Released in 1982, Masoom is adapted from the famous novel Man, Woman and Child by Eric Segal. It was Shekhar Kapur’s (Dev Anand’s nephew) debut directorial venture. Masoom is considered to be one of the most sensitively handled project, with the illegitimate child angle. With lyrics and screenplay written by Gulzar it was a formula bound for success. This is one of the projects of Kapur which did see the light of day.
Masoom is a story of a child’s innocence and the film has brilliant music by none other than R.D. Burman with “Do naina ek kahani”, “Tujhse naraz nahin zindagi” topping the charts and the eponymous “Lakdi ki Kathi” which became the childhood anthem of sorts. The film was a hit with the middle class audience. With the ensemble cast of Naseeruddin Shah, Shabana Azmi, Saeed Jaffery and Tanuja who were all at the peak of their craft and child brigade led by the lovable Jugal Hansraj and Urmila Matonkar.
D K Malhotra (Naseeruddin Shah) an architect and Indu (Shabana Azmi) are a happily married couple living a comfortable life in Delhi with their young daughters Pinky (Urmila) and Minni. DK is a fun-loving person and a great father, Indu though a good housewife has a mind of her own.
Their blissful life is rocked by a letter received by DK about his illegitimate son. He is from an affair with Bhavana (Supriya Pathak) who is no more and the son needs a home to stay. The affair was about the same time when DK was in Nainital for a school reunion and Indu was about to deliver her first daughter Pinky.
Against Indu’s wish, who is herself wrecked to learn about DK’s infidelity, DK is forced to get his son home. The son Rahul (Jugal) is endearing but morose and has an air of innocence around him. Unknown to Rahul that DK himself is his father, he tries to blend with his sisters and DK, but the innocent boy is a thorn in Indu’s eyes, who is just unforgiving. She sees Rahul as a symbol of her husband’s unfaithfulness. As tensions mount at home DK decides to put Rahul in a boarding in Nainital. He has some bonding time with Rahul and convinces him to stay at the hostel. In the meantime due to circumstances, Indu too is developing a soft corner. But before packing his bags to go to Nainital, Rahul becomes aware that DK is his dad and unable to reconcile with that he runs off from home putting everyone in a tizzy. Things turn for the better when a policeman brings Rahul home even as DK is out looking for him. Rahul confesses to Indu he knows the truth but Indu senses his heartbreak and she melts and stops him from going to Nainital and accepts him as his own.
A delicate subject aptly handled with subtle human emotions (the deep-end kinds) pulling at the heart-strings of the viewers. The child’s questions are innocent but touching. It was an excellent first up by Kapur notwithstanding his luminous but start and stop career with umpteen shelved projects. A Hollywood movie of the same name as the novel was also made on the subject. It received Filmfare Awards for the best film (critics), the best actor, music, lyrics and best female playback was awarded to Arti Mukherjee for ‘DO Naina”. A definite watch and a deserving candidate in the top 100 Bollywood all-time list.
– Revisited by PAWAN GUPTA