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)
Top Rated Indian Movies #59 | Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 6 wins. See more awards »
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Cast

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

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
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Was nominated for an Academy Award in the Best Foreign-Language Film category. It was India's first Oscar nomination. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Saaransh (1984) See more »

Soundtracks

Nagari Nagari Dware Dware (Revival)
Performed by Lata Mangeshkar
Lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni
See more »

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User Reviews

Epic
4 August 2004 | by (Belgium) – See all my reviews

The film opens with shots of machinery plowing the land and a dam being inaugurated and for a moment we think we're in a Soviet-style tractor movie. Luckily, the overt political themes soon subside in favor of a more human story, about the struggles of farmer woman Radha (Nargis) against poverty, nature and and an unscrupulous money-lender, complicated further by her fraught relationship with her bad-boy son Birju. Even though Radha clearly represents an idealization of traditional Indian values, she is given depth by a powerful performance from Nargis and as the narrative plays out the movie becomes both morally complex and emotionally moving.

This great epic is often called the Gone With the Wind of India. It's not an exaggeration.


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