indian cinema heritage foundation

Shabab (1954)

  • LanguageHindi

It is written in the stars: beauty is but temporal, while love lasts upto all eternity. 

And this is the truth on which our story is based. 

Long ago and far away, in the land of bright stars and sunny skies, of deserts and the oasis a caravan of a Prince was crossing the sandy wastes. 

All at once, a horde of brigands swooped down on their peaceful journey. There was bloodshed and slaughter. 

Not one survived. But there remained a lonely child, son of the Prince, clinging to the dead body of his mother. 

From afar off, a poor dhobi was witness to this scene of carnage. He took the boy to his heart as he would a son, and brought him to his home. 

The boy was truly a gem, and so they named him Rattan and apprenticed him to a great Musician. Rattan grew into a handsome youth. On the wings of youth he brought love and music which lit up Lakhia dhobi's house and all the villages around it. 

Now in the land there was a King who had a lovely daughter Ragini. The Princess suffered from a curious malady. There was no sleep for her. 

All cures were in vain; everything was tried and failed. In desperation, the King sent his unfortunate daughter to a holy place. 

Here, the Princess got enlightenment - she must treat the malady with music. 

From far and near, from the four corners of the land came the greatest musicians who thought that in their music lay the music that would bring solace and slumber to the eyes of the Princess. 

But in vain. None of them could achieve the magic cure. 

It was not long before this news reached the ears of the young Rattan, who took his melodies with him and entered the palace. 

His songs flowed forth to reveal their hidden magic - and behold, a slumberous spell crept over the eyelids of the afflicted princess. 

The malady of the body had left Princess Ragini at last - only way for a hundred maladies of the heart. 

The flames of love sprang upto consume them both. Gradually they forgot the world and came closer to or another. 

When the Dewan learned of this, he carried the tale to the Kina's ears. All was over for the lovers. Freedom was denied the princess and she was given in marriage to a stranger. 

Nursing a lacerated heart young Rattan returned despondent to his home. Seeing him thus, his father was beside himself with grief. 

Here, he, who had given life, was losing it. There, she, who had brought laughter to his lips, now wept. 

To give him life again the poor dhobi took Rattan to the place where she was. Once more the moth came close to the flame...

What happened then?

 The mystery of life, love and agony of sacrifice and suffering, unfold in a tale of joy and tears culminating in an end thatmust be seen rather than read.

(From the official press booklet)