A typical Indian peasant is never ready to get separated from the land owned by him because the land is not something non-living for him, it's a part of his family, akin to the mother for him and the other family members. And therefore, he can ignore the call of anybody but his land. The call of the agriculture land for an Indian peasant to which it belongs to is simple and clear - 'Don't allow me to go into the hands of the greedy ones who will not serve me, keep me with you only because it's you who ploughs me, takes care of me and enables me to produce grains to feed the mankind'. Dharti Kahe Pukaar Ke (1969) tells the tale of such a call only.
Dharti Kahe Pukaar Ke (the land says to you through a call) is the story of a peasant family headed by Gangaraam (Kanhaiyalaal) who lives in a village alongwith his wife, Paarbati (Durga Khote) and two younger brothers - Moti (Sanjeev Kumar) and Shiv (Jeetendra). He had taken loan from the money-lender of the village - Hari Babu (Tiwari) by pledging his farming land and as per the documents, he is still indebted to him. Shiv and Hari Babu's daughter, Raadha (Nanda) are in love of each other but Hari Babu gets an impression that Raadha loves Moti. Since Moti has gained higher education and become a successful lawyer in the city now, Hari Babu is pleased to perceive him as his prospective son-in-law. However Moti's life has already got complications. Due to falling in love with a girl in the city (Nivedita) who is the daughter of a very big lawyer, he has married her without telling this fact to his family members. He has hidden this fact from his family members under the apprehension that they won't approve his marriage to a girl belonging to high society. But when Gangaraam engages him to Raadha by accepting Hari Babu's proposal of matrimonial alliance, he is in a fix. On the other hand, his married life is also not that happy because his wife does not want to go to his real home (in the village) and meet his parents and younger brother. Still Moti takes Shiv into confidence, telling him the truth. But when he introduces Shiv to his wife, she humiliates him.
Here in the village, when the reality of Moti's being already married is known to Hari Babu, he gets furious and sues Gangaraam in the court for the debt and in the event of its non-payment, for confiscating his land (which is pledged against the loan). Moti is already in the city, living separately from his wife and now Shiv also moves to the city to earn money to repay the debt and save the ancestral land. His sweetheart Raadha gets scared due to her father (Hari Babu) being determined to marry her to someone else. She runs away from her home and reaches the brothers (Moti and Shiv). Situation in the city takes such a turn that Moti's wife realizes her mistake and leaving her father's home, she moves to her husband's residence to share the modest living with him. The trial of the case lodged by Hari Babu against Gangaraam starts in which Hari Babu's lawyer is Moti's father-in-law. Moti himself becomes the defence lawyer for his elder brother and fights the case. In the end, Moti is able to win the suit and save their ancestral land. The whole family gets reunited and moves back to the village.
This story is full of romance, emotions and dynamics of relationships. Right from the beginning to the end, the movie is fully entertaining. The dilemma of Moti when his father engages him to Raadha, the strain in his marital life, the love of Shiv and Raadha and Shiv's hiding his grief when his sweetheart is engaged to his elder brother, the love of the peasant family for the farming-land which is no less than the mother for it, Shiv's insult by Moti's high profile wife and later opening of her eyes due to an incident which makes her realize her mistake and move from her father's home to her husband's home and Hari Babu's realization of his mistake after losing the suit in the court, everything is not only interesting but also impressive. The writer has emphasized the significance of family bonds in a touching way. Several scenes are able to strike a chord in the viewer's heart.
All the characters have done complete justice to their respective roles. The show-stealer is Kanhaiyalaal. This veteran actor was typecast in the role of a money-lender but for a change, in this movie, he is not the money-lender but the indebted peasant who drinks regularly and keeps on scolding (humorously) his wife and brothers. In this different role of his career, he has marvelled. His performance in the ending scenes taking place in the court, can be termed as outstanding.
Technically, the movie is good. The rural milieu has come alive on the screen. But the city life (during the sixties) has also been shown quite realistically which covers the carefree and licentious life of the neo-rich leading to downfall of moral values alongwith other facts. The length of the movie is according to the norms prevailing in that time. The editor has done his job well.
Laxmikant Pyarelaal have composed melodious tunes for the lyrics of Majrooh Sultaanpuri. The title track, Jee Hum Tum Chori Se Bandhe Ek Dori Se, Khushi Ki Woh Raat Aa Gayi Koi Geet Bajne Do, Diye Jalaayen Pyar Ke Chalo Isi Khushi Mein etc. all are very good songs.
All in all, Dharti Kahe Pukaar Ke is a very interesting movie and portrays the dynamics of agriculture-based life in the Indian villages in that period quite realistically as well as interestingly.
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