indian cinema heritage foundation

Aladdin and The Wonderful Lamp (1952)

  • Release Date1952
  • GenreFantasy
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time140 min
  • Length4365.65 meters
  • Number of Reels16
  • Gauge35 mm
  • Censor RatingU
  • Shooting LocationMumbai

An evil wizard, Hikmat, summons a demon to assist him in his dream of ruling the world. The demon informs him of the location of the magic lamp which can help him fulfil his wishes, but also of the three conditions that must be fulfilled to acquire it. The conditions mention that only an honest man with a particular mark on their hand can procure the lamp.

Meanwhile in the kingdom the Sultan has banned all men from leaving their houses so that the Princess Badar can pass through the city without being accosted. Aladdin is aghast at this draconian ruling and makes a bet with his friends that he will go out and see the Princess. Through some trickery he manages to come face to face with the Princess. The two are instantly attracted to each other.  

One day a courtier nearly runs over Aladdin with his chariot. When Aladdin protests he is arrested, as the courtier turns out to be Nasim Beg, the son of the Vizier Mansood Beg. The ambitious Mansood Beg has secretly replaced the Sultan with a duplicate who only does his bidding. The puppet Sultan orders Aladdin to be publicly whipped. While the punishment is being carried out the magician identifies Aladdin as the honest man from the mark on his hand. He pretends to be Aladdin’s uncle and uses him to fetch that lamp. But when Aladdin refuses to hand it over, he is confined in the cave by Hikmat. When Aladdin accidentally rubs the lamp, the genie appears to do his bidding.

What follows is the classic Aladdin tale. With the help of the genie he vanquishes the evil Vizier and his son, whom he defeats in a sword duel. He is married to the Princess and lives in a magnificent palace built by the genie. But when all seems hale and hearty, the magician returns. He kidnaps the Princess when Aladdin is away and imprisons her. Her freedom is dependent on her agreeing to marry him. But the Princess is resourceful too and tricks him into consuming poison. After a final scintillating swordfight between Aladdin and the ever persistent Nasim Beg, the film reaches its blissful conclusion.  This Wadia Brothers Arabian Nights fantasy is aided by excellent special effects by the master-illusionist Babubhai Mistry.