indian cinema heritage foundation

Amrit Manthan/Amrut Manthan (1934)

  • GenreHistorical
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time155 min
  • Length4244.34 meters
  • Gauge35 mm
  • Censor RatingU
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The ruler of a powerful kingdom, Raja Krantivarma is staunchly opposed to human and animal sacrifice during the rituals around the worship of Devi Chandika. His rationalism does not sit well with the Rajguru (High priest) who has gathered around him a group of like-minded dissidents. Together they conspire to assassinate the King and the task falls on the shoulders of Yashodharma.

Yashodharma is the doting father of son Madhavgupta and daughter Sumitra. While Yashodharma carries out his task he gets caught in the aftermath. Rajguru refuses to come to his assistance and he is sentenced to death by the Princess Mohini. In her grief-stricken rage, Mohini who is also the newly crowned Queen, sentences Madhavgupta and Sumitra to death as well. Madhavgupta and Sumitra are warned of the soldiers’ arrival and they manage to escape.

Yashodharma’s body after execution is left in the wilderness to be consumed by animals. In a scene resembling the legend of Antigone, Madhavgupta and Sumitra risk their lives to perform the last rites for their father’s body. Unfortunately Madhavgupta gets caught in the process. Rajguru by now has Rani Mohini completely under her thumb and convinces her to sentence him to death. Mohini is deeply conflicted about this as she knows that Madhavgupta cannot be blamed for his father’s crime. In a form of divine intervention, lightning strikes the temple as Madhavgupta is about to be executed. In the ensuing chaos the Queen faints and Madhavgupta carries her away into the forest.

Madhavgupta and Mohini are antagonistic to each other initially, but they manage to move past their anger. They come to form a strong bond while hiding in the forest. Meanwhile the Rajguru has taken complete control over the kingdom and has ordered Madhavgupta to be caught. When he learns that they are hiding in the forest he arrives with an army. Madhavgupta manages to escape but Mohini is taken away.

Sumitra believes that her brother has been killed and is slowly losing her mind in grief. Mohini is turned into a prisoner in her own palace. When Madhavgupta sneaks into the palace to try and kill Rajguru he is captured. In this dire situation Vishwasgupta, who is a supporter of Rajguru yet sympathises with the plight of the Queen, comes to her aid. He advises the Queen to bide her time before they can free Madhavgupta. They concoct a daring plan, but ultimately the Rajguru catches them. By this time the people of the kingdom have become increasingly resentful of the Rajguru’s merciless practices. The Rajguru is willing to sacrifice anything for the sake of religion, even basic human empathy. While he is busy trying to sacrifice Madhavgupta to Devi Chandika, Vishwasgupta manages to rouse the people of the kingdom against him. The people break into the palace and the Rajguru is killed by Vishwasgupt, bringing his reign of terror to an end.

The film is notable for its innovative framing and shots, which showed the continuing evolution of Prabhat Films’ daring and influential cinema.

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