indian cinema heritage foundation

Mangala (1950)

  • Release Date04/01/1951
  • GenreDrama
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time171 min
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THIS IS A TALE OF WOMAN'S CHALLENGE TO MAN

Mangala is the well-meaning, beautiful daughter of a well-to-do farmer, but she has a temper that flares up at the slightest touch. One day while playing with the pigeons in her backyard, one of them flies away. She follows it to the palace of the local prince. The prince, who is very dissolute, sees her and tries to molest her, but gets a sound rebuff that only serves to increase his passion.

Understanding that she is in the fields alone, he goes and again tries, which results in painful humiliation for him. In a rage, he challenges that he will marry her and shut her away in a prison for life and deny her the joys of marriage. She retorts that if she is forded into a marriage with him and shut away in a prison, even then she will get a son by him without his knowledge and have him whipped by that son.

The marriage takes place and that night the victorious prince taunts and humiliates Mangala. Swallowing her pride, she pleads with him to forget the challenge born of foolish anger. The prince, however, laughs at her and keeps her closely guarded in a separate palace.

Mangala now is determined to devise ways and means to fulfill her challenge and get her husband to realize the error of his ways. She induces her father to build a secret tunnel between the palace and her house. Once she gains access to her house without anybody knowing it, she learns dancing. Disguised as a gypsy she dances before her dissolute husband and gains his favour without him knowing who she is.

A son is born and is brought up by her father in his house when he is twenty, Mangala tells him her tale, and he vows he will fulfill her challenge soon. By his cleverness, he traps his own father and fulfills his word to his mother in the assembly hall before many spectators. Mangala thus wins and her husband realizes her greatness. But is it a victory that Mangala won?

[from the official press booklet]