Teesri Kasam

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Teesri Kasam
Directed by Basu Bhattacharya
Produced by Shailendra
Written by Phanishwar Nath Renu (Dialogue)
Screenplay by Nabendu Ghosh
Based on Teesri Kasam Urf Maare Gaye Gulfam 
by Phanishwar Nath Renu
Starring Raj Kapoor
Waheeda Rehman
Asit Sen
Keshto Mukherjee
C.S. Dubey
Music by Shankar-Jaikishen
Cinematography Subrata Mitra
Release dates
Running time
159 min
Language Hindi

Teesri Kasam (English: The Third Promise) is a 1966 Hindi drama film directed by Basu Bhattacharya. It is based on the short story Mare Gaye Gulfam by Hindi novelist Phanishwarnath Renu. The film stars Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman. The duo Shankar-Jaikishan composed the film's score.

Teesri Kasam is an unconventional film that portrays the society of the rural India and simplicity of villagers. Through the story of a naive bullock cart driver who falls in love with a dancer at nautanki, popular folk theatre of Bihar region. The film also deals with issue of exploitation of women in performing arts, especially travelling folk theatre. [1] Cinematography is by Subrata Mitra, who previously shot Satyajit Ray's Apu Trilogy, dialogues are by Phanishwarnath Renu and the screenplay was written by Nabendu Ghosh.

The film won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film at the 14th National Film Awards.


The plot centers on Hiraman, a rustic villager from a remote village in Bihar, who drives a bullock cart to earn his livelihood. The story begins with Hiraman taking two consecutive vows based on difficult situations in his life. He then meets a nautanki dancer named Hirabai. The story then evolves into one of the friendship between a bullock cart driver and an urban nautanki dancer. The movie, finally, ends with Hiraman taking a third vow.

Hiraman (Raj Kapoor) is a bullock cart driver with conservative traditional values. While smuggling illegal goods on his bullock cart and narrowly escaping the police, Hiraman takes a vow (the first Kasam) to never carry illegal goods again in his cart. While subsequently transporting bamboo for timber trader on his bullock cart, he is beaten by two men when their horses are upset by the bamboo in the cart. After that incident, Hiraman takes another vow (the second Kasam) to never carry bamboo again in his cart.

One night Hiraman is asked to carry Hirabai (Waheeda Rehman), a nautanki dancer, as a passenger to a village fair 40 miles away. As they travel together Hiraman sings to pass the time and tells her the story of the legend of Mahua. As the journey progresses, Hirabai is mesmerized by Hiraman's innocence and his simple philosophy of life. Hiraman in return sees her as an angel of purity.

Once they reach the village fair, Hiraman joins with his band of bullock cart drivers and Hirabai joins the nautanki company. Hirabai asks Hiraman to stay at village fair for a few days to see her dance. Hirabai arranges free passes for Hiraman and his friends to see nautanki on every night as long as village fair runs.

As Hiraman attends nautanki, he becomes aware that other people see her as a prostitute, which disturbs him. He tries to shield and protect her from society. The bond between two grows stronger as the days pass at the fair. He gets involved in fights with local people who speak badly about her and her profession. Hirabai tries to make him understand the harsh reality of her life. Hiraman asks her to leave her profession and start living a respectable life. Hirabai refuses to leave her acting career. Depressed, Hiraman leaves village fair and returns to his village.

In the meantime, Hirabai understands Hiraman's unselfish love. Hirabai meets Hiraman and reveals her past secret that she had been already sold and she was no longer a virgin beauty. Hirabai returns to her hometown. After seeing Hirabai going away from his life, Hiraman takes third vow (teesri Kasam) to never carry a nautanki company dancer again in his cart.



Writer Phanishwarnath Renu who wrote the original short story, Mare Gaye Gulfam in 1954,[2] also wrote the dialogues of the film. The screenplay was written by Nabendu Ghosh, who had previously written classics, Devdas (1955), Sujata (1959) and Bandini (1963) for Bimal Roy.

Director Basu Bhattacharya, who has assisted Roy in his early career, brought his sensibilities of realism to the film. During the film, he asked both Raj Kapoor and Waheeda Rehman to act in their natural style. He felt it was important for the film that Raj Kapoor should avoid his usual mannerism, even though he was playing his usual role of a simpleton in this film also.[3] Basu Bhattacharya was one of the few directors who could manage to convince Raj Kapoor, who was himself a director, to act differently, as it limited his acting repertoire. [4]

Most of the film was shot at Bina, a town near Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, with a few scenes shot at Powai Lake and Mohan Studios in Mumbai. [5][6] Subrata Mitra who had shot Satyajit Ray's early films, shifted to Bombay briefly during the 1960s, initially to shoot Merchant Ivory films. He was roped in to shoot the film, which is still remembered for its cinematic lyricism. [7][8] Actor A. K. Hangal till then a theatre actor, knew producer Shailender from IPTA theatre group days, and agreed to play the small role of Hiraman's elder brother. The film took many years to complete, however eventually much of his role was deleted in the final editing to reduce the length of the film.[6]



All lyrics written by Shailendra & Hasrat Jaipuri, all music composed by Shankar-Jaikishan.

No. Title Lyrics Singer(s) Length
1. "Aa Aa Bhi Jaa"   Shailendra Lata Mangeshkar 5:03
2. "Chalat Musafir"   Shailendra Manna Dey 3:04
3. "Duniya Bananewale"   Hasrat Jaipuri Mukesh 5:03
4. "Haye Ghazab Kahin Tara Toota"   Shailendra Asha Bhosle 4:13
5. "Maare Gaye Gulfaam"   Hasrat Jaipuri Lata Mangeshkar 4:00
6. "Paan Khaye Saiyan Hamaaro"   Shailendra Asha Bhosle 4:08
7. "Sajanwa Bairi Ho Gaye Hamar"   Shailendra Mukesh 3:51
8. "Sajan Re Jhoot Mat Bolo"   Shailendra Mukesh 3:43
9. "Lali Lali Doliya Mein Lali Re"   Shailendra Asha Bhosle 3:11


The film received critically acclaimed and also the National Film Award for Best Feature Film, however it was a commercial failure. Bhattacharya thereafter shifted to making small budget films on marital relationship in the genre known as middle cinema, which straddled both the dictates of mainstream Bollywood and sensibilities of art house cinema. He never made another film on a literary work for the rest of career. Though in time the film came to be regarded as a classic. [9][10]

Both the lead actors, received acclaim for their acting. Raj Kapoor delivered one of the most sensitive performances of his career, after Jagte Raho (1956).[11]



  1. ^ Singh 2007, p. 60.
  2. ^ Chatterjee 2003, p. 335.
  3. ^ Rehman 2014, p. 94.
  4. ^ Patel 2012, p. 97.
  5. ^ Rehman 2014, p. 95.
  6. ^ a b Hangal 1999, p. 95.
  7. ^ Sinha 2005, p. 131-132.
  8. ^ Srivastava 1988, p. 178.
  9. ^ a b Chatterjee 2003, p. 532.
  10. ^ Chatterjee 2003, p. 330.
  11. ^ Chatterjee 2003, p. 83.


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