Cast & Credits
The number 420 refers to Section 420 of the Indian Penal Code, which prescribes the punishment for the offence of cheating; hence, "Mr. 420" is a derogatory term for a cheater. The film centers on Raj, a poor but educated orphan who comes to Bombay with dreams of success. Raj’s character is heavily influenced by Charlie Chaplin's "little tramp", much like his character in his 1951 Awaara. Shree 420 was the highest grossing film of 1955 and the song "Mera Joota Hai Japani" ("My Shoes are Japanese"), sung by Mukesh and written by Shailendra became hugely popular and a patriotic symbol of the newly independent India. The film grossed over Rs.20 million. This record was beaten 2 years later by Mother India in 1957. The movie proved to be popular in other countries, including the Soviet Union, Romania and Israel. In Russia, it was said that Raj Kapoor was as popular as Jawaharlal Nehru due to the success of the film.