03 July 2006
Mother India, 1957, only now
One of India's classic films is Mehboob's Mother India, in which the unflappable and always gorgeous Nargis struggles to raise a family in the face of money lenders, drought, corruption, and the expectations of society. Her future mother-in-law decides to mortgage her land in order to pay for a big wedding, leading Nargis and Sunil Dutt to work against crippling debt, debt which became quite literally crippling towards the end of the film. I won't give the story away, but suffice it to say that a lack of literacy compounded with a system that meant poor folks had to go to local corrupt moneylenders leads Nargis to (almost) sell herself in order to get by. The famous still from the film is of her pulling the plow as if she is the buffalo she has so recently sold.
These 1950s dramas are of the past. we think this is all done--that this kind of thing only happened back then. How I wish that were true.
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Posted by tekne at 4:51 AM