Mother India (1957) - Rotten Tomatoes

Mother India (1957)

Mother India

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Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

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Movie Info

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, Rovimore
Rating: G
Genre: Drama, Art House & International, Classics
Directed By:
In Theaters:
On DVD: Feb 25, 2003
Runtime:
Eros Entertainment

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Critic Reviews for Mother India

All Critics (12) | Top Critics (4)

As the mother, Nargis is as resolute as a force of nature, and Mehboob Khan creates tableaux of the family that evoke its fragile unity.

Full Review… | March 18, 2013
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

True, there are dull spots and the overripe supporting cast pale beside Nargis' 'force of nature' central performance, but overall it's a wallowy treat.

Full Review… | February 9, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Often said to have helped set the pattern for the nearly 50 years of Indian film that has followed it.

Full Review… | August 22, 2002
New York Times
Top Critic

An outrageous masala of apparently discordant elements.

Full Review… | August 20, 2002
Village Voice
Top Critic

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

Full Review… | March 18, 2013
Empire Magazine

Mother India is quintessential popular Hindi cinema.

Full Review… | March 18, 2013
Total Film

Audience Reviews for Mother India

True, there are dull spots and the overripe supporting cast pale beside Nargis' 'force of nature' central performance, but overall it's a wallowy treat.
a technicolor spectacular

½

While it blends many elements together and may seem confusing at first, it is a great allegory for India after it achieved independence, using a struggling mother and her family to highlight the differences between right and wrong.

Vishal S.
Vishal Saini

If one can get past the initial incredibly depressing 45 minutes, one is in for a truly satisfying tale of family values, right vs. wrong, and nationalistic symbolism. Nargis is a powerhouse in 'Mother India,' and catapults it into the upper levels of Bollywood fame.

This is one of the better paced Hindi films I've seen --- I actually wish the last half hour of the film could have been extended and thought it felt a bit rushed. One really feels the raw emotion coming from characters and the script while managing to forgo the melodrama that carries (or plagues, depending on who you ask) most Bollywood epics. And the climax? 'Mother India's ending simply has to be seen to be believed.

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