not for profit

The Heartbreaking Saga of Teesri Kasam

28 Apr, 2020 | Long Features by Sumant Batra
Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman in Teesri Kasam (1966). Image Courtesy: Madhuri magazine

If alive, Phanishwar Nath 'Renu' would be living in his centenary year. Best known for promoting the voice of the contemporary rural India through the genre of 'Aanchalik Katha' (Regional Stories), Renu is considered amongst the pioneering Hindi writers who brought regional voices into the mainstream Hindi literature. Born on 4 March, 1921 in village Aurahi Hingna (near Forbesganj) in Araria district (then, district Purnia), Bihar, Renu has authored many masterpieces that depict the life of rural Bihar and its people, especially the marginalised and the deprived. He is known to have an exceptional ability to create visuals through words. The cult film, Teesri Kasam (1966), considered amongst the finest human document written on celluloid, was based on his short story, Maare Gaye Gulfam. Set in rural Bihar, Maare Gaye Gulfam is a simple yet powerful story by Renu. The language he employs in the story has a liberal infusion of the Bhojpuri and Maithili dialect making it full of the flavours of rural life. Renu’s 43rd death anniversary fell earlier this month on 11 April (he passed away on 11 April, 1977). What could be a better way to remember the revered author at this time, than by recalling his story, its cinematic version and the filmmaker, Shailendra, whose life unfortunately, ended as tragically as Renu’s heart-breaking story.
 

Phanishwar Nath Renu. Image Courtesy: Internet Sources. 
 
Best known for promoting the voice of the contemporary rural India through the genre of 'Aanchalik Katha' (Regional Stories), Renu is considered amongst the pioneering Hindi writers who brought regional voices into the mainstream Hindi literature.
 A collaboration of great minds and talent, Teesri Kasam (Third Vow) was expected to be one of the biggest hits of the year when it released in 1966. But, the film sank without a trace at the box office leaving the industry aghast, and Shailendra, the film’s producer, crest fallen and in a financial mess. The prodigious lyricist could not bear the setback and died on 14 December, 1966, incidentally the birthday of his good friend Raj Kapoor, who was also the actor who played the role of one of the two main protagonists of the film. Shailendra was only 43-year-old.
 
Booklet cover of Teesri Kasam (1966). Image Courtesy: Cinemaazi archives.

Everything seemed perfect when the film was announced, as also when it was set to release. With Shailendra and Renu collaborating on the story; Basu Bhattacharya, a protégé of Bimal Roy, assisted by Basu Chatterjee, as the director; the industry’s finest cinematographer, Subrata Mitra behind the camera;  Nabendu Ghosh, another regular of Bimal Roy’s crew, as  the screenplay writer (also playing the role of the drunkard who gets beaten up); Shankar-Jaikishan as composers; Hasrat Jaipuri joining hands with Shailendra in penning the songs; Lacchu Maharaj roped in to choreograph the dance sequences of 'Chalat musafir' and 'Paan khaaye saiyyan'; Renu himself writing dialogues; and Hindi cinema’s two most talented, experienced and celebrated actors, Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman, playing the lead roles, Teesri Kasam was a sure shot recipe for a blockbuster. Umpteen other roles were to be enacted by his own family of friends and mates. The entire unit was one big family of friends in an era of celluloid camaraderie. 

In his speech at an event held by Lokbharati (an association of admirers of Hindi literature) in Bombay to honour Renu, apparently, a few days before the release of the film, taking a dig at those who doubted his wisdom, Shailendra declared confidently, “I know I am considered foolish by most film producers but I am confident that the Hindi film audience has come a long way and they will welcome Teesri Kasam with an open heart.” “A few days earlier, when Shailendra screened the completed film for his friends, he meticulously noted down the comments of all those present. While Trade Guide had ranked it as ‘Average’ and Bunny Reuben had written ‘Press report excellent but audience conflicting’, Hrishikesh Mukherjee had predicted, ‘Award film.’ The optimist that he was, Shailendra had jotted down in his diary, ‘It will be a hit.’ Obviously, he was shattered when his dream faltered at the box office.”, writes Sengupta.  
As fortune would have it, Shailendra’s prophecy did came true, eventually, but tragically, a bit too late as he did not live to witness it. The film earned what it truly deserved - the status of a classic.
The film bit the dust at box office serving as Shailendra’s Waterloo. He was baffled by the rejection of the musical masterpiece he had so much faith in. He died a few months after the release, unable to comprehend the rejection, and the deep severe financial distress that he faced. As fortune would have it, Shailendra’s prophecy did came true, eventually, but tragically, a bit too late as he did not live to witness it. The film earned what it truly deserved - the status of a classic. Having commercially bombed, the film went on to win the President’s Gold Medal for the best film, the equivalent of the National award for Best Feature, of 1966. Basu Bhattacharya won the award for Best Film Director. The film was also screened at Moscow International Film Festival in the same year. Today, it is considered a cult movie. 

Teesri Kasam is a tale of an unrealised love between Hiraman, country bumpkin, a gaadiwaan, and Hira Bai, a dancer in a music-dance company - the two main protagonists of the story. Hiraman’s cart gets waylaid by the police while he is transporting black-market goods for a trader. He somehow manages to escape, abandoning the cart behind. Pulling on his earlobes, he vows, ‘Chor-bazaari ka maal nahi ladoonga” (literally translated as, “I will never ever ferry black-marketed goods”), this being his first vow in the film. He then starts transporting bamboo.  On one trip, he gets beaten up when his cart collides with a horse cart. He vows: “Kabhi baans nahi ladhenge” (literally translated, “I will never transport bamboo”), thus taking the second vow. He buys a new cart designed to ferry passengers. The credits appear on the screen after the second vow is taken. In a way, the film takes off from here moving towards what would eventually lead to the third vow – it being the title of the film. 
 
Raj Kapoor and Dulari in a scene fromTeesri Kasam (1966) while Waheeda Rehman plays the female lead in the film. Image Courtesy: Filmfare February, 1963 
 Over the thirty-hour journey, the two strangers forge a beautiful relationship as unspoken love blossoms between the two. Hiraman is in awe of her beauty.
The cart is hired to ferry Hira Bai who has deserted her employer to join a new folk theatre troupe, the Great Bharat Nautanki Company. She is on way to perform at a village fair for the new employer. To avoid any trouble from her previous employer, she decides to travel discreetly, in Hiraman’s cart, instead of taking the train which would have been faster and comfortable. Finding the similarity in their names amusing, Hira Bai declares Hiraman as “Meeta”, as is the tradition in Maithili region. Hiraman is a conservative simpleton. He has grown up in a milieu that had folklore and song for every conceivable occasion and breaks into philosophical musings about the value of truth — “Sajan re jhooth mat bolo, khuda ke paas jaana hai…” and karma — “Bhalaa kije bhalaa hoga, bura kije bura hoga”. Hira Bai makes a living around music-dance company. She is soon taken by Hiraman's genuine goodness, emotional depth and fab ability to sing evocative songs. Music becomes existential essence of their voyage.  Over the thirty-hour journey, the two strangers forge a beautiful relationship as unspoken love blossoms between the two. Hiraman is in awe of her beauty. “Abbe yeh to pari hai”, he exclaims when he gets her first glimpse.
 
Image Courtesy: Filmfare 

The bond of the silent lovers continues to develop even after they arrive at the fair. Hira Bai “invites him to watch her theatre troupe perform, and while Hiraman is coy - his sister-in-law expressly forbids him from watching nautanki - eventually he gives in, too awe-struck by the hustle and bustle of the fair to say no. But as Hiraman watches each evening's performance, he is slowly woken up to some grisly realities: namely, that Hira Bai's work verges on prostitution for many onlookers. Their already impossible dreams are further crushed when the local landlord and thakur, solicits Hira Bai.”  
 
Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman in Teesri Kasam (1966). Image Courtesy: Madhuri magazine. 

Both find themselves bound to the real world.  Waheeda Rehman decides to leave. The film ends with the two separating and going their respective ways, while their emotions still ran high and love remained unspoken. The separation leads to Hiraman taking the fateful third vow: “Khai Kasam ke kabhi company ki bai ko gaadi mei nahi bithayenge” (literally translated, “I will never ferry any Company”). The titular "third vow" of Hiraman is heart-breaking.
 
Apparently, the film was conceived on the sets of Madhumati where Basu Bhattacharya introduced Shailendra to the story. A native of rural Bihar, Shailendra could relate to the story and its characters. He acquired the rights to the story to make his maiden film. Not only did Renu agree to give his story for the cinematic adaptation, he also agreed to write the film’s dialogues and work closely with Shailendra. In a way, the film was the coming together of two great minds, both natives of rural Bihar, with shared concerns. 
 
Shailendra. Image Courtesy: Internet Sources. 
 
Apparently, the film was conceived on the sets of Madhumati where Basu Bhattacharya introduced Shailendra to the story. A native of rural Bihar, Shailendra could relate to the story and its characters. He acquired the rights to the story to make his maiden film.
Bhattacharya had got married just as the mahurat shot of the film was completed. In an interview, Rinki Roy, informs that Shailendra and Basu wanted Mehmood to play Hiramal and Nutan, as Hira Bai. However, Nutan was pregnant with Monish and could not accept the film. Both Basu and Shailendra decided to approach Waheeda Rehman.  As on Raj Kapoor stepping in, she reveals, “What happened was that [producer] Shailendra was a Raj Kapoor man. He wrote his most famous songs and he used to be at RK Studios daily. In a state of excitement maybe, he mentioned to Rajji that he is going to produce a film. Raj Kapoor said, ‘You’re producing a film? I hope you are taking me.’ What could Shailendra say? That too Rajji agreeing to [act] without knowing anything about the film." Rinki tells. The showman knew the potential of the character and had therefore bulldozed his way into the role that had not an iota of glamour about it. The financier of the film was initially unhappy with Shailendra’s decision to cast Raj Kapoor complaining that he was too old, and not fit for the role. Eventually, Shailendra was able to persuade him but not before some tense moment for the producer.
Even though not the first choice of the producer and the director, both the actors clearly surpassed their past performances in Teesri Kasam. Waheeda Rehman delivered a captivating performance. Raj Kapoor, who had played the role of the country man with a large heart many times before, outshined himself, never being as realistic in his past roles as he is in the avatar of Hiraman.
Even though not the first choice of the producer and the director, both the actors clearly surpassed their past performances in Teesri Kasam. Waheeda Rehman delivered a captivating performance. Raj Kapoor, who had played the role of the country man with a large heart many times before, outshined himself, never being as realistic in his past roles as he is in the avatar of Hiraman.  With that highly expressive face, sincere simplicity aided by his wide range of emotions - joyfulness, shame, fear, anger -  as well as his pensive moments when he is beaten by events too great for him. Raj Kapoor, puts to rest any doubt anyone might have that he was miscast to play Hiraman.

Shailendra did not want to take any cinematic liberties with the film. He was determined to shoot it in the Terai belt of Bihar to retain the story’s realistic flavour. The Terai region was filled with stories of dacoits and robbers and considered unsafe for the crew. He decided to look for other options. Eventually, he settled for a small hamlet named, Mala, twelve miles from Bina near Bhopal. The shooting started in the year 1962.  A few scenes of the film were also shot near the Powai Lake. The song ‘Duniya banane wale’ was shot on Sholapur road, near Pune. The song was to have been filmed in Bihar but to accommodate Raj Kapoor who was filming his own Sangam (1964), the location had to be moved, recalls Rinki Roy, who was on location when the song was shot. The riveting last scene, where Hiraman glances back, to see Hira Bai’s train recede into the horizon was shot in Borivali in Bombay. Some part of the film was also shot in Renu’s village in Araria District in Bihar.  Remaining shooting took place in Kamal Studio where a set no less than a real village in Purnia was erected based on photographs taken by Bhattacharya during his trip to the village for shooting.
 
During the shooting of Teesri Kasam. Image Courtesy: Madhuri magazine
The region around Bina was also plagued by dacoits. In fact, while the crew was shooting in Mala, there were reports of kidnappings by dacoits in a nearby village. As the news of the shooting spread, people from Bhopal, Jhansi, Sagar, Bhailsa and other places thronged Mala to get a glimpse of the popular stars. They came loaded on trains, cars and cycles making it challenging to shoot.  The crew was in Mala for 15 days. 
 
During the shoot of Teesri Kasam. Image Courtesy: Madhuri magazine. 
Shailendra did not want to take any cinematic liberties with the film. He was determined to shoot it in the Terai belt of Bihar to retain the story’s realistic flavour.
On return they had to go through a traumatic experience. In her book, Conversations With Waheeda Rehman, Nasreen Munni Kabir records, as narrated to her by Waheeda Rehman, that while returning to Bombay from Bina, a large group of students would not let the train leave the station until they catch a glimpse of Waheeda Rehman. Raj Kapoor tried hard to negotiate with the young men but the students remained adamant and started pelting stones and hitting the train with big iron bars. Kapoor had to be pushed into Waheeda Rehman’s compartment by his friends where she, her sister and her hairdresser “had to literally pin Rajji on to the seat. I sat on his chest while my sister held on to his legs”. Eventually the police arrived and the crowd was dispersed. But when the stars arrived at Mumbai Central the following day, people were shocked to see the state they were in. “We had fragments of glass lodged in our hair and sprayed on our clothes – we even found bits of glass in our bags,” Waheeda Rehman told Kabir. Despite the challenge thrown by the daily growing crowd, the crew had a great time shooting in Mala. 
Subrata Mitra shooting Teesri Kasam. Image Courtesy: Filmfare 
 
While Nabendu Ghosh transcripted the short story into a ‘love-lyric on celluloid’, Subrata Mitra’s black and white photography added pathos to this bitter-sweet love story.
While Nabendu Ghosh transcripted the short story into a ‘love-lyric on celluloid’, Subrata Mitra’s black and white photography added pathos to this bitter-sweet love story. Mitra brought out the lyrical feel of the film in its cinematography, almost magically. Every single frame of the film is a visual treat, as it delicately captures the rawness of the country side, the dusty and shadowed green country roads, the grass-studded unkempt banks. The shot of the train through a hole in Hiraman’s cart shot without a tilt, the lit oil-lamp inside the night confinement of the cart, the cart moving away from the camera on the country road, and many other frames, still haunt. 
 
Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman during the shoot of Teesri Kasam. Image Courtesy: Madhuri magazine
The result is that Teesri Kasam turns out to be one of those compelling black and white films that one visualises in colour as one watches it. And in the end, remember it both in colour and in black and white. 
The result is that Teesri Kasam turns out to be one of those compelling black and white films that one visualises in colour as one watches it. And in the end, remember it both in colour and in black and white. 

In filming Teesri Kasam, Mitra fully lived up to the expectations of Shailendra and Bhattacharya, who were firm that the film be shot in black and white despite pressure from financiers and Raj Kapoor himself. Raj Kapoor's Sangam (1964), made in colour was released two years ago and brought in freshness. They warned him of the risk of commercial failure of the film in its conceived form. Colour processing facilities were easily available by then. Shailendra however, felt that the rustic local flavour of the original will be lost in the translation (of colour). 
Waheeda Rehman. Image Courtesy: Madhuri magazine. 
Bhattacharya too stayed absolutely loyal to the story and Shailendra’s vision. He too, like Shailendra was determined not to take any cinematic liberties for his film. Staying away from the conventional melodrama of Hindi films, he maintained the purity of the story and integrity of the realism.
Bhattacharya too stayed absolutely loyal to the story and Shailendra’s vision. He too, like Shailendra was determined not to take any cinematic liberties for his film. Staying away from the conventional melodrama of Hindi films, he maintained the purity of the story and integrity of the realism. He made no attempt to celebrate or pamper the central characters just because they were stars. He restricted their characters to the requirement of the scene. For instance, in the picturisation of the song “Chalat musafir moh liyo re”, Hiramal is made to seamlessly mingle in the group of cart drivers and villagers singing the folk song. He contributes to the chorus, without seeking any undue attention by the camera, a departure from the usual hero-centric ways of Indian films, where the songs must either be lip sung by the main hero or at least weaved around him or her. He portrays a spellbinding depiction of the rural India, pain and sorrow, man-nature relationship, culture and customs, and above all, laying emphasis on the unsaid. The realistic feel that Bhattacharya managed to give Teesri Kasam, shows a direct influence of his mentor, Bimal Roy. 

Shankar-Jaikishan, Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri collaborated in Teesri Kasam, like never before, to deliver a musical benchmark. The 159 minute film, with ten songs played over 40 minutes, sung by Mukesh, Lata Mangeshkar, Manna Dey, Asha Bhonsle, Suman Kalyanpur, Mubarak Begum, and  Shambhu-Shankar, have been remarkably entrenched into the plot. G.G. Mayekar excels in editing and Desh Mukherjee’s art direction with earthern huts, tents, sheds, bullock carts compliment the efforts of his director and cinematographer. 
Renu and Shailendra ensured that not just in the look and feel, even in the dialect the film stays close to the story.
Renu and Shailendra ensured that not just in the look and feel, even in the dialect the film stays close to the story. The perpetual “Iss” that Hiraman utters as an expression of embarrassment, disbelief or humour, is reminiscent of the rural parts in Maithili region, bringing the local flavour in its purest form.  In the cart, the conversation between the two starts with Hira Bai asking Hiraman, “Bhaiya, tumhara naam kya hai?” the usual way for a woman to address a strange man in rural Bihar, an expression that filmmaker would hesitate in using for a character that were to eventually fall in love with the man she was addressing. Also, the other way around.  When Hiraman offers breakfast to Hira Bai, he uses the authentic local way, “Do muthi jal paan kar lijiye”. When Waheeda Rehman asks him to join her, he says, “Pehle aap paa leejiye”, literally meaning “first you have it”. Tea is “chaah” for Raj Kapoor and when he feels like smoking a beedi, he claims, “pehle beedi kheechunga”. In one scene, Hira Bai happens to hold Hiraman’s shoulder to take support as the cart jumps on the bumpy road. On reaching the village, he proudly prompts a co-cart driver, “Arre kandha soongh toh jara…haath rakha tha”, mischievously yet innocently enough. 
Both Shailendra and Renu were under tremendous pressure to change the ending of the film. Raj Kapoor and the financier of the film had reservations with the ending of the film.
The film runs very close to the original story making only few deviations. Much thought must have gone in before the incorporation of these changes, especially as Renu himself was there proactively, as a dialogue writer. Both Shailendra and Renu were under tremendous pressure to change the ending of the film. Raj Kapoor and the financier of the film had reservations with the ending of the film. They wanted Shailendra to change the heart-breaking ending of the film to Hiraman and Hira Bai meeting and leaving together. They considered the change necessary to make it a commercial success. Raj Kapoor’s counsel was not entirely without merit. He had enough experience to learn that economics and good filmmaking are invariably at odds. The filmmakers had started making adjustments and were using commercial cinema as a way to give hope to the poor to find fairy tale solutions to their own predicament. Hindi cinema was reinventing itself and found a new reason for existence: the selling of dreams. 
Shailendra was determined not to make a film that raised real social-cultural problems but showed solutions by resorting to fantasy. Shailendra stayed firm on retaining the ending as in the original story.
Shailendra and Bhattacharya were however, unwilling to sway in the tide and adopt the commercial commodity that masquerades as cinema. They had seen filmmakers like Satyajit Ray, Antonioni or Bresson adapt to difficult economic circumstances and find an audience for their films.  Shailendra was determined not to make a film that raised real social-cultural problems but showed solutions by resorting to fantasy. Shailendra stayed firm on retaining the ending as in the original story. As the entire story was about Hiraman’s teesri kasam (third vow) - to never let a Company girl travel in his cart again – a drastic change would have done away with the very essence of the story, thus the film. Ratnottama Sengupta refers to an anecdote by Subhankar, the director of Woh Chhokri and of the teleserial Yugantar, “One night, Shailendra came to Baba accompanied by Renu. ‘Dada, I will trash what I have shot but I will not change the ending just because Raj Saab wants me to,’ he told Nabendu Da. ‘But why would he want that?’ Baba asked. ‘So that the film has a happy ending with Hiraman and Hirabai becoming man and wife. But that would kill the story!’ Renu joined in, ‘Dada you must explain this to Rajji.’

Shailendra was determined to make the film the way he had conceived and visualised – a far cry from the formula films prevalent in the 60s. At midnight, they set out to meet the star who told the screenwriter, ‘You have the pen in your hand, you must change the ending.’ Nabendu Da said, ‘Certainly the ending can be changed but before that you must change the title of the film.’ ‘Why?’ Raj Kapoor was startled. ‘Because, if they marry and settle down, why would he take the third vow and promise that – like smuggled goods and bamboo poles – he will never ferry a dancer in his cart?’  That settled it, albeit only temporarily. 

The matter did not end there.  In his book Renu Rachnavali, Renu narrates an episode about the enormous pressure Shailendra continued to face from the financier and Raj Kapoor to change the ending of the film. On Shailendra’s invitation he visited Bombay when the film was set to release. He was put up in a hotel this time as he was the guest of the financier. When he arrived in Bombay, Shailendra informed him that Raj Kapoor and the financier were insisting on changing the ending of the film by uniting Hiraman and Hira Bai, which he was opposed to. If he were to make a “bambaia” formula film, why would he pick up a subject like Teesri Kasam? He did not want to make a cliché film, he told Renu. Fed up with constant persistence, he agreed if the author of the story can be persuaded to the change, he too would step back.  In the meeting that followed, Raj Kapoor gave a long speech on why it was imperative that the end be changed keeping in mind the commercial interest. All this while the Marwari financier kept listening, his eyes closed. Eventually, he opened his eyes, and said:

‘आप यह मत समझिए कि मैं सो रहा था. मैं तो कहानी का एंड सोच रहा था. चेन खींचकर गाड़ी रोक लो और दोनों को मिला दो.‘

["Don't think that I was just sitting here dozing off. I was simply thinking of an ending for the film. Pull the chain to stop the train and let the two finally meet."]

Renu, however, dug his heels in, standing by Shailendra and his faith in the film as it was shot, including its ending. He declared that if any change is made, his name should be removed from the credits of the film. After the meeting, resting on his shoulder, Shailendra sobbed inconsolably. ‘Which writer would ever find such a producer?’ writes Renu.
 
Phanishwar Nath Renu. Image Courtesy: Internet Sources. 
Renu, however, dug his heels in, standing by Shailendra and his faith in the film as it was shot, including its ending. He declared that if any change is made, his name should be removed from the credits of the film. After the meeting, resting on his shoulder, Shailendra sobbed inconsolably. ‘Which writer would ever find such a producer?’ writes Renu.
Indian cinema should be grateful to Shailendra for his faith in the film. The ending was sad but inevitable and the only one that would have worked.  In fact, there could have been no other end to it. Not only would it conflict with the title of the film, it would be impossible for a romance of this kind being accepted “in the socio-cultural milieu of the times, when a woman outside the wedlock was a being / commodity out-of- bounds, even mysterious.” 

In his book, Renu attributes the film’s failure to a conspiracy hatched by the lobby of formula film makers. “I am confident that had Shailendra not died and the film screened properly, it would have been a commercial success too.  Teesri Kasam was a victim of a conspiracy by many who believed that the success of Teesri Kasam would pose a big threat to the Bombay formula films,” he said unequivocally in his book. 
In his book, Renu attributes the film’s failure to a conspiracy hatched by the lobby of formula film makers. “I am confident that had Shailendra not died and the film screened properly, it would have been a commercial success too."
Shailendra reciprocated the solidarity Renu showed. In his book, Renu narrates an interesting incident. When the hoardings of the film were being designed, a person from production suggested to Shailendra that Phanishwar Nath ‘Renu’ is too long a name and will take up a lot of space. He suggested they write P.N. Renu instead. Shailendra snubbed him and instructed that full name of the writer of the story be given on the banner and his own name be shortened by removing “Shankar”. 

Completed after production over three years plagued by problems, Teesri Kasam had a hard time with distribution. “In those days, it was very difficult to release films of this kind, even though it had big stars. Poor Shailendra was in the doldrums because of it. He was not a businessman, he was a poet,” Rinki Roy said. Yet, the producer’s faith in his film remain unfaltering. In the Lokbharati event, he declared, “the problems he encountered during the making of the film were now history”. The film finally hit the screens in 1966 but failed to lure audiences in the first three weeks. This proved fatal to its box-office life.
Teesri Kasam, however, rose like a phoenix from its ashes to reclaim its deserving place in the history of the Indian cinema. It is, in many ways, the finest human document written on celluloid.
Teesri Kasam, however, rose like a phoenix from its ashes to reclaim its deserving place in the history of the Indian cinema. It is, in many ways, the finest human document written on celluloid. The film far exceeds in its impact, whether artistic, aesthetic or emotive, its source text, Mare Gaye Gulfam. Renu is on record to have confessed that the film was better than the story. “The thrill I experienced after watching the film was 100 times more than what I felt in writing the story” and expressed hope that that Teesri Kasam will pave way for a formidable collaboration between Hindi literary writers and the Bombay film industry,” he said. He even appealed to Hindi story writers to stop treating cinema as untouchable.

A gentle and melancholy film, Teesri Kasam is a hidden jewel. The extraordinary lyricism of the film makes it one of the unsung phenomenons of Indian cinema. It is tragic that Shailendra did not live to see all the critical accolades showered on his masterpiece, and being acclaimed as the benchmark film in all departments of filmmaking, but also legendary in its portrayal of understated and unrequited love. In Teesri Kasam, Shailendra has left a legacy as a filmmaker that has claimed a place alongside his body of work as a lyricist.  

References

https://www.cinestaan.com/articles/2018/feb/4/10831

https://learningandcreativity.com/silhouette/ratnottamasengupta/

https://upperstall.com/film/teesri-kasam/

https://www.thelallantop.com/bherant/book-excerpt-renu-rachnawali-by-phanishwar-nath-renu/

https://learningandcreativity.com/silhouette/teesri-kasam/

https://cinemaazi.com/film/teesri-kasam

 

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