Nasreddin, the Robin Hood of the East! Those who read the Leonid Solovyov’s brilliant book “Povest’ of Hodzhe Nasreddine” (The Tale of Nasreddin the Hajji) will surely value this treasure of Jakob Protazanov for it is the only faithful screen version that has approached the mischievous spirit of the book that close. Also it’s hard to imagine a better Nasreddin than Leo Sverdlin with his ever-glittering cunning eyes and radiant smile.
The famous hero of the eastern tales Nasreddin arrives in Bukhara on his donkey. It was on the day the Emir of Bukhara was to render a fair trial. The potter Niyaz owes 400 tanga to a loan shark Jaffar, and the court orders him to return the money within one hour. As a poor potter with no money, he will have to sell his beautiful daughter Guljan into slavery. Nasreddin will try to save the girl…
Essentially a swashbuckler, the story concerns Nasreddin (Lev Sverdlin), a Slavic Robin Hood who does battle with the despotic Emir of Bokhara. Not only does he make the wicked ruler look stupid at every opportunity, but he also makes off with the Emir’s prize harem girl.
It was believed that Nasreddin lived and died during the 13th century in Akshehir, near Konya, a capital of the Seljuk Sultanate of Rum, in today’s Turkey. He is considered a populist philosopher and wise man, remembered for his funny stories and anecdotes.
Nasreddin stories are told in a wide variety of regions, especially across the Muslim world and have been translated into many languages.
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