indian cinema heritage foundation

Mayurpankh (1954)

  • Release Date1954
  • GenreRomance, Drama
  • FormatColour
  • LanguageHindi
  • Length3248.55 meters
  • Number of Reels12
  • Gauge35 mm
  • Censor RatingU
  • Censor Certificate Number9945/53 - Mumbai
  • Certificate Date01/12/1953
  • Shooting LocationMinerva Color Studios, Bombay

A famous British writer Joan Davis arrives in India with her fiancé William Griffith for a holiday. They are welcomed by their friend Mr Desai and the guide Pyarelal who offers to show them around. The attractions of Mumbai soon wear off and they ask to see the real India. Pyarelal offers to take them on a tour across India showcasing its rich variety of places. Thus their grand journey begins. 
One night when they are passing through a forest on their way to Benaras their car breaks down. Exhausted and afraid, they desperately seek a way out of their helpless state. Their prayers are answered as another car comes from the other direction. Out steps the dashing Ranjit who offers to give them a lift as well as share his meal with them. He is astounded to learn that Joan is the author whose work he admires so much. He mysteriously tells them that he has been living in a form of exile for some time. They meet once again in Benaras and Ranjit gifts Joan a fan made of peacock feathers as a mark of their first meeting. In Agra Joan stops to take pictures of the magnificent Taj Mahal and coincidentally Ranjit appears there as well. The attraction between them is palpable to both. Ranjit invites her to join a hunting expedition being organised by one of his friends.
William is concerned by Joan’s growing familiarity with Ranjit and tries to stop her from attending the hunting party. But Joan refuses to comply and joins Ranjit in the hunting camp. The party intends to go hunting for tigers next morning. One of Ranjit’s friends, Doctor, notices the closeness between Ranjit and Joan. The next morning the hunting party is prepared to stalk its dangerous prey. But at the first sound of the tiger disaster strikes. The elephant on which Joan and Ranjit are astride loses control and dashes off into the forest. Joan falls off and Ranjit jumps down to go in search of her. They are stranded with no choice but to spend the night in the forest. There, surrounded by the sounds of the unknown, they finally confess their feelings for each other. The next morning, once they have been found, Doctor comes to speak to Joan. He tells her the news that Ranjit is already married to a woman named Shanti. When Shanti gave birth to their first child an astrologer warned that if Ranjit remains with them for the next year a terrible calamity could befall them. Hence Ranjit was sent away on exile for a year. Joan is heartbroken to learn this and departs without telling Ranjit.
Back in Delhi, Mr Desai extends an invitation to attend a wedding in Jaipur to William and Joan. To their shock they meet none other than Ranjit and his wife Shanti in the wedding. The perceptive Shanti senses something between Ranjit and Joan. Ranjit offers to leave everything behind and accompany Joan to London. Shanti understands that Ranjit is deeply attracted to Joan. On the day that they plan to leave, Shanti engages Joan in a conversation. She declares her everlasting faith in Ranjit’s love for her which is overheard by Ranjit. A conflicted Ranjit goes to the temple to gain some peace of mind. Both Joan and Shanti call him but he does not answer. Joan understands she cannot take Ranjit away from his world. Ranjit asks for Shanti’s forgiveness and decides to stay with her.