Estate of Riyad Wadia
Title: Veer Rajputani
Release Date: 1955
Director/s: J.B.H. Wadia
Producer: Homi Wadia
Music Director: Bulo C. Rani
Cast: Shakeela, Manhar, Meenakshi, Helen, Bipin Gupta, B.M. Vyas, S.N. Tripathi
Plot: J.B.H Wadia’s penchant for producing films with strong women characters saw its culmination in Veer Rajputani, the epic tale of Princess Padmavati whose bravery helps uphold Rajputana’s honour against the mighty Mughal Empire. Inspired by the writings of Colonel Tod and based on the famed Gujarati novel ‘Veer Hak’ by Shaida, Veer Rajputani is a large canvas costume drama encompassing some of the greatest legendary names from 18th-century Indian history and played by an all-star cast.
Princess Padmavati is trained by Gurudeo in martial arts at his Ashram. She falls in love with Veersingh whom she saves from his evil brother Daku Zalimsingh. Zalimsingh is a war profiteer who pits the armies of Maharana Pratap and Akbar the Great by creating misunderstandings. Padmavati and Veersingh along with Rajkumari Surekha help solve the sticky situation. In dramatic events involving legendary characters like poet Prithviraj, the Rajputs realise that Zalimsingh has deceived them and prepare for the great battle of Panipat. The film climaxes as the mighty army led by Maharana Pratap go off to battle singing “Insaan Bano'' (a tune that Nehru’s Indian Army adopted during the 1962 Indo-Pakistan war).
Veer Rajputani is also noted for the first screen appearance of Helen as a dancer. J.B.H. Wadia’s direction and use of actual locations were lauded by critics when the film was released.