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Mother India
(Bharat Mata)

Screening on Film
Directed by Mehboob Khan.
With Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Raaj Kumar.
India, 1957, 35mm, color, 172 min.

The character of Radha, played by the Indian star Nargis, is at the center of this epic melodrama of family and deception in the newly independent nation-state on the brink of widespread social change. The peasant woman raises two sons amidst a series of crippling trials: one grows to be obedient while the other rebels against tradition and vows to avenge his family against Sukhilala, the malevolent moneylender who cheats them out of their crop and lusts after his mother. Ultimately, Radha must choose between her impassioned son and her community. Spectacularly filmed in Gevacolor and then transferred to Technicolor, Mother India is a cornerstone of classic Indian cinema, capturing the trials of a country in transition.

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