Based on Samresh Basu’s novel ‘Pathik’ and written and directed by Gulzar, the film is a story of a personal journey of a run away boy traveling in a train without a ticket. The reason- the boy hates going to school and study; he wants to be a grown up man so that he can do whatever he wish and enjoy the freedom. In a flashback the film lets us in those lost innocent days and mischievous moments of childhood. Playing zero and cross on back pages of notebooks during the class, drawing cartoons of teachers, bunking class due to undone homework, instant bahanebaazi, pissing fun, smoking curiosity etc. ‘Cigarette bagair sochne ka majaa nahi aata’ said one of the self proclaimed boy philosopher. It instantly reminds me reading R K Narayan’s ‘Swami and his Friends’.
Gulzar made a film where we all relate our lost childhood and maintained a light hearted story telling filled with humor and fun in the first half and emotional drama in the second half where the roaming boy on railway platform realizes the importance of study. There’s moment of self actualization where the boy tries to steal money from an old beggar. What’s delightful about watching Gulzar films is his lifelike characters and situations where one can relate without any extra effort. Master Raju carried the role so naturally. Rest of the cast consists of Uttam Kumar, Vidya Sinha and others have done justice too. Pancham who scored some of the unforgettable nostalgic tracks for Gulzar films scored so low for this one. Though the film doesn’t have much scope for songs Gulzar penned an item number kind of song which he generally penned nowadays. Gulzar once said in interview that he quit making films because nowadays Vishal is making them. I wonder was it a compliment or criticism?
Recommended to all Gulzar fans.