02 May, 2023 | Archival Reproductions by Cinemaazi
The ruler of Partisan sends four riddles for the Emperor Akbar (Bipin Gupta) to answer.
Birbal (Kamal Kapoor), in the foreground, offers to find the answers.
It is the reign of Akbar the Great, the golden years of the Mughal dynasty, and the Emperor has many wise counsellors, of whom Birbal is one.
To the durbar, one day, comes a messenger from the kingdom of Paristan with four riddles to be answered by the Emperor as a test of wisdom and greatness.
The Court officials are enraged that anyone should question Emperor's wisdom, but the timely arrival of Birbal averts a crisis. The clever courtier volunteers to go to Paristan himself in search of answers.
At the gates of Paristan, in the guise of a jewellery merchant, he hears someone singing a love ditty. He joins in, too. Then he is face to face with the mysterious singer. At that moment warriors swoop down on them and carry the girl off.
Birbal enters Paristan the next morning and goes to the Court to seek the King's permission to trade in his kingdom. A judgement is to be delivered and the king and his counsellors are undecided. In his own inimitable way, Birbal meets the dilemma and is rewarded with permission to trade.
On his way to a tavern, Birbal sees slaves being sold and he purchases a witty slave, named Porus. At the tavern he meets the Vizier of Paristan, who is intently watching a pretty slave-girl, Sitara, dancing. He recognizes her as the singer who was kidnapped by the soldiers.
The dancer dislikes the Vizier, so Birbal also bids for her affections. The Vizier loses his temper and throws down his dagger to challenge the stranger. Birbal accepts the challenge an wins.
He frees the dancer from bondage, intending to marry her. But the Vizier, annoyed, plans to defeat the interfering merchant. He sends the girl named Nazneen to Birbal's house, where she stays all night pretending to be ill. In the morning, just as Birbal is getting ready to take Nazneen to her home, her friends troop in and garland them both! Nazneen declares that, according to the laws of Paristan, Birbal must now take her as his wife! The Vizier has Sitara thrown in the prison.
BIrbal, however, contrives to rescue but is himself into this state in order to allow his jailors to cast his body into the jungle, which they do, and there he is rescued by Porus. A free man, he learns of the Vizier's diabolical plot to kill the heir to the throne, seize the King, and usurp the throne himself.
Birbal, Sitara and Porus together save the price's life. But the Vizier kidnaps the King and imprisons Sitara. Asked for the last time whether she will marry him (the Vizier), Sitara again refuses. In the meantime he has compelled the King to abdicate and makes his entry into the durbar clad in the royal robes. He orders the King to be burnt alive ad Sitara put to death.
But Birbal has not been idle. By a ruse he rescues the King and the heir-apparent from their fate. It is now the wicked Vizier's turn to be sentenced to death. Unfortunately Sitara loses her life in the turmoil.
Impressed by the valour of the merchant from India, the King asks his saviour to name his reward. Birbal thereupon reveals his identity and, as a reward, asks for the secret answers of the four riddles. With these, he returns to the court of his master, the Emperor Akbar, who, pleased with his courtier's daring exploits and the success of his mission, confers on him the title of Raja.
This article was published in Filmfare magazine’s 13 May, 1955 edition as a part of 'Picture Preview'.
The images and captions appeared in this feature are from the original article.