a morning prayer instill courage in him to get out into the mayhem that has erupted in search of the alleged thief. Surprisingly he walks out of the society in front of all the people completely unnoticed. The film ends on the visual of the singing woman pouring him water against the backdrop of the morning sunrays that have just begun to spread around.
The film that begins with the adversity in the society, proceeds through the hypocrisy and paranoia, ends on the positive note of kindness and self-belief. Such idealness may seem too naïve in today’s world, but the earnestness of the situation hasn’t lost its meaning even today. The movie gives an awesomely simple message that says if there is bad, there is also good, and if you are following the right path, you must continue without fear and doubt in your mind.
The film is written and directed by legendary Bengali theatre personality Sombhu Maitra along with Amit Maitra. Raj Kapoor, being the producer of the film, managed to maintain the RK touch and brought his ‘desi tramp’ persona alive on the screen with his nifty performance… as usual.
Effective script/dialogues, cinematography that gives us the old 50’s Mumbai feel, crispy and sarcastic humor, and the imagery that is used to bring out the effect of every scene are some elements that make this movie a must-watch.