indian cinema heritage foundation

Khaan Dost (1976)

  • LanguageHindi

Giving a few loaves in the hands of Ramdin, Shanti murmured: "Go and feed them to some thief or robber."
"Your name is Shanti, but you are far from a symbol of peace - how can you allege that I, Ramdin, a Havaldar, a jail guard, will have any favour to do to the thieves and robbers !" Saying this, Shanti's brother Ramdin, who sweares such lies in the name of Lord Rama that they were even more noble than the truth uttered by others, went to his duty at jail. He screams at the prisoners the whole day, but prays to God whenever a Prisoner's child falls ill or is recommending the case of some prisoner to the jailor.
One day Khaan, the notorious goonda and ruffian of low order, is brought to the jail. The kind of heartless guy who would tell his own mother- "O, old woman - tell me, how much milk you fed me in my childhood? Take the price of that milk - tell me, how many rupees do I owe you?"
Ramdin could not tolerate this and shouted. "You bastard. Misbehaving with your own mother ! The goddess that has sheltered a devil like you in her belly for nine months! This is how you are repaying her ! you-the meanest worm on earth - if I had the power to sit on judgemet on you, I would not have waited even for a day but right now sentenced you to be hanged till you die.....".
Muttering such abuses upon Khaan, Ramdin went his way, but Khaan was stunned. No one had ever before spoken to him like that.
And there came a transformation in Khaan. He, who never believed in any religion or faith, began to say his prayers five times a day. Most humbly, Khaan starts apologising to everyone, with whom he had behaved roughly in the past. Day and night he is possessed by his own feeling of regret for the way he had lived his life. He knows he will be hanged soon, but he wants to go before God with a clear conscience and clean heart.
It was nothing less than a miracle that a savage like Khaan had been reformed. The jailor sent for Ramdin and congratulated him for this transformation in the notorious convict, promising that Ramdin would now be promoted from a havaldar to a Subedar.
Instead of feeling pleased, Ramdin bursts in to tears. "I am not worthy of this, sir", he says. "Do not give me promotion, give me punishment, the hardest possible punishment.... I have committed the greatest blunder of my life by aiming to befriend Khaan and trying to reform him.
Like the jailor, you too would be stunned and surprised by this statement, when this turning point of the story becomes a high moment of movie fiction. This is the story of the world's strangest friendship between a Havaldar and his 'Khaan Dost'.

(From the official press booklets)