(Last Updated on : 11/04/2014)
Teesri Kasam (1966) stars Raj Kapoor, Waheeda Rehman, Iftikhar, Asit Sen, Dulari, Keshto Mukherjee, CS Dubey and others. It is directed by Basu Bhattacharya. The plot of Teesri Kasam revolves around Hiraman who is a bullock cart driver. The film was critically acclaimed. Teesri Kasam sees Waheeda Rehman and Raj Kapoor at their career best roles. The film deals with social realities and explores human relationships.
Teesri Kasam is based on Phanishwar Nath's short story Mare Gaye Gulfam. Hiraman is a bullock cart driver who is rounded by the police for carrying smuggled goods. After much pleading he is let free and he vows never to carry illegal goods again in his life. this is his first vow or 'kasam.' Again while carrying bamboo he is beaten up by two men. Hiraman's bullock cart almost collide their horse cart. Outraged by this incident they beat up the poor bullock cart driver. After this unfortunate incident Hiraman decides never to transport bamboo again. This was his second vow or 'kasam.'
His next passenger is Hirabai (Waheeda Rehman), a Nautanki performer. She is to travel to the fair for a performance. As they travel together Hirabai is impressed by Hiraman's innocence and simplicity. His forte of singing also impresses her. While singing a song Hiraman narrates the legend of Mahua to Hirabai. According to the legend Mahua, a beautiful motherless fell in love with a stranger but she is sold away to a trader by her stepmother. The story touches Hirabai. She is charmed by Hiraman and convinces him to stay with her at the fair and she her perform. While she performs at the Nautanki Hiraman gets involved into a brawl with a drunkard as the latter makes insulting comments about Hirabai.
Hirabai is upset over the fight and reprimands Hiraman. Heartbroken Hiraman avoids the show. However realising her mistake Hirabai calls him to her tent and apologises. On the other Hiraman asks her to abandon a profession where people speak ill of her. His simplicity and selfless concern for her once again touches Hirabai's heart. It becomes increasingly difficult for her to explain to him that she is not the respectable woman as he thinks of her. Hirabai is unhappy with her life and she turns down the local landlord's indecent proposal. The man tires to force himself upon her but she valiantly fights him off. Hirabai decides to leave the nautanki troupe for good. Her presence would create problems for the other members of the group as the zamindari has threatened with dire consequences.
Hirabai relents to compromise with the zamindar as she no more wants to lie to Hiraman. She decides to leave Hiraman as well. At the railway station she reveals the truth to Hiraman and that she was returning to her old group. She tells a perplexed Hiraman that like Mahua she too had been sold years ago. With this she departs and Hiraman returns to his cart to take the third vow or the 'Teesri Kasam' never to carry a woman passenger who works for the nautanki company.
Teesri Kasam amazingly explores the unspoken ties that develop between two individuals. As far as the performances are concerned Raj Kapoor is unbelievingly convincing in the role of an illiterate simpleton. His innocence exudes from his face. Apart from Mera Naam Joker Teesri Kasam is one of those later films in his career that sets him apart from any kind of comparison with any other actor in Indian cinema. Both Waheeda Rehman and Raj Kapoor in Teesri Kasam seem to live their roles.
Inspite of a scintillating performance and great storyline the film failed to fare well at the box office. However today it is considered one of the greatest films in the history of Indian cinema. The negative response of the film at the box office led to the ruin of the producer of Teesri Kasam, Shailendra.
Teesri Kasam was initially to be made with Mehmood and Meena Kumari but the roles finally went to Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman. It took three years for Teesri Kasam to be completed. It is, probably, one of Basu Bhattacharya's best films. The film is lyrically made and in many ways it is quite realistic. Teesri Kasam is different from the rest of the commercial films in its storyline and screenplay. Shailendra stuck to the original story and refused to change anything for commercial success. The rural ethos is beautifully evoked in Teesri Kasam.
The relationship between Hiraman and Hirabai is portrayed as charming and impressive. Nowhere in the film has the director implicitly showed love blossoming between the two. It is the last scene of Teesri Kasam that their relationship is apparent. But the film strikes the realistic chord. A woman like Hirabai cannot get married and lead a respectable life; the society would not allow her. So it is best for her to leave and she departs. The poignancy of the film lies in its inevitability. From the very start it is very apparent that both of them ultimately drift away from each other yet they are fated to develop an unspoken relationship that is so strong that while Hiraman is ready to fight for her, Hirabai is ready to leave her place to keep trouble away from him.
The music of Teesri Kasam has been rendered by Shankar-Jaikishen. There are unforgettable numbers in this album. The music is a based on folk music. The setting of Teesri Kasam is complemented by the music. Sajanre Jhoot Mat Bolo, Sajanwa Bairi Ho Gaye Hamar, Duniya Bananewale are classic songs by Mukesh and Pan Khaye Saiyan Humaro sung by Asha Bhosle is simply outstanding.
Teesri Kasam till date remains one of the best films in Indian cinema.