Yet Another Saint Robs The Devotees : Narsi Bhagat Draws Huge Crowds
14 Sep, 2020 | Archival Reproductions by Cinemaazi
A still from Narsi Bhagat. Image from Film India, September 1940
This picture could be called an improvement in many directions over the previous ones of Prakash. The picture is full of miracles and trick work and gets their share of applause from the audience.
There is, however, such an overdose of miracles that you suspect that the man sitting to you next might turn out to be Lord Krishna in disguise. And Lord Krishna has really obliged the producers considerably.
AN INTERESTING STORY
Forgetting for a while the numerous roles played by the over obliging Lord Krishna, from a Sari merchant to a Hundi broker and winking at this oversprinkled commercial interpretation of the Lord, the story of Narsi Mehta is interesting.
Narsi Mehta was a saint and preacher of Gujarat, who though a high caste Brahmin, yet mixed with untouchables of the town and brought home to them the Lord's message of love and equality among men.
His preachings, however, as is the habit with all Indian saints, did not find favour with the orthodoxy of his own community who revolted against them and after going through the usual procedure ostracized Narsi Mehta.
In this case, the symbolic opposition was provided by one Sarangdhar who succeeds in providing a hell on earth to the great devotee of Shiva and Krishna.
Of course, as is expected and always happens after passing through all the acid tests, Narsi comes out triumphant and every opponent of his lies flat before him to the utter relief and joy of all.
The direction is in keeping with usual Prakash standard. While the photography shows considerable improvement, the sound called for a little more care.
The songs are well-tuned and well sung. Durga Khote easily gives a topping performance in the midst of a very mediocre talent. Pagnis is the same old tubby, doing the very same old things which he began in Tukaram (19210, practised a little more in Tulsidas and is underlining again in Narsi Bhagat. His uninspiring singing, his semi-maniacal devotion, and his goose-step dancing, all are there in a full measure in this picture. Next to Durga, Ram Marathe is quite good. Though the recordist has been unfair to his voice, still he has done his bit feelingly and stoically. Baby Indira looks just stupid in the picture. She can't act a wee bit. On the contrary, she spoils the scenes between Ram Marathe and herself.
Amir Karnatki gives a couple of beautiful songs and her role though unnecessary, is still a sympathetic addition.
Well, "Narsi Bhagat" is still a favourite subject with the millions of devotional people in India.
This is a reproduced review from Film India's September 1940 issue. Images used are taken from Film India