Karmayogi (1978)

Action, Drama

Karmayogi (1978) Poster

Brash, outspoken, and aethiest Shanker lives in a small village with his son, Mohan, and his devout wife, Durga, who is expecting another child soon. Shanker and Durga are incompatible, as ... See full summary »


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26 May 2012 | jmathur_swayamprabha
| Applying the teaching of Bhagvad-Geeta differently
Lord Krishna says in Geeta that a man has a right over his deeds but not their results. He, therefore, should do his duty diligently without pondering over its outcomes. If the deeds are good, their outcomes will be positive. If the deeds are bad, their outcomes will, quite naturally, be negative. The fruits or the results of the deeds are never instant. They take their due course in materializing. Hence a person should be patient enough to wait for the results of his endeavours (specially when they are positive). And the best way to maintain patience is to be indifferent towards the fruits of your deeds. And one who believes in performing his duties with sincerity without thinking or getting impatient about the fruits / rewards, is called a Karmayogi.

This theory of Karma (deed / effort) and Karma-Phala (reward of the deed) may sound impractical and not useful to many modern day people who go by common logic and feel that if the reward (or its timing) is uncertain, then what's the meaning of effort. The protagonist of this more than three decades old movie also thinks the same way. He is not patient to wait for the fruit of his effort. He wants his reward instantly. And this is mostly not possible only when the effort is good or lawful. However, unlawful activities may yield their materialistic rewards within no time. So, the hero - Shankar (Raaj Kumar) who was earlier betrayed and swindled by many people in his life, leading to poverty and hardships, takes the path of crime which yields instant result (money) to him. His wife, Durga (Mala Sinha) is a highly religious and pious woman who firmly believes in the teachings of Geeta. Shankar feels that he and Durga cannot pull together as husband and wife. Hence he leaves her and leaving the village too, shifts to the metropolitan city. He also takes their son - Mohan with him and teaches him what he has learnt from life. Naturally, the personality of Mohan (Raaj Kumar in double role) also becomes a reflection of that of his father only. The father-son duo commits crimes in association with Keshav Lal (Ajit) and his confident - Bhiku Ghasi Ram (Dheeraj Kumar).

On the other hand, Durga faces immense hardships. When Shankar left him, she was pregnant and after leaving the house (because it has been attached by the court because of non-payment of loan taken by Shankar against that), she gives birth to her second son who courtesy the good teachings and nice Samsakaras of his mother, grows up as an idealist - Ajay (Jeetendra). Ajay is a lawyer but he runs a newspaper also, named as - Karmayogi. Keshav Lal conspires against Shankar and gets him caught by the police. Since Shankar has murdered a police officer, he gets death penalty. Later Mohan happens to meet his separated mother and younger brother but he has already chosen his end and after seeking his revenge from the conspirators, follows his father to the gallows. However in his ending moments, his mother is there to recite the couplets of Geeta to him. These couplets are not only those belonging to the concept of Karma but also the concepts of soul and rebirth as explained by Lord Krishna.

The decades of sixties and seventies, in my opinion, were a period when there were several good script writers were active in Bollywood and therefore, numerous good scripts (enveloped in the regular box office formulae, of course) were written for Hindi movies. However, barring exceptions, skilled directors were not there to develop formula-based good scripts into equally good and impressive movies. And hence the quality of the movies got diluted due to average direction of the script. Karmayogi also suffers from the same problem.

Still if this movie has its moments and certain parts are damn impressive, then it's mainly due to the stylish performance of Raaj Kumar in double role and the dialogues of Saagar Sarhadi which seem to have been specially written for him. Since both the roles of Raaj Kumar contain the same flavour, he did not need to deliver two different types of performances. He is stylish and mannerismic but carries this otherwise a run-of-the-mill kind of movie on his shoulders. It's his performance which renders this movie a repeat value. If someone else has been able to leave her mark, then it's Mala Sinha who despite less footage, has got the meaty role of the religious wife and mother who firmly believes in and follows the teachings of Bhagvad-Geeta. Jeetendra has got very less footage. Ajit, Dheeraj Kumar, Kanhaiyalal (the money-lender of the village), Nazir Hussain (the priest of the church who supports Durga) are routine.

The movie has two leading ladies - Rekha and Reena Roy but both of them have got very less footage. Still Rekha is able to leave her mark as a cabaret dancer and gangster's moll who is also a loving and caring elder sister (of Reena Roy) with a heart of gold. The movie features Yogeeta Bali also in a guest appearance.

Music composed by Kalyanji Anandji is overall average but the qawwaali picturized on Rekha, Ajit and Raaj Kumar - Tum Nahin Ya Hum Nahin is memorable. Its lyrics seem to have been specially penned according to the situation as well as the personality of Raaj Kumar. Asha Bhonsle, Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi have sung it brilliantly. The theme song of the movie - Tere Jeevan Ka Hai Karmon Se Naata (sung by Manna Dey) is also impressive. Varma Malik has penned the lyrics.

Karmayogi could have become an outstanding movie, had the script been handled by a skilled director. However it is a formula-based Bollywood potboiler which deserves a watch because it's entertaining and contains the memorable performance of Raaj Kumar.




Country of Origin


Filming Locations

Famous Cine Studios, Tardeo, India

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