indian cinema heritage foundation

Mahal (1949)

  • LanguageHindi

"SANGAM BHAVAN" and old palace Mahal-standing on the bank of the Jumna at Allahabad was known to all as being haunted, because it had not been occupied for several years past, ever since the Raja, who had built is for his beloved Kamini, met his watery grave on a stormy night when he was coming for an union with his la0dy-love.

Shankar, whose father had recently purchased it, was very anxious to unravel its mystery. For this he went there all alone. It was a dark stormy night. On hearing the horried tale about this haunted house related to him by the old gardener, the only resident of the palace, Shanker's curiosity was aroused. He remained there to see for himself and at the dead of night, he felt a stranger sensation as if a spirit was beckoning him. He heard a girl singing but could not find her. Shankar's friend Shreenath who ran up there to save Sanker from being enmeshed in haunt dragged him back home. However the call of the Mahal proved to strong for Shanker and he ran back to it, on Shree falling asleep.

In the palace, Shankar saw a beautiful maiden on the swing. She told him that she was Kamini, now spirit, She spoke to him with such great familiarity, as if she had known him for long. Shree again came up to drag away Shanker, and that time Kamini disappeared. Shree forcibly dragged Shanker away from the palace but Shanker returned again.

Shanker again saw Kamini and as he was advancing towards her, Shree came up and pulled him back. When Kamini warned Shree not to come between them Shree fired at her, but instead of the bullet hitting her if merely broke a mirror and she disappeared smiling. To distract Shanker from the delusion of the loving spirit, Shree plotted and set two famous singing girls to cast their charms over Shanker. Not even they could stop Shanker reaching the haunted palace to meet sweet Kamini. Kamini convinced Shanker that their love was very old as one of them was a spirit and the other a living being, the two lovers could not meet unless Shanker died. Shanker was prepared to die and become a spirit, but Kamini stopped him saying that she would prefer to come to life and that was possible if Shanker killed Asha, the Mali's daughter so that Kamini's spirit could enter that empty body. With dagger in had Shanker waited next morning for the Mali's daughter to enter his room, in the palace, with tea as usual and when at the usual know he opened the door, to his surprise he saw his father and Shree, at which he was dumbstruck and in trying to run away, he fell down the steep steps of the tower conscious.

Shanker was forced by his father to marry a girl Ranjana. Neither Ranjana's charms nor sincere efforts could reconcile Shanker, who travelled and wandered far and wide, in lovely and strange lands, Ranjana who patiently accompanied him wherever he went was all heart-broken at the cruel indifference of her husband. To fathom this the mystery of Shanker's strange behaviours, she so acted that Shanker felt that she had slipped into a ravine and was dead. Thereupon, Shanker finding himself free at once came towards the Mahal and Ranjana followed him unnoticed. Shanker found there Kamini waiting for him Ranjana saw them meeting and heard them talk lovingly. This sight broke her. She withdrew and wrote a letter to her sister-in-law, that she was committing suicide and putting the blame on her husband, so that he may soon join her husband, so that he may soon join her in the other world. She took poison and reported to the police, that she was poisoned by her husband, whereafter she died immediately.

Kamini again pressed Shanker to kill the gardener's daughter. The next day Shanker kept himself in readiness to kill that girl, when to his surprise the police entered his apartment and arrested him for the murder of his wife. The court sentenced him to death. However, during trial it was revealed that Kamini was none else than Asha, the gardener's daughter. However, Shanker was convinced that he was in his previous birth the long dead Raja, who had built this palace, and that Asha was his beloved Kamini reborn. Shanker persuaded his friend Shree to marry Asha, which could bring solace to him.

However, as fate would have it, on the day previous to the date fixed for Shanker's execution, the authorities received through the Dead Letter Office the letter written by Ranjana to her sister-in-law, which brought out the truth that Ranjana was not murdered but had committed suicide. Shanker was acquitted. He ran like a mad man to the haunted palace, to stop Asha's marriage with Shree.

Further exciting and interesting developments should better be seen on the screen.

(From the official press booklets)