indian cinema heritage foundation

Kundan (1955)

  • Release Date1955
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time151 min
  • Length4396.43 meters
  • Number of Reels17
  • Gauge35 mm
  • Censor RatingU
  • Censor Certificate NumberU-13710/55-MUM
  • Certificate Date25/07/1955

Once a sinner, always a sinner! Once criminal, always a criminal! Such are the cruel, unjust and inhuman dictums, rigidly followed and practised by society from times immemorial. But Victor Hugo, world-famous French novelist, wrote "Les Miserables" and proved to the erring world that the seemingly moral dogma was not only unjust but had been responsible for slaying many an innocent soul. A greater Psychologist as Hugo was, the character that he has created in his novel to propound his theory that criminals and sinners can be reformed, has become immortal.

Kundan, as the so-called criminal is named in the present screen adaptation of Hugo' novel, was sent to jail for stealing a loaf of bread to save his starving niece. He then tried to escape from the prison to be by the side of his dying sister and the sentence increased. After undergoing a sentence of fourteen long years, Kundan came out as a confirmed ex-convict, despised by everybody.

A saintly person however, showered his kindness on him and gave him not only food to eat but also soft bed to lie upon. At dead of night the criminal in Kundan woke up and made him steal the Saint's silver-ware. The next morning Kundan was arrested by the police but the saint not only pardoned him but gave him enough to enable him to carve out a decent living for himself.

Kundan now rose to the eminence of a factory-owner. The public rewarded his honesty of purpose by electing him as the first Mayor of the town.

In the meantime, a man having surprising resemblance with Kundan was arrested by the Police. Kundan could not see an innocent man punished for his crimes. To save him, he disclosed his own identity in the court.

As Kundan came home, Sher Singh followed. Kundan wanted time to help his niece Radha who was on her death-bed. Sher Singh refused to oblige him. Radha died. Kundan went made with rage. He struck Sher Singh and made good his escape. He removed Radha's little child Uma from the clutches of Jokhoo, a notorious inn-keeper, and started life afresh looking after the child.

A few years passed and Uma grew into a beautiful girl. In her college she met Amrit, a leader of the violent national movement of 1942 and violently fell in love with him. Amrit's life was always in danger because of his activities. But Uma stood steadfast in her love and was prepared to face any consequences. This made Kundan very uneasy.

At last one day a fierce encounter ensued betwenn the revolutionaries and the police. Amirt was hit by a bullet and fell wounded. Kundan appeared on the scene and tried to save Amrit's life.

Did Kundan really save Amrit? What happened to Uma? Let the screen answer these and such other queries!

(From the official press booklets)