Bombay Cinematic City
This fall series of screenings and discussions explores the changing cinematic representations of Bombay (the official name until 1995) now known as Mumbai.
Sir 420 (Shree 420)
Directed by Raj Kapoor
Thursday, September 7, 6 pm
“Probes the eternal moral battle between virtue and sin.” —Dinesh Raheja, rediff.com
Produced, directed, and starring Raj Kapoor, the film focuses on Raj, a poor, but educated orphan who travels to Bombay with dreams of improving his station. While initially falling for the poor but virtuous Vidya, he’s soon seduced by the big city lifestyle provided by a business associate and a sultry temptress. In order to keep up with the demands of his new life, he turns to a life of crime and gambling.
The number 420 in the title refers to section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, which prescribes the punishment for cheating.
The film was the highest-grossing Indian film of 1955 and the song “Mera Joota Hai Japani” (“My Shoes are Japanese”) became a popular and patriotic symbol of the newly independent India. 1955, India, video, in Hindi and Marathi with English subtitles, 168 minutes. Recommended for all ages.
Introduction and post-screening discussion by Neepa Majumdar, Associate Professor, English and Film Studies, University of Pittsburgh.
Co-presented with UofL’s Urban and Public Affairs and the Commonwealth Center for Humanities & Society with support from the Liberal Studies Project.