Another Navketan movie, House No. 44 could very easily have been named Baazi II, were sequels popular at that time. The principal actors were the same, and the plot was fairly similar as well. Unfortunately for Navketan, Guru Dutt had no part in the making of this movie, and I seriously missed his touch here.
He is attracted to a girl, Nimmo (Kalpana Kartik, looking better than Baazi, but still very fugly), but is far too impoverished to harbor romantic dreams.
Tired of poverty, Ashok begins working for a smuggler, Captain (KN Singh) who operates from the titular "House No. 44."
One of Captain's cronies, Sunder, kills Nimmo's dad accidentally (it is wonderful how incidental Bollywood can be).shows up to console a grieving Nimmo with his mom.
They bring Nimmo to their home, since she has no where else to go- no one knows that Sunder was behind the murder, but the police has its suspicions.
Ashok begins to make money, and begins wooing Nimmo, with the usual song and dance...
Sunder is trying to win over Nimmo as well, and one day reveals to her that Ashok is a smuggler working with him.
To appease Nimmo, Ashok walks away from a life of crime, but now Captain and Sunder are both after his life...
Struggling to live with Nimmo in a life of extreme poverty, Ashok squeals about Sunder to the police, and gets 500 rupees for being an accurate informant.Ashok feeling very guilty about having caused Sunder's death. He tries to console Sunder's grieving old parents,
... and in a fit of guilt, gives away most of his prize money to another poor man (Rashid Khan, in one of his endless Navketan cameos).
In a final showdown, Ashok and Nimmo are caught in a shootout between Captain's gang and the police, but is saved (of course), and they live happily ever after (how??? we are never told, and it appears that Ashok is back where he started from- on the streets, jobless, and with Nimmo to support instead of the kid...ah well).
- Hemant Kumar's incredible songs: "Chup Hain Dharti", "Teri Duniya Mein Jeene Se"- that man had an amazing singing voice, and when he worked with SD Burman- it was sheer magic.
- Dev's sidekick kid was really sweet- I wish there had been more of him in the movie.
- The cinematography lacks Baazi's styling, but is still pretty good- specially the outdoor shots.