Oh, how I loved this film. It is an absolutely riveting and heartwrenching story, with fine performances and stunningly beautiful songs (Roshan’s last—the film is dedicated to him). The background music is superb too, by Salil Chowdhury; and the black and white cinematography is lush and gorgeous, with richly patterned detail and stunning closeups of the characters. I am running short of superlatives! The message is nothing new (see screenshot above) but the treatment—nuanced, balanced—is unusual.
It is interesting to see actors I am less familiar with, too. Zaheeda, the heroine, is a niece of Nargis and Anwar Hussain (also in this), and she looks so much like Nargis sometimes that it’s startling. And Parikshat Sahni (son of Balraj, whom I just saw as Farhan’s father in 3 Idiots) made his debut with a central role here: such a natural actor, and so handsome too! Tarun Bose, Aruna Irani, Anwar Hussain, Badri Prasad and Mukri add able support as well. But the film really belongs to Sanjeev Kumar as a simple and sweet villager who is transformed by events into a dacoit with a big price on his head.