indian cinema heritage foundation

Manzil (1936)

  • Release Date1936
  • GenreSocial
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi

FRIENDSHIP? LOVE? The cynic laughs at sentiments and the modern world deems it fashionable to be cynical. But in spite of it all, emotions and sentiments surge inside the human breast and Achala, Suresh and Mahime were just human beings.

The three started the journey of their lives. Suresh, a rich educated but conservative young man who believed in society and its doctrines, "old but effective" to quote his language. Mahim, a poor but educated young man sophisticated enough to receive with philosophic calm and clashes of his ideas with existing conservatism. 

And Achala, the happy daughter of an unhappy old man with young modern ideas of society and upbringing. 

Mahim found two persons in his life. Achala, whom Mahim was going to be married to, in spite of Mahim being poor and Suresh, a friend from his boyhood who had remained a friend in spite of one being rich and the other poor. 

But Suresh was determined to save Mahim from what he thought to be a calamity, and he developed a hatred for Achala, a girl whom he had never even met, and by the way, Suresh had never met girls. 

Mahim said he loved Achala and Suresh laughed. And, Suresh set out to save his friend from lifelong unhappiness. 

And Suresh met Achala. Usually, distance lends its charms but here the reverse was true. Achala's manners and naivete charmed Suresh and very soon, his desire to save his friend from Achala, ripened into a desire to marry Achala himself. And on top of that, Kedar Babu, the wise father of Achala, eagerly sought to bring about this union which he considered to be the best way out of his financial embarrassments. In fact, Kedar Babu beamed with a sense of duty and proportion at the very thought of providing a rich home for his only daughter.

Achala's love for Mahim? Suresh's sense of friendship? " Silly sentiments!"

Mahim was a philosopher, so he remained calm. Achala fought through and married Mahim in spite of so many things. Achala was a modern girl and Mahim was a modern man.  And, when things settled down again, Achala and Mahim forgot and forgave Suresh, and Achala left her city home to come to her new home in Mahim's village, her heart full of hopes and anticipations.

"Love endures all trials" even poverty. And Achala endured and embraced poverty smilingly. But she could not endure Mrinal, a cousin of Mahim, who was married to an old man. Her simple conversation and simpler jokes with Mahim made Achala uneasy and Mahim, instead of explaining the innocence of it, remained calm and philosophically silent. It hurt Achala's vanity and jealousy took its seat in Achala's heart. The little village nest started suffering from storms. Unfortunately, Suresh visited his friend's village home and very, unfortunately, Achala found a sympathizer in Suresh.   

One night Mahim's house burnt and the only shelter in their journey of life was swept off.

Mahim and Achala lost their home and their ways. Achala returned to her father's house while Mahim refused to quit the village. Achala's love was very severely strained. 

Love won again. Mahim got seriously ill and Suresh removed him from the village to his own city house. In his illness and misery, Mahim found Achala by his side. It was decided that Mahim would go to a health resort to convalesce and that Achala would go with him.

But Suresh? He was still an eligible bachelor who believed he loved Achala, and who assumed a right to fight for the hand of his beloved. So, Suresh forced himself on the party and joined them as the train was about to start carrying with it two happy hearts traveling once more together. The night was stormy and dark The train was thundering on. Mahim was peacefully happy. Achala was ecstatic because she was a woman now and she felt like one. She was looking after Mahim. Only Suresh was different. There was a storm inside him. He was struggling with inclement emotions  

A junction, Ceaseless rain, Achala asks, "Are we to change trains here?" Suresh replies " Yes " A rush from train to train. Turmoil Mad rush of humanity. Guards blowing the whistles. Engines puffing callously. Suresh has fooled Achala. Suresh has run away with Achala. Suresh has annihilated friendship, humanity, sentiments, and once more, Mahim started alone on his journey, ignorant of the calamity ignorant of his friend's inspired trickery, ignorant of Achala's innocence, ignorant of everything.   

Achala found out that she had eloped with her husband's friend. Achala asked--- " Why?". The wind howled outside her carriage door and mocked at her. The world mocked at her. Even Suresh mocked at her. She was a fallen woman!

She looked up to God and pleaded her innocence. But God is a philosopher.  Suresh realized his mistake too late. He had already led Achala away from her true path. Suresh broke down and sought peace in death. Then? Well, one cannot go back on this journey of life, nor could Achala nor could Mahim. They journeyed on. Tired legs wearied souls and fate once more con-spired to cross the two paths and Achala once more in her journey met Mahim. The deserter meets the deserted.  Then? See it on the screen. 

(Based on the novel Grihadaha by Sharatchandra Chattopadhyaya)

[from the official press booklet]