Version 1 (modified by salomex, 12 years ago) (diff)



aka Savage Princess 1952 161’ col Hindi d/p Mehboob Khan pc Mehboob Prod. st R.S. Choudhury dial S. Ali Raza lyr Shakeel Badayuni c Faredoon Irani m Naushad lp Dilip Kumar, Nimmi, Premnath, Nadira, Sheela Nayak, Mukri, Murad, Nilambi, Cuckoo, Maya, Abdul, Aga Miraz, Amirbano

Mehboob’s shift from b&w to colour led to a sweeping narrative style, with a brown and green countryside, neo-classical decor, expansive gestures and valiant horsemen thundering under fiery golden-orange skies, announcing his Mother India (1957) socialist realism. Hero Jai Tilak (Kumar) belongs to a Rajput clan loyal to the benevolent maharaja (Murad). The villain is the Cadillac-driving Prince Shamsher Singh (Premnath) who tries to usurp power by killing his father, the ruler. Much to the distress of Mangala (Nimmi), who loves him, Jai resolves to tame the proud rajkumari (Nadira) as he tamed her wild stallion in a contest. Shamsher kidnaps Mangala and tries to rape her, causing her to fall to her death. Jai retaliates by capturing the rajkumari, forcing her to take Mangala’s place. Eventually it turns out that the maharaja is still alive and Mangala appears in the rajkumari’s dream, making the princess realise she loves Jai. Jai and the loyalist forces defeat Shamsher and reassume power. One of Mehboob’s first films to receive wide distribution in the West, where it was compared, incongruously, to both LeRoy?’s Quo Vadis (1951) and Powell’s The Red Shoes (1948), while Dilip Kumar was seen as close to Tarzan. The desert, a set created by art director Achrekar, in which the rajkumari is gunning for Jai quotes the climactic scenes of King Vidor’s Duel in the Sun (1946). Full of elaborately stylised action (esp. Nimmi’s performance), the most spectacular action takes place in a Ben Hur-type arena, including the sword-fight between Jai and Shamsher in front of the funeral pyre intended to burn the rajkumari at the stake. Shot in 16mm Gevacolour and blown up in Technicolor, the film’s epic style merges remarkably well with Technicolor’s tendency to create colour patches, a problem that e.g. Nitin Bose failed to solve in his Ganga Jumna (1961), making Aan one of India’s first successful experiments with colour cinematography. Released in a 105’ dubbed French version as Mangala Fille des Indes in 1954 and the first Hindi film to be dubbed in Tamil.