indian cinema heritage foundation

Seva Samaj (1939)

  • Release Date1939
  • GenreCrime, Drama
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi

The law exists for the protection of the innocent, for the prevention and punishment of crime. And, for that very reason, the law has to frame itself within a set code of rules which it may not break. The law thus restricts its own movement, giving a chance of existence to a class of criminals that knows s exactly how far the area of authority in the stretch and not beyond.

Shobhana Devi knew this and was determined to stamp out the criminal whom the law could not reach. More, she was anxious to save the victims of those criminals. For she was conscious that her own rich father had died as a victim to a gang of clever crooks. 

Shobbana's father had left her immense wealth and had appointed three guardians to guard her interests. They were the elderly Sir Motilal and Dr. Mahmud, and the young and brilliant lawyer, Barrister Anil. Shobhana had pluck and intelligence, but the guardians were naturally averse to her taking the risks involved in anti-criminal activities. Eventually, however, she not only secured their consent but even got them to join in her plans, to work behind the scenes. Largely responsible for this response of the guardians, was the tender feelings that Barrister Anil had come to entertain regarding Shobhanadevi. 

Thus was born the mysterious organization "Service Ltd." whose exploits are now brought to the screen by 'Sagar Movietone. The new firm set up a luxurious office, and Shobhana Devi conducted it as its managing secretary. Extensive advertisements put forward to the public the firm's claim: " Where the police Cann et help you, We Can!" 

Obviously, the new firm created a sensation in the city and suspicion at the police Headquarters. Inevitably, the new firm came to grips with the only large-scale gang of crooks in the city—the one organized by Jagmohandas who, to the outside world, was a respectable merchant.

The first client of "Service Ltd." was Vasanti, a young bride-to-be, who was being blackmailed by Biharilal, a friend of her college days to whom, in an adolescent fit of passion, she had sent some epistles of love. The blackmailer was now a member of the Jagmohandas gang. On behalf of Service Ltd., Barrister Anil posed to him as Vasanti's bridegroom purchased the letters, but paid him in notes forged by the Jagmohandas gang itself. The unsuspecting Biharilal was arrested for being in possession of forged currency, but the gang chanced to brief Barrister Anil himself for the defense and the brilliant barrister secured Biharilal's acquittal. 

The second client of Service Ltd., was Lady Sulochana, wife of a rich and titled merchant. Jagmohandas had played the confidence trick on her and got an underling named Mohan to rob her of a necklace worth two lakhs. The underling, however, double-crossed Jagmohandas. The result of the triangular battle of wits between Jagmohandas, Mohan and Service Ltd., was three-fold; Lady Sulochana got her necklace back, an assistant of Jagmohandas was handed over to the law, and the Police were finally convinced that Service Ltd., was in its own way a bona fide organization that stood by the law.

Then came third—and, as it proved, the final— encounter between Service Ltd., and the Jagmohandas' gang. By clever impersonation, a member of the gang had taken possession of a secret draft of an international trade treaty. The fight this time was grim. It took Shobhana herself within an inch of death, from which she was thrillingly rescued by Barrister Anil. That rescue, by the way, meant the triumph of his love for the fair Shobhana. 

Up and down, the struggle went; each side gaining over the other alternately. The final episode took place in a court of law. It was in keeping with the spirit of the Service Ltd., an organization that it should finally triumph within the law—that the gang should be finally effaced with the arm of the law. 

The prize of Service is the triumph of Justice; the price of Service is the risks that Shobhana Devi and her guardians underwent. That triumph and those risks will thrill you in the Sagar picture "SERVICE LIMITED" or "SEVA SAMAJ" 

[from the official press booklet]