A well made, ahead of its time movie, which raises significant questions about the Law and its grounds of making a 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. 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 and can the Judgment be turned over with some forged testimonies, are the points intelligently raised in“Kanoon”.
It’s true that the Law does take its decision on the basis of witnesses available and doubts can always be raised on the authenticity of all those testimonies. But that’s the way Law forces work, which can anytime punish an innocent person for a crime not committed. May be that’s the reason, Law is said to be blind and that is the basic theme of this captivating court room drama called “Kanoon” directed by B. R. Chopra. In fact I recall reading an article which mentioned that B. R. 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, B. R. Chopra made this song less classic court room drama in the times when songs were treated as an essential ingredient of film-making.
The director is well supported by his talented star-cast which includes Ashok Kumar in the lead role as a Judge. And the narration holds you till the climax which has a shocking revelation to make. In few words, “Kanoon” is not a normal Bollywood movie of the Sixties. But it’s an important path breaking attempt, made well ahead of its time, raising notable questions about the Judiciary system of the world, still prevalent in the current times. So, if you want to see a thrilling, court room drama, then go for this All Time Classic in the nostalgic Black & White format.
However, I also remember this similar theme being used in two different mediums before and after “Kanoon”. In 1983, Amitabh Bachchan raised the same question standing in the court that “How can you charge a person twice for the same crime”. That was in“Andha Kanoon” also featuring Rajneekant, Hema Malini, Reena Roy, Prem Chopra & Pran.
And before the release of “Kanoon” in 1960, there was an episode of “Alfred Hitchcock Presents” T.V. Serial, titled “The Motive” aired in 1958. In that episode too, there are two friends who have a bet on a point that a murder can be committed without being caught, in the similar manner in which Ashok Kumar has a bet with his fellow Judge. The sequence may be inspired but that doesn’t take away any merit from this B. R. Chopra’s worth watching Classic. So just go for it!
Directed By B. R. Chopra
Starring : Ashok Kumar, Rajendera Kumar, Nanda, Mehmood & Manmohan Krishan
Kanoon - T V Series