indian cinema heritage foundation

Prithvi Vallabh (1943)

  • Release Date1943
  • GenreDrama
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time121 min
  • Length3325.37 meters
  • Gauge35mm
  • Censor RatingU
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Dear Fans, we are now taking you to those good old days when two rival kingdoms, those of Avantipur and Tailangan were always at war fighting bitterly with each other, only the waters of Godavari separating them.

Maharaj Munj, the king of Avantipur, gay and gallant, was an ideal monarch, a great warrior, a gifted poet, affectionately called by his subjects ‘Prithvi Vallabh’—beloved of the world. While Raja Tailap king of Tailangan devoid of all the high qualities of head and heart was a revengeful coward. His only ambition was to conquer Avantipur, disgrace Prithvi Vallabh, and annex his kingdom to his own. To achieve this he persistently entered into war with ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ and though defeated fifteen times on the battlefield, every time kneeled before him, washed his feet and shamelessly begged for his life. The noble—hearted’ Prithvi Vallabh’ generously pardoned him every time. On the fifteenth occasion, Tailap with Dhananjaya—the Rajkavi of ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ as his escort—returned safe to his capital.

Mrinalvati—the hard-hearted sister of Tailap, who had spent half her life in penance, felt so bitterly for her brother’s disgrace that she literally compelled him to Imprison the Raj-kavi and challenge ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ to come and fight in his own land to rescue his Raj-Kavi. No other man but the shameless Tailap would have dared to commit this act of treachery and invite yet another defeat.

‘Prithvi Vallabh’ at once accepted Tailap’s challenge and crossing Godavari, invaded Tailangan. But lo, the miracle! Fate thus time went adverse and ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ lost the battle. He was made a captive along with his nephew Bhoj and poets of his court. Mrinalvati, with the evil sentiment of vengeance burning in her heart, yearned to put ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ to utter disgrace in the eyes of the public. With that motive she went herself to the prison cell, tried all her tricks, but did not succeed in humiliating him. She then locked him up in an iron cage, which was exhibited publicly on a thoroughfare. But ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ was made of different stuff.

Even in the iron cage, he did not lose calmness of his mind and to the extreme surprise of his persecutors, sang songs of love and romance, thus exhibiting his poetic talents. The crowds who were supposed to scorn and scoff at him were so much impressed by his valorous conduct even in adversity, joined him in the chorus of music and made the whole town hum.

Mrinalvati, seeing this, got enraged and sent him back to the prison cell. She could not understand how ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ even under such circumstances, could sing of love and romance, command respect of the people and inspire them with his jovial spirit. She now resorted to another device. She gave orders to hold a Durbar, where the captive king was to be made to wash the feet of Tailap. But in the Durbar ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ boldly refused to submit to such humiliation. The whole Durbar was taken aback by his courageous attitude and strength of character. Tailap, all rage, ordered his immediate execution. But to the surprise of all, Mrinalvati intervened exclaiming. ‘Prithvi Vallabh, though an enemy, is unarmed and it is sheer cowardice to strike at him.’ Tailap had to obey. He withdrew his orders.

Now in sober moments Mrinalvati tried hard to analyse her feelings which had made her so tender-hearted. A woman as she was, she could not rightly understand the cause of this sudden change. There was a new feeling in her heart surging. The same night, she saw ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ in the prison cell and inspite of herself confessed her love for him.

Now the nights were all gay to ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ and Mrinalvati’s heart throbbed with youth and life, only the stone walls of the prison silently enjoying the romance. Tailap all the time was in the dark.

Simultaneously, another drama was being enacted, with Bhoj and Vilas as hero and heroine. Vilas—the daughter of the commander-in-chief of Tailap—fell madly in love with the nephew of ‘Prithvi Vallabh’, discarding her previous engagement with Tailap’s son. Bhij, however, was more anxious to make his uncle free and slip out of the enemy’s clutches.

The parents of Vilas approved of their daughter’s choice, since they found in Bhoj a more worthy and valiant son-in-law.

Vilas’ mother disclosed to Bhoj an underground tunnel leading to the prison cell of ‘Prithvi Vallabh’. Bhoj through this secret way approached ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ and tried to induce his uncle to make good his escape. But ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ who was anxious to take Mrinalvati along with him, asked Bhoj to postpone the plan for one day.

Mrinalvati approved of the plan and agreed to escape the following day.

She then returned to her palace. But now the ghost of suspicions began to haunt her. She feared that ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ after going back to his kingdom might prove faithless to her. She consequently changed her mind, thinking that ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ would not fail her in love if he continued to be her prisoner.

Now the devil in the woman began to work. The same that she whispered her treacherous plan to Satyashtaya—Tailap’s son and asked him to arrest ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ if he tried to make good his escape.

Thus woman’s proverbial frailty betrayed ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ and affected his rearrest.

Tailap was now fully apprised of the love affairs of Mrinalvati and her fall from the high pedestal of penance. The news of the elopement of Vilas with Bhoj burst upon him like a bomb-shell. Tailap now got so wild that he issued orders to drag ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ to the public arena, where he was first to be made to beg alms before Mrinalvati and then get crushed under the feet of an elephant.

The whole town gathered to witness this horrible sight. A huge and ferocious elephant stepped on the scene. ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ and Mrinalvati were also brought in.

Orders began to thunder.

‘Prithvi Vallabh’ begged alms before Mrinalvati. But she who could not bear this heart-rending indictment threw away the bowl and rushed into the arms of her lover, Tailap’s rage now knew no bounds. He tore Mrinalvati away from ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ and ordered his immediate execution.

With a smile on his face ‘Prithvi Vallabh’ proceeded bravely to face his death. The elephant clutched him with his trunk, tossed him in the air, dashed him on the ground, and…………

  THE SCREEN WILL TELL YOU THE REST.

(From the official press booklet)

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