"Take movies, music, poetry out of life & its gone!"

Kanoon (1960) - (Movies To See Before You Die - Courtroom Drama)

11 Jun, 2009 | Movies To See Before You Die / Court Room

As a brilliantly conceived, ahead of its time attempt, KANOON was a path-breaking stunner of the year 1960, raising significant questions about the LAW and its logical grounds of making the capital judgment. 

Can a person be charged for the same crime twice? 
The movie starts with this intriguing question and then moves on towards unmasking deeper loop holes in the judiciary system largely based on the statements given by the presented witnesses. The story revolves around a plot where a murder is committed but an innocent person is caught due to his untimely presence on the spot. Now should he be hanged only on the basis of some dicey witnesses or can the judgment be turned over with some forged testimonies, is the point intelligently raised in the film!
It's true that the law takes its decision on the basis of available witnesses and doubts can always be raised on the authenticity of those testimonies by the lawyers. But that’s the way law forces work, which can anytime unintentionally punish even an innocent person for a crime not committed by him. May be that’s the reason, law is said to be blind and this is the basic theme of this captivating court room drama aptly titled KANOON written by C. J. Pavri, dialogues by Akhtar-Ul-Iman and produced & directed by B. R. Chopra 
It’s said Chopra made this movie to prove that Indian Cinema is not only few songs and dances put together. To show the brilliance and talent of our Indian filmmakers and its actors, he intentionally made this song less classic court room drama in the times when songs were treated as an essential and most important USP of Hindi films. As a intentionally added feature, though the film did have a long ballet stage performance as an amalgamation of western and Indian traditional dance featuring the legend Gopi Krishan, but it didn't have any usual film songs defying the set norm.
Well supported by a talented star-cast including Ashok Kumar in the lead role as a Judge along with Rajendra Kumar, Nanda, Mehmood, Manmohan Krishan and Nana Palsikar as the petty thief in particular, the film’s gripping narrative grabs you till the climax and the shocking revelation in the end forces you to sit back and give it a serious thought. 
Reportedly though B. R. Chopra had made this film on a socially relevant theme as per the known tradition of BR films, but he was really worried during its distributors show, eager to know their response to a song-less courtroom drama. However they all loved the film and requested Chopra not to add any song releasing the masterpiece as it is. Both the maker and his distributors were very right in their decision as the film did win hearts all over and worked well winning Filmfare honours too for the talented team.
In few words, as one of the first Hindi films without any song (with background score by Salil Chowdhury) KANOON is not a typical Bollywood movie of the sixties, but an important trend-setting attempt, made well ahead of its time, raising notable questions about the Judiciary system still prevalent in the current era. 
Interestingly, the sub-plot related with Jeevan in the beginning of KANOON was later also seen in Mohan Segal-Manoj Kumar’s SAJAN released in 1969 and then in T. Rama Rao-Amitabh Bachchan’s ANDHAA KAANOON in 1983. In fact it was much impactfully incorporated in ANDHAA KANOON wherein Amitabh Bachchan raises the exact question standing in the court that “How can you charge a person twice for the same crime?”. 
However before the release of KANOON in 1960, there was an episode of Alfred Hitchcock Presents T.V. Serial, titled “The Motive” aired in 1958, which also had two friends betting on the point that a murder can be committed without being caught, similar to how Ashok Kumar has a bet with his fellow Judge. The similar premise might be a coincidence or a partial inspiration (as it ends with a completely different conclucion with its own shocking twist), it doesn’t take away any merit from this B. R. Chopra’s worth watching cult-classic of our Hindi cinema.
So, if you wish to witness a thrilling as well as a thought provoking, highly engrossing court room drama, then go for this all time black & white masterpiece as a must - which in all possibilities would change your general perception of how Hindi movies were made in that specific time period.

Produced and directed By B. R. Chopra
Music by Salil Chowdhury
Starring : Ashok Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Nanda, Mehmood, Manmohan Krishan and Nana Palsikar.
(Note : The film can now be seen at Youtube)

Tags : Kanoon (1960) Review by Bobby Sing at Bobbytalkscinema.com, Black & white Classic, Movies To See Before You Die, Must See Movies List By Bobby Sing, Inspiration from World Cinema, Inspired Movies, Inspired Cinema, Andha Kanoon, Sajan
11 Jun 2009 / Comments ( 5 )

This classic was reminded by a friendly reader "Mr. Raja Shah". Though i had this movie in my mind for long but it was due to the recommendation of Mr. Raja Shah, that i saw it again and added this intense court room drama in my "Movies To See Before You die List".


Thanks to Mr. Raja Shah for his encouraging comment.



i had the very same thought about this movie, its excellent and a real gem of indian cinema, below is my review and thoughts on it

Bobby Sing

Glad to have a big bollywood lover at my site.
I am sure you will get a lot of info here on Hindi movies and Indian Cinema.

If you like my hard work then do add me in your "Fabulous Blogs" lists,
which will in turn help me to reach more serious bollywood fans like yourself...


Qamaal Mustafa Sikander

Lovely review. This is one of my favourite movie, also love Mehmood in this film, the deadly laughter the moment he comes to know about something is just too good. Hope I haven\'t taken away anything for those who havent seen the movie.

Bobby Sing

Thanks for your appreciation Graphikamaal. Nice to have you here at my site.......

Keep Visiting .....Cheers!

Leave A Comment
E-mail (will not be published)
Website (Optional)
Enter shown code