Rostam and Sohrab

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Persian manuscript painting:Rustam laments for Suhrab

The tragedy of Rostam and Sohrab forms part of the 10th-century Persian epic, Shahnameh by the Persian poet Ferdowsi. It tells the tragic story of the heroes Rostam and his son, Sohrab.


Rostam lived in Khurasaan Iran (also known as Persia), hero and one of the favorites of King Kaykavous. Once, following the traces of his lost horse, he enters the kingdom of Samangan where he becomes the guest of the king during the search for his horse. There Rostam meets princess Tahmina. She admires Rostam and knows of his reputation. She goes into his room at night and asks if he will bear her a child and in return, she will bring his horse. Rostam leaves after he seals the deal with Tahmina and his horse is returned. Before he leaves, he gives her two tokens. If she has a girl, she is to take the jewel and plait it in her hair. If she has a boy, she is to take the seal and bind it on his arm. Nine months later, she bears his child--a son, whom she later names Sohrab. Years go by before Rostam and Sohrab meet again. Finally a new war between Persia and Turan is on the horizon. The two armies face each other and prepare for the imminent battle. By then Sohrab has become known as the best fighter of Turan army. But Rostam's legend precedes him and the Turan army cowers before the hero.

No one else dares to fight Rostam, so Sohrab is sent to wrestle with the legendary Khurasaan hero. Though Sohrab knows his father's name, he is unaware that the man before him is Rostam. On the battlefield, Rostam and Sohrab fight for what seems like an eternity, neither knowing the true name of his opponent.

After a very long and heavy bout of wrestling, Rostam feels weak and, fearing for his reputation, he stabs his son in the heart. It is then that he notices the necklace that he once gave Tahmina who gave it to her son to keep him safe during the war. Tahmina, who comes to the field to save them from bloodshed, arrives too late and finds Sohrab lying dead in his mourning father's arms.[1]

This is the plot summary of a movie made in Tajikistan which was based on the ancient story "daastaan" of Rostam va Sohrab as was told in the Khurasaan epic poem "Shahnameh" by Ferdowsey. The original story in Fedrowsy´s "Shahnameh" is longer, more complete, beautifully depicted and somewhat different from the movie. For example in the original epic story Tahmineh never comes to the battlefield trying to stop the fight, or that Rustam gave an arm band (not a necklace) large enough to only have fit his stout arms, and now only fit Sohrab´s arm, and that Rustam used a poisoned knife to stab his son. It is important to know that the description of the story here is a film makers artistic interpretation of the story and does not fully follow the original plot.

This story was taken as a base plot also in a Bollywood movie Rustam Sohrab Starring Prithviraj, Premnath, Suraiyya and Mumtaz.



  1. ^ Rustam and Sukhrab (1972), Boris Kimyagarov's movie based on Shahnameh of Firdawsi, Tajikfilm

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