indian cinema heritage foundation

Mirza Ghalib (1954)

  • LanguageHindi

Bahadur Shah Zafar, the potentate chosen by destiny to preside over the liquidation of the Moghul Empire, is a great patron of the Arts. His court is adorned by renowned poets like Momin, Zauq, Tishna & Taskeen. Poets and bards with some merit came to the Court from fare and near to have an audience with the Emperor. Mirza Asdullakhan Ghalib was one of them. Born at Agra in a family with rich military traditions, his poetic leanings were frowned upn by his relatives. But Mirza was made of a sterner stuff and refused to bow down to their wishes to discard the pen for the sword. He then composes a new Ghazal for Royal Mushaira. Mumrao Begum, his young and faithful wife, prays for his success. But his effort to please the Royalty with his poetic creations gets a setback when the courtiers give him a cold reception. He leaves the court with a heavy heart.

Smarting under disgrace, Mirza Ghalib wends his way through dark, dingy streets of Delhi when all of a sudden the stillness of the night is broken by the strains of a beautiful song.........and the song is his own creation. But the singer who could she be?

On reaching the house from which the song came, he finds that the enchanted singer is one of his great admirers. She lets him come in only to tell her of Ghalib's fate at the Royal "Mushaira". Such is her devotion to Ghalib that she turns him out of the house when he lampoons Ghalib (himself) jocularly. Mirza leaves the house without disclosing his identity. He fondly gives her the name Chaudhavin, the full moon.

Ghalib returns home to find his relatives firmly set against his poetic ambitions. His failure at the Moghul Court had strengthened their hands.

Finding life unbearable in such hostile surroundings, Ghalib leaves the family fold and makes a home of his own. His faithful wife goes with him.

Hungering for the sympathy of someone who would understand the strange beckonings of his heart, Ghalib sets out to meet Chaudhavin, who had in the meanwhile learnt of the identity of the midnight caller and was overwhelmed with joy when Ghalib came to her own door again. Devotion and love often go hand in hand and Chaudhavin soon finds herself in love with her idol.

This new-formed happiness, however, is shortlived. The evil Kotwal of the city, Hasmat Khan, who wishes to marry Chaudhavin, senses danger from the poet's interest in her and turns an enemy.

Chaudhavin, however, remaining a steadfast devotee of the poet sings his songs before the Emperor who bestows upon Ghalib the highest honours.

The Kotwal determined to do his worst to break asunder their tie of love, leaves no stone unturned and....Does he succeed?

For an answer, you will have to see the heart-throbbing finish of this great drama on the silver screen.

(From the official press booklet)