Parineeta is a 1953 Hindi film starring Ashok Kumar and Meena Kumari, based upon the 1914 Bengali novel of the same name by Sharat Chandra Chattopadhyay. The film was directed by Bimal Roy. Shekhar (Ashok Kumar), the son of a wealthy Brahmin family, discovers that he’s fallen in love with Lalita (Meena Kumari). Shekhar has known Lalita since she was eight years old and came to live with her uncle Gurucharan and his wife after the death of her parents. The two families live in connecting houses, and Lalita spends as much time in Shekhar’s household as in her own. Shekhar’r father Navin (Badriprasad) has other plans for Shekhar. He wants to arrange his marriage with the daughter of Choudhary, another wealthy Brahmin who has promised Navin a huge amount of dowry. The relation between the two families gets affected when Gurucharan is forced to repay his debt and he decides to marry off Lalita to Girin Babu (Asit Baran). Meena Kumari and Ashok Kumar are wonderful together. Ashok’s character is indulged and a bit spoiled, yet he never comes across as impolite. Ashok’s Shekhar is just sheltered from real-life consequences and has an idealistic view of things. A very young and lovely Meena Kumari plays Lalita. Lalita’s part in the story involves much silent despair. The other characters – Lalita’s uncle played by Nazir Hussain, the rich guest who drops in enacted by Bengal’s Ashit Baran, Lalita’s cousin – gave solid support to the principal characters.
The most striking element of Bimal Roy’s films, including Parineeta, was his ability to project the Bengali family in a language like Hindi, without losing out on the essence and spirit of the ethnic moods the story and the characters belong to. Lighting has always been an extremely important element in Bimal Roy’s works. Whenever the narration grows nostalgic or reasonates with inner crisis, whether in anguish or in ecstasy, the mood is captured most ably in delicate shadowy patterns of black, grey and dove white by cinematographer Kamal Bose.