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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Sangdil (1952)

In between essays, I bring you this clip from Sangdil. This clip is of the scene where Kamala (Jane) rescues Shankar (Mr Rochester) from a fire in his room. I had heard of this Hindi adaptation of Jane Eyre but I had not thought much about it because I had heard that it was very loosely based on the story:

A loose adaptation of Charlotte Bronte's classic. Childhood sweethearts are separated and grow up in different worlds. The girl is brought up to be a 'pujaaran' (priestess) while the boy grows up to be a dejected 'thakur', turned vindictive by life's injustices. Fate inevitably brings them together at a later juncture, and all seems happy and perfect for the young couple, until she discovers his deep, dark secret. (from imdb.com)

From the DVD:

Kamala (Jane) is brought up by Shankar's (Mr. Rochester: yes Jane and Rochester are childhood sweethearts in this) father (kinda like Helen Burns as well as Mr. Reed). Shankar's mother despises Shankar's growing attachment for Kamala. She torments Kamala. Shankar's feeling for tormented Kamal deepens as they both fall in love. Shankar's father dies and his mother's greed to devour Kamala's wealth separates the two lovers. Kamala is driven into a sanctuary. Her childish inquest changes into devotion and she dedicates her life to Shankar. Shankar gets involved in a worldy web of wealth and women. The passage of time creates a vast gulf between the two lovers until destiny brings them face to face. Their union brings back the lost love but not the companionship that Shankar's Sangdil heart desires.

However, Thisbeciel obtained a copy of the film and assures us that it is far from a 'loose' adaptation. In fact, it looks like it follows the novel more closely than most films of Jane Eyre. There's nothing like pictoral evidence: below, Kamala meets 'Mr Brocklehurst', a rider in Hay Lane.

The clincher is this: Kamala and the Astrologer, who of course is actually Shankar (This would make this the earliest, if not the first film adaptation of Jane Eyre to include the Gypsy Scene). And probably the most disturbing 'Bertha' yet:

A flashback while Shankar tells Kamala about his marriage. And after she hears him calling to her before devoting herself as a priestess, she returns to Shankar- who is now blind.

Clip and images courtesy of Thisbeciel.


mysticgypsy said...

awww I really want to see this one!!!! :)

hmm does she ever "governess" (or the like)in his house I wonder...or does she just lurk around him? :P

(p.s. oh my! Bertha looks like a man :P)

Brontëana said...

I forgot to mention that it is available for purchase here

It looks like she's... I don't know. Actually, I have no idea why she is in the house. 'Blanche', in the clip wonders the same thing and insinuates that she is the one who set his bed on fire. (There are some interesting differences in this film. Many are cultural, but otherwise... It looks like 'Bertha' stabs 'Rochester' not 'Mr Mason'- who turns up later. And Blanche seems to know all about this but she takes it in stride. She also gets so angry at the Astologer that she has him thrown out- a nice touch! ;) I think Mr Rochester is thrown out of the house in one of the early plays as well...)

That was a long digression...

Bertha is quite splendid in this! I don't think she is ever seen in the earlier 1940s version, and in the 1930s one... she's a trimly dressed, plain-looking, quakerish woman! Considering that Jane in that film wears ruffly gowns, crystals, and has shining blond curls, that is pretty disturbing as well. ;)

ThisbeCiel said...

to mysticgypsy:

"Jane" is a "devotee", sort of a nun because she escaped from Brocklehurst and went to the sanctuary. She comes to "Rochester's" house because there is some sort of festival going on, and the "devotees" are needed for the celebrations. "Rochester" is a prosperous landowner and houses the "devotees". There is one sequence where she dances for the festival and "Rochester" is watching. ^_^ Oh, there is no "Adele" in this version.

And yes, Bertha is quite splendid in this, though she screams rather alot, and curiously, exactly at midnight. I am glad you are interested in this film! I really enjoyed it!