Mother India is a 1957 Hindi epic film, directed by Mehboob Khan and starring Nargis, Sunil Dutt, Rajendra Kumar, and Raaj Kumar. It is the story of a poverty-stricken village woman named Radha (Nargis) who, in the absence of her husband, struggles to raise her sons and survive against a money-lender amidst many troubles. Despite her hardship, she sets a goddess-like moral example of an ideal Indian woman. In the end she kills her son Birju, a criminal, for the greater good.
Why so popular? This mammoth crowd-pleasing blockbuster may be a bit creaky now but it has the Big Entertainment value to rival the biggest Hollywood spectacular. The plot sees a mother (Nargis) go through hell and high water to raise her children and keep her farm from money lenders. At nearly three hours long, it puts you through the wringer but it is a four hankie experience courtesy of heartrending songs and a devastating climax.
Reputedly lost the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar by one vote to Fellini’s Nights Of Cabiria