Shree 420

Shree 420, India, 06 September 1955

A country boy, Raj (Raj Kapoor), from Allahabad, travels to the big city, Bombay, by walking, to earn a living. He falls in love with the poor but virtuous Vidya (Nargis), but is soon seduced by the riches of a freewheeling and unethical lifestyle presented to him by an unscrupulous and dishonest businessman, Seth Sonachand Dharmanand (Nemo) and the sultry temptress Maya (Nadira). He eventually becomes a confidence trickster, or "420," who even cheats in card gambling. Vidya tries hard to make Raj a good man but fails.

Meanwhile, Sonachand comes up with another scheme to exploit poor people, whereby he promises permanent homes to them at just Rs. 100. The scheme pays off, as people start hoarding money for a home, even at the cost of other important things. Vidya's contempt for Raj increases even more. Raj becomes wealthy, but soon realizes that he paid a very high price for it. When Raj discovers that Sonachand has no plans to fulfill his promises, he decides to make wrongs right.

Raj takes all the bond papers of the people's homes and tries to flee Sonachand's home, only to be caught by Sonachands and his cronies. In a scuffle that occurs, Sonachand shoots Raj and he falls unconscious. When people hear the shooting, they come and see Raj nearly dead. Sonachand tells police that Raj was trying to flee after stealing money from his safe, hence Sonachand shot him.

  • Genre: Romantic
  • Runtime: 168 Minutes
  • Director: Raj Kapoor
  • Awards: National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi

Story

Shree 420 (translation: Mr. 420, also transliterated as Shri 420) is a 1955 Bollywood film directed, produced by and starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis. The number 420 refers to Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, which prescribes the punishment for the offence of cheating; hence, "Mr. 420" is a derogatory term for a cheat. The film centers on Raj, a poor but educated orphan who comes to Bombay with dreams of success. Kapoor's character is heavily influenced by Charlie Chaplin's "little tramp", much like Kapoor's character in his 1951 Awaara. It was written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, and the music was composed by the team of Shankar Jaikishan. The lyrics were penned by Shailendra.

Shree 420 was the highest grossing film of 1955, and the song "Mera Joota Hai Japani" ("My Shoes are Japanese"), sung by Mukesh, became hugely popular and a patriotic symbol of the newly independent India.