Pinjara (film)

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VCR cover
Directed by V. Shantaram
Produced byV. Shantaram
Written by Shankar Babaji Patil
Starring Shriram Lagoo
Nilu Phule
Music by Ram Kadam
Jagdish Khebudkar (lyrics)
CinematographyShivaji Sawant
Edited byV. Shantaram , Jayesh Dalal
Release date
31 March 1972
Running time
175 minutes
Country India
Language Marathi/Hindi

Pinjara (Marathi : पिंजरा; Cage) (pronounced as pinj-ra) is a 1972 Marathi film, directed by V. Shantaram, starring Shriram Lagoo and Sandhya in the lead roles. [1] In 1972, the film was also released in Hindi with the same title.


Set in the Tamasha folk musical theatre of Maharashtra, the film is about a morally righteous school teacher, Lagoo, who wants to reform a Tamasha performer, played by Sandhya, but ends up falling in love with her. [2] It is an adaptation of Heinrich Mann's 1905 novel Professor Unrat (Professor Garbage). [3] The film is known for its music and dance numbers with music by Ram Kadam. The lead actress is Sandhya, known for her dancing prowess. It is also the film debut of noted theatre actor Shriram Lagoo. [4] The film was remade by Shantaram in Hindi with same cast and title, and even the songs like "Mala Lagali Kunachi Uchaki", which were a big hit in the Marathi version, were re-recorded in the Hindi version. [5]

This was the last major film by the veteran director, who had made classics like Duniya Na Mane (1937), Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957) and Navrang (1959). Produced in colour, it was replete with catchy dance numbers sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Usha Mangeshkar. Prior to its release, one reel of the film was test-screened in the theatres, to check colour reproduction. [6] It went on to become one of the biggest commercial successes of its time and ran for 134 weeks in Pune. [7] This also led to the introduction of colour films in Marathi cinema. [8] [9] In 1973, it won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Marathi for the year 1972.


The film is a loose adaptation of the first major German sound film Der Blaue Engel .

Shridhar Pant (widely known as Guruji) is an upright school teacher, a man of high morals and ideals. He teaches and educates the children as well as the illiterate adults of that village in the same school, where he stays. Owing to his efforts, the village is declared as an ideal village in the entire district. Unfortunately, a group of notorious people headed by the son of Sarpanch, does not value and respect these moral qualities. One day, a Tamasha (folk art of Maharashtra) group comes to the village. The lead dancer of the group, Chandrakala (Sandhya Shantaram) steals the heart of every man in the village by her dance and style. Guruji is righteously infuriated by their lack of morals. He strictly denies them to have place in the village for their performance, as it could spoil the villager's minds and their future. Chandrakala tries to confront him but failed, returns with entire troupe in anger. Her ego is so hurt that she decides to take revenge by staying and performing at a certain place where borders of village ends which is far from the residents of the village, On the way, she stops everyone and asks to settle there, set the tents and establish a stage where she could perform. Next day, she started performing and because of loud voice of the music, the adult students get attracted to her. They bunk the class by making excuses and go to her performance "Tamasha". When Guruji comes to know, he vents his anger on the dance group and scolds everyone. He demolishes the tents so built and everything there.

In spite of this, when villagers did not listen to Guruji and kept skipping daily classes to see Chandrakala's dance, furious Guruji reaches there and tries to confront Chandrakala by scolding her on her such shameful deed. Meanwhile, Chandrakala slips on the floor and is badly injured. In humanity and humility Guruji helps her. By the time Chandrakala is cured, he is overwhelmed by lust that he had never before encountered or felt. Horrified, he asks her to keep their meeting a secret, but, later on he keeps visiting her secretly and thus his love for Chandrakala gradually develops.

Later, the son of the Sarpanch (Bajirao), who is against the teacher, finds him visiting Chandrakala on a daily basis. One evening, he calls his father (Sarpanch) and all villager to see Guruji with Chandrakala, but they don't find Guruji there. Guruji is deeply hurt as he deceives the villagers. Bajirao tries to frame Guruji in a molestation case. A villager (milkman) who wants to get revenge from Bajirao, killed him because in past Bajirao had tried to molest his wife. Seeing Bajirao's deadbody outside, Chandrakala and Guruji change his clothes with clothes of Guruji. Chandrakala then, asks Guruji to flee with her. In that thunderstorm night, when villagers come to know through a local clown that murder has taken place, they gather near the dead body lying in the school. In that rainy night, villager could only see clothes of Guruji on the dead body, and they believed that their Guruji has been killed. Chandrakal takes Guruji with her and keeps him in disguise as a "Mastar" a "Tamasha worker". Here, "Mastar" is badly humiliated by the leader "Akka" of the troupe every now and then. In the deep shock of this, he eventually becomes addicted to drink and tobacco. The villagers, on the other side, unveils a Statue of Guruji in the school compound itself, as a tribute to his noble deeds and his ideals. They also file a police complaint and request a detailed investigation on Guruji's murder.

After realizing that she has brought a noble man like Guruji to her level, and is solely responsible for his such a downfall, Chandrakala decides to mend her ways. She leaves the dancer troupe after a quarrel with them. She and Guruji leaves, but soon he gets arrested by Police. Guruji is charged for his own murder as his fingerprints match with the fingerprints present on the murder weapon. He decides to end his life instead of facing himself as guilty of innocent villagers. Chandrakala tries to defend and meets him in Jail. She tells him that she will tell the truth in court - that Guruji is alive and "Mastar" only is their Guruji, who is caught by police. He cannot murder of himself and therefore and not a murderer. Guruji persuades her how people loved his thoughts, his deeds and how in his memory they have built his statue. He decides that he should be punished for deceiving the villagers. He believes that his thoughts and the noble ideals of Guruji should live in minds of villagers than the murderer "Mastar". He decides to sacrifice himself for the long life of "Guruji and his deeds & Morals".

Here now fate takes a twist. In court, while telling the truth to the judge, shocked Chandrakala suddenly loses her voice. Mastar is asked about his stance on the case and defense. He confesses the crime and pleads that it is a ghastly act done by him and requests court for harshest punishment. Court sentences him to death. On judge's announcement of death sentence to Guruji, Chandrakala, into deep shock, loses her consciousness and dies on the spot. Mastar later sees Chandrakala died and believes she headed him before his death. Mastar is shown being taken to jail and presumably it is shown that his punishment is carried out.

Pinjara is the tragic love story of a school teacher and a dancer. The title Pinjara, meaning, the "cage" here, is a metaphor for life. The dancer dies as she feels guilty herself for bringing Guruji to become Mastar and to his consequent worst condition to the death, falls for him and at last, is unable to save him. The teacher chooses to die under mistaken identity, to keep the morals and values of Guruji in minds of Villagers intact, rather than living as a man who has lost respect in his own eyes. How death of the couple, frees them from their "Cages" of guilt, is the moral of the story.


The cast of Pinjara: [10]

Shriram Lagoo Maths Teacher
Sandhya Dancer (Chandrakala)
Nilu Phule Leader of dance troupe
Vatsala Deshmukh Sister of dancer
Maya Jadhav Troupe dancer
Sarala Yeolekar Villager
Usha Naik Troupe dancer
Bhalchandra Kulkarni Police Inspector
Syadri SharmaNurse


The film was released on 31 March 1972. [6] It was re-released on 18 March 2016.



The film's soundtrack was composed by Ram Kadam, with lyrics by Jagdish Khebudkar. [12]

Track list

The following table shows the tracks and their respective duration in the film. [13]

Track #SongSingerDuration (minutes)
1"Aali Thumkat Naar Lachkat"Vishnu Waghmare03:41
2"Chhabidar Chhabi Mi" Usha Mangeshkar 03:28
3"De Re Kanha Choli Un Lugdi" Lata Mangeshkar 07:33
4"Disala Ga Bai Disala"Usha Mangeshkar04:56
5"Ishqachi Ingali Dasli"Usha Mangeshkar04:59
6"Kashi Nashibana Thatta Aaj Mandli" Sudhir Phadke, Usha Mangeshkar04:00
7"Mala Lagali Kunachi Uchaki"Usha Mangeshkar03:03
8"Naka Todu Pavan Jara Thamba"Usha Mangeshkar03:23
9"Tumhawar Keli Mi Marji Bahal"Lata Mangeshkar03:27

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