New Theatres' classic celebration of Mithila's King Shiva Singha's (Bannerjee/Kapoor) love for his wife while chronicling the influence of the pacifist court poet Bidyapati (Sanyal). Invited to the royal court by the king, Bidyapati arrives with his faithful follower Anuradha (Kanan Devi). Queen Laxmi (Chhaya Devi) falls in love with the poet, much to the distress of the king. The king falls ill and starts neglecting his royal duties until Anuradha persuades him that true love does not need reciprocation. The queen, equally distressed by her divided loyalties, contemplates suicide, encouraged by the prime minister who is worried by the nefarious impact of Bidyapati's poetry on the king. Both the king and queen sacrifice their lives before the statue of the god Vishnu who appears to weep at the tragedy. Kanan Devi's unusually intense performance dominates the film, aided by a fast-moving script that broke with the convention of the static, frontal camera style of Indian film-devotionals (cf. the move from the opening <i>Dhol</i> celebrations to the miracle scenes and the witches' dance, as well as the complicated climactic sequence). The sutained use of filmic close-ups allows Bidyapati's poetry to take on an autonomous motivational function in the plot, almost as though his art, rather than he himself, is the story's true protagonist.
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