By Priti Sagar(05 Apr 2008)
The memoirs of a traveller. Perhaps the first Russian to visit India. Afanasi (Oleg) is a young and restless Russian man who has travelled far across other countries and he wants to travel further. His family consists of a blind father, an old mother and two young sisters who have tried everything to make him a family man but in vain. His fiance has also given up on him. Finally, the day comes when he gets the opportunity to visit India, the rich country no Russian has ever succeeded in reaching. However, it is not an easy trip. It is said that only an insane person would venture into such a land. Three oceans, deserts, pirates are some of the hurdles in his path. Afanasi and one of his friends leave for India. Afanasi is very confident and optimistic about reaching the Indian shores. He also notes down all the details in his diary that he keeps updating. But his culprit friend has other plans. He abandons Afanasi and proceeds forth on his own. Overcoming all the hurdles, Afanasi finally reaches Indian shores. He is amazed to see the Indians, their culture and lifestyle. His horse is confiscated and Afanasi is asked to present someone who will vouch for him. In his hunt, the disillusioned foreigner comes across a crying old couple whose beautiful daughter Champa (Nargis) is dying of a snake bite. Afanasi is kind enough to offer them the medicine that he is carryin. Afanasi has found a friend in Sakharam (Balraj Sahani) who lives away from society, sings songs and earns his living. They both give good company to each other, but Afanasi has to move on. He needs to meet the Sultan to discuss the trade associations between the two countries. However, it is not easy to find access to the Sultan (Prithviraj Kapoor) and his only hope is the courtesan Laxmi. During the Indian monsoon, Afanasi is stranded in a village which happens to be Champa's village. Her family welcomes the stranger who saved their daughter's life. He takes shelter in their home till the end of the monsoon. During his stay, he and Champa fall in love with each other , but they can't marry each other due to the differences in their culture, religion and lifestyle. Also Champa was already engaged to someone else since her childhood. On his way back to Russia, after completing his assignment, Afanasi falls into trouble again and that is when Sakharam again comes to help his friend. A beautiful story without any melodrama.