Film : Haath ki Safaai
Year of release : 1974
Spoken by : Shankar (Vinod Khanna)
Spoken to : Kamini (Hema Malini)
Dialogue writer : Salim Javed
It was Vaalmiki Jayanti yesterday. You would have faced a lot of traffic jams if you were in Delhi yesterday. Reminded me of this Salim Javed line that I have been planning to post for a while. Vaalmiki was of course famous for having written the epic Ramayan. But the other famous fact about him was that he was a highwayman who used to rob and kill travellers. He later (after a chance encounter with Narada) reforms and gives up robbery and takes to writing. When I see the kind of advances paid to ordinary writers these days, I can understand the thought behind this career switch. :)
The film is called Haath Ki Safaai and Shankar plays a crook in the film. Kamini is running away from Shankar when she realises that he is a crook and while trying to hide from his men and him, she goes and seeks refuge in his house without realising it. Shankar's wife Roma (Simi Garewal) sees a woman in distress and agrees to give her refuge. But very soon Kamini sees a large framed photo of Shankar in the hall and without realising that she could have walked into the wrongest house possible, she blurts out to Roma that the man in the photo is a goon. Roma refuses to believe and asks her to leave the house. As Kamini leaves the house, she is chased by Shankar and just as Shankar is about to get to Kamini, Roma (who must have been quietly following them) steps in and confronts Shankar. However, the strain of the situation is too much for Roma and she faints. Kamini helps Shankar to tend to Roma, till she has stabilised.
Later when Shankar sees that Kamini is still in the house, he apologises to her. He says,
"kaamini, maine jo tumhaare saath ab tak sulooq kiyaa hai tum... Khair, maafii maangnee to bahut aasaan hai, aur mai.n koii vaalmiiki to nahee.n, jo Daake chhoDe hai.n to raamaayaN likh dee. Romaa ne tumhe.n is ghar me.n panaah dii hai, jab tak tum chaaho, yahaa.n rah saktee ho. "
"कामिनी, मैंने जो तुम्हारे साथ अब तक सुलूक़ किया है, तुम...ख़ैर, माफ़ी मांगनी तो बहुत आसान है, और मैं कोई वाल्मीकि तो नहीं, जो डाके छोडे हैं तो रामायण लिख दी. रोमा ने तुम्हें इस घर में पनाह दी है, जब तक तुम चाहो, यहां रह सकती हो."
Now this situation is not all that great. But I quite like the line. The point being made is that it is not so easy for everyone to walk on the path of reform. Society might not be so kind to you. It might not give you another chance easily. Imagine a typical HR executive interviewing Valmiki.
"Well I see from your CV, that you have been a highwayman. And now you want to be a writer. How do you explain that?"
And the interview would have ended with the inevitable "We will get back to you". :)
If HR guys had been around then, we might not have had any RaamayaN.