indian cinema heritage foundation

Sadhna (1958)

  • GenreDrama
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time137 min
  • Length3941.00 meters
  • Number of Reels15
  • Gauge35 mm
  • Censor RatingU

Mohan and his mother are the only inhabitants of a small world which is their home. The ageing mother is sick at heart, because her son does not agree to get married. The marriage of Mohan and the prospects of having a beautiful daughter-in-law in the house has become an obsession with her, and so when she slips down the stairs and laid in bed with her condition pronounced as serious by the Doctors, the only thing she can manage to mumble in her state of coma is “bahu”.

It was at this stage that Jeevan a man from the Mohalla, suggested to Mohan that he could help him fulfill the dying wish of his mother by bringing the daughter of his uncle to act as the “bahu” for a short while which would help the peaceful departure of the soul from the ageing, stricken body of the old woman. Of course, the fake act would cost Mohan a bit of money—but Mohan was in no mood to see the ceremonies of the bargain, he was principally interested in the welfare of his mother’s soul. He therefore gave his assent.

Jeevan was no friend of the family. Used to living by his wits he had his own axe to grind. He went to the famous dancing girl Champa and hired her services for the act.

Champa came to the house of Mohan in the guise of a decent bride-to-be and acted her role with consummate skill. The old woman saw her “daughter-in-law” and believed her to be the choice of her son. She was happy to see Champa who was introduced by Jeevan as Rajni, the daughter of his uncle.

Instead of hastening the flight of her soul, the presence of Champa gave strength to the dying mother and she got a new life after seeing the person she thought was her daughter-in-law.

So, to please the mother the fraud had to be kept up from day to day till the mother actually gave away her ornaments to Champa with a view to see her dressed in them. Champa emboldened by greed took advantage of the unsuspecting faith of the old mother and decided to get away with the costly jewellery and never to return thereafter.

The faith of the old woman, however, boomeranged on Champa because she found her whole body aglow when she wore the ornaments. She could not bungle with the sacred trust of the old woman and decided to return the box. It is here again in this house and in the presence of the deity in the temple of the house that Champa finally got back her lost conscience. She decided to quit her dirty profession and seek the company of the Gods for repentance.

On the other hand the charms of Champa had created a havoc in the heart of Mohan and although Champa tried to tell him that she was not meant for a decent house the boy continued to love her.

The mother was now anxious to have her son married to Champa. The son was equally happy. But when Mohan learnt that she was a prostitute the news gave him a severe shock. His whole world of love crumbled at his feet.

It was a hard job trying to hide the facts from the mother who was pressing for meeting the father of Champa with a view to finalise the alliance. And it is anybody’s guess that when the old woman did come to know about Champa’s profession, it was the rudest shock of her life. But what was to be done now?


(From the official press booklet)