|Directed by||S. S. Vasan|
|Produced by||S. S. Vasan|
Mr. Sampath – The Printer of Malgudi|
by R. K. Narayan
B. S. Kalla|
E. Shankar Shastri
Mr. Sampat is a 1952 Indian Hindi-language satirical film produced and directed by S. S. Vasan under Gemini Studios. It is based on R. K. Narayan's 1949 novel Mr. Sampath – The Printer of Malgudi, and the Tamil film Miss Malini (1947). The film stars Motilal Rajvansh, Padmini and Kanhaiyalal. It deals with Sampat, a con artist who manipulates a theatre actress and a ghee merchant for his own benefits. Although Rajvansh received rave reviews for his performance, Mr. Sampat was a commercial failure.
Sampat is a con artist. Since the city of Bombay loves theatre actress Malini of the Kala Mandir Company, he plots and concocts an elaborate scheme involving her and Seth Makhanlal Gheewala, a ghee merchant. He uses Malini, helps Seth Makhanlal win the local elections, then has them involved in opening a bank by offering customers higher interest. The deposits are high. At Sampat's persuasion, Malini starts her own theatre company, but this comes at the cost of her leaving the Kala Mandir Company. While Sampat has a good life, a maharaja, who had huge deposits with the bank, withdraws his funds when Malini rejects his advances. In a matter of time, all of Sampat's schemes fail and both Seth Makhanlal and Malini lose large amounts of money. Realising that he does not have anything more to gain, Sampat abandons them and goes off to explore new zones, this time in the guise of a godman.
- Motilal Rajvansh as Sampat
- Padmini as Malini
- Vanaja as Sundari
- M. S. Sundari Bai as Nirmala
- Swaraj as the director of Kala Mandir Company
- Agha as the restaurant proprietor
- Kanhaiyalal as Seth Makhanlal Gheewala
- Badri Prasad as Malini's father
- Kailash Nath as Rajmohan
- J. S. Casshyap as the secretary
Mr. Sampat is based on the 1949 novel Mr. Sampath – The Printer of Malgudi by R. K. Narayan, and the Tamil film Miss Malini (1947) from which the novel developed. It was produced and directed by S. S. Vasan under the banner Gemini Studios. The film was made on a shoestring budget, unlike Vasan's earlier directorial venture, the blockbuster Chandralekha (1948). Vasan showed Motilal Rajvansh two reels of Miss Malini, but Rajvansh felt it was "slow" and complained that it gave him "a headache". He then gave Vasan a sample of his own interpretation of the character Sampat and proceeded to play it that way. Rajvansh played Sampat as someone who just wants to live life as he wants, "not as an extraordinary person, but precisely as an ordinary person". The film substantially deviated from the novel, with Vasan making it "a broad burlesque film and using it successfully to lampoon politicians, ex-princes, journalists, filmstars, religious zealots and bogus philanthropists." Padmini was chosen to reprise the role played by Pushpavalli in Miss Malini, and Mr. Sampat marked her first major appearance in a Hindi film. Cinematography was handled by P. Ellappa, and the editing by Chandru. Principal photography took place entirely at Gemini Studios. The final cut of the film was 165 minutes.
The music of the film was composed by B. S. Kalla and E. Shankar Shastri. It also marked P. B. Sreenivas' debut in playback singing. The film had no romantic duet, no bhajan, no rakhi song and no heartbreak track, all of which were considered "essential ingredients" in 1950s Indian cinema. The song "Laila Laila Pukaroon" is picturised on a play based on Layla and Majnun. The song "Acche Din Aa Rahe" is picturised on Malini declaring that achche din (good days) will never come for the poor because "the rich and the powerful will never let that happen." Historian V. Sriram noted similarities between "Aao Aao Kahani Suno" and the song "Ayirathu Thollayirathu Ambadu Aruvadu Natakam" from Manamagal (1951).
|1.||"Aao Aao Kahani Suno"||Geeta Dutt, Jikki|
|2.||"Acche Din Aa Rahe"||Shamshad Begum|
|3.||"Aji Hum Bharat Ke"||Geeta Dutt, P. B. Sreenivas|
|4.||"Chalo Paniya Bharan"||Geeta Dutt, Jikki|
|5.||"Devendra Dev Ki Jay"||Talat Mahmood, Shamshad Begum|
|6.||"Din Control Ke"||Geeta Dutt, Jikki|
|7.||"Hindustaan Humara"||Geeta Dutt|
|8.||"Jagah Nahi"||P. B. Sreenivas, Geeta Dutt|
|9.||"Khabardar Hoshiyar"||Shamshad Begum|
|10.||""Kyon Janam Diya"||Shamshad Begum, Talat Mahmood|
|11.||"Laila Laila Pukaroon"||Shamshad Begum, Talat Mahmood|
|12.||"Lo Bar Jipsi"||Shamshad Begum, P. B. Sreenivas|
|13.||"Lo Lai Suiyan"||Shamshad Begum|
|14.||"O Basiragi Banwasi"||Geeta Dutt|
Although Rajvansh received rave reviews for his performance, Mr. Sampat was a commercial failure. In a review dated 4 January 1953, The Times of India said, the film "marks a new departure in the policy and principle of our filmmakers, who have been ruled hitherto by box-office considerations with rare, too rare, exceptions. In Mr Sampat, Vasan has given us our very first picture which can be said to hold the mirror up to life with useful purpose and an immediate lesson aimed at stimulating the tardy growth and quickening the critical faculty among audiences... Mr Motilal gives a superb performance... he is a grand actor with a slick art which nobody on the screen today can rival." Babu Rao Patel, then the editor of Filmindia, also reviewed the film positively, praising the satire and morals in the film. Rati Batra of the magazine Thought wrote on 10 January 1953, "Motilal as Mr Sampat lives upto the character perfectly, and, though he gets all the laughs, he never borders on the clownish." She also praised the performance of Padmini as Malini but criticised the photography, noting that the shots of the stage shows seen in the film suffered from "bad lighting". J. D. S. of the same magazine also praised the film, thanking Gemini for "presenting to our film industry a model in the portrayal of modern social and political themes." He concluded that, despite a few minor objections, Mr. Sampat was a "shining example of film art amidst the morass of mediocrity that is the experience of the Indian cinegoer."
Mr. Sampat was later featured in journalist Avijit Ghosh's 2013 book 40 Retakes: Bollywood Classics You May Have Missed. Ghosh wrote in that book that the film's "post-mortem of corruption feels cool and contemporary even today" and that Rajvansh gave "the performance of a lifetime" as Sampat. Writing for Upperstall.com in 2016, Karan Bali stated that Mr. Sampat was "perhaps [Vasan's] best Hindi film", despite being significantly different from the source novel. He praised Vasan for handling the satirical elements "extremely well making the film delightfully irrelevant and thoroughly amusing" along with the performances of Rajvansh, Padmini, Kanhaiyalal and Agha. He wrote that, since Padmini was a trained dancer, "many of the stage performances in the film make splendid use of her tremendous ability as a dancer."
After the completion of Mr. Sampat, Rajvansh suggested a sequel titled Mr. Sampat Goes to the UNO to Vasan, but it never came to fruition.
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