Hirak Rajar Deshe opens with Goopy and Bagha discussing about a trip. They are bored with their royal life. Both friends want set out on a trip. The best part in the film is its rhyming dialogues or 'qafia.' The king of Shundi sends them to the kingdom of Hirak as they have been invited by Hirak Raja (king) for a cultural programme. On their way to the new kingdom they accidentally come across Udayan (Soumitra Chatterjee), a teacher at the village school. But the teacher is absconding as he revolted against the king.
Goopy and Bagha learn from him that the kingdom is miles away from prosperity. On the contrary the common men are exploited and forced to work in the coal mines for extracting diamonds. The king has also arranged for "magoj dholai" of brainwashing with the help of new machine to hypnotise his subjects. Anybody who dare raise his voice against the cruel king is punished in the "jantar mantar ghar" (room of magic).
Listening to the injustices Goopy-Bagha promise to help him and even shows their magical powers. The duo then arrives at the kingdom as per schedule. They help Udayan Pandit in his mission and the successfully dethroned. Justice is shown to be meted out when the king himself is being punished with "magoj dholai" by his own subjects. In order the king had built a mammoth statue of himself and it is pulled down by his subjects at the end of the film. The building of such a statue might remind some of Shelley's Ozymandias. The poem speaks about an ancient king who had built his own colossal statue and time has completely ruined it. In Shelley's verse the statue of the vain king is destroyed by time, in Hirak Rajar Deshe, it is the subjects who rightly treat the king.
Under the veil of a fantasy film Ray beautifully portrays the exploitation to which the common people are subjected to under a corrupt administration and how a unified front of people can pull such administration down. Needless to say Hirak Rajar Deshe has a superb star cast. Utpal Dutta as the corrupt Hirak Raja is awesome. His villainy has been mellowed down with the help of humour. Udayan Pandit represents idealism. He is the man who fights against injustice and for those who cannot fight for themselves. Rabi Ghosh and Tapen Chatterjee breathe life to their characters. The music of the film was an instant hit with the masses.
Hirak Rajar Deshe won several awards:
Best Music, Director in New Delhi, 1980
Best Lyrics in New Delhi, 1980
Special Award in Cyprus, 1984