indian cinema heritage foundation

Paying Guest (1957)

  • Release Date1957
  • GenreComedy, Crime, Drama
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time154 min
  • Length4307.1288 meters
  • Number of Reels17
  • Gauge35mm
  • Censor RatingA
  • Censor Certificate NumberB-19738
  • Certificate Date12/03/1957
  • Shooting LocationFilmistan Studios, Goregaon, Bombay.
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An incompetent lawyer Ramesh Kumar has been evicted from his previous house. He finds a new house to rent but is warned about not disturbing the tenants living upstairs- Digambar Babu and his daughter Shanti.

When Ramesh is disturbed by noises in his room, however, he throws caution to the wind. He pokes a stick at the ceiling, and Shanti rushes down to confront him. Disturbed by Ramesh’s presence, Digambar Babu decides to leave the house. In the guise of an old man, Mirza Sahab, Ramesh moves into Shanti’s newly vacated home as a paying guest. Shanti grows close to Mirza Sahab, unaware that he is the same man who has been following her. When she tells him about the unknown man, he asks her to call for him whenever Ramesh disturbs her again.

Enacting an elaborate plan, Ramesh (as himself) goes to Shanti’s room uninvited. When she runs to Mirza for help, he comes to her rescue, freshly disguised. Later, Mirza Sahab tells her that he beat Ramesh up and that the younger man is now injured. Feeling guilty, Shanti goes to Ramesh’s house to make amends and finds a heavily bandaged Ramesh pretending to be hurt. Her concern for him brings the two closer.

Ramesh’s cover is blown while playing Holi. Digambar Babu runs after Ramesh, but injures himself in the process. Ramesh takes care of him, but leaves the house, leaving a note for Shanti with his friend. Worried sick about him, Shanti goes after him and they make up.

Meanwhile, her friend Chanchal, with whom she shares a contentious relationship, is married to public prosecutor Mr. Dayal. Initially happy with her newly affluent life, she quickly grows despondent when she sees that the affection lavished on Shanti by her partner Ramesh is missing from her life. Chanchal’s father falls ill, and her elder sister along with her alcoholic husband comes to visit. When her father passes away, she joins a local theatre company. She also offers Ramesh work at her husband’s office. Soon, she starts spending time with Ramesh, and Ramesh and Shanti drift apart.

Mr. Dayal begins to suspect his wife of infidelity, and he takes her out to discuss matters. He also alters his will. On their day out together, he dies in a supposed accident. But Prakash, Shanti’s brother-in-law, who is aware of Chanchal’s attraction to Ramesh, starts blackmailing her and she pays him to hold his silence.  In the meantime, Ramesh finds his way back to Shanti.

When Shanti sees shadows of a man attacking a woman and rushes to interrupt, she is shocked to see Prakash hurting Chanchal. He follows her into a house, and a gun goes off. Prakash is shot and dies. Shanti confesses to the crime and she is arrested. In the ensuing court case, the truth about Mr. Dayal’s death is revealed.

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