indian cinema heritage foundation

Jharna (1948)

  • Release Date1948
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi

Jharna the only daughter of the Mukhia of the Nagbansis was a young maiden of eighteen summers, brought up with all gay abandon of nature. She was a veritable nymph of the woods full of spirits vivacious and a figure which even the Gods would envy. Badli and Narangi were her two companions. These three were the life of the Nagbansis.
One day these three discover the arrival of a caravan of city dwellers led by Ravi a refined young man from the city and his uncle. They have come to the village to forget the cares and worries of the city life. Ravi in fact is escaping the artificial sophistication, hypocrisy and the selfish and ambitious attentions of Rani who is in love with him and wants to marry him.
Ravi and his entourage camp in the jungle surrounding the village. At dusk Jharna and her companions falling victims to their natural curiosity cause a lot of embarrassing situations to the merriment of Ravi’s uncle. Ravi at first is annoyed with the girl, and then takes a pleasant interest in her being captivated by her rustic innocence, freshness and her beauty untarnished by any of the vices of the city. By degrees he realizes that he has fallen in love which impulse he discovers is responded to by Jharna. One day they both declare their love to each other. Nature triumphed over all barriers and prejudices of society. Ravi’s uncle warns him of the consequences of his action but Ravi is adamant because Ravi is keen and sincere in his love for the rustic Venus. Jharna convinces Ravi that she cannot do anything unless he gets her father’s consent to their union. Ravi does not hesitate and goes and asks Mukhia for his daughter’s hand. The Mukhia is taken by surprise. He had never by any stretch of imagination thought that a veritable prince charming would ask for the hand of his village Cinderella. He wavers but cannot give a definite reply. He consults the high priestess. She warns him that if he allows his daughter to go out the fold of the Nagbansis the wrath of the Cobra-God would engulf the whole tribe of Nagbansis wiping them out of existence. The Mukhia yields and refuses Ravi’s offer. Ravi breaks up camp and starts for city. On the outskirts of the village he encounters Jharna who has come to see him. She tells him that she is prepared to go with him to the city as she cannot bear the pangs of separation.  Ravi is only too happy to take her with him.
In the city another strange drama is being enacted. Nira, Ravi’s house keeper is a strange and strict woman. She is interested in Ravi’s household. She is antagonistic towards Jharna and when Ravi arrives with Jharna, she does not expose her feeling towards her but by wily means tries to make Jharna’s life miserable. She puts her in many embarrassing situations trying to bring out her rustic uncouthness in contrast to Rani’s polished city manners so that Ravi should lose interest in Jharna.

[from the official press booklet]