10 user 3 critic

Boot Polish (1954)

Preteen brother and sister, abandoned by their father, to be taken care of, by an abusive prostitute aunt, survive life in an Indian squatters' camp, aided by a friendly cripple, by learning to shine shoes instead of begging.


Prakash Arora


Bhanu Pratap (dialogue), Bhanu Pratap (photoplay) | 1 more credit »
4 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »




Complete credited cast:
Kumari Naaz ... Belu (as Baby Naaz)
Rattan Kumar Rattan Kumar ... Bhola
David Abraham ... John (as David)
Chand Burke Chand Burke ... Kamla Devi (as Chand Burque)
Veera Veera
Bhupendra Kapoor Bhupendra Kapoor
Shailendra Shailendra
Mohanbali Mohanbali
Nissar Nissar ... (as Master Nisar)
Bhudo Advani Bhudo Advani ... Pedro (as Budho Advani)
Prabhu Arora Prabhu Arora


Toddlers Belu and Bhola share an uncertain future when their mom dies in the plague, and their dad is imprisoned. They are then left in the uncaring care of Kamla, their aunt, who moonlights as a prostitute. She is cruel,abusive and forces them to take to a life of begging on the local trains, on beaches and crowded areas in Bombay. This is how the toddlers grow up, they want to lead a respectable life, and with the help of bootlegger John, they get a shoe-shine kit and start shining shoes on busy sidewalks and railway platforms. Their circumstances face more uncertainty when Kamla finds out about their new-found profession, beats them up and throws them out of the house. They temporarily seek shelter with John, but when he is arrested, they have to fend for themselves. Things become bad to worse when Bombay enters the monsoon season, when people do not get their shoes shined; then the duo are separated - with Belu ending up with a rich family, and when she asks about Bhola, she is ... Written by rAjOo (gunwanti@hotmail.com)

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

boy | girl | poverty | slum | child beggar | See All (43) »


Comedy | Drama | Family


See all certifications »

Did You Know?


Remade as Morad and Laleh (1966) See more »


Tu Badhta Chal
Music by Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi & Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal
See more »

User Reviews

Melancholic and a cynical message
25 August 2020 | by rtoac1See all my reviews

This is a Hindi language film starring Rattan Kumar and Kumari Naaz.

The film is about the struggle to survive of two children, a brother and sister.

The premise is how after being orphaned, they have to beg to earn money for their guardian, a cruel aunt. And how they rise from that stage to trying to learn a skill and earn money for themselves.

And in my eyes, the film would have been a masterpiece if it had progressed from there to showing how they also get independent and help similar others struggling also to rise. It would have been an inspiring film for the newly independent country.

Instead the film refuses to leave its melancholic and cynical tone and shows that it's difficult for the poor to rise by themselves. A tone that it had set upfront by showing characters in black and white shades than the truly gray shades we all are, especially the aunt.

The message at the end is also very cynical. Where the spirit of the boy is shown as finally broken, and he is then humiliated in front of his own sister.

And the final message that the poor can only be redeemed by the rich!!

The purpose and the point of the film was missed in the melodrama and the film was awarded Best picture in 1954..

I rated it 6/10 in IMDB.

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Release Date:

20 August 1958 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Mendigar o morir See more »

Filming Locations:

Mumbai, India See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

R.K. Films Ltd. See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

Mono (RCA Sound System)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »

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