indian cinema heritage foundation

Mirza Sahiban (1939)

  • Release Date12/05/1939
  • GenreHistorical
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguagePunjabi
  • Run Time125 min
  • Length3427.47 meters
  • Gauge35 mm
  • Censor RatingU
  • Censor Certificate NumberP - 241- Lahore

Mirza Khan is the son of Chaudhry Wanjhal Khan, the leader of the Kharral tribe in Daanabad village, and his wife, Fateh Bibi. Sahiban is Sardar Mahni’s daughter. Mahni and Fateh Bibi had shared the same wet nurse in their childhood, growing up as siblings.

The young Mirza quickly earned a reputation as a ladies’ man. Before things could get out of hand, his mother sent him to his uncle for his education. Sahiban and Mirza thus grew up together as well.

Mirza grows up to be a handsome young man, an excellent horseman and a highly skilled archer. Sahiban grows up to be the village belle. As they reach the prime of their youth, Mirza and Sahiban fall in love. When rumours of their relationship begin to circulate, the village strongly disapproves of the romance between two ‘milk cousins’. Sahiban’s parents forbid the two from meeting, and ask Mirza to leave their house.

The two lovers are miserable in their separation. When Mirza leaves to meet his mother, Sahiban follows him to his house. His aunt greets Sahiban and informs her that her marriage has been arranged with Tahir Khan of the Chandhar clan. On the day of the marriage, Sahiban sends a message to Mirza, asking him to rescue her and save his own self-respect. Despite his sister’s warnings, Mirza sets off to the wedding.

He reaches Sahiban’s house while the Mehndi ceremony is in full swing. He manages to steal her away, and the two gallop away on his horse. When Mirza stops to rest, he goes to sleep with his head in Sahiban’s life. Fearing for her family’s safety, Sahiban hides his bow and arrows.

Meanwhile, Sahiban’s furious brothers, accompanied by her jilted bridegroom, set out to look for her, brandishing swords. When they reach the lovers, Mirza wakes to find an arrow whizzing past his throat. Sahiban attempts to protect him, but the valiant Mirza is vanquished. He dies of a blow to his head, and Sahiban gives up her life as well.