1951. India. Raj Kapoor. 193 min.
Friday, January 6, 2012, 6:30 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
1951. India. Directed by Raj Kapoor. One of the greatest and most famous Indian films ever made, The Vagabond was a global (or at least Soviet and developing-world) sensation. Collaborating for the first time with star writer K.A. Abbas, Kapoor concocted a modern-day version of the tale of Rama’s banishment of Sita. A judge (Prithviraj Kapoor) rejects his pregnant wife after she is kidnapped and presumably raped by a criminal. Protesting her innocence, she raises her son Raju (Raj Kapoor) in poverty; after being expelled from school for not paying his fees, Raju is soon recruited into the same criminal’s gang. When he is reunited with his childhood sweetheart Rita (Nargis), now a ward of the judge, he tries to extricate himself from the vicious circle of poverty and violence. The film’s extended dream sequence revolutionized Hindi cinema, and introduced the idea of externalizing characters’ inner conflicts though song-and-dance numbers. The film also marks the first appearance of the “tramp” persona that would make Kapoor famous. In Hindi; English subtitles. 193 min.