The Street Singer - 1938

Producers: New Theatres Ltd.
Story & Direction: Phani Mazumdar
Photography: Dilip Gupta and Sudhish Ghatak
Recording: Loken Bose
Dialogues: A. H. Shore
Songs: Arzu
Music: R.C. Boral
Editing: Kali Raha
Cast : Saigal, Kanan, Jagadish, Bikram, Ramkumari and others
Released at: Minerva Talkies, Bombay.
Date of Release: 24th November, 1938.

It is a romance of the streets. Two orphans a boy and a girl team together to make a living primarily as street singers. Their rise to fame and adventures on way are described in the story with the ultimate disillusionment after acquiring fame and wealth. The whole affair looks a bit amateurish.

The Story: Bhulua and Manju are two orphans whom fate has brought together in their early childhood. Bhulua who has a talent for music, trains up Manju to be a good dancer and singer. They trek for the city in this case, Calcutta and there by another trick of fate meet Amarnath a theatre owner. Very soon Manju becomes a star, more due to her personal charms than to her musical attainments. Bhulua who doesn't get his chance, consoles himself by helping Manju to her stardom.
Both love each other very deeply, but circumstances had not yet helped them to give it an expression. In their pursuit of ambition, love remained a forgotten quantity. Manju becomes a roaring success and soon finds herself receiving the warm attentions of her proprietors. In the midst of this new found fame, Bhulua and Manju are for a time estranged. After a period of misunderstanding, Bhulua thinking that Manju no longer wants him decides to quit. But immediately he is gone, Manju realizing the wrench of suppressed love, chases him and ultimately finds him below a tree, after a very convenient storm scene. There love expresses itself and Bhulua Manju once again go back to the streets where they had found their early happiness.

Acting: Saigal as Bhulua given a very subdued performance. His music however is a strong recommendation. Kanan is good in parts. In music she comes off well with her more famous partner.
Jagdish as Amarnath, the theatre owner, does what he is asked to. The pity is that not much was demanded from him. His dialogues are superbly delivered. Bikram is not much. His slapstick interludes fail to convince. Ram Kumari merely served as furniture. The others don't do anything worth remembering.

Production: The scenario is far from satisfactory. The entire development of the story is weak and shows lack of experience in using dramatic values. The theme of the story had plenty of possibilities, but alas the direction was experimental. Photography was not satisfactory and far below the usual N. T. standard. In several shots, the lighting erred by being profuse. Kanan's glamour suffered the most due to bad photography. The recording of sound was also defective. Sets were apologetic, particularly the theatre set. Rai Boral the music director could have made the picture popular by giving a number of popular tunes. Why he didn't do so remains to be explained. The dialogues, though good, had too much of Urdu idioms in them. A simpler language would have been more welcome.

Points of Appeal: Saigal and Kanan, teamed together for the first time, give a couple of good songs. Some outdoor village shots are praiseworthy. As an entertainment, the picture is quite good,
though slightly boring in the early parts.


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ShimlaTimes: The Street Singer - 1938
The Street Singer - 1938
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