Awaara: Socialist Messiah of the 1950s

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According to our Scopo-Meter, we check the following in Awaara

Category Out Of 5

FilmScopes thank the creators of the movie for presenting us with themes that are still relevant in today’s times and for conveying the harsh truth of karma.


A man carrying a cloth bag tied to a stick
Raj Kapoor as Raj Raghunath in Awaara


My love for classics stems from the constant nagging from my mother to watch game-changing cinema that existed before my time. Honestly, it has been quite a ride since I started with this habit. Movies back then actually represented what the mass audience actually felt during those times more than how we are represented now.

The political and socio-economic scenario back then compelled the filmmakers to stay true to the essence of India, which had recently attained independent status from the British. We were a country that was slowly finding its ground without any external support outside our borders.

And Awaara represented more or less the exact situation of the common folk who struggled to earn a living in the poor conditions of the country. Directed by and starring Raj Kapoor in the lead, Awaara boasted of socialist themes that resonated with people back then.

Raj Kapoor could arguably be considered a socialist messiah due to his contribution to the film industry and Indian culture by showcasing the complexities that come along with poor households.


A man kissing a woman's neck while he stands behind her
Nargis and Raj Kapoor in Awaara


The movie explores the life of Raj, a vagabond (literally meaning ‘Awaara’), who turns to a life of thievery and crime to support his mom but when he falls in love, he decides to reform himself. But just like any person whose life is defined mostly by his vices, Raj struggles to let go of his former life of crime.

I believe that Raj is one of the earliest forms of anti-heroes in Hindi cinema who is simply pushed into the ugly world of crime only due to his social circumstances. And it all roots from his lawyer father (played by Prithviraj Kapoor) being a prey of societal pressure regarding the faithfulness of his wife being questioned upon, due to her abduction by a criminal named Jagga whom he had once incriminated.

The film attempted to show how deep societal norms and pressure runs into every section and class of society. It never shied away from trying to tell the audience about how corrupted the minds of the elite class are regarding the social divide.

This is something that is still relevant in today’s time where the lower section of the society is still looked down upon because people of the higher class are still subject to this mindset of their ancestors.


A man enclosed behind bars
Raj Kapoor in Awaara


Rita, Raj’s childhood sweetheart, comes into the picture and eventually forms into his consciousness throughout the film. She is a reminder of the innocence he had within him in his childhood until he met Jagga.

Raj’s entire life from a child to an adult was shaped by all his wrongdoings that were only done due to the non-empathic nature of the higher society towards people like him.

Despite this, he is aware of the fact that his situation does not justify his crimes and is ready to face the consequences. And this is where Awaara succeeds in being the socialist messiah I believe it to be.

Even though our protagonist has been thrown into predicaments had led to this path, we are still subject to the realism of the story that karma catches up at some point or the other in life.


Also Read: KGF Chapter 1 and 2 Review: A Cinematic Magnum Opus

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