Mother India (1957)

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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, Rovi

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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.

Mar 18, 2013 | Full Review…

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.

Feb 9, 2006 | Full Review…

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

Aug 22, 2002

An outrageous masala of apparently discordant elements.

Aug 20, 2002

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

Mar 18, 2013 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Mother India is quintessential popular Hindi cinema.

Mar 18, 2013 | Rating: 3/5 | Full Review…

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