A logical thriller

While reviewing Sunny Deol starrer Right Yaaa Wrong (2010), I had mentioned this movie which had been released in 1980. The plot of Right Yaaa Wrong seems to have taken a leaf out of Be-Reham. at least in the portrayal of the relationship between the two male protagonists of the movie. Be-Reham (1980) is a good socio-crime thriller which works because the director has given utmost logical treatment to the plot and its characterization aspect which won’t appeal to the people who are fond of (or have got habitual of) watching over the top movies. However, I liked it when I saw it on TV because the logical characterization and realistic narrative appealed to me. Besides, the message pertaining to the image of a dutiful cop also seemed exemplary to me because our country has been facing the image-crisis of most of the public figures and barring exceptions, none is kept in high esteem by the common people.

It’s a crime-action-thriller with a social connotation. A lot of crime-based plots used to come in the movies of 60s, 70s, 80s and even 90s with most of them making a mockery of crime and criminals with unusual get-up given to the gang-leader, well-decorated dens containing some gadget systems as well, dancers performing before the villains, larger than life hero shattering the den and bashing the baddies alone with the police arriving to perform only the last formalities of arrest. This is a movie which stands out and presents a systematic and logically knitted web of crime, cops, relationships and moral dilemma. Please keep your brains with you while watching it because then only you will be able to appreciate its pros.

The plot of Be-Reham (merciless) revolves around Sanjeev Kumar, the police commissioner and Shatrughan Sinha, his subordinate inspector who is his devotee and always keeps him in high esteem. The dead-honest and dutiful cop Sanjeev opines that policemen are no ordinary civilians and to do their duty perfectly, they should be careful with their public image. He gives this lesson to Shatrughan when he finds him enjoying wine, dine and dance with his lady-love Reena Roy and others. However Sanjeev himself has to face the dilemma of following the law of the land or maintaining his image (which he feels, represents the image of the whole police department) when accidentally a bad character is killed by him at the house of his ex-flame, Mala Sinha who had been led by circumstances to become a prostitute. Mala stops him to call the police and asks him to leave in order to stay away from any type of scandal that may tarnish his image. However after getting herself arrested post his departure, Mala feels that she may not be able to sustain the police interrogation and there remains the possibility of herself revealing the name of Sanjeev. To avoid any such likelihood, she commits suicide in the police lock-up. Investigating officer, Shatrughan finds certain clues hinting that a big gun of his own department may be involved in this murder case. However he respects Sanjeev so much that he suspects everybody except him. Another parallel track in the movie is of Sanjeev’s college buddy, Kader Khan who is now a big smuggler and involved in other illegal activities also. He tries to bribe Sanjeev but his this act itself brings him into the suspicion of Sanjeev. After getting information about his real activities, Sanjeev goes after him. In the action-packed climax related to the kidnapping of a big Indian scientist by Kader Khan, Sanjeev gets killed but not before submitting his letter for confession of the murder at Mala’s residence to Shatrughan.

This crime-action-thriller is good to watch because of the logically flowing narrative and logical layout. Nowhere it is over the top and the all the scenes related to the police department have been convincingly executed (which, in my opinion, was very very exceptional in those times). There is nobody larger than life and the villain with his activities and mannerisms is thoroughly reliable and convincing. Yes, we can imagine by seeing Kader Khan and his movements how the real life smugglers and traitors might be looking like. Very few cinematic liberties have been taken in the movie. Other than the song and dance of the romantic pair of Shatru and Reena, the sequence of the performance of a lady Qawwaal (Moushumi Chatterjee) arranged in order to bring out the eye-witness (Keshto Mukherjee) from his hiding, is the only big cinematic liberty taken to push the story forward. Else everything is realistic. Shatrughan’s inquiring his seniors regarding their whereabouts on the murder night, is an example of realistic presentation of the things. If you start enjoying the realistic way of telling the story of crime investigation and police action, this movie will prove thoroughly engrossing for you. Just pay attention to the scene of Kader Khan visiting his client, Helen in foreign and you will realize how the people of the crime world talk and behave. No gimmicks, no useless dialogues, nothing overboard; everything natural as expected of flesh and blood individuals. Summing up, it is a no-nonsense movie.

As was the tradition in that time, the director (Raghunath Jhaalani) has kept the character of Sindhi inspector Malpani (I.S. Johar) who provides laughs. However the director is cautious enough not to reduce him to just a laughter-generating character. He does serious things as a part of his duty assigned by his seniors and is sacrificed in the hands of the smugglers while on duty. Thus the reality aspect has not been compromised even in his case.

One more reason for me to like this movie is the assertion that image is very important. Yes, not only for the celebrities or the leaders of the nation, but also for the people at the helm of affairs in the public life, being image conscious is very important. I am not advocating the hiding of any crime accidentally taken place. However, public feelings are always associated with the image of the people in news (for good reasons of course) and therefore, cheapening oneself in the public-eye may not help the cause of performing profound duties for the department or the society or the nation. I endorse Sanjeev’s view underscored in this movie. He is not escaping the law to save his own skin. Being police commissioner, he is more concerned with the image of the whole police department. That makes this movie different from and superior to routine cat and mouse game movies.

I have always been a Sanjeev Kumar fan. And Be-Reham is more or less a movie of Sanjeev Kumar only, one of the greatest actors Bollywood has ever presented. He was an acting legend. This movie also has more or less been carried by him on his lone shoulders. Kader Khan, I.S. Johar and Keshto Mukherjee alongwith Moushumi in her cameo, have done well. The disappointing ones are Shatrughan Sinha, Reena Roy and Mala Sinha.

Music is so-so. However the Qawwaali pictured on Moushumi is good. Technical aspects and the action scenes in the climax are good. The movie has not been unduly dragged, considering the norms of that period. Dialogues are also okay and perfectly fit in with the naturally advancing storyline.Be-RehamMany filmmakers of Bollywood advise their audience to leave their brains at their homes before leaving for the theatre, in order to enjoy their so-called entertaining movies. However this movie can be enjoyed by keeping your brains with you. All the lovers of crime-action-police movies as well as all the Sanjeev Kumar fans will surely like this logically told saga.

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About Jitendra Mathur

A Chartered Accountant with literary passion and a fondness for fine arts
This entry was posted in Movie Review and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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