Dharti Ke Lal
Dharti Ke Lal (Children of the Earth in English) is a 1946 Hindi film and the first directorial venture of the noted film director Khwaja Ahmad Abbas (K. A. Abbas). It was jointly written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and Bijon Bhattacharya, based on plays by Bijon Bhattacharya and the story 'Annadata' by Krishan Chander.
|Dharti Ke Lal|
|Directed by||Khwaja Ahmad Abbas|
|Produced by||Khwaja Ahmad Abbas,
|Written by||Khwaja Ahmad Abbas(Screenplay),
Bijon Bhattacharya (Screenplay),
Krishan Chander (Story)
|Story by||Krishan Chander|
|Music by||Ravi Shankar|
In 1949, Dharti Ke Lal became the first Indian film to receive widespread distribution in the USSR.
Dharti Ke Lal was critically acclaimed for its scathing view of notorious Bengal famine of 1943 in which over 2 million people died. It is considered an important political film as it gives a realistic portrayal of the changing social and economic climate during the World War II.
The film uses the plight of a single family caught in this famine, and tells the story of human devastation, and the loss of humanity during the struggle to survive.
During the Bengal famine of 1943, members of the IPTA travelled all over India, performing plays and collecting funds for the survivors of the famine, which has destroyed a whole generation of farmer families in Bengal. Thus Abbas was deeply influenced by the work of IPTA, and hence based his script upon two of IPTA's plays, Nabanna (Harvest) and Jabanbandi by Bijon Bhattacharya, and the story Annadata by Krishan Chander. Even the cast of the film was mainly actors from IPTA.
The film marked, another chapter in the influential new wave in Indian cinema which focussed on socially relevant themes as in Neecha Nagar (1946), made by Chetan Anand, also scripted by Abbas, and which continued with Bimal Roy's Do Bigha Zamin (1953).
It was the first and perhaps the only film produced by IPTA (Indian People's Theater Association) and remains one of the important Hindi films of that decade. The film marked the screen debut of Zohra Sehgal and also gave actor Balraj Sahni his first important on screen role.
It proved to be tremendously influential not only to future filmmakers who admired its neorealist-like qualities—but also to intellectuals of India's left-wing.
- Dictionary of Films (Berkeley: U. of CA Press, 1977), p. 84.
- Vasudev and Lenglet, eds., Indian Cinema Super-bazaar (New Delhi: Vikas, 1978).
- Shyamala A. Narayan, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 1 1976; vol. 11: pp. 82 – 94.
- Amir Ullah Khan and Bibek Debroy, Indian Economic Transition through Bollywood Eyes.