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Jagte Raho (1956)

  • LanguageHindi
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Night lay over the city. It was an hour after midnight 
Night lay over the city like a pall of death. And he tall, dark buildings slumbered like huge evil monsters who have swallowed the entire wealth of the country.
In the streets prowled the night-watchmen, scaring the occasional innocent passerby with their harsh, piercing cries of ‘JagteRaho’. Keep Awake! Keep Awake! But the city slept, satiated with sin, drunk with power, over-fed with wealth. Someone needed to be awakened, to be on guard. But Who?
On this dark ominous night…………
A young man from a village in dirty tattered clothes with his unkempt shaggy beard and eyes awed and frightened, his lips parched with thirst, was searching for water in a city that lay wrapped in hard dry stones…………
Looking through the gates of a very big building, the water………dripping from a tap, wasted. He sneaked inside, cupped his hands to have a drink but before a drop of water had wetted his thirsty lips, suddenly someone shrieked…Thief! Thief!
The moment this cry was heard, the sleeping monster of the building came to agitated life…Hundreds of windows flew open and in dozens of languages, people started shouting……….Thief! Thief! Catch him. Don’t let him go. Beat him! Kill Him!!
The simple man from the village was in a panic. He must hide and quickly…..before he was torn to bits by the infuriated mob. He rushed towards the winding staircase at the back of the house.
He took refuge in someone’s bathroom, as cries of “Thief Thief” reverberated through the building. Hiding behind a water drum he saw that “Thieves “ were already at work there………but it was a peculiar kind of theft.
From one flat to another, from one room to the next he was hunted and pursued finding himself the unwitting witness of many a peculiar scene…….the simple villager saw that wherever he went, some theft, some robbery, some crime was being committed in those abodes of the rich and respectable.
And thus in that half-night the simple villager silently observed the ways of the city………..he saw that respectability wears a mask, and when the mask is blasted away by the explosion of fear and panic caused by the advent of the thief who was not a thief….then everyone was revealed in his true colours and hideous countenance.
But as this simple, poor younger man…..who has no name but who is many million men in one…………passes through that dark, frightening fateful night, he emerges with a new understanding and a new faith-that the dark night is not the whole truth, but that out of the suffocating darkness itself shall be born the dawn of a new day of truth and justice.

[from the official press booklet]