indian cinema heritage foundation

Angulimala (1960)

  • Release Date1960
  • GenreMythological
  • FormatColour
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time153 min
  • Length4176.97 meters
  • Number of Reels16
  • Gauge35 mm
  • Censor RatingU
  • Censor Certificate Number30771 -Mumbai
  • Certificate Date14/10/1960

On a dark stormy night a son is born to the Rajpurohit (High Priest). The astrologer prophecies that although the child will become a learned scholar, he will also cause the deaths of thousands of people. 

Upon being told, the horrified court wants the child killed, but the king prevents it on the grounds of it being a condemnation before the crime. Every attempt is made to avert the terrible prophecy. The child is named Ahinsak (the non-violent) by the king. He receives his education from the Raj Guru the first twelve years of his life. Also studying there is the Prime Minister’s son Maruti who is betrothed to the King’s daughter. Ahinsak is proficient in all the arts taught, which incites jealousy from Maruti and his two friends Dhanpal and Krishan.

One day the princess Maya Devi comes to hunt in a nearby forest. Maya Devi, who has liked Ahinsak from her childhood, asks him to stay back with her in the camp. A jealous Maruti lies to the Raj Guru about Ahinsak’s motivations to do so. He also spreads the rumour that the Raj Guru’s wife Guru Mata had been too favourable with Ahinsak. The Acharya, influenced by all this, takes to taunting Ahinsak about the prophecy. When it is time for all the students to leave the gurukul Ahinsak falls ill. The Guru Mata kindly asks him to stay back till he is better which further infuriates the Acharya. He berates Ahinsak and commands him to leave. When Ahinsak is further taunted by Dhanpal, he kills him in a fit of rage. Following this, Ahinsak is ostracised by everyone and the King sends soldiers to arrest him. But by this time, Ahinsak has grown hateful of humanity and has gone on a murderous rampage. He takes to cutting off his victims’ fingers and wearing them around his neck as a garland. His path of destruction is only stopped when he confronts and tries to kill Buddha. He is transformed by his encounter with the Buddha and renounces violence to become a monk.