indian cinema heritage foundation

Shahnaz (1948)

  • LanguageHindi

Sometime a go I was going through the works of the great poet Shelley when I came across a peculiar verse. I don't remember the exact words of that verse but the gist was as follows:- 
                                                                                         Love is God and God is love
                                                                                          Love one and love all
                                                                                     Go on making love till you breathe
                                                                                      Or shed tears on the graves of those
                                                                                       Who sacrificed their lives in love
                                                                                       And are now sleeping under the grave.

Who could have then dreamt that out of the above verses by the Great poet Shelley, nature had already laid the foundations of a great love story which will reveal itself on the Indian Screen as a great masterpiece, centuries later? The very existence of this world depends on the delicate bonds of love. In short, God is Love and Love is God. That is why two hearts are dashed against each other without the knowledge of their possessors. 

This time "MURAD", the son of a Carvan chief and "SHAHNAZ" the daughter of another Carvan chief were the victims. For them is price-less, but these two love-birds guided by vain arrogance and pride of their youth, gave no more importance even to love and were at play with the fateful! "game of love". Both being mischievous and playful they tried to tease each other by pretending that they loved someone other than themselves. Murad satisfied his teasing nature by showering sweetness over Gulnar, Shahnaz's foster sister. Shahnaz paid him back in the same coins by making love to Nasir, Murad's foster brother. Little did they dream that this very innocent mischief would sound the deathknel of Gulnar and Nasir. As both of them misunderstood the behaviour of Shahnaz and Murad, Nasir fell in love with Shahnaz and Gulnar with Murad. Fate had done its duty and now the heaven the dooming factor of Destiny had taken the lead. The long expected night the Festival night at last arrived, when according to the parents the marriage of Shahnaz and Murad was to be announced, but their behaviour that night, toe was such that the parents had to alter their decision and when Murad and Shahnaz were courting at some far of nook, a meteor shot off from the sky bringing with it misery and ill-luck for their covetous hearts, engagements were declared between Murad and Gulnar, and Shahnaz and Nasir. What could poor Murad do now? He decided to sacrifice himself for his brother so broken hearted, he stole away one night to the endless vastness of the desert; but someone was on his heels like a shadow. This was Gulnar, who had lost him even after getting him. The next morning, when Nasir came to know about this affair, he made up his mind to sacrifice his love for the sake of his foster-brother & started in search of him, but having met with can accident, he said goodbye to this world in the lap of his beloved Shahnaz. 

Nothing was left for Shahnaz now to live upon, but a little spark of hope that was still twinkling in her smashed heart. Some day she may find him & explain to him. She also went in search of him with his mother and then what happened to Murad? What became of Gulnar's love? Whether Shahnaz rot her heart's& what was the result of the immense love of Murad's mother: These are questions that can best be answered by the Silver Screen.

(From the official press booklet)