1952 Superhit Hindi Movie
Bharat Bhushan, Meena Kumari, Kuldeep Kaur
Tansen is known to be the greatest classical vocalist ever to have existed in India, and was one of the nine jewels (Navaratnas) of Emperor Akbar’s court. Nobody could sing in the city unless he or she could sing better than Tansen. Baiju Bawra is the story of a singer, Baiju, who is on a mission to defeat Tansen in a musical duel to avenge the death of his father.
Tansen's sentry tries to stop Baiju’s father from singing in the city, and in the ensuing scuffle, his father dies. Before his death, he extracts a promise from his son to take revenge against Tansen. Baiju grows with a village priest and learns music. He falls in love with Gauri, the daughter of a boatman and forgets the promise made to his father.
Later, a group of dacoits raid Baiju's village. With his song, Baiju persuades them against looting the village. The female leader of the dacoits falls in love with him and asks him to follow them to their fort as a condition for their sparing the village. In the fort, the dacoit leader, a princess living in exile, tells Baiju how her father’s serfdom had been usurped and she was seeking revenge. The word “revenge” brings all of Baiju's memories back and he leaves the fort to kill Tansen.
Baiju sneaks into the Mughal palace, where Tansen is singing. He is dumbstruck by the way Tansen sings, and the sword he wanted to us to cut Tansen's throat falls on the tanpura, saddening Tansen. He told Baiju that he could only be killed by music, and the pain that accompanies it. “Dip your notes in melancholy and I’ll die on my own,” he said. Baiju accordingly leaves the palace to learn “real” music.
Baiju remembers Swami Haridas and goes to see him and asks for his guidance, informing him of his plan to take revenge against Tansen. Haridas tells Baiju that one must be in love to be a true musician, but still accepts him as his disciple. Baiju again starts his musical training. After learning that his teacher had fallen seriously ill and was unable to walk, Baiju sings a song that so thrills Haridas that the master gets out of his bed and starts to walk.
After some days and incidents, Baiju reaches Tansen's city, singing the whole way. The residents fear for his life as he is singing all the way and call him bawra (insane), hence the title of the movie. Baiju is caught and a musical duel takes place.
Emperor Akbar himself witnesses the competition. For a long time, both the singers prove to be equally good. Then Akbar suggests that whoever could melt a marble slab with his singing would win the duel. Baiju manages to do so and wins the competition, avenging his father's death. Tansen accepts his defeat graciously, and is in fact happy that there is someone better than him. Baiju persuades Akbar to spare Tansen's life, to return the princess' land to her, and to allow music in the streets.
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