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In search of sculpted serenity

The sculpture in the movie

Have you watched the movie ‘Dil diya dard liya‘? Loosely based on Emily Bronte’s work ‘Wuthering Heights’, this movie was made in the year 1966 with Dilip Kumar and Waheeda Rehman playing the lead roles. There are several reasons to watch this movie – its melodious music, the gorgeous sarees worn by the leading lady and last but not the least Mandu the marvellous historical town about 100 kilometres from Indore, where the movie was shot.

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The sculpture as it stood in 2015

The town of Mandu has a rich historical legacy. Situated strategically in the Malwa region of Madhya Pradesh, its history remained chequered. But what I intend to write here is about a particular sculpture that is placed in a courtyard of the Jahaz Mahal of Mandu in the movie Dil diya dard liya which becomes the leitmotif. I have been fascinated by this sculpture when ever I have watched this movie. The face of the sculpture exhibits a rather divine serenity, a certain calm that is unmissable and awe inspiring . The sculpture remains a mute spectator of the vicissitudes of the protagonist and his lady love.

A still from the movie with the sculpture in the background

It was this sculpture that I was frantically looking for in the Jahaz Mahal when I visited Mandu in December 2015. However, it was nowhere to be found in the precincts of the Mahal. I tried to inquire with a couple of local guides but they too were clueless. Though the monument was itself splendid, I was rather disappointed at not finding the sculpture there. My family too was rather crestfallen that I had not spotted the object of my admiration. We had almost given up and were driving out after seeing the Jahaz Mahal when I almost screamed at the cab driver to stop! My family was flabbergasted as to what had come over me. I pointed to a courtyard of a nondescript house and there, my sculpted wonder was sitting pretty and as serene as ever, basking in the sunlight. We got off the cab in a frenzy and rushed to the courtyard, not before a surprised resident of the house inquired as to what I was going gaga about. By now even my family had developed affinity for the sculpture. They had also heaved a sigh of relief that they would no longer be made to look for sculptures all over Mandu!

The sculpture as it stands in the courtyard (2015)

I rather incoherently explained to the resident that I had been trying to find this sculpted serenity for hours and that I would want to click a picture of the same with his permission. He agreed rather graciously. What I gathered from him was that the statue was perhaps not in situ in Jahaz Mahal and that after the shooting was done, it was shifted to the courtyard of this house which belonged to the Chartered Accountant who was associated with the movie. I got no more information and nor did I prod him for more as I had found what I had wanted at last and was mesmerized by the understated elegance and beauty of the sculpture!

The moral of the story is that there is trivia tucked in each nook and corner. One just needs to have a discerning eye.

8 thoughts on “In search of sculpted serenity

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