Daku, Vishwas Ki Ganga and Pygmalion Effect in Indian films

Robber Gabbar Singh. (film Sholay)

Image Credit source: File Photo

Hindi cinema also needed a new mode on the lines of Western cinema, which became very popular in Hollywood at that time. So, dacoit films started here. To show authenticity, many films were shot in the ravines of Chambal.

Hindi films have a special attachment to bandits. Actually, every attachment has a phase. Sometimes gangster, mafia, smuggler, sometimes king-queen love period movies, There was a time, when in the darkness of the theatre, the chirping of horses resonated, people used to understand that the robbers are about to come. These bandits kept coming on the silver screen for so many years, so many times, in almost the same way that after a time the public got bored with the bandits. Now dacoits don’t come on screen. At least not in the way that Hindi films used to show. After 1957, for almost thirty years, the situation was that most of the films had some reference to the bandits. A film was made in which the role of bandits was played by the real bandits themselves.

Today’s youth feel that the problem of dacoits in those days was just a product of the imagination of the filmmakers. It was not so. The problem of dacoits in North and Central India (especially in the Chambal areas) was so severe that the thought-provoking Gandhian leader Acharya Vinoba Bhave launched a campaign to rectify them. In the mid-1950s, Vinoba Bhave had called that if the rebels, wandering step-by-step in the ravine and scorching in the fire of Intaqam, surrender their weapons by placing them on the ground, then arrangements would be made to include them back in the society.

Shooting in the Rugged was a one-of-a-kind innovation

It was a very successful campaign. Many bandits gave up their weapons and entered normal life. His stories were published in newspapers and magazines. He influenced many filmmakers. Although mostly B grade films were made by making bandits as characters, but many great films were also composed on them. The most famous villain of Indian cinema, Gabbar Singh (film: Sholay, 1975) was a dacoit. Salim-Javed got the inspiration for his character in those same decades. Who can forget Birju, the dacoit of Mother India (1975)! Dilip Kumar’s Ganga Jamuna (1961), Raj Kapoor’s Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai (1960) and Sunil Dutt’s Mujhe Jeene Do (1963) are memorable films of this genre. Bandit Queen (1994) and Paan Singh Tomar (2010) came much later, but their artistry stands in a different league.


Hindi cinema also needed a new mode on the lines of Western cinema, which became very popular in Hollywood at that time. So, dacoit films started here. To show authenticity, many films were shot in the ravines of Chambal. During this, heavy police security was arranged. Shooting in the rugged was one of a kind innovation and it was started by the great Raj Kapoor through his film Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai.


The film’s directorial credit goes to Radhu Karmakar, but as it is said about most of Raj Kapoor’s films that the director was nominal, the real director used to be Raj Kapoor himself. Radhu Karmakar was Raj Kapoor’s appointed cinematographer, who remained with him from Awara (1951) to Ram Teri Ganga Maili (1985). A memorable incident is associated with the shooting of this film. Nana Palsikar, the famous actor of that era, was playing a role in it. He has become so old that the new generation almost did not even hear his name, but fans of old films are definitely aware of his diverse acting skills.

Pygmalion’s victory of faith

During the shooting, Nana Palsikar did a strange prank. He put on Acharya Vinoba Bhave’s make-up, saving the crew members’ eyes and sat on a footpath in the ravine, a little away from the shooting site. Vinoba’s get-up was very popular among dacoits in those days. It was discussed in the rugged that Vinoba himself has also come for the shooting of the film. The dacoits had a great curiosity to see him. They were keeping a secret eye. When Nana Palsikar sat in the ravine in Vinoba’s disguise, after the initial silence, slowly, knowing where, one by one, the dacoits started coming. He mistook Nana Palsikar as the real Vinoba Bhave and laid arms at his feet. Many dacoits had surrendered there that day.


Actually, every criminal gets stricken with his crime one day. He was looking for a way to improve. If he finds a path full of faith, he can grow on it. At that time, Acharya Vinoba Bhave and Jayaprakash Narayan had made such a path. If there is a desire for liberation in the heart and there is faith in the mind, then salvation can be attained even by bowing the head in front of the fake deity. In such a situation, the memory of Pygmalion, the creation of George Bernard Shaw, abounds. There is a sculptor named Pygmalion, who with great dedication and dedication creates a statue of a woman. The idol is so beautiful that he falls in love with her. Thinks, wish! It was a woman of truth. This thought of his fills a belief in his mind that if not today or tomorrow, this idol will speak. He waits. Every day his love grows. This deepens his faith. And one day, that idol really speaks. Pygmalion’s faith wins.


In management parlance, this is called the Pygmalion Effect. Sometimes the boss assigns a huge responsibility to an employee of modest ability. People understand that the boss is cranky, but the boss is full of deep trust in that employee. And one day, the employee earns a huge success by proving the boss’s confidence to be true. Faith uplifts oneself as well as others. This was the belief within the rebels who left the ravine and returned to normal life. The system also trusted him in the same way. And the common people too. That’s why in that era, one after the other films were made. Chambal ke dacoit, Chambal ka Badshah, Chambal ki Kasam, Chambal ki Rani, and many more movies. All these were shot more or less in the rugged. Chambal Ke Daku (1981) was one such film, in which the dangerous dacoits of their time, Madho Singh and Mohar Singh also worked.

In the shooting of that film, all the actors playing the role of police used fake guns as usual, but Madho Singh and Mohar Singh used real guns. This game of real-fake used to play in real life as well. After the surrender, in the correctional homes where these bandits were kept, their lives would have been in danger, because during the robbery they would have had animosity with many people. For this reason, they were allowed to carry real guns with them. The condition of the correctional homes was such that the robbers were walking armed with weapons and the policemen were only monitoring them with the help of sticks and sticks. Despite that, the news of any untoward incident hardly came from anywhere, because the seeds of faith had been planted in his mind. The same faith, which makes a stone human, makes the lifeless, makes the barren fertile. The same hope, on the basis of which this world still remains beautiful.

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(Geet Chaturvedi is a poet, novelist and screenwriter. The views expressed in the article are the personal of the author.)