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Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
U
Cast
Nargis
Sunil Duttm
Rajendra Kumar
Raaj Kumar.
Directors
Mehboob Khan.
Screenwriters
Mehboob Khan
Wajahat Mizra
S Ali Raza.
Running Time
175 minutes

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Mother India
The first Bollywood movie to land an Oscar nomination, this is ranked among the most widely seen and commercially successful pictures ever produced in Bombay.


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Plot
Abandoned by her disabled husband and subjected to constant pressure from her landlord, a mother struggles to raise her sons, one of whom perishes in a flood, while another repays her sacrifices by falling in with a band of rebels.


Review
When this masala masterpiece was released in 1957, director Mehboob Khan was considered the Cecil B. DeMille of Bollywood, and the film's star, Nargis, was its queen.

Essentially a reworking of the director's 1940 hit, Aurat, it proved to be the peak of their careers, yet it remains a landmark in subcontinental cinema.

The first Bollywood movie to land an Oscar nomination, it's ranked among the most widely seen and commercially successful pictures ever produced in Bombay.

Despite its obvious artificiality, it is, as you would expect of someone with Khan's social realist credentials, very much a political statement - a demonstration of national unity a decade after independence.

Yet for such a populist picture, with a seemingly clear message, it's also a mass of contradictions: a paean to Hindi morality directed by and starring a Muslim; a pastorale to the peasantry produced by city sophisticates; and a tribute to motherly love that oozes Oedipal tension.


Verdict
Put it this way, it's the birth of the Bollywood blockbuster. It should be on every cineaste's must-see list.


Reviewed by David Parkinson

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Your Reviews

Average user rating for Mother India
Empire Star Rating

RE: Classic indeed

Watched this as a child and again as adult and this film is haunting.  It's so good in a number of ways and all the actors in the film were not only remarkable but legends in their own right. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by Spiderwoman at 16:45, 30 August 2007 | Report This Post


Classic indeed

So involving. ... More

Empire User Rating

Posted by indysid at 22:18, 06 August 2007 | Report This Post


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