indian cinema heritage foundation

Tonga-Wali (1955)

  • Release Date1955
  • LanguageHindi
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Motaram and his daughter Rajo engaged Lachhman’s tonga at Delhi railway Station. After they got home, Rajo suddenly realized that she had left her Bundle of cloths in the tonga. Motaram began to berate their luck. Tongawallas couldn’t be expected to be so honest as to return forgotten goods.

But Lachhman was not like usual Tongawala. He arrived at night to return Rajo, and Bundle of clothes. He did that but in the process lost his heart. He fell in love with Rajo, and she, in turn, was attracted by him. This aroused the jealousy of Chhotu, to whom Rajo had been bespoken long before that. Rajo refused to marry a drunk and vagabond like Chhotu.

Motaram, on his own part, wanted to wed Rajo to the person who would give him two thousand rupees. Arranging for such a sum was out of the question for Lachhman. But for sake of Rajo, perforce, he sold his horse who was so dear to him and the tonga which was his only means of livelihood. The requisite dower having been paid, Lachhman and Rajo were wed to each other. Just before her departure from home, Rajo picked up the two thousand rupees from her father’s box. When Motaram demanded the sum from her she refused to part with it and declared that she did not acknowledge any tie with him for he had sold her off like an animal. She now belonged to the man who had bought her. When she reached her new home, Rajo gave Lachhman the two thousand rupees so that he could buy back his tonga and horse.

Lachhman was in business again. The felicity of the couple was unbounded, particularly after the birth of their son. But Rajo’s days of happiness were numbered. In an effort to save the honour of a respectable girl, Lachhman lost his life. Rajo found life desolated. Chhotu came to condole and remained to ply Lachhman’s tonga so he could help Rajo. The long-suppressed desire for Rajo was awakened in him soundly and threw him out. Then she gave her tonga to another coachman, pyare. But soon he too made overtures to her and she had to throw him out too. Thereafter she applied for a license in her own name. Her application was turned down on the plea that a woman could not be permitted to play a tonga.

Pretty soon starvation Rajo in the face. She could not bear to see her child go hungry, but she could not watch the poor horse starve. The performance she began to play the tonga herself. On a complaint lodged by Chhotu and Pyare, Rajo was brought to court. The succeeding events must be seen on the screen.  

(From the official press booklet)