indian cinema heritage foundation

Kokila (1937)

  • LanguageHindi

Rashmi and Lalji were partners. Rashmi brought to the firm his brains, and Lalji cashed them for three lacs. 

Shanta must have been married to Rashmi, only on the theory of attraction of opposite. She was lively, ambitious witty and often inclined to tease her husband as a pastime.
The uncouth heap of fat-Lalji-could never resist any attractive member of the fair sex, and he tried to win over Shanta by offering her the greater portion of Rashmi's share.
Rashmi was suspicious, and Shanta was too proud to explain. A series of unfortunate incidents, brought about an unforeseen crisis, and Rashmi, after accusing Shanta of infidelity, took a terrible oath to revenge on Lalji, all lovers, and happy couples, and left the house. Curtain dropped on this incident. It was a thing of the past.

It is an ill-wind that blows nobody good. After Rashmi's disappearance Lalji never looked back. Money attracted more money and his wealth brought him a mill as well as a wife. Vijaya, an educated, artistic, sentimental dreamer, was by one of those inexplicable tricks of destiny-forced to pass her life with her absolute contrast, Lalji.

Jugalkishore-known to all yet a man of mystery, was Lalji's brain and action. It was he, who showed Lalji the easiest method of money making viz: money-lending, and it was he also who invented ways and means of collecting the dues.

Four years found Jagdish, jobless, moneyless and almost faithless. He became a tenant of Lalji. Job losing became his speciality. He lived on Kokila's sacrifice and Vijaya's sentiment. Jugalkishore and Jagdish became friends as well as a problem and mystery to each other. Only one person preserved Jagdish's faith. She was Kokila-a perfect woman nobly planned-not only a Hindu Ideal Wife, but a model of universal perfection as a partner for life.

The happy pair Vachraj and Radha were disturbed by the arrival of Lalji and Jugal. Lalji coolly claimed all the crop, including Vachhraj's house, towards the payment only of the interest of the amount lent to him and his deceased father. During a heated argument about the validity of the demand Jugal saw Radha and whispered in Lalji's ears. Lalji's heart missed a beat, at seeing Radha, and followed Jugal's instructions to get her.

Lalji: "Pay me my money and be free".

Vachh: "Where can I get so much cash?"

Lalji: "Then sell your wife and get it."

Vachhraj's answer was a blow on Lalji's head. Radha stopped further damage. Jugal had started well-Lalji's head broken and the lovers parted by throwing Vachhraj in jail, while Radha was thrown on the street.

On one occasion when Radha was undergoing the usual pestering from the street, Jagdeesh rushed in to her rescue and saved her.

Jagdeesh brought Radha home. Kokila without the slightest hesitation welcomed the stranger, whom her husband had thought fit to bring home.

Kolkata felt quite jubilant when she was compelled to sell her jewellery to keep the house fires burning. She found in Vijaya a generous pawnbroker, but the repeated visits of Kokila made Vijaya curious, and she taunted Kokila about her husband's inability to earn money. Kokila hotly defended him and explained how he had given up his job for social work. Vijaya inquired as to what they gained by choosing voluntary poverty.

This angle of vision intrigued vijaya and she ended by falling in love with Jagadeesh.

Lalji, ever ready to wag his tail before a beautiful woman, was prepared to roll at Kolkata's feet. The contrast between Lalji's ludicrous advances to Kokila and Vijaya's heart-rending tug-of-war between her cultural, traditionally fidelity, and her spontaneous love for Jagdeesh is a gem of psychological study.

Vijaya in her efforts to give Jagdeesh a job unconsciously created a situation where Jagadeesh is accused of a theft of Rs. 15,000 from Lalji's safe. Lalji smarting under Kokila's snub jumped at this opportunity of taking his revenge on Jagadeesh.

Juggal who had virtually engineered the contretemps induced Vijaya to hide Jagadeesh till his name was cleared.

Vijaya managed to take away Jagadeesh in her car to a lonely spot, where her emorous advances resulted in a pact between the two, as brother and sister.

Jugal in his insane hunt for revenge, failed to find a flaw in Kokila, and all his ugly resolutions vanished in her inspiring presence. He told her that Jagadeesh had run away with Vijaya after stealing Rs. 15,000 for expenses. Kokila felt miserable that her beloved, if at all he was guilty, which she refused to believe-had to commit a crime for her happiness, as for running away with Vijaya, she said that was his affair. 

Jugal began to find his pet theories tottering, still he tenaciously stuck to them. He had succeeded in breaking up Kokila's home but failed to break their love.

Jagadeesh was shattered by an eccentric sadhu-Nath Bawa, whose against an unjust world joined hands with Nath Bawa took him along to witness a deed of revenge.

Shanta who was quietly passing her days in gathering knowledge which heals, suddenly found herself face to face with Nath Bawa whom she immediately recognised as Rashmi.

Nath Bawa tried to work himself up to a rage when he could mercilessly mutilate Shanta, but Jagadeesh intervened and Shanta found her husband, only to lose him again.
Vijaya informed Kokila of Jagadeesh's safety. Radha and Vachhraj insisted on taking Kokila to their village in spite of Vijaya's protests. Kokila went to the village and started rural uplift.

On the other hand Jagadeesh had fallen in love with agricultural work on Nath Bawa's lands. Lalji had succeeded in locating Jagadeesh and sent out the police to arrest him, and to get Nath Bawa out of the way, sent Jugal to invite the eccentric Sadhu to his place.

Nath Bawa came and Lalji, when he found in him Rashmi trembled with fear. Nath Bawa compelled Lalji to sign off all his property to charity and threatened to kill him and Shanta. The inspiring presence of Vijaya made Lalji brave. He signed the document, stoutly defended Shanta and invited Rashmi to kill. Again the presence of a good woman held Nath Bawa's hand and he rushed out.

Vijaya more and more attracted towards her husband asked him to find a way out to save Jagadeesh from being arrested. He whispered the solution in her ear and Vijaya for the first time in her life touched him and tickled him.

Kokila suddenly fell seriously ill and everybody decided to take her to Nath Bawa for a cure.

Jugal informed Jagadeesh about his innocence.

When Jagadeesh went to ask Nath Bawa's permission to go and see Kokila, he found Shanta hanging on to Nath Bawa's hand trying to stop him from taking opium. He wanted to end his life as he had cheated everybody-including himself.

Suddenly Vachhraj entered with news of Kokila's illness and Nath Bawa decided to live for the sake of the mad loving couple to teach them worldliness, after curing Kokila.
The Sub-Inspector rushed to arrest Jagadeesh who was busy flirting with convalescent Kokila. Vachhraj attacked the police and was wounded.

How was this apparently hapless tangle of Love-Hate-absolute selflessness-utter selfishness-riches-poverty and all the warring passions of humanity solved? The screen shall do it for you.

(From the official press booklets)