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Rani Rupmati (1), 1957

Rani Rupmati, 1957, Museum Series

showcard, c. 1957, 62 X 50 cm (24.4 X 19.6 inches)
tinted gelatin silver print and poster paint on textured board with hand-lettering
set of 3 showcards (what is a showcard?)

Deepali Dewan, ed. Bollywood Cinema ShowcardsIndian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980sShowcards from The Hartwick Collection. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2011, p. 61, Cat. no. 8.

Rani Rupmati is a story with its origins in the folklore of India’s Malwa region.  According to the legend, the Prince of Mandu was hunting when he came upon Rani Rupmati, a Hindu shepherdess, frolicking and singing with her friends. The Muslim prince was stricken by her enchanting beauty and her sweet voice, and begged her to accompany him to his capital. They were married according to Muslim and Hindu rites. Soon after, the palace was invaded and the prince was defeated.  Rani Rupmati poisoned herself to avoid being captured.

"Historical films offered a way to explore controversial contemporary issues within fictionalized history. This film is set in the time of the Mughal emperor Akbar and focuses on the friendship between a Muslim sultan’s son and a Hindu woman, Rupmati. Gusts of wind or lightening-like charges encircle the would-be lovers, conveying the emotional intensity of the narrative. The stringed instrument shown in Cat. no. 8 and Cat. no. 9 is a type of veena associated with the Hindu goddess Saraswati and used mostly in South Indian music. In the wake of Independence (only ten years prior to this movie's release), which brought with it violent sectarian clashes and the formation of the separate nation-states of India and Pakistan, topics of Hindu-Muslim encounter would have been sensitive and controversial.

The film Rani Rupmati (1957) was produced by Ravindra Kala Chitra and directed by S. N. Tripathi.  Music by S. N. Tripathi.  Black and white, Hindi, starring Nirupa Roy, Bharat Bhushan and Nalini Chonkar."

--Additional text by Dr. Deepali Dewan and Alexandra McCarter, based on Deepali Dewan, ed. Bollywood Cinema Showcards: Indian Film Art from the 1950s to the 1980s. Showcards from The Hartwick Collection. Toronto: Royal Ontario Museum Press, 2011. Copyright of and reproduced here with the generous permission of the Royal Ontario Museum.

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