A realist tragedy based on a story by the Urdu novelist Sadat Hasan Manto about Fazlu (Chandramohan), the lifelong servant of the Khwaja Islamuddin. Blamed for the death of Islamuddin's infant son Salim in a railway accident, Fazlu is jailed. Escaping from prison, he finds his wife has given birth to a son whom he believes to be Salim's reincarnation. The film chronicles Fazlu in his old age, when his son, also named Salim (Balwant Singh), befriends Nargis (Shobana Samarth), Mirza (Mirza Musharraf) and Sadiq (Yakub). When Fazlu moves to the city, he helplessly watches the destruction of his family by economic circumstances. Nargis dies in his arms, Mirza is arrested, Sadiq commits suicide and Fazlu ends up once again in prison. Much of the film works through symbols like the whistle of the railway engine evoking traumatic memories.
- Encyclopaedia of Indian Cinema - Ashish Rajadhyaksha & Paul Willemen - New Revised Edition 1999