wiki:Mother India

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Mother India

aka Bharat Mata 1957 168’(152’)(120’) col Hindi d/s/p Mehboob Khan pc Mehboob Prod. dial Wajahat Mirza, S. Ali Raza lyr Shakeel Badayuni c Faredoon Irani m Naushad lp Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar, Rajendra Kumar, Kanhaiyalal, Jilloo, Kumkum, Master Sajid, Sitara Devi

This film has acquired the status of an Indian Gone with the Wind (1939), massively successful and seen as a national epic, although formally the film’s rhythms and lyrical ruralism seem closer to Dovzhenko’s later work finished by Yulia Solntseva. Radha (Nargis), now an old woman, remembers her past: her married life with two sons in a village. The family have to work extremely hard to pay off the avaricious moneylender, Sukhilala (Kanhaiyalal) and her husband (Raaj Kumar), having lost both arms in an accident, leaves her. Alone, she has to raise the children while fending off the financial as well as sexual pressures from Sukhilala. One son dies in a flood and in later years her son Birju (Dutt, Nargis’s later husband) becomes a rebel committed to direct, violent action, while the other one, Ramu (Rajendra Kumar), remains a dutiful son. In the end, the long-suffering Mother India can only put an end to her rebellious son’s activities by killing him, as his blood fertilises the soil. The film is a remake in colour and with drastically different imagery of Mehboob’s own Aurat (1940), notably in the heavy use of psychoanalytic and other kinds of symbolism (the peasants forming a chorus outlining a map of India). Its spectacular commercial success was ironically noted in Vijay Anand’s Kala Bazaar (1960) when Dev Anand is shown selling tickets on the black market for Mother India’s premiere. Mother India’s plot and characters became the models for many subsequent films, including Ganga Jumna (1961) and Deewar (1975).