Set in the 1930s, the film is about a group of tribals who live in a small village in Orissa amidst wild animals like tigers and boars. Apart from the problems faced by the animals that ruin the harvest, they also suffer in the hands of the greedy moneylenders and police informers. Around this time, a newly posted British administrator arrives at the village who happens to be passionate on hunting. He befriends Ghinua, a native tribal who is also an exceptional archer. The two get into a deal where Ghinua will be rewarded if he brings a "big game".
The story then focusses on Sholpu, a young revolutionary surreptitiously comes into the village to meet his mother. Knowing this, the police informer chases him down till he reaches his house, but returns back after seeing the whole village turn against him. However, he waits for his turn to punish Sholpu. Suddenly there is a robbery in the village and one policeman is killed. The blame falls on Sholpu and the administrator declares a reward for his head. The informer takes the opportunity and kills Sholpu thereby claiming the reward. Sholpu's death creates a tension between the tribals and non-tribals. During this time, Dungri, Ghinua's wife, is abducted by a moneylender. Ghinua kills the moneylender to bring his wife back. Thinking that the time has come for the "big game", he goes happily to meet the Sahab, the administrator. The Sahab, however, hangs him for committing a murder. Till his death, Ghinua fails to understand why for the same action one is rewarded while the other is punished.
- Genre: Thriller
- Runtime: 119 Minutes
- Awards: National Film Awards 24th National Film Awards (1976) Best Feature Film,National Film Awards Best Actor Mithun Chakraborty, Filmfare Awards Critics Award for Best Movie K. Rajeshwara Rao
Mrigayaa (lit. The royal hunt) is a 1976 Hindi-language Indian period drama film directed by Mrinal Sen and produced by K. Rajeshwara Rao. Based on a short story by Bhagbati Charan Panigrahi, the film portrayed the relationship between the British colonialists and native villagers, and their exploitation by Indian landlords in 1920's India. It also depicts the friendship between a British administrator, who has a flair for game hunting, and a native tribal, who is an expert archer. The lead actors Mithun Chakraborty and Mamata Shankar, both made their cinematic debuts through the film.
The film score was provided by Salil Chowdhury while K. K. Mahajan handled the cinematography. At the 24th National Film Awards, Mrigayaa won two awards—Best Feature Film and Best Actor. It also won the Filmfare Critics Award for Best Movie apart from being nominated for the Golden Prize at the 10th Moscow International Film Festival in 1977.