Railroad Story Draws Crowds At Minerva
Here is a story that could have become a memorable picture of the life of our railway people had the director and writers exercised a little more imagination and taken a little more care in developing and presenting the sequences.
The idea of showing the day to day routine of our railway people, their little smiles and sighs, their petty intrigues and politics, their backyard romances and unglamorous duties, their big responsibilities and minor ambitions, was a brilliant one and the unexpected success of the picture at the box-offices secured public endorsement for the idea but the critics still longed to see what the picture would have been had the details been attended to more thoroughly.
As it is "Station Master" (1942) provides a rather lengthy entertainment with the help of a human and interesting story.
A MARRIAGE TANGLE
Parmanand (Jagdish) is a station master at a wayside station. He has a grown-up daughter Usha (Ratna-mala) and the station master is a bit worried about her marriage. Arun (Prem Adib) is a guard on the railway.
More characters are introduced in Manek Babu (Jiwan) a head clerk with a cranky daughter, Shyama (Kaushalya). Manek Babu is anxious to secure Guard Arun for a son-in-law.
In Kalicharan (Shakir) a signal-man and Sona (Amir Bai) his wife, two very affectionate types are introduced. They are devoted to the Station Master and form a very influential part of his little world.
The story moves forward on a marriage tangle. Guard Arun and Usha fall in love with each other and are seen together very often and are seen together very often. But Manek Babu, the head clerk, wanting Arun for his own son-in-law, arranges the engagement of Usha to Niranjan Babu (Umakant), a railway official. Finding that things don't go the way he would like to, Manek Babu starts acting funny and very soon poor Usha is in trouble, being weighed down by whispers and scandal about Arun. Usha's mental grief worries the Station Master who loves his motherless daughter very dearly.
One day, he comes to his duties with a very disturbed state of mind and owing to his listlessness becomes the cause of a train collision.
An inquiry into the accident is conducted and the Station Master is acquitted of all blame in spite of all efforts of Manek Babu to involve him.
By this time, however, Naranjan Babu, the chosen bridegroom, discovers that love of Usha for Guard Arun and very graciously brings together the two lovers at the wedding altar at the very last moment. The whole thing ends happily for all.