Mr. Sampat, "Commission Agent and Business Consultant" is a versatile gentleman. As we see him first he is busily lecturing away on the National Transport Problem in a third class compartment in which he is a "standing room" passenger.
Malini is a modest young girl whose accomplishments as an actress have won the admiration and affection of her colleagues at Kalamandir Theatre where she is an artist.
Kalamandir is dedicated to the cause of cultured entertainment and is directed by a young man who symbolizes the dignity and idealism of the theatre. Malini has more than ordinary admiration for her director, but the director's interest in her has only been that between director and his protege.
Into the life of Mr. Sampat comes Seth Makkhanlal Jhaverimull Gheewallah, a ghee merchant, who wants to get elected to the local municipality. Mr. Sampat appoints himself the ghee merchant's manager, and to launch his election campaign he lures the innocent Malini to a Tea Party, - all at the ghee merchant's expense of course! Makkhanlal wins the elections, but finds himself short of two lakhs of rupees (which includes generous sundry expenses drawn by Mr. Sampat!) While the ghee merchant is contemplating this sad state of affairs Mr. Sampat breezed in like a breath of a fresh air and a few minutes later Makkhanlal's troubles seem to be over. Mr. Sampat decides to start a new bank, "Friends' Bank", which boasts of a 20 .c. interest per month! An ex-prince named Raj Mohan whom Mr. Sampat has cultivated as a juicy source of funds, is the chief patron.
Friends' Bank makes a big start, but mere redistribution of customers' money as interest is bound to stop sooner or later - and before long the Bank faces bankruptcy! But Mr.
Sampat has another of his brain waves. There is Prince Raj Mohan, and there is Malini!
Mr. Sampat visits Malini's house again. The innocent Malini is swept away by his fast talking methods and before long, Mr. Sampat has planned the seed of vanity in Malini's mind. He promises her that he, Mr. Sampat, can make her a great star by her own right. Malini's mind refuses to be poisoned, but her youthful innocence tempts her.
Meanwhile the director of Kalamandir has begun to notice the distraction in Malini's interest and one day he admonishes her for being irregular in her work. This leads to a misunderstanding and Malini gives up Kalamandir and starts a new company called "Malini Devi Theatrical Company" of which Mr. Samat becomes the Managing Director.
With the money that comes in at the theatre, Bank Manager Makkhanlal tries to balance his accounts at Friends' Bank. Even this, however, is not sufficient and one day when Malini refuses the advances of His Highness Raj Mohan at a party in her honour at his palace, the upset prince withdraws all his money from Friends' Bank. This starts a run on the Bank and its face collapse! Makkhanlal is in trouble, and runs frantically to his friend, but Mr. Sampat leaves him cold, saying after all, as Manager of the Bank it is really Makkhanlal's problem, not his.......
Trouble brews at the Malini Devi Theatrical Company also. One day at the height of a scene, there are some unexpected visitors on stage, - a bailiff, some creditors and a Court Summons-server ! - They are thee to inform Malini that her house and her properties are to be auctioned ! - Malini is left dumbfounded. She realises now that the great Mr. Sampat has been nothing but a shark, after all !
As for Mr. Sampat, Bombay got too hot for him, we are afraid ! He left the city, and his whereabouts are not known... Please beware, he may have arrived in your city !
(From the official press booklet)
Based on R K Narayan’s novel Mr Sampat – The Printer of Malgudi, the film differed greatly from its Tamil counterpart Miss Malini (1947), mainly due to Motilal’s reinterpretation of the lead character. Despite receiving critical acclaim the film failed to make a mark at the box office.