indian cinema heritage foundation

Sapnon Ka Saudagar (1968)

  • GenreRomance
  • FormatColour
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time137 min
  • Gauge35 mm
  • Censor RatingU
  • Censor Certificate Number53680
  • Certificate Date13/11/1968

This is the story of a strange dreamer—a man who takes it up as his mission to give hope to the forlorn—

In the wayside town of Anandpur, on the eve of Diwali, the festival of lights, Rajoo appears from nowhere and sees the entire town plugged into darkness because of the tyranny of a stern, cruel and heartless zamindar, Thakur Harnam Singh. Poverty stalks the place; someone is gambling away his meagre livelihood, someone is begging for food, a child, crippled, looks helplessly at other children playing; an old mother is worrying and pining for her only son who has gone to the war front. Rajoo sees sorrow and despair in every heart. But soon his magical presence begins to take effect; he gives everyone a hope, a dream that everything will be alright. The dreams come true and people take him to be a saint even though he tells them that he is a mere dream merchant. Near the outskirts of the town, he sees a young girl being chased by a group of people; she is accused of stealing mangoes from the Thakur’s garden. He saves the girl and discovers her to be the ravishing, beautiful, gypsy wildcat named Mahi, an outspoken untamed wild rose who uses her eyes and tongue with devastating effect to make a virtual prisoner of Rajoo. Mahi falls in love with Rajoo, but her attempt at seducing him is made difficult because the dream merchant is such a novice in understanding a woman’s desires.

In his days of youth, when he was sowing his wild oats, Thakur Harnam Singh had a daughter born from a gypsy woman. When his own wife Kamla gave birth to a child, the gypsy woman took away the Thakur’s real daughter and left her own child Ranjana—with the threat that if the Thakur does not marry Ranjana to a deserving man, then she (the gypsy) would marry off the real daughter of the Thakur to a scoundrel. Not knowing where his real daughter was and always afraid of the gypsy’s threat, the Thakur could never harm Ranjana growing up as his daughter in his mansion. But he always hated her and in this atmosphere of hatred and terror, Ranjana is rejected by all the suitors who come to see her.

Thakur Harnam Singh’s first encounter with Rajoo is rather unusual; he first welcomes Rajoo, mistaking him to be the Raj Kumar who has come to seek the hand of his unwanted daughter Ranjana. But when the real Raj Kumar turns up, Rajoo is given a rough treatment and thrown out of Thakur’s mansion.

Rajoo soon becomes a popular figure in Anandpur. Now the people of Anandpur are no longer afraid of the mighty Thakur, for, Rajoo, the dream merchant, has given them faith, hope and a will to fight for their happiness, and they become rebellious. Thakur tries to kill Rajoo, but in vain. Mahi gives shelter to Rajoo, and like her dog, her parrot and her buffalo, Mahi as another pet in her hut—a human pet on whom she pours forth her love. When Ranjana learns of the secret of her birth and in desperation tries to commit suicide, Rajoo saves her by assuring her that a Raj Kumar will marry her and if no Raj Kumar turns up, then he (Rajoo) will marry her. Rajoo feels bound by this promise and becomes indifferent towards Mahi. The wild and possessive Mahi, stung by jealousy, tries every stratagem known to her, to ensnare Rajoo, and at last in anger and desperation, sets afloat the rumour that she is pregnant through Rajoo.

Then comes the dramatic moment when the past catches up with the present and the terrible secret hidden in the folds of destiny is unravelled to the astonishment of everyone.


(From the official press booklet)



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