indian cinema heritage foundation

Nai Roshni (1941)

  • Release Date1941
  • GenreSocial
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi

Nai Roshni 
It’s a truth universally acknowledged that a timid man with a dominating wife at home must have a violent tempered boss who flares up before one so much as opens his mouth. 
Mohan has been working in the same bank for twenty years. Two generations of bosses have passed, his wife Vijaya has not missed a day in ordering him to demand a rise in his salary but every time Mohan has approached the chamber of his boss he has heard violent shoutngs from within and he has never dared to open the door of the chamber. So we find him at the age of 45, with a grown-up daughter and two younger children, still drawing Rs. 60/- per month, and everyday determining to ask for a rise. 
To make up for the deficit in the monthly budget he indulges in a mild speculation in company of his neighbor and friend Masterji, who is a school master, guided by the astrological wisdom of Panditji, who at will claims to displace and replace stars in the Astrological Firmament. The result of course is that the deficit in the budget keeps on increasing. Vijaya harried and worried by the daily petty troubles always takes it out of Mohan, who patiently bears everything. His eldest daughter Geeta has full sympathies with Mohan and she keeps on taking the side of the father. In reality it is a family in which great affection prevails among all the members and the daily tiffs between husband and wife are only the results of this affection stressed hard by economic conditions. 
Masterji has a grown-up Madan, who has graduated from a Musical Academy and is seeking a job as a music teacher. 
Fate so arranges that Bihari, the managing director of the bank in which Mohan is working has had the weakness to indulge in temporarily bestowing his affection on another woman in the absence of his wife Indira. Indira learns of this and though they are a loving couple, a big quarrel arises in which Indira determines to bring Bihari round by the same method which every jilted woman uses. In order to make Bihari taste a little of the misery which she has been experiencing she advertises for a music teacher and Madan by chance applying for the post appeals to Indira as a suitable pawn in her game with Bihari. She makes Madan believe that she is attracted by him. This tickles the vanity of the young man and excites the jealousy of Bihari. 
Between Madan and Geeta there has been long standing affection and their parents have almost decided on their marriage. Geeta has been taking music lessons from Madan, but after Madan’s taking up the tuition of Indira he begins to neglect believing that Indira is sweet on him. Indira has very cleverly concealed from Madan that she and Bihari are married. 
While this love tangle is going on, Masterji, Mohan and Panditji, who have jointly bought a Derby ticket are in daily expectation of drawing 3 lacs of rupees. There is a great to-do about preserving the ticket and they decide to stick it up to a pillar, so that everybody could see it daily and it should not be lost. The day of the lottery arrives. Panditji gives an assurance that the lottery is bound to come to them and curiously enough it is announced in the papers next day that the first prize goes to the number held by the trio, Mohan, Masterji and Panditji. All the submerged courage of Mohan wells up and he decides to go to the office and give back to Bihari what he has taken from him for many years. Accordingly, Masterji, Panditji and Mohan march to the bank, with the pillar on which the lottery ticket has been stuck. Mohan straight rushes into Bihari’s chamber and when Bihari gets angry with him, Mohan chucks an ink-pot at him and shows him the pillar on which the winning lottery ticket is fixed. Before Bihari could express his indignation there is a telephone call on Bihari saying that the winning number has been wrongly announced and that the first prize goes to some other number. Mohan is promptly dismissed by Bihari. His dreams of life are shattered and he goes home a jobless man. Days of misery and anguish pass for the whole family, Geeta eating her heart out because of the indifference of Madan. Madan falls deeper and deeper in love with Indira. Bihari keeps on getting more and more jealous till a crisis arrives. Indira in order to inflame the jealousy of Bihari still more contrives such a situation with the help of her maid Jamna that Bihari is led to believe that Madan has been staying in the house for the night. He keeps on guarding the house with a loaded gun throughout the night, giving strict instructions to his gate-keeper not to let in or out anyone. After a harrowing vigil for the whole night, Bihari discovers in the morning Indira sleeping peacefully by herself. In the meantime, Madan convinced by now that Indira wishes to marry him makes bold to suggest her indirectly that he loves her and promises to bring her own photograph in the evening without expressing it in so many words. While Madan is in ecstasy over the fulfillment of his heart’s desire, Geeta has reached the extreme of misery brought about by Madan’s neglect and her father’s poverty and grief owing to want of a job. Masterji, who has great sympathy with Mohan tries to help him and being a noble hearted man asks Madan to marry Geeta, knowing well the dire circumstances in which Mohan has been living and the difficulty with which he has been trying to maintain his family. Madan refuses. There is an exchange of harsh words between father and son, as a result of which Madan leaves the house. 
By what curious twists and turns the story reaches the most unexpected climax can only be seen and appreciated on the screen. 

[from the official press booklet]