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Do Ankhen Barah Haath (1957) - (Movies To See Before You Die - Drama)

10 Feb, 2008 | Movies To See Before You Die / Drama

Do Aankhen Barah Haath - Bobby Talks Cinema.com

6 convicts are demanded by an officer for an experiment in which he wishes to transform them into good & well mannered citizens in a given period of time. This is the theme of V. Shantaram’s self featured classic which also won the National Award for the Best Feature Film in 1958. Interestingly in 1954, Akira Kurosawa made his cult movie “Seven Samurai” with a similar theme and though Shantaram's classic is supposedly based on a real life incident as mentioned in its titles too, it still has a lot of similarities in the theme used by Kurosawa in his film based on 7 characters.

However, if we look at both the classics closely then the Hindi Masterpiece is quite different from Kurosawa’s famous work, since here there is no evil force for the convicts to fight with and the only motive is to just transform the 6 people into good citizens and well behaving farmers and thats it. In fact, Hollywood also came out with a similar classic in 1967 with the title “The Dirty Dozen". But here again the convicts are being trained into becoming military men for a specific reason as per its storyplot.

Moreover moving on a different path, “Do Ankhen Barah Haath” is more of an emotional flick with very soft and touchy sequences and no violence at all. The use of innovative lighting, cinematography, dialogues and even the songs woven into the storyline is simply superb and its really a treat to watch V. Shantaram as a cool, easy going and sober actor, even in the most difficult scenes of dealing with the convicts. No doubt his outstanding treatment of the offbeat subject makes "Do Aankhen Barah Haath" one of the most praised movie of the Hindi Film Industry till date.

Taking much useful inspiration from this Shantaram Classic, famous Indian directors, Ramesh Sippy Subhash Ghai later reused the concept for their own hit movies “SHOLAY" & "KARMA” respectively, featuring many new twists and turns, wherein SHOLAY had 2 & KARMA had 3 convicts instead of 6 as seen in the original.

In short, students of media world and film-making should ideally watch all these films together to understand how a director can use his own personal vision to come up with a completely different and entertaining movie on an otherwise similar and inspired theme having the same basic framework.

Directed By V. Shantaram

Starring : V. Shantaram, Sandhya & More.
Music By Vasant Desai

Click here for more on how V. Shantaram may have inspired Hollywood.

Tags : Do Ankhen Barah Haath, Movies To See Before You Die, Drama, Akira Kurosawa, V. Shantaram, Do Ankhen Barah Haath, Seven Samurai, Karma, The Dirty Dozen
10 Feb 2008 / Comments ( 11 )

This is the most likely movie i have seen in my life and i realy got  inspired by this movie and after this experience i have seen other movies of the same director like Navrang and Jhanak Jhanak Payal Baaje.

Bobby Sing

Thanks Jeetendra for your comment.
BTW, V. shantaram was also the person responsible to bring in the actor with your name in the Industry and that was "Jeetendera".

Keep Visiting....Cheers!


This is the best movie for inspiration for the life by bollywood it is the milistone movie.

ankit anand

I have heard of this film two years before i watched it and when i first watched it in program v.shantaram film festival, i was completely mesmerised at the theme,story,acting and presentation along with remarkable music and songs.i have a little knowledge about v.shantaram before watching this film but after i had watched the film i searched every possible piece of information about the legendery filmmaker who was the great v.shantaram.i considered him as one of the best genius filmmakers india has ever produced.

Bobby Sing

Yes Ankit Anand, he is indeed one of the greatest film-makers ever.
Thanks for visiting and keep writing in,

Sanjit Narwekar
A few problems with your facts.
(1) The film was inspired by a true incident which had happened in the Princely State of Aundh (on the outskirts of Pune) which was written up by G.D.Madgulkar.
(2) There are only six convicts and not 12 as you say. hence the Barah Haath (12 Hands -- two per convict). The Do Ankhen belong to the Jailor.
(3) The film won the Golden Bear at Berlin -- only Indian film to do so. As they say in Sanskrit: na bhuta na bhava. Never has this been equalled so far.
All the best!!
Bobby Sing

Dear Sanjit Narwekar,
Thanks a lot for visiting and sharing your valuable comment.

However regarding your observations :
(1) Though it is mentioned in the film's titles too (that I have included in the write-up now), It will be great if you can give me some book reference or link about that real life story as I would love to read that.

(2) The numbering mistake now stands corrected.

(3) As per IMDB and other sites too it won Silver Bear and was nominated for Golden Bear. And several other films have also won Silver bear at Berlin since then. But if this info is wrong then pls do give me some reference to follow.


Sanjit Narwekar

(1) The fact that the film is based on a real life story is mentioned in the first two title cards of the film in English and Hindi. V Shantaram also refers to it in his autobiography Shantarama (available in both Marathi and Hindi). The Marathi version has the story of the film\'s genesis on pages 455-459. The story was never written down separately as a story. It was an original script.

(2) The fact that the film won the Golden Bear was reported widely in the Press and particularly Screen on the first page. Dr Shantaram also mentions it in his biography on page 479 and also reproduces the telegram from the Consul Geeral of India in Berlin mentioning the film having won the Golden Bear.

(3) More than that during the shooting of my 42-minute film on V Shantaram for Films Division I have personally held the Golden Bear in my hands. The award (and Dr Shantaram\'s other awards) is on display at the Rajkamal Studios. My film is available on You Tube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MtGTLv5wP0.

Just one word of unsolicited advice from an older man to a younger person. Don\'t rely too heavily on imdb (or for that matter the Internet) which is full of incorrect information on Indian cinema. If you are serious about being a writer always go to the source material which is available in India. All the best!!

Bobby Sing

Dear Sanjit Ji,
(1) Yes it is mentioned in the film's titles but since there are no actual names so I would love to read the autobiography book next in Hindi.

But regarding the advice given, I would like to put forward a thought that where Wikipedia is the most unreliable source on the net, IMDB is considered to be a better and much reliable undeniably as the info there is provided the makers themselves mostly for the new films.

However since they can obviously have the errors regarding the past era films then it becomes even more important for people like us in the middle age or post 50 to get that corrected as soon as possible making a personal effort.
For instance as we all know that such sites are widely considered by the younger generation then isnt our duty to ask them to correct it with some authentic proof before the false word itself becomes the truth automatically. 

In other words, if today Internet doesnt stand corrected with our personal efforts then who will correct it in the coming years. Obviosuly no one unless they are told and presented the exact truth by the actual people who were there and know the truth as a personal experience or the connected family members of the film-makers.

So I will try to do my best in this direction from my side, but its also the duty of reputed film-makers, researchers and passionate lovers of cinema to make an effort to get it all corrected too before we are all gone from this earth leaving all the false facts as it is.......!

Humbly speaking, it will not help to just point out that its wrong..........as the wrong needs to be corrected too by we related to the subject only.

Hence Please do write to IMDB about the facts if possible and many thanks to mention it here at BTC.

Thanks a lot.

Shrikant Shinde

Sir, I would like to know if this 1957 movie "Do Ankhe Bara Haath" was shot in Spicer Memorial College, Aundh, Pune?
Recently I read a post in Facebook in which it's said that this movie "Do Ankhe Bara Haath" 1957 was most likely shot in Spicer Memorial College campus in Aundh Pune.

Bobby Sing

Hi Shrikant,
I am honestly not aware of the shooting location. But would surely look into it and get back if I find something important supporting or opposing the claim.
Keep Visiting and Writing in,

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