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)
Ratan Kumar Ratan Kumar ... Bhola (as Rattan Kumar)
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 »


Ther Jara Janewale, Babu Mister Gore Kale
Music by Shankarsingh Raghuwanshi & Jaikishan Dayabhai Panchal
See more »

User Reviews

Touching Social Drama
23 June 2003 | by ShreeSee all my reviews

This film ranks as one of the finest thought provoking social dramas asking how we look at ourselves given the limited resources and choices and faced with overwhelming odds. Raj Kapoor's presentation of the humble lifestyle of two children who wish to overcome the obstacles of abject poverty shows the importance of the spirit of endurance and dedication in the face of adversity. We can learn from children when they try to face challenges in the world created by greedy souls.

I would recommend this film as a lesson in the triumph of the human spirit when facing the evils of man made adversity. We probably can relate to the two youn protaganists of the film in our everyday lives. Life can be a bitch, and films such as BOOT POLISH show the more dramatic encounters of what we call the human struggle.

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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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