Saturday, May 17, 2008

Mother India (1957)

Bharat Mata (Mother India) was Indian filmmaker Mehboob Khan's remake of his own 1940 film Aurat (Woman). The intervening years had somewhat altered Mehboob's attitudes towards his characters and their surroundings. In the original Aurat, an Indian mother (Sardar Akhtar) suffers monumentally on behalf of her two sons, much to the disinterest of the rural community where she lives. In the remake, the mother (now played by Nargis) likewise suffers, but her plight now affects her entire village, even inspiring her neighbors to shed their own selfishness. What was once a wholly personal drama has been expanded to near-mythical dimensions. The ending, however, is still tragic, with the long-suffering heroine being forced to kill one of her own offspring to uphold the family's honor. Enormously popular in its native India, Bharat Mata remained in constant reissue throughout the next four decades. ~ Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

Theatrical Feature Running Time: 163 mins
Mother India (1957)
As a friend briefly described the film as Mother India suffers greatly but with perseverance and determination she overcomes some (not all) obstacles of life-starting with her mother in law mortgaging the farm at usury rates without understanding the terms of agreement. Even when mother India was facing moral dilemmas in having to prostitute herself, she found a way to survive on the remaining 5 acres without prostituting herself.

And the saddest part was when the husband that lost both forearms in a farming accident leaves his wife, mother and 3 kids (one more on the way). What an asshole!

The film was quite long but enjoyable for the most part and being an epic saga some of the events happened so fast you had to pay attention. The children were born with a short scene of her lying in bed with some steam rising. I did not even know it what it signified until the next scene.

It was also one of my wife's grandpas favorites.

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