Retro Review: Mother India

The month of March has been dedicated to the women of Tinsel Town and, we, at BollyCurry, have decided to focus on a movie that salutes women's spirit in this edition of the Retro Review.

Monday, March 25, 2013 | 6:42:50 PM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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The month of March has been dedicated to the women of Tinsel Town and, we, at BollyCurry, have decided to focus on a movie that salutes women's spirit in this edition of the Retro Review.

We're talking about the mother of Hindi films, Mother India, which released in 1957, with a mega star cast like Nargis, Raaj Kumar, Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar.

The story is about the character of Radha (played by the fearless Nargis), a wife and a mother who struggles against a hostile and unscrupulous money-lender who holds her husband's farm (played by Raaj Kumar) and which feeds her children. However, tragedy struck the family when her husband lost both arms due to an accident. He abandons his family because of his condition, leaving Radha to raise her children alone and fight off debts, starvation, and the lewd money-lender as well. The second part of this film is focused on Radha and her sons: rebellious Birju (played by Sunil Dutt) who turns into a dacoit, and virtuous Ramu (Rajendra Kumar), who got married and is devoted to his mother. Radha believes that she will be able to change Birju, by bringing him to the right path, but destiny has something else in store. By the end, Radha shoots her own son, who dies in her arm.

Radha's character is seen as a symbol of women empowerment during that period and it's one of the best performances by Nargis. She even won the Best Actress Award that year. In fact, ever since the release of the film, if there has been one movie that has been studied all around the world, it has been Mother India. From film school to regular universities and colleges, Mother India has been explored time and time again as the movie that says it all about women empowerment.
Did You Know:
  • During the making of a fire scene, Nargis got trapped and Sunil Dutt came to her rescue. He got several burns, but won her heart in the process and they got married within a year. 
  • The movie is a remake of director Mehboob Khan's less successful  film Aurat (1940) and was the first film of Indian Cinema that managed to enter the prestigious Oscars as a nominee for Best Foreign Language Film.
  • Sabu, one of the most famous Hollywood stars with an Indian background, was originally considered to play the role of Birju, but Sunil Dutt managed to grab this role later.
Mother India - a classic, a blockbuster, and a jewel of Indian cinema that celebrates motherhood, womanhood, and patriotism. So here's to this film and all films like this! BollyCurry salutes the movie industry for showing women empowerment is quite important and giving it its due!

Author: Parm K.
Editors: Shreya S. & Gunia M.
Graphics: Virina R.

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