In this melodrama, a poverty-stricken woman raises her sons through many trials and tribulations. But no matter the struggles, always sticks to her own moral code.

Director:

(as Mehboob)

Writers:

(dialogue) (as Vajahat Mirza), (dialogue)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Radha
Sunil Dutt ...
Birju
Rajendra Kumar ...
Raaj Kumar ...
Shamu (Radha's Husband)
Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi ...
Sukhilala (as Kanhaiya Lal)
Jilloo Maa
Kumkum ...
Champa
Chanchal
Sheela Naik ...
Mukri ...
Shambu (as Muqri)
Siddiqui
Ram Shastri
Fakir Mohammad ...
(as Faqir Mohomed)
Geeta
Hameeda
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Storyline

The film begins with the finishing of a water canal for the village set in the present. Radha (Nargis), as the mother of the village, is asked to open the canal and remembers back to her past when she was newly married, mirroring the new independence of India. The wedding between Radha and Shamu (Raaj Kumar) was paid for by Radha's mother-in-law, who got a loan from the moneylender Sukhilala. This event starts the spiral of poverty and hardship that Radha endures. The conditions of the loan are disputed, but the village elders decide in favor of the moneylender, after which Shamu and Radha are forced to pay three-quarters of their crop as interest on the loan of 500 rupees. While trying to use more of their land to alleviate their poverty, Shamu's arms are crushed by a boulder. He is shamed by his helplessness and is humiliated by others in the village. Deciding that he is no use to his family, he leaves and does not return. Soon after this, Radha's mother-in-law dies. Radha continues... Written by gavin@sunny_deol2009@yahoo.com

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

village | poverty | field | farm | bandit | See All (75) »

Genres:

Drama | Musical | Family

Certificate:

See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 February 1957 (India)  »

Also Known As:

Madre India  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Company Credits

Production Co:

 »
Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

(RCA Sound Recording)

Color:

(Gevacolor) (negative)| (Technicolor) (prints)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Sunil Dutt famously saved Nargis during the fire sequence. Nargis was shown trapped inside a raging fire while Sunil Dutt jumps in and saves her. But the blaze roared out of control leaving Nargis stranded. Sunil Dutt quickly grabbed a blanket and plunged inside and, wrapping the blanket around themselves, the twosome ran out. It meant several, painful burns for Sunil but it also resulted in Nargis falling in love with him. They were married within a year. See more »

Connections

Featured in And the Show Goes on: Indian Chapter (1996) See more »

Soundtracks

Pi Ke Ghar Aaj Pyari Dulhaniya Chali
Performed by Shamshad Begum
Lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Triumph of a strong woman's dignity and honor in a village in the face of poverty, hopeless usury, illiteracy, and heartbreaking misfortune; worth seeing, but too long
23 February 2000 | by (Durham, NC (USA)) – See all my reviews

This was a movie about a strong woman of honor, Radha (Nargis) and her family, a usurious man, and the poor village they live in. The lender breaks villagers' backs by charging interest at such a high rate that they give something like 3/4 of their laborious harvest to the lender just to cover interest, keeping the debt in perpetuity. Almost nobody around can read, so the terms of the original contract are never clear. Though the situation keeps the woman's family downtrodden financially, she staunchly preserves her pride and dignity.

One of her sons, Birju (Sunil Dutt), is portrayed as always being a "problem" right from childhood, and while I could understand his rage against the moneylender, I found his vengeance hard to believe, especially the self-destruction that pitted him against his own family members. I like the ending and really laud Radha, who realized that one's dignity and honor is priceless and shouldn't be bartered away.

I found the film to be too long (it lasted around 3 hours); the story could have been just as compelling if it were an hour shorter. I would recommend the film and would rate it 6 on a scale of 10. I saw it as part of an Indian film festival, where it was projected on a movie screen from DVD and had English subtitles.


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