indian cinema heritage foundation

Taxi Driver (1954)

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Manglu, a Taxi-Driver was known to his friends as ‘Hero’. He was a gay, devil-may-care young man, who neither regretted his yesterdays, nor planned for his tomorrows. Life was a hard struggle, and it had taught him to develop a crust of cynicism in his attitude to his fellow-beings.
    They say, however, that there is Good in every man, it needs but the magic touchstone of circumstances. Or love, or the right human being to bring it out. Hero never dreamt that the young frightened village girl, (so obviously being exploited by her two males companions, whom Hero judged correctly as being typical Bombay sharks) would completely change his whole way of life. At first he refused to take any notice of her predicament, but later, when the two rogues attacked her brutally on the Juhu Beach, Hero could not maintain his attitude of detachment. He fought off the men, and having rescued the girl, found that he had a real problem on his hand.
    Mala, the village girl, had run away from her home after her parents had died, leaving her at the mercy of cruel relations. She had come to Bombay to find a certain musician named Ratanlal, who had long ago pdromised to train her as a singer after having heard her sing while he was passing through her village. But hero and mala could not find Ratanlal. In the end Hero had to offer her his room.
    Gradually Mala became his inseparable companion. When his Bhabi came to visit him, Hero, to hide her identity, cut off Mala’s hair, and transformed her into a boy ‘Rajput’, and made her his cleaner He grew to be ashamed of his life of drinking and gambling and of his crude affair with Sylvie, an Anglo-Indian cabaret girl, who sang and danced at the “Doston Ka Adda”, the favourite rondevous of Hero and his friend.
    How Mala ran away from Hero on discovering his relationship with Sylvie: how they were re-united only to be torn apart by gangsters; how Mala became a singing ‘Star’ and how Hero took his revenge on the villains who tried to kill her, all make for a suspense-laden adventure which you will enjoy in Nav-ketan’s latest film ‘Taxi Driver’.   
(From the official press booklet)