indian cinema heritage foundation

Tansen (1943)

  • GenreRomance, Drama
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time122 min
  • Length3349.75 meters
  • Number of Reels12
  • Gauge35 mm
  • Censor RatingU

A Great love story of a Great Master

Who has not heard the Great Name of Tansen, the Greatest Musical Genius of India? 

As an orphan boy, Tansen was brought up by an aged Mohmedan, himself a poor but kind man. 

Finding in the boy natural musical talent, the old guardian got him properly trained in one of the multifarious musical schools then prevalent in India. Though Tansen quickly mastered the art that was taught to him, it was left to a shepherd girl, Tani, to show to him that rhythm did play an important part in music. And soon Tansen found that it was not the analysis but synthesis of human voice that made music—though contrary were the opinions of the different schools of music then extant. 

Tansen, since then, devoted himself to gain proficiency in rhythmic music and also domain over the heart of Tani. To Tansen, Music and Tani became synonymous. 

Through the powers of his music, Tansen succeeded in taming a mad elephant of Bundelkhand and thus won the patronage of the Raja of that country. 
During this time Emperor Akbar had already collected eight talented men of divers Sciences and Arts and was searching for a ninth genius to complete his Nine Gems or 'Ratnas.' His scouts came to Bundelkhand and found Tansen, who was accepted as the Ninth 'Ratna' for the Darbar of Emperor Akbar. Tansen went to Agra. Tani followed. 

Believing that Tani's love would prove a handicap rather than a help to the genius of Tansen, Emperor Akbar persuaded Tani to leave Tansen and Agra. Wise as she was, she saw the wisdom in the Emperor's advice and she left Agra so that Tansen would be great.

But Tani was the real inspiration of Tansen. Deprived of Tani he felt like a broken reed. He ceased singing altogether - even before the Emperor.

In the meantime, the Emperor's daughter fell ill. She was very fond of music, and nothing but music would appease her agony. But none but Tansen's music would please her, and Tansen had given up singing. However, after a great deal of persuationTansen was made to consent to sing before the princess one 'Raga.' Tansen sang the 'Deepak Raga.' This 'Raga' enkindled the latent fire in his body. 

Suffering from this strange malady of inflamed passion, Tansen could not stay in Delhi, and he wandered here and there, ill and dying of unquenchable internal heat. 

At last, he arrived where Tani was. 

Tansen wanted to die at the feet of his beloved Tani who diagnosed the malady and saw in the melody of "Malhar" the only specific for cure. 

What music has done, music can undo - and Tansen was cured. And to this day this union dominates wherever Indian Music chastens the atmosphere.

(From the official press booklet)