Do Bigha Zameen (1953)

Bimal Roy, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Guru Dutt, Asit Sen: some of my favourite directors, and all men with a string of poignant, meaningful films to their credit. Not always very happy films, but films that step away from the usual masala of Hindi cinema. Films that, like the classic Do Bigha Zameen, are not about bewigged, gadget-toting gundas and their better-than-good (not to forget immensely strong) nemeses, but about common people with common problems.

Do Bigha Zameen

Problems like that of a poor peasant called Shambhu Mahato (Balraj Sahni), labouring to till his two bighas of land. A bigha isn’t much—not more than an acre—but for Shambhu and his old father Gangu (Nana Palsikar), those two bighas mean the difference between starvation and staying alive. That land is also Shambhu’s only means of ensuring that his wife Parvati `Paro’ (Nirupa Roy) doesn’t need to work, and that his son Kanhaiya (Rattan Kumar) is able to get at least a basic education at the village school.

Shambhu and Paro

The local zamindar, Thakur Harnam Singh (Murad) has troubles of his own. He knows that the government is soon going to abolish zamindari; he’ll be a landowner no longer. His associates—all of them wealthy businessmen—have been encouraging Harnam Singh to get into industry. He’ll mint money, they tell him, if he sets up a mill on his land. The only problem is, bang in the middle of Harnam Singh’s land is Shambhu’s meagre plot.

A group of businessmen have a chat with Harnam Singh

Harnam Singh, though, has an advantage over Shambhu: Shambhu has been borrowing money from him over the past, and hasn’t cleared his debts yet. He therefore sends for Shambhu, and informs the peasant that in exchange for Shambhu’s land, he’ll waive all of Shambhu’s debts.
Shambhu, to Harnam Singh’s surprise, is adamant: he will not let go of his land. Pay up, then, says Harnam Singh—and that too by the next day.

Harnam Singh tells Shambhu to clear his debts if he won't let go of the land

Shambhu pleads, but it’s useless; he’ll have to pay, or yield his land (on which, by the way, is also his house).
Shambhu hurries home to consult with his father. They get Kanhaiya to do the calculations for them, and discover that Shambhu owes Harnam Singh Rs 65. It seems an impossible sum to pay back within a mere day.

Gangu, Shambhu and Kanhaiya figure out how much is owed

But Shambhu knows that his only hope for survival is his land, and so he gathers up everything even vaguely valuable that they own, preparatory to selling it off. Paro gives up her gold earrings, and their utensils are also sold.

Shambhu gathers up everything he can find to sell

Shambhu, however, is in for a nasty shock: Harnam Singh’s naib, the accountant, (guided by his lord and master) has fudged the books, completely omitting to take into account a year’s free labour from Gangu in exchange for a loan. Illiterate that he is, Shambhu hasn’t demanded any receipts, and so it’s a simple case of his word against that of Harnam Singh and his naib. Shambhu’s debts, says the naib, amount to Rs 235, not the paltry Rs 65 Shambhu’s offering.

Harnam Singh's naib gives Shambhu a nasty surprise

The case goes to court, and goes against Shambhu. The judge orders Shambhu to pay back the Rs 235 to Harnam Singh, failing which Shambhu’s two bighas will be auctioned off and the requisite amount paid out of the proceeds to the zamindar. Keeping in mind Shambhu’s extreme poverty, the judge allows three months for the debt to be cleared.

The judge passes sentence

Shambhu is desperate by now; other than the land, he has nothing to sell. But another villager unwittingly offers a solution. He knows someone who works as a `boy’ in Firpo’s at Calcutta, and life in Calcutta, by all accounts, is wonderful. Money literally grows on trees: all you have to do is reach out for it. Shambhu decides to take whatever little money they have and go to Calcutta. Surely he will be able to get a job there.
Paro’s reluctant to let Shambhu go (she’s also just discovered that she’s pregnant), and Kanhaiya begs to be taken along. But Shambhu is firm: he will go, and he will go alone. It’s a matter of a mere three months; and someone must stay back to take care of old Gangu.

Shambhu leaves for Calcutta

On the train Shambhu finds a stowaway: Kanhaiya. There’s no help for it, so Shambhu is forced to take him along to Calcutta. And Calcutta, far from being the idyllic Shangri-La it was made out to be, is a big, bewildering and brash city, where few people have the time or inclination to help a befuddled villager looking for work—any work.

Shambhu tries desperately to find work in Calcutta

The bulk of the film is about how Shambhu and his family strive to collect that seemingly impossible Rs 235. In the village, Paro picks water chestnuts out of the river so that she and Gangu can eat something

Paro is reduced to picking water chestnuts

…while in the city, Shambhu and Kanhaiya fall prey to one disaster after another. Their bundle of possessions—their clothes, and more importantly, the money they’ve hoarded up and brought—is stolen while they’re asleep on the pavement. Kanhaiya falls ill, and Shambhu ends up moonlighting briefly as a coolie just in order to get enough money to rent themselves a small room.
But they’re also lucky, especially in the people who befriend them. There’s the girl Rani, an orphan `adopted’ by the elderly and outwardly gruff landlady. Both of them are very fond of Kanhaiya…

Shambhu and Kanhaiya with Rani and her `Dadi'

…as is the brash, street-smart shoeshine boy Lalu `Ustad’ (a teenaged Jagdeep), from whom Kanhaiya gets the idea to start working so he can contribute to the family’s kitty.

Lalu Ustad gives Kanhaiya the idea of becoming a shoeshine boy

Then there’s the old rickshaw-puller (Nasir Hussain) who lives in the neighbourhood, and who helps Shambhu get his own rickshaw and a license.

The old rickshaw-puller promises to help Shambhu

It’s a long, hard three months, but will Shambhu and his beleaguered family manage to pay back Harnam Singh’s Rs 235? Will they be able to save their two bighas of land?

Do Bigha Zameen won the International Award at the Cannes Film Festival; it also won the Filmfare Awards for Best Film and Best Director (incidentally, in the first year the awards, then known as the Clare Awards, were instituted). The beauty of the film lies not in a superb plot, but in the treatment of that plot. The story (by Salil Choudhary) is simple, but the insights it offers into the characters of those who people it, are memorable. Shambhu’s stubborn hold on his dignity in the face of sheer desperation; Kanhaiya’s child-like attempts to help, even if it means doing something he knows, deep down, is wrong—and, miles away, Paro’s growing need for her husband and child—are amazingly touching.
Do Bigha Zameen is, to my mind, a series of vignettes: snapshots of life, both rural and urban. There are little moments of hope and joy: the landlady’s unexpected generosity when she discovers Kanhaiya is ill; the sweetness of a wealthy bahu in the village, who writes letters on behalf of Paro to Shambhu and Kanhaiya; the shy flirtation between Shambhu and Paro before the storm breaks… and the sense of achievement as every anna is hoarded up carefully, added to the till.
This is, ultimately, a film about many things: socialism, the rural-urban divide, the harsh zamindari system—but mostly about human relationships and the will to go on. It isn’t a fluffy, happy film, but it has a certain haunting power that endures.

What I liked about this film:
Need I say more? But:
Balraj Sahni. He brings Shambhu to life beautifully, in all his many emotions: his affection for his family, his pride and dignity, his love even for others (there’s a touching scene where two little girls whom Shambhu takes in his rickshaw to school daily tell him they’ll be walking to school the next day onwards, since their father’s been laid off. Shambhu ferries them anyway, free). This is Balraj Sahni at his best. Interestingly, Bimal Roy faced a lot of scepticism and criticism for having cast Balraj Sahni as a villager. The actor had a very Westernised image, and most people couldn’t imagine him being a convincing peasant. But he is, very much so.
The song Dharti kahe pukaar ke. Vintage Salil Choudhary, and beautiful.
The cameos. Do Bigha Zameen has bit parts by a few people who went on to become well-known faces in Hindi cinema. There’s Jagdeep, as Lalu Ustad:

Jagdeep in Do Bigha Zameen

There’s Meena Kumari, as the bahu who’s kind to Paro (but thankfully not melodramatically so):

Meena Kumari in Do Bigha Zameen

And there’s Mehmood, in his first film, as the young man who’s always flirting with Rani:

Mehmood in Do Bigha Zameen

And how can I, fond as I am of history, not appreciate the glimpses of Calcutta from a bygone era?

Colonial Calcutta in Do Bigha Zameen

What I didn’t like:
The disasters that befall Shambhu and Co. come too thick and fast to be believable. Yes, given that they’re poor, illiterate and in a very tight spot: but surely everything can’t fall apart all at once? Really hard to believe.

48 thoughts on “Do Bigha Zameen (1953)

  1. In my experience, disasters DO come one upon the other :) I liked this film a lot, saw it early on in my exploration and should really watch it again (for instance I did not know about Jagdeep or Meena Kumari yet so did not recognize them :-)

    I love Salil Choudhary’s music, didn’t know he’d written screenplays too!


  2. Yes, I suppose disasters do come one after the other, but somehow disasters of such magnitude, and all of them hitting this poor little family… made me feel awful. But yes, it is a very beautiful film. It had been a long time since I last saw it, and I’d also forgotten all about Mehmood, Jagdeep and Meena Kumari, so that was a big surprise.

    I love Salil Choudhary’s music too: he’s superb! And he seems to have been a very good writer too: he also wrote the screenplay for two of my favourite films, Prem Patra and Parakh, both utterly awesome films.


  3. I’ve watched this ages ago. But I must watch it again. Your review puts together all the lovely things about the film. As for disasters and sadness, catching a glimpse of ‘Pyaasa’ on TV the other day, I was wondering if such films could ever be made again in main-stream cinema. No one wants to watch sadness anymore. Or real stories.

    Yes, real stories are made, but they are usually low-budget films. And again, the subjects need to be controversial to grab attention. Films about ordinary people are not made any more.


  4. You’re so right, I don’t think there’s a market for sadness any more. Films like Pyaasa, Andaaz (the Nargis-Raj Kapoor-Dilip Kumar starrer), or even Mother India just aren’t made any more. And if they make an attempt, they end up with melodramatic stuff like Devdas, which really made me wince.
    Talking of films about ordinary people, I love the sort of stuff Hrishikesh Mukherjee made, especially in the 70’s: those Amol Palekar-Zarina Wahab/Vidya Sinha sort of films, about people like us with problems like the ones we have. I think Hindi cinema just stopped doing work like that sometime in the 80’s, was it? – I remember powerful films like Saaraansh and Paar – but could they be classified as mainstream? I guess not.


  5. Yes, the realness of this film is what endeared it to me… very poignant. I’ll be looking forward to your review of it!

    Thanks for sharing that India Times link – I’m proud to say there were only two films on it that I hadn’t seen – Satya (yes, yes: I know. How couldn’t I have seen Satya?! It just happened; in any case, somehow very graphic violence tends to turn me off), and Garam Hawa. The list has loads of my favourites, including Pyaasa, Teesri Manzil and Padosan. But then there are plenty of other films that I’d have added to the list, even if they weren’t cult classics (which is what most of the films seem to be). Parakh, Anokhi Raat, Golmaal, Ittefaq… I could go on and on and on! :-)


  6. Wow, You have reviewed one of my favourite films!
    i just love it. But I don’t dare watch it again!
    I’m sure I’ll switch it off as soon as one of the disasters strike.
    I found the last scene memorable.
    Though this might not be a true story. It is true for many migrant workers in the city.
    Paar had a similar plot and was more realistic.
    I too love the 70s films from Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Basu Chaterjee and co.
    I also didn’t know that Salil Choudhary wrote screenplays. He should have done more.
    Bimal Roy remains one of my top five favorite directors.
    You should watch Garam Hawa. It is a classic. I saw only the censored version. One can get supposedly the uncensored one as well. Don’t ask me where.
    A request: how about reviewing Parakh?
    Although the songs of the movie were not so melodious like madhumati, i like Meena Kumari’s lullaby.
    Find it great, that you reviewed this film. Thanks for bringing back memories!


  7. You’re welcome! :-) I agree with you: though I think this is a wonderful film, I just don’t have the courage to see it again… the last half an hour or so is so sad. The last scene, as you say, is really one of those extremely memorable ones. Beautiful.

    I’ve put in a request on seventymm to rent Garam Hawa: let’s see when I get it! And I’m definitely going to ask for Parakh: it’s such a lovely film, I wouldn’t mind seeing it again, not just because I’d like to review it, but also because it is such a heartwarming tale. Whereas all the songs of Madhumati were hits, Parakh had relatively fewer, and less well-known songs, but O sajna barkha bahaar aayi is enough for me: it’s one of those all-time great rain songs! I also liked Motilal’s acting in Parakh: he was awesome!


  8. Parakh’s ‘O sajna, barkha bahar aayi” is simply beautiful!
    Everytime when it rains in summer here, I start humming it and sometimes even while standing on the balcony.
    Nobody understands it here.;-)
    The other song “Mila hai kisika jhumka” is also lovely.
    But when I wrote “Although the songs of the movie were not so melodious like madhumati, i like Meena Kumari’s lullaby” I meant Do Bhigha Zameen.

    You will love Garam Hawa! It is a very beautifully made film. It is poetic and at the same time it shakes you up.


  9. Oh, I’m sorry – that was a bit of a misunderstanding. But I agree even on this: Do Bigha Zameen didn’t have as great music as Madhumati but Aaja re nindiya is such a sweet song. I also really like Dharti kahe pukaar ke, as I mentioned in my post.

    Am very eager to watch Garam Hawa. I’ve also got Garam Coat on my wishlist, which I’ve heard is another offbeat and memorable film.


  10. Madhumati is a love story and thus supplies good possibility for melodious music. Yeah, I would love to see Garam Coat as well. The IMDB storyline sounds good.
    Do you think the DVD/VCD is available?


  11. Seventymm – the guys from whom I often rent Hindi films – have Garam Coat for hire (I’m waiting for my turn!), so I’m sure the DVD or VCD should be available. Do you want to try doing a search on They have a fairly wide selection of DVDs and VCDs; I’ve even found some very obscure ones on the site.


  12. This one has been on my to-watch pile for a long time (along with Kabuliwala) but so far I havent been able to work up the courage to watch it! Realistic films like this are so heartrending…

    I did find a DVD of Garam Coat in India but the print was beyond bad. So I didnt end up watching the film. Do let me know if you find a watchable print. And Garam Hawa is definitely worth watching. In my opinion, it brings out the pain of Partition and the human costs of dividing the country way better than any of the newer films (Deepa Mehta films for example) can! And of course, Balraj Sahni is superb as ever. I think it was his last film.


  13. Do Bigha Zameen and Kabuliwala are both heartrending, but there’s also a sense of hope in both films. I think overall Kabuliwala is the more lighthearted of the two (the little girl who plays Minni is superb: her character is really that of a little child, curious and innocent rather than precocious and silly as so many children in Hindi films tended to be. I adored her), and the sadness is understandable, bearable – and eventually there’s a ray of hope. It’s there in Do Bigha Zameen too, but I find the sadness in Do Bigha Zameen more heart-wrenching.

    Let’s see when Garam Coat is delivered to me. Will post a review and let you know what the print was like!


  14. induna has the vcd. but the shipping charges are horrendous.
    will try to pick it up when I’m in india in august.
    Thanks for the tip!


  15. You’re welcome! Fortunately, within India their charges are pretty good, and they deliver relatively quickly – both shipments I’ve received so far have come within two days.


  16. I bought Do Bigha Zameen to re watch it, but haven’t found the courageous mood to do so.

    I saw that article in Times of India too. I though it was too heavy on the last decade: after all, we are talking about the 25 must-see movies of all time, there are plenty of classics that are missing, and too much of the newer stuff:I wondered about the reasoning behind that.

    I mean would you really put in Mr. India and leave out Teesri Kasam?

    And I really miss the Piya Ka Ghar, or Mili, or Koshish kind of stuff from the 70s…Mukherjee, Chattarjee and co. remembered that a film has to tell a story and it need not be OTT to succeed.


  17. “I mean would you really put in Mr. India and leave out Teesri Kasam?”

    Too true! Even though I haven’t seen Teesri Kasam (it’s still on my wishlist, let’s see when the DVD arrives), and I enjoyed Mr India I really don’t think the latter had anything in it that merited it being put on that list. Especially when that list covers such a huge period when so many great films were made… and I really love some of those 70’s and 80’s films: come to think of it, even comedies like Chupke Chupke or Chashme Buddoor should have been included. Or the superb Umrao Jaan.

    In fact, that list should probably have been a top 50! ;-)


  18. “… a film has to tell a story and it need not be OTT to succeed.”

    Well, I don’t agree with this bit. A good story is basically a bonus. Unfortunately, Hindi Cinema has always been driven by the narrative.


  19. You should watch “Teesri Kasam”! Even Raj Kapoor is bearable, can you imagine that?
    And Waheeda Rehman is as usual a treat. And the story is so poetic. It starts like a small stream meandering its way, the ups and downs and then the …
    I would love to watch Teesri Kasam, if I’d the time.
    If you were here, I’d have rushed to you and give you my copy of the VCD!

    What is OTT?


  20. Sabrina: I guess you have a point, but then any time I come across a Hindi film which actually has a good strong story to it rather than merely entertainment value, I’m very excited! (Which is probably why I like thrillers much more than family drama).

    harvey: Thank you for the thought; that’s so kind of you :-) If you’re saying even Raj Kapoor is bearable, then that is something I need to see soon! In any case, Waheeda Rehman and the songs are enough to make me want to see Teesri Kasam.

    OTT is usually used to mean over the top, but when talking about Hindi cinema, it’s almost a synonym for the industry as a whole! ;-)


  21. I am looking forward to you watching Teesri Kasam!
    The landscapes during the first half of the movie are so breath taking.
    But I shouldn’t be praising the film so much!
    Discover it yourself!
    i remember watching it as a twelve year old and didn’t understand it at all. i was expecting a daku sort of film I think! Sort of “mein yeh kasam khata hu ke …. ka badla leke rahunga”! ;-)
    A OTT so to say! ;-)
    Thanks for the definiton! ;-O


  22. You’re welcome :-)

    Now I’m really keen on seeing Teesri Kasam too. I remember it coming on TV when I was a kid – one of those late night films they showed sometimes, but just seeing Raj Kapoor onscreen put me off and I didn’t watch it. Am regretting it now – there were so many films Doordarshan showed way back then (like Baadal, Barsaat ki Raat, Chaalees Din, Chaubees Ghante, Aab-e-Hayat etc) which are now often very hard to find – if at all.


  23. Well maybe for most Hindi films there should be OTT, or OTTT, OR OOTTT categories!

    Well, I still enjoy a film for its story-telling, and it is also my complaint about a lot of hollywood films: some of them get so taken up with their special effects and what nots, they forget there has to be something like a decent plot to hang things together.

    I still think that films with a decent story-line are th one that survive over time.
    I have been rewatching a lot of the films I liked as a child, and find that I am appreciating them more. For instance, UPHAAR, free online at Rajshri, was great (no subtitles though).

    Teesri Kasam was fantastic, as was Mili, Piya Ka Ghar, Koshish, Bandini, Marine Drive…many of these are available Subtitled on Youtube with user HQSUPREME (he/she actually subtitles them).

    I have never been able to watch a lot of mainstream cinema: drives me up the wall in 5 minutes and I don’t have the forgiving nature of so many bloggers here. That is why I like their reviews and screen caps so much! The goods without the pain…


  24. “…it is also my complaint about a lot of hollywood films: some of them get so taken up with their special effects and what nots…”

    At the risk of being considered an iconoclast, I’d have to admit that that’s exactly what I didn’t like about The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. It looked stunning, the makeup was awesome, everything was very clever – but when it boiled down to the basics, I didn’t think there was enough of a story to sustain such a long film. My idea of a good film means that it should have a good story, or at least (as in some of Bimal Roy’s films, including Bandini and Do Bigha Zameen) very good treatment which perhaps focusses on characters, events, etc.

    Will certainly have a look at Uphaar. I tried watching a couple of films on Rajshri, but I think my system’s bandwidth wasn’t up to it at last count.


  25. Dustedoff: I am so glad I found someone that says what me and my husband felt….I was really bored to death about half way through.
    In fact, once Brad Pitt came as himself, I think the film we were just meant to gape at him and nothing very much happened, and what happened didn’t make much sense!
    When everyone else was praising it to the skies, I felt a bit guilty about not liking it.
    Do try and watch Uphaar, it takes off leisurely but I enjoyed the build up of the characters, and some scenes are real gems.
    Enjoy your swiss-alsace stay, sounds like a good trip!


  26. Whew, I’m so glad I found someone who didn’t like it! My husband is relatively indulgent, and quite happy to sit through a long film even if it doesn’t go anywhere, but I began squirming long before …Benjamin Button got midway. Frankly, I don’t see at all what the fuss was about.

    Am getting quite excited about my trip (which is why I’m up at this unearthly hour)!


  27. That’s an awesome-awesome review! Thanks! I’m yet to watch this one, but your review makes sure that I soon will (had been procrastinating)


  28. dusted off– thanks for the review. Amardeep at Sepia Mutiny had linked to your blog so here I am. I agreee with memsaab, disasters can and do come all heaped together at once. I haven’t seen the movie yet but maybe my biggest problem will be Sahni’s character refusing to compromise even at he bleakest moment (like Satyapriya in Sayakam).


  29. Hey Sophy: Yes, I saw the link on Sepia Mutiny – my blog’s had a lot of hits through that.
    You’re right, Balraj Sahni’s character’s very unbending attitude is irritating at times, but then the point is also that he doesn’t have much choice… even if he bends, what will he do? Steal? The problem is that his two bighas is all he possesses that is of some value – if he loses even that, he’s doomed. So holding on to that, no matter at what expense to himself (or to his family, as it turns out) is vital.


  30. This is one of my all-time favourite films. Heart-wrenching to the highest degree – and I LOVE heart-wrenching. One of the best movies ever made IMO and probably reflecting the reality of the times.

    Heck, what am I talking about? Isn’t land-grabbing one of the biggest discussion points even today? Some things never change!


  31. You’re so right, Raja – some things never change. And I’m glad that this film had the guts to show that life is NOT a bed of roses for everybody. I guess, having been brought up in an educated, fairly self-sufficient environment (how many of us have actually been reduced to the point of wondering how we’d ever even survive, forget about things like whether we’d be able to buy that new cell phone…?!) – it’s difficult to relate to what happens to Shambhu. I do also think that the end is just right. Shambhu’s land is gone, but at least he, his wife and son are together. And there’s hope…


  32. I saw this film around the same time I saw Waqt –by fluke when I took Film 1150: Intro to World Cinema” I remember being bored by it then but I just watched it again today and I have to admit, I really wanted to slap my 18 year-old self upside the head for being bored and disinterested in Do Bigha Zameen, The films was rather beautifully narrated. Shambhu and his family’s hardships really pull on the heartstrings, and as I watched him struggle to raise the money he needed it struck me that Shambhu and his family were poor–whether they had their ancestral land or not. The only difference was that if they were able to keep tier land they would be poor but somewhat dignified, but without it they were just one more family among the millions already living in poverty. In the end, we aren’t given a happy resolution to Shambhu’s problems–but that last scene, as sad as it is, stays with you. I was absolutely heartbroken over the probable fate of Shambhu and his clan. They just don’t make films like this anymore. I love watching glamorous, over the top masala films as much as the next person, but films like Do Bhiga Zameen that tell the stories of not the always happy, wealthy and glamorous lives of normal people offer a different kind of viewing experience for me. One that I as the viewer can be empathetic to and one that lingers after the film has finished.

    I can’t get over how amazingly awesome you blog is, it’s so nice to be able to share my thoughts on films with like minded individuals. My family and friends always wonder why I–somebody has never even stepped foot in India– loves old Indian films so passionately. My answer is that no matter what or how much I think I know about Hindi cinema, when I see one of the great films produced in this era (1950s-1970s) they almost always alter or improve my understanding of Indian cinema. Everything from the cynical poetry of disenchantment, to the glamorous masala stories classic Hindi cinema transports the viewer from the enchanting glamour of a swanky Bombay nightclub to the magnificent gardens of Kashmir and even the busy streets of Paris or Tokyo. These classic films, they have a way of making us care about the characters because they seem so familiar to us–we can relate to them so well. They carry our souls through the trials of hardship, loss, sometimes they leave us to ponder the fates of the characters we’ve become so attached to and other times they revive our spirits with redemption and resolution.

    PS: I’m sorry I’ve literally gotten carried away with my thoughts. Please forgive me, I don’t want to be “spamming” your posts (although it kind of feels like that’s what I do lol). It’s like some messed up form of repression. I’ve always enjoyed old films alone and didn’t have anyone to discuss them with–but now I’ve discovered the Internet has a surprisingly large “Bolly-blogging” scene and I can let it all out! lol


    • ThundercatKHO, I am so touched by your comment. No, it is not long and you aren’t spamming my posts. In fact, I know exactly how it feels. I love old cinema, and old Hindi cinema, in particular, has a charm that can never pall for me. One thing that I especially like about Hindi cinema from the 50s to the 70s is that in each film there is almost always at least something that is worth appreciating. Some are utter gems from beginning to end, with music, story, casting, direction – all topnotch. Others may be good only because the stories are utter entertainers, or the songs are stupendous. But the number of films that have absolutely nothing to recommend them are very few and far between.

      P.S. I must go and check out your blog. Sounds very interesting! :-)


      • Thanks Dustedoff. Please do check out my blog, it’s a work in process, mostly just reviews and old assignments from my film school days that I’ve taken and put up online as a way archiving my work. I’m not too concerned about site traffic, it’s more of an outlet for me to express my opinions about stuff hindi-cinema related–but the more the merrier! I don’t have time to update too often (work is a killer I have 70 hour work weeks! The pitfalls of being an articulating law student!) but I do occasionally have time to make fun of or praise a film (but mostly make fun of) I’ve watched lol.


        • Ah, the 70-hour work weeks sound like my years in the corporate world. I’m impressed that you’re actually able to write a blog while working that much – I didn’t begin this blog until I chucked up my blog and began writing full time. I’ve already added your blog to my blogroll; will drop by today!


  33. I wish to add Trivia – First actors Jairaj ji, trilok kapoor ji , nazir hussain were considered for the role of shambu mehto. when bimal roy watched balraj ji in Hum log ( 1951 ) toh unhey Laga ki balraj ji hi hain unkey gareeb kisaan. the Idea of Film came to Bimal da mind when he saw The Bicycle Thief in International Film Festival in 1952 at bombay. film dekhney k baad unhoney apney vichaar apney dost salil da ko sunaaye. salil da ney kahaani likhni shuru ki Rickshaw wala k naam sey.

    A debate happened in the unit on the end of the film. few members thought – paro bach jaaye zameen nikal jaaye , paro kyu bachey voh accident mai chal basey aur zameen bhi nikal jaaye. the financier of the film wished a happy ending – sukhant. but Bimal da and his wife manobina ji agreed on the ending that zameen nikal jaaye aur paro bach jaaye.


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