Humayun (1945)




Director:     Mehboob Khan. 

Starring:     Yusuf Effendi,  Himalaywala,  Abdul Kader,  Ashok Kumar (Badshah Naseerudin Humayun),  Chandra Mohan (Rajkumar Randhir),  Nargis (Hamida Bano),  Shah Nawaz (Badshah Babar),  Abdul Rashid,  Afghan Sandow,  K.N. Singh (Jai Singh), Veena (Rajkumari).

Mughal emperor Humayun (1530-1539), son of emperor Babar


Spoiler Warning:  below is a summary of the entire movie. 

With an army of 12,000 Emperor Babar enters India at the province of Panipat.  The era of Ibrahim Lodi had ended.  They go through Hindustan and reach the last fort.  A woman at the fort stands up to the Emperor, but the Emperor refuses to harm a woman.  She is Princess Rajkumari.  He says he will protect her.  Babar then adds that "you'll be like my daughter."  The princess's brother Kumar finds his dying father on the battlefield.  Kumar takes an oath of vengeance.  He goes into the palace and draws his sword against the Mughal Prince Humayun.  He wants to take vengeance by killing Humayun.  But Humayun will not fight the man and leaves. 

Emperor Babar visits the Hindustan princess and asks her what's wrong.  She is afraid that something bad will happen to the Mughals and all her people's lives will be put at risk.  The Emperor demands to know who came to visit her.  She doesn't give away her brother's palace invasion.  Babar tells the leaders of Hindustan that he wants their people to keep their language and culture and most other aspects of their lives.  He explains that he wants to make Hindustan his home.  Jai Singh has to give his Rajput family sword to the Emperor.  Later, adviser Mirza says that Sher Shah is a dangerous man.  Kumar makes another appearance in the palace and he starts a sword fight with Humayun.  Kumar's sister intervenes to break them apart.  Babar tells his son to see to it that the troops are moved from Chanderi. 

Kumar Randhir Singh  travels to Chanderi where a big celebration is being held.  The Prince is told that the celebration is in honor of the freedom of Chanderi from the Mughals.  This makes Kumar livid.  He takes the flag down and says Chanderi has to be taken by force by their own people in order for them to celebrate their freedom. 

Delegates arrive to see Babar.  The most important of these are Sardar Mir Bab Dor's daughter, the beautiful princess Hamida Banoo.  Humayun sees her and immediately likes her.  Later Babar saves a woman from a charging elephant.  Humayun woos Hamida Banoo.  She is upset by this since she does not even know Mumayun.  Kumar arrives in the palace to kill Humayun.   Hamida Banoo goes to complain to Emperor Babar about the harassment she received from a strange man.  Babar goes to check it out.  He sees his son and asks the Prince if he has seen a strange man around the palace.  Now Hamida knows that the strange man is the Mughal Crown Prince.  And now she refuses to rat on the Prince.  Babar gives an order to have Kumar escorted out of the palace.  He tells his son to find the sexual harasser and have him killed.  When Babar again sees Humayun and Hamida they both tell the Emperor that the offender was found and put to death. 

Humayun proposes marriage to Hamida.  She does not want to marry someone who will be the next emperor.  So Humayun tells her that he will give up his right to be the future emperor for her.  But Hamida still rejects the proposal.  This upsets the Prince so much that he becomes deeply depressed.  He takes to bed and becomes unconscious.  Emperor Babar and his wife are very upset.  Even Kumar comes to visit Humayun.  He says that he has prayed for him to live.  If Humayun survives, then Kumar can get his vengeance. 

Babar prays for the life of his son, without any change.  With this Babar himself starts to become deeply depressed.  Hamida starts to pray for Humayun and soon afterwards Humayun opens his eyes.  But now Babar is on his death bed.  He tells Hamayun to take care of his two honorary sisters, Kumar's sister and Hamida.  Hamayun agrees.  Babar dies. 

Humayun is now the emperor.  He learns that Kamran Mirza, his brother, has been arrested.  Humayun asks why they arrested his brother.  Because he tried to take over the throne.  Humayun tells them to bring his brother to him.  Kamran comes and asks for forgiveness.  Another big problem is that Sher Shah leads troops and will take the throne of Hindustan.  The leader wants to unite all of Hindustan. 

Jai Singh criticizes Kumar's sister for accepting Babar as her father.  Together with Sultan Bahadur Shah they come up with a plan against the Mughals.  They will take over the kingdom of Princess Hamida and arrest her.  Then Prince Kumir of Chanderie will attack Jai Singh.  The Sultan will respond by taking Chanderi.  Kumar will attack Jai Singh and then the Sultan will surround Kumar and cut him off.  The plan will involve the use of 20,000 troops.  Sher Shah will attack Emperor Humayun.  The Emperor will thereby be distracted and not care what happens to Princess Hamida.  The Sultan threatens Kumar, but Kumar does not seem to be afraid of him at all. 

Another name for Hamida Banoo is Mallika Alam.  Kumar's sister unofficially crowns her as the Queen of Hindustan. Hamida wants to know why she did this.  Apparently, she had the idea ever since she realized that Humayun had fallen in love with her.  Hamida takes off the crown.  She says the Queen is but a toy to the king and when he tires of the toy he'll get a new toy.  She will sacrifice her love for Humayun in favor of someone to whom she can reach out to.  It's obvious that Hamida is not happy. 

News arrives to Hamida that Sher Shah has attacked.  Mirza tells Hamida that she can help the situation by becoming queen.  He advises her to either accept the kingdom or leave it.  The Emperor is so besotted with her that he neglects the affairs of state.  If this continues it will lead to the end of the Mughal Dynasty.  Hamida goes to see the Emperor.  She tells him that she wants to go back home to her kingdom.  Humayun does not want this at all.  She asks him why he just does not forget her.  The answer is that he cannot.  But she says her "principles" will not let her agree to stay with him.  And she is not willing to change her principles.  Again she asks to leave and Humayun lets her go.  The next scene is of Hamida in a caravan heading back home. 

Sher Shah tries to force Mirza to fight Emperor Humayun.  Mirza is not interested.  Mirza then pays a visit to Humayun to ask him to wake up from his stupor.  Sher Shah has already conquered lots of land.  This makes the Emperor angry, but does manage to wake him up.   He goes to battle, wins victories and reaches Chausa.  Sher Shah noticing Humayun's progress, attacks his encampment.  Humayun has to save himself by jumping into the river.  A commoner helps save Humayun's live.  (Latter Humayun makes the man emperor for a day.)

Princess Hamida arrives back home.  She asks Jai Singh why he has rebelled against the emperor and her.  He answers that the people of her kingdom are mad at her for her relationship with Humayun.  Jai Sing is the commander in chief of the kingdom.  The Princess gets exasperated and tells the Rajputs to go ahead and rebel.  Jai Singh tells his men to arrest the Princess, while the Princess orders those loyal to her to arrest Jai Singh.  Jai Singh wins out and the Princess is arrested.  When Kumar learns of this he is not at all happy. 

Humayun's brother Kamran joins Sher Shah.  Kamran is intent on destroying the Mughal Dynasty.  Humayun attacks Kamran.  Jai Singh loses the fort.  Kumar attacks.  He surrounds the fort.  Sher Shah retreats.  Kamran is brought into Humayun again and he apologizes again.  Princess Hamida sends a messenger to Humayun saying that Bahadur Shah's forces surround her kingdom.  Humayun comes to the rescue with 50,000 troops.  Kumar orders the fort doors open.  The Rajputs jump into the fort.  Humayun comes to the rescue.  The fort gates are then closed, but Humayun's elephants push the gates open.  Humayun wounds Kumar with a spear.    Humayun speaks with the Princess.  A mortally wounded Mirza says that Kamran has joined Sher Shah with 30,000 men bringing their forces up to more than 50,000.  He tells Princess Hamida that she has lost her kingdom and now must leave.  He also tells Humayun that he should go home, get more men and then return.  Then Mirza dies.  Humayun agrees to leave.  Kumar is still alive.  It looks like he wants to have that final showdown with Humayun, but Kumar puts his sword away.  Humayun and Kumar embrace. 

Humayun goes to Iran.  He is down to only five men.  While he kneels in prayer the enemy troops pass over him leaving him untouched, but his last five men are all killed. 

Princess Hamida sees Humayun all alone.  She says she is sorry to Humayun.  But Humayun says that now they can be together since he is no longer Emperor of Hindustan. 

Hamida gives birth to Jalaludiln Akbar, the future emperor of Hindustan 

After a long time, Humayun returns.  He captures Kabul, Lahore, Delhi and Agra.  He reaches the place where his father Babar first met Princess Rajkumari and made her his daughter.  With Humayun is little Prince Akbar. 


Pretty good movie.  It can be confusing.  It is best to read about the historical background.  There are a lot of characters in the movie and they keep giving different variations of the names of many of the key characters.  You really have to pay close attention to the looks of the actors and their character names.  The film covers a lot of history of the early Mughal Dynasty in India.  One thing my wife and I both found confusing was the motivation of Princess Hamida for not choosing to be the Empress.   It's her "principles".  What the heck are those.  All she talks about is having someone to whom she can reach out to.  We figure she just did not want to be in the limelight as the Empress of a huge kingdom. 

Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.


Historical Background:


Nasiruddin Humayun. 

1508 (March 6)  --  Humayun born to Emperor Babar in Kabul (today's Afghanistan).

15301540  --    Humayun becomes the second Mughal Emperor. 

Genghis Khan did not leave an entire kingdom to his eldest son and the Mughal Dynasty of India followed the same practice.  Emperor Babur divided the empire between two of his sons.  When Babur became ill, some of the nobles tried to install Humayun's uncle, Mahdi Khwaja, as ruler.

Humayun had two major rivals:

1)  Sultan Bahadur of Gujarat (to the south west) who bought firearms from the Portuguese.  The Sultan of Gujarat planned an assault on the Mughal territories with Portuguese aid. Humayun marched from Agra on Bahadur and captured the forts of Mandu and Champaner within a month.  But he then stopped to enjoy life in the forts and Bahadur was able to escape to refuge with the Portuguese.

2)  Sher Shah Suri (Sher Khan) settled along the Ganges River to the east  in Bihar. Humayun was perhaps too lenient in his rule.  Shortly after Humayun had marched on Gujarat, Sher Shah planned an assault to capture the Mughal capital of Agra.  Humayun marched back to Agra.  (This made it possible for Bahadur to regain control of his recently lost territories.   A few months later, Bahadur unsuccessfully tried to kidnap the Portuguese viceroy and was killed in the subsequent fire-fight)  Gaur, second city of the Empire and capital of the vilayat of Bengal, was sacked by Sher Shah. This gave the victor a huge war chest from the vast wealth of Bengal. Sher Shah withdrew, while Humayun retired to his Harem.  Humayun had a problem with alcohol an opium.   After winning a battle he would indulge himself within a captured city paying none or little attention to the larger war. 

He too readily forgave his enemies.  His youngest brother 19-year old Hindal was supposed to have helped Humayun by guarding his rear, but Hindal withdrew to Agra.  There he decreed himself acting emperor. Humayun sent his most trusted adviser, the grand Mufti, Sheikh Buhlul, to talk with Hindal, the Sheikh was killed. With Hindal gone, Sher Shah reclaimed the land and surrounded Humayun surrounded.  But instead of punishing his brother, Humayun forgave him. 

Kamran, Humayun's other brother, thinking his brother's empire was collapsing, returned to Agra to get as much gain as possible.  He worked out a deal with brother Hindal not to attack him when Humayun was finally deposed. in return for Hindal having a share of the empire.  

Sher Shah frustrated Humayun at a battle on the banks of the Ganges, near Benares, in Chausa. So Humayun had to make a deal.  He gave Sher Shah rule over Bengal and Bihar, but only as provinces without official sovereignty.  Sher Shah feigned an agreed-upon retreat so Humayun could save face.  But when Sher Shah saw that now Humayun was too relaxed,  he attacked and killed most of the Mughal troops. The Emperor had to jump into the Ganges to get away.  Humayun returned to Agra and forgives his traitorous brothers. 

Sher Shah starts closing in on Agra.  Humayun's brother Kamran leaves to go back to Lahore. 

1541-1543  --  the fort of Rohtas built by Sher Shah Sur to crush the Gakhars who were loyal to Humayun

1541 (May 17)  --  Humayun, with brothers Askari and Hindal, march 150 miles east of Agra to face Sher Shah.  Once again, Humayun is defeated, this time at the Battle of Kanauj.  The brothers return to Agra, but then leave for Lahore.  Sher Shah follows them. 

The four brothers unite in Lahore.  Humayun asks Sher Shah to leave him alone in Lahore.  But Sher Shah says he wants Humayun to retreat all the way to Kabul.  At this stage, Kamran Mirza of Afghanistan makes a deal with Sher Shah.  But Sher Shah rejects the idea.  Humayun learns of Kamran's treachery, but forgives him.  This, however, did not prevent a schism in the family  Humayun and Hindal fell back into Sindh, while Kamran and Askari went on to Kabul. 

In  Sindh Humayun marries Hamida.

1542 (October 15)  --  Hamid gives birth to the future Mughal Emperor 

War against Sindh.  Hussein, the leader of Sindh, bribes Humayun to leave. 

1543 (July 11)  --  Humayun sets off to join his brothers in Kandahar and crosses the Indus.  But Hindal was already placed under house arrest by Kamran.  Brother Askari was to attack Humayun, but the emperor sought refuge In Iran (the Safavid Empire).  Akbar was too young to make the journey so he was left behind in December.  Askari found Akbar his own wife to raised Akbar. 

Humayun converts from Sunni to Shia Islam to get the support of the Shah of Iran.  With 12,000 of the Shah's choice cavalry Humayun took Kandahar from Askari. As agreed, Humayun turned over Kandahar to the Shah.  The Shah sent in his son as Viceroy, but the boy soon died.  Humayun assumed power.  He then took Kabul from brother Kamran. 

1545 (November)  --  Hamida and Humayun reunite with their son Akbar. Then he lost Kabul to Kamran, only to recapture it later.  Brother Hindal died fighting Humayun.  Askari died in the desert going to Hajj. 

1545  --  Sher Shah Suri dies. 

1552  --  Kamran is captured by the Gakhars who had remained loyal to the Mughals. They turn Kamran over to Humayun, but instead of killing Kamran. Humayun only blinded him. 

1554  --  Sher Shah Suri's son Islam Shah dies.   This resulted in massive chaos as many rivals tried to grab power in India.  This situation gave Humayun a chance to re-conquer India.  Humayun placed his army under Bairam Khan, who turned out to be one of the world's great legendary tacticians.  Bairam captures Fort Rohtas.  He also defeated Sikander Suri in Sirhind.

1555 (July 23)  -- Humayun is placed back on Babur's throne in Delhi.  Now Humayun extends his reign to the east and west.  He was not a much better Emperor.  His experiences in Persia helped him improve his military abilities, his form of government, and adoption of  Persian arts.

1556 (February 22)   Humayun dies after falling down on some steps and hitting his temple on a stone edge.  He was succeeded by the 13 year old Akbar.  He is best remembered today for his great Tomb, built by his widow after his death.  The style of his tomb was a precursor to the Taj Mahal.

1557  --  Kamran died near Mecca in the Arabian desert.


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