indian cinema heritage foundation

Jamai Babu (Damaad, English Husband & Hindi Wife) (1931)

  • Release DateReleased at Chitra Cinema, Calcutta, 23/05/1931
  • GenreComedy
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageBengali, Silent
  • Run Time23 min
  • Length914.40 meters
  • Number of Reels3 reels
  • Censor Certificate NumberCalcutta- 11541
  • Certificate Date14/05/1931

Kalipada Dass’ Jamaibabu (1931) is the only Bengali silent film that survives. The film has intertitles in English, Bengali and Hindi. 

The protagonist, Gobardhan Das, comes to Calcutta from his village to visit his in-laws and his wife. The film revolves around his tryst with the big city. Portraying the confrontation of the village with the city, it dwells on Gobardhan’s inability to fit in with the mad rush of the city. 

Eager to see Calcutta, Gobardhan writes to Amal, his brother-in-law. A series of hilarious episodes begins when Gobardhan arrives earlier than he is expected, and is confronted with his first obstacle: his luggage gets caught in the train door as he tries to alight. He fumbles through the station, tripping and falling until he finds Amal who comes to receive him. 

Gobardhan is so desperate to tour the city that he disregards Amal’s advice that he wait for Amal to guide him through it. He sets out to explore Calcutta on his own, encountering the landmarks of Calcutta, Victoria Memorial, Howrah Bridge, Rabindra Sarobar and so on. Each of these encounters is marked by some problem Gobardhan comes up against. He fails to cross a road, almost falls into a pond near Victoria Memorial, and interrupts couples canoodling at Rabindra Sarobar. 
When he finally reaches his in-law’s place, he fakes illness so he can stay for another day. His only wish is to sleep with his wife, but when he tries to sneak into her room, he is mistaken for a thief and beaten up. Gobardhan’s rendezvous with Calcutta thus turns out to be a disaster, emphasizing how ill-equipped he is to deal with the pace of the city. 



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