indian cinema heritage foundation

Parichay (1972)

  • Release Date1972
  • GenreDrama
  • FormatColour
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time145 min
  • Length3980.69 meters
  • Number of Reels16
  • Gauge35mm
  • Censor RatingU
  • Censor Certificate Number70974-Mumbai
  • Certificate Date18/10/1972
  • Shooting LocationR.K. Studios, K. Asif Studios
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Retired army-man Rai Saheb lives with his five grand-children in his aristocratic mansion in the countryside. He took them in after the death of his son Nilesh and his wife Sujata. Although related to each other, all of them share an embittered relationship. Rai Saheb is a strict disciplinarian and hires tutors to instil the same sense of duty and restraint in the children. The children though, have put up a united front against all such efforts. Their mischievous antics regularly scare away any tutor hired to teach them. 

Ravi, a kind and compassionate young man, lives in the city looking for a job. He finds a job as a secretary to a businessman. But when he realises he will be replacing a loyal employee who has worked there for 22 years he refuses the offer. His maternal uncle writes to him talking about the position of a tutor at Rai Saheb’s place. Seeing no other option Ravi returns to the village to take up the job. He is introduced to the children – Rama, the eldest, and her siblings Ajay, Vijay, Neeta and Sanju. Upon arriving at the mansion, he is immediately a victim of the children’s pranks. But unlike their previous tutors he refuses to complain about them or punish them.

Rai Saheb appears extremely curt at first, but when alone with Ravi he reveals his vulnerability and regrets. He understands that the children resent him for distancing himself from his son for many years. He wants to show them he loves them but has no way of expressing it. He believes Ravi will be able to bridge the gap between them as he seems different from the other teachers. 

Ravi quickly realises that the children had so far been subjected to corporal punishment during their lessons. When he refuses to follow this tradition it immediately establishes a bond between them. He also realises that the sense of solidarity between the children is strong. When Rama goes on a hunger strike to protest her humiliation at the hands of Rai Saheb’s sister Sati Devi, all the children refuse to eat as well. Ravi manages to convince Rama to give up her strike for the sake of her siblings’ health. Ravi also notices a curious absence of any mirth or music in the house. One night he hears the tragic cause behind it from Narayan, the old servant. 

Rai Saheb’s son Nilesh was intensely dedicated to the pursuit of music. Rai Saheb disapproved of this and wanted to arrange his marriage with his friend’s daughter. Nilesh chose to leave the house to perform in a music conference instead. He did not return for a year. When he came back he was already married to his Ustad’s daughter Sujata.

Rai Saheb accepted his choice but was deeply hurt. That night he told Nilesh that he is now the master of his own destiny and offered him money to help him start a new life.

Nilesh was aggrieved by this brusque treatment and left with his wife, never to return again. He led a happy but poverty-stricken life with his family. Seventeen years later, Rai Saheb received a letter saying that Sujata had passed away and Nilesh was also critically ill. When Rai Saheb came back from visiting him, he had the children in tow. 

When Rai Saheb leaves to go to the city for a few weeks, it gives Ravi the chance to free the children from their restraints. He and Rama also develop a tender relationship, but both are too reticent to confess their feelings. The children are finally able to lead a happy and normal life, playing and studying in equal measure. He is also able to make Rama understand Rai Saheb’s side of the narrative. They finally understand the hurt they have caused each other and the children’s attitude toward their grandfather softens.

But this idyllic time comes to an abrupt halt when Ravi receives a letter declaring he has got a job in the city and he has to leave immediately. When Rai Saheb returns he is overwhelmed to see the transformation in the children. He realises that the children finally accept him as their grandfather and he too sheds his terse personality. 

One day Ravi comes back to visit Rai Saheb and the children, though his real desire is to see Rama. But when he hears that Rai Saheb is thinking of arranging Rama’s marriage he is heartbroken. He wants to meet Rama but cannot bring himself to do so and leaves. When Rai Saheb tells Rama that Ravi had come she is surprised to learn that he left without seeing her. Rama does not say anything, but her expression tells Rai Saheb the whole story. He does not wish to make the mistake he made with his son again and rushes Rama to the railway platform. Ravi is unable to leave upon seeing Rama and they are finally united. 

(From the official press booklet)
 

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