Pinjra (film)

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VCD cover
Directed by V. Shantaram
Produced by V. Shantaram
Written by Shankar Babaji Patil
Starring Shriram Lagoo
Nilu Phule
Music by Ram Kadam
Jagdish Khebudkar (lyrics)
Cinematography Shivaji Sawant
Release dates
31 March 1972
Running time
175 min.
Country India
Language Marathi/Hindi

Pinjra (Marathi: पिंजरा; Cage), is a 1972 Marathi film, directed by V. Shantaram, starring Shriram Lagoo and Sandhya in lead roles.[1] In 1972, the film was also released in Hindi with the same title. Set in Tamasha folk musical theatre of Maharashtra, the film is about a morally righteousness school teacher, Lagoo, who wants to reform a Tamasha performer, played Sandhya, but ends up falling in love with her.[2] It was an adaptation of Josef von Sternberg's German film, The Blue Angel (Der Blaue Engel, 1930) starring Marlene Dietrich, which itself was based on Heinrich Mann's novel Professor Unrat ("Professor Garbage", 1905).[3] The film is known for its music and dance numbers with music by Ram Kadam, and picturised on the lead actress Sandhya, known for her dancing prowess. It was also the film debut of noted theatre actor, Shriram Lagoo.[4] The film was also remade by Shantaram in Hindi with same cast and title, even the songs like "Mala lagali kunachi uchaki", which were a big hit in Marathi version, were re-recorded in Hindi version.[5]

The film was one was last major film by veteran director, who had made classics like Duniya Na Mane (1937), Do Aankhen Barah Haath (1957) and Navrang (1959). Produced in colour and 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 biggest commercial successes of its time. This also lead to the introduction of colour films in Marathi cinema.[7][8] In 1973, it won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Marathi for the year 1972.


Pinjra is the tragic story of a school teacher and a dancer. The 'cage' here is a metaphor for life. The dancer dies as she falls for the teacher and is unable to save him. The teacher prefers to die under mistaken identity, rather than live as a man who has lost respect. This is a story of how death frees them from their cages. The film is a loose adaptation of the first major German sound film "Der Blaue Engel".

A "Mastar" named Shridhar pant(guruji) (Marathi version of 'Master') is an upright school teacher; a man of high morals. Unfortunately, the Maharashtrian village where he teaches does not value these qualities. A Tamashagroup comes to the village. The lead dancer of the group, Chandrakala (Sandhya Shantaram) steals the heart of every man in the village. The teacher is righteously infuriated by their lack of morals. He vents his anger on the dance group in form of a speech and by demolishing their temporary dwelling places.

The dancer is hurt by this and decides to take revenge by staying and performing. Gradually, even adult school students start skipping class to see Tamasha. The teacher decides to confront the dancer after a performance. During a performance, she is badly injured and in humanity and humility guruji helps her. During this period, he is overwhelmed by lust that he had never before encountered. Horrified he asks her to keep it a secret. Later, the son of the landlord (Bajirao), who is against the teacher, finds him visiting Chandrakala on a daily basis. He calls his father (landlord) and all people to see, 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 tries to save guriji is murdered by Bajirao, who implicates Shridhar. Chandrakala asks him to flee. She also misguides villagers by saying that the murder victim was, in fact, guruji. The dancer hides guruji as a tamasha worker in disguise. Here, he learns to drink and chew tobacco. As the police investigation proceeds, the teacher is arrested for his own murder.

After realising that she has brought a good man to her level, and is solely responsible for whatever happened, Chandrakala decides to make amends. She confesses that Shridhar is the teacher and not a murderer. The pious teacher tells her how people love his thoughts, his acts and how, in his memory, they have built a statue of his. He decides that he should be punished for deceiving the villagers.

In a twist of fate, while telling the truth to the judge, Chandrakala loses her voice in the court and the teacher is sentenced to death. While listening to the sentence, the dancer dies on the spot. Thus, the actual Guruji, a man of high morals was living in fact but moral values in Guruji were dead and so Guruji himself accepted to be hung by devoting his love with Chandrakakla for his own murder to keep continue trust on the man with moral amongst average group of people. What a challengeable and appreciable sacrifice !


Following table shows details of Cast for Pinjara.[9]

Actor Role
Shriram Lagoo Teacher
Sandhya Dancer (Chandrakala)
Nilu Phule Leader of dance troupe
Vatsala Deshmukh Sister of dancer
Bhalchandra Kulkarni Police Inspector


The film was released on 31 March 1972.[6]



The film's soundtrack is composed by Ram Kadam, with lyrics by Jagdish Khebudkar.[5]


Following table shows list of tracks and respective duration in the film.[11]

Track # Song Singer Duration(minutes)
1 Aali Thumkat Naar Lachkat Waghmare
2 Chhabidar Chhabi Mi Usha Mangeshkar
3 De Re Kanha Choli Un Lugdi Lata Mangeshkar
4 Disala Ga Bai Disala Usha Mangeshkar 04:56
5 Ishqachi Ingali Dasli Usha Mangeshkar
6 Kashi Nashibana Thatta Aaj Mandli Sudhir Phadke,Usha Mangeshkar
7 Mala Lagali Kunachi Uchaki Usha Mangeshkar 03:55
8 Naka Todu Pavan Jara Thamba Usha Mangeshkar
9 Tumhawar Keli Mi Marji Bahal Usha Mangeshkar 03:27


  1. ^ Pinjara on IMDB
  2. ^ Subhash K. Jha (23 June 2004). "Films that have dared push the envelope". Sify Movies. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  3. ^ "The German Connection". The Indian Express. 15 January 2006. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  4. ^ "Public displays of affection". Mint (newspaper). 3 August 2013. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  5. ^ a b "Bollywood is obsessing over Marathi music". The Times of India. 3 January 2012. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Kiran Shantaram; Sanjit Narwekar (2003). V. Shantaram, the legacy of the Royal Lotus. Rupa & Co. p. 101. 
  7. ^ Bimal Mukherjee; Chidananda Das Gupta; Ananda Lal (1995). Rasa: Theatre and cinema. Anamika Kala Sangam. p. 264. 
  8. ^ S. Lal (2008). 50 Magnificent Indians of the 20Th Century. Jaico Publishing House. p. 276. ISBN 978-81-7992-698-7. Retrieved 3 August 2013. 
  9. ^ Cast and crew for Pinjra
  10. ^ "20th National Film Awards". International Film Festival of India. 
  11. ^ Pijra Album on

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