‘Do Bigha Zamin’ – 1953


Direction: Bimal Roy
Screenplay: Hrishikesh Mukherji
Photography: Kamal Bose
Story & Music: Salil Chowdhury
Starring: Balraj Sahni, Nirupa Roy
Production: Bimal Roy Productions

Sambhu Mahato, like thousands from the Indian rural society, is a poor peasant. For generations, like others, he has tilled the soil. After years of drought, the peasants celebrate the monsoon. Sambhu’s joy is short-lived. The powerful village zamindar, waiting to grab his land, puts up a fabricated case in the moffussil court. This ancestral land is their only source of livelihood. Sambhu is ordered to settle his earlier loans from the zamindar in just three months. Failure to do this will cost him the land. The zamindar’s unreasonable demand only strengthens Sambhu’s determination to save the land. He heads for Calcutta where thousands migrate to earn. The great city overwhelms them. One misfortune follows another. Sambhu lives in a bustee with poor migrants. An old rickshaw-puller takes him under his wings and teaches him important lessons to pull the vehicle. Son, Kanhaiya, contributes from his earnings as a shoe shine boy. Sambhu’s wife, Parvati, works as construction labour. With all this help, Sambhu is confident of victory but a serious accident dries up his hard earned funds. In another accident Kanhaiya looses his shoe shine box. They grow desperate as time draws near to pay the zamindar’s loan. After days of illness, when Sambhu resumes work, he is stunned to find the unconscious body of his wife, Parvati – knocked down by a speeding car. Kanhaiya tries his hand at pickpocket and the poor landless peasant’s family reunites once again in the vast metropolis only to realize that their beloved land has gone forever.

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