Charandas Chor

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Charandas Chor
Charandas Chor, 1975.jpg
Movie Poster
चरणदास चोर
Directed by Shyam Benegal
Produced by Children's Film Society of India
Written by Shyam Benegal & Shama Zaidi (Screen Adaptation)
Story by Vijaydan Detha
Based on Rajasthani folk tale
by Vijaydan Detha
Starring Smita Patil, Lalu Ram, Sunder
Music by Nand Kishore Mittal
Release date
  • 1975 (1975)
Running time
156 min
Country India
Language Hindi

Charandas Chor (Charandas the Thief) is a 1975 children's film by noted director Shyam Benegal, based on the famous play by Habib Tanvir, which itself was an adaptation of a classical Rajasthani folktale by Vijaydan Detha. The lyrics of the film were also by Habib Tanvir.

The film starred Smita Patil, Lalu Ram, Madanlal, and Habib Tanvir.


The film is derived from a classic folk tale, originally narrated by Vijaydan Detha, and interpreted as folk play by Habib Tanvir. The film charts the tumultuous life of a petty thief, Charandas (Lalu Ram). Curiously he is a man of principles – an honest thief with a strong sense of integrity and professional efficiency. He makes four vows to his Guru, that he would never eat in a gold plate, never lead a procession that is in his honour, never become a king and never marry a princess, thinking all of them are far out possibilities for him. Later, his guru adds a fifth one - never to tell a lie and sets him of on his life's journey which leads him to a kingdom, where the turn of events make him famous, and eventually he is offered the seat of political power which he has to refuse. Later, the local princess (Smita Patil) gets enchanted by him, and proposes to marry him. This is when his refusal costs him his life. As he is put to death, he illustrates the inherent paradox in human existence, where truthful existence becomes an impossibility, for the truthful and the accidentally truthfuls, alike.



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