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Aurat (1940)

| Drama
Radha (Sardar Akhtar) is an indomitable woman, toiling away to feed her three sons and to pay off Sukhilala (Kanhaiyalal), the village's rapacious moneylender. When she learns that she is ... See full summary »


Mehboob Khan (as Mehboob)


Babubhai A. Mehta, Wajahat Mirza (dialogue)


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Cast overview:
Surendra Surendra ... Ramu
Sardar Akhtar Sardar Akhtar ... Radha
Lala Yaqoob Lala Yaqoob ... Birju (as Yakub)
Arun Arun ... Shamu
Harish Harish ... Bansi
Jyoti Jyoti ... Jamuna
Kanhaiyalal Chaturvedi ... Sukhilala (as Kanhaiyalal)
Vatsala Kumthekar Vatsala Kumthekar ... Kamla
Sunalini Sunalini ... Sunder Chachi
Brij Rani Brij Rani ... Tulsi
Akbar Ghulam Ali Akbar Ghulam Ali ... Laloo
Kanu Pande Kanu Pande ... Chandu
Wasker Wasker ... Fulchand
Amir Banu Amir Banu ... Kashibai

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Radha (Sardar Akhtar) is an indomitable woman, toiling away to feed her three sons and to pay off Sukhilala (Kanhaiyalal), the village's rapacious moneylender. When she learns that she is pregnant again, her husband, Shamu (Arun Kumar Ahuja), runs far away, leaving her to fend for herself against poverty and the lecherous advances of Sukhilala. Later, the two eldest children die, leaving her with only two sons: the straight-laced Ramu (Surendra) and the wild Birju (Yakub). Ramu becomes a bandit which eventually forces Radha to take drastic actions. Written by Soumitra

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Was remade as Mother India See more »


Remade as Mother India (1957) See more »

User Reviews

AURAT actually superior to it's remake MOTHER India
4 August 2016 | by slazenger_7See all my reviews

In spite of the incredible popularity of Mehboob Khan's own 1957 remake MOTHER India, Mehboob's AURAT (1940) is the superior of the two films. This assessment is not one arrived at lightly. A lot has to be taken into account: The advancement in technology of filmmaking in India; that the remake was in brilliant color; etc. Mehboob's MOTHER India is one of two of the all time greatest hits in Hindi cinema...The other being Karim Asif's MUGHAL-E-AZAM (1960)--still the all-time box-office champion of Hindi cinema if adjusted for inflation. AURAT (1940) has a neo-realistic quality to it similar to the later trademark of Satyajit Ray films. It is this very neo-realism which makes AURAT superior to MOTHER India. When comparing the "Mother" portrayal of actress Sardar Akhtar (Mehboob's real life spouse) and Nargis' later rendition, Akhtar's is clearly the superior performance. The soulful, wistful vulnerability which she brings to her character is not matched by Nargis. And neither is the role of the baghi (rebel) son Birju. When seeing Yakub's portrayal of Birju and comparing it to Sunil Dutt's rendition...Dutt's Birju comes across as mentally challenged...Especially the way Dutt portrays Birju before he officially turns into an outlaw. Yakub (born Yakub Khan in Jabalpur to a Pathan family) brought a devilish streak to his Birju which was inimitable. There was also a sense of vulnerability to Yakub's Birju which was almost totally absent in Dutt's portrayal. It was this vulnerability and yet a dangerous incorrigibility of Yakub's Birju which makes his interpretation not only believable, but acceptable. What especially makes Yakub's Birju so much more tragic is the inner conflict of him being tormented by his outrageous actions, and yet he cannot control them. The viewer feels this throughout the film. In comparison, Dutt's Birju almost comes across as an overgrown brat that evolves into an unrepentant juvenile delinquent, a quasi muscle-headed moron. Which then brings us to the very handsome protagonists Surendra and Arun Kumar Ahuja (father of actor Govinda). Surendra's portrayal of the "good" son is equally effective to Yakub's Birju and far superior to Rajendra Kumar's almost mute, downplayed characterization. Surendra's portrayal elicits the anguish of a brother for his rogue brother whom he cannot help but love in spite of his despicable ways. This particular aspect of Surendra's interpretation is not properly covered in Rajendra Kumar's portrayal. As for Arun Kumar Ahuja's tormented husband who eventually abandons his family, Ahuja's superb character degeneration is more strikingly disturbing to watch than Raaj Kumar's reworking of the same role. And finally there was Anil Biswas' classic music which greatly contributed to Mehboob Khan's AURAT. This film is a cultural masterpiece in every sense of the word and ought to be obligatory viewing in all film schools. A must see for all cinema-goers.

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Also Known As:

Woman See more »

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National Studios See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:


Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
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