indian cinema heritage foundation

Shrimati 420 (1956)

  • LanguageHindi

In the entire history of evolution of our civilization, no greater institution of human relationship has emerged than marriage, a voluntary association whereby two human beings pledge to love and live together and respect one another - But alas! Man in his utter arrogance appropriates to himself all the rights and apportions all the obligations to woman.

He thinks he has a divine right to do what he likes and indulge in all sorts of anti-social activities and thus destroy the very foundations of our long-cherished human institution ­ the institution of marriage. But he shall brook no nonsense from his wife. He expects her to be faithful, dutiful and obedient. So, what happens if she were to do what he does?


Seth Gulabchand whose character degenerates in direct proportion to the volume of his wealth, indulges in all the human vices that money can buy and still expects his wife to worship him! AND SHE DOES, TOO! In his various escapades, he meets a girl Letty who proposes to Gulabchand. He agrees to the same, believing that a man can have as many wives as there are silver coins in his safe and his safe can boast a million of them.

And he meets a girl named Roopa who reminds him of his obligations to society. What would happen to him if his wife were to do what he is doing? She asks him. Gulabchand shouts "What nonsense! Women have no such rights; they are not equal to men. They are mere items of entertainment" As he goes home and slips into his bed, these thoughts begin to torture him. "What would happen if his wife were to do the same things he is going..."

AND LO! IN HIS DREAMS he sees his wife accepting his code of conduct! He protests, but it is of no avail. His wife comes to assert equal rights with man, for does not our Constitution guarantees these?  She has also a right to have two husbands, for are there not plenty of men in our midst who have more than one wife? But this is ridiculous-Gulabchand can never stomach such a thing. What would people think when they hear of Gulabchand's wife marrying another man? How can he face his friends, society, what not ? But his wife will have no argument from him.

THEN FOLLOW A RAPID SUCCESSION OF INCIDENTS, through which his wife arranges to marry a man named Dilip-incidents which torture Gulabchand immensely. He protests to people-calls a "panchayat" to hear his dispute-but all of no avail. The great day comes. Invitation cards are issued in the name of Seth Gulabchand requesting his friends and relatives to come and witness the marriage of his wife......!  AND THUS his torture mounts-he feels agitated-but his dream comes to an end, and as he sits up, he hears a beautiful melody of a "bhajan". He follows the source of the sound and sees his wife singing before Lord Krishna. As "bhajan" ends, she puts flowers at the feet of Lord Krishna. With a voice chocked with emotion, he says "MEENA". She looks back, picks up the flowers from Lord Krishna's feet and places them at her lord's feet! What a devotion !

"I DON'T DESERVE THIS!" says Gulabchand, but he joins his wife before Lord Krishna and prays for strength and wisdom to be as nice to her as she is to him.

AND THUS GULABCHAND becomes a new man. His own conscience has cured him of his dreadful maladies.

(From the official press booklet)