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Do Bigha Zamin (1953) (Movies To See Before You Die - Drama)

25 Sep, 2013 | Inspired Movies (Alphabetical) / D / Movies To See Before You Die / Drama

Do Bigha Zamin

Widely acclaimed as one of the most famous masterpieces from the first decade of independent India, DO BIGHA ZAMIN has a highly respected and reputed status in the 100 years history of Indian Cinema, without any doubt. Much has been already written and discussed about this magnificent achievement of director Bimal Roy and the film soulfully depicts the painful trauma of the helpless farmers, caught in the cunning web of poverty, debt and spineless Zamindars willing to acquire every bit of their land forcefully. But in honest words, Bimal Roy couldn’t have made this without one person alone, who single handedly converted the truthful attempt of the visionary into a classic, through his own earnest effort and the man is none other than, the most natural actor of Hindi Cinema, Balraj Sahni.
Referring to a specific measure of land used in those times, the film was aptly titled DO BIGHA ZAMIN featuring the social theme in a very true to life manner, which was even noticed by the maestros of World Cinema. As a result, it not only won many prestigious awards within the country, but was also showcased in many film festivals abroad, becoming the next Hindi film getting an international acclaim post NEECHA NAGAR (1946).
Revolving around a father and his son’s experiences in the urban land, DO BIGHA ZAMIN does have its basic structure derived from Vittorio De Sica’s realistic classic BICYCLE THIEVES (1948). But Bimal Roy used this foreign reference in the Indian context so beautifully that it can easily be called as a perfect tribute to the World Cinema from the maestro in those initial years, when the Indian Cinema was still passing through its first decade post independence. In fact, BICYCLE THIEVES evidently inspired many other renowned genius film-makers like Satyajit Ray too, who later came up with his own original gem to win over the world audience as PATHER PANCHALI in 1955.
However DO BIGHA ZAMIN is still considered among the pioneer ones made on this particular theme till date because it does paint a very authentic & emotionally touching picture of that exploitive era as thoughtfully explained in the famous stories of Premchand. The problem of ‘Class-Division’ and ‘Flight From Land’ has been tackled so well that the viewer feels like living along with its central character Shambhu till the final moment and sincerely wishes that he is able to earn some money to pay his big debt back. No doubt, this instant relation found with Shambhu is simply due to that blessed actor playing it with his full devotion and the film needs to be seen for this one reason alone unarguably. Yes, watching it in the present times you might feel it to be a little melodramatic in its execution towards the end. But once you get into the mood, realizing the hardships faced by its lead characters helplessly, the film sinks deep inside your soul and makes you the feel the magic on the screen in an admirable style.
Not to miss the other valuable contributors to this epic effort, DO BIGHA ZAMIN is the fruitful result of an immensely creative team lead by Bimal Roy himself. It has a fabulous cast with names such as Balraj Sahni, Nirupa Roy, Ratan Kumar, Murad, Nasir Hussain & Meena Kumari (Guest Star) playing their respective roles effortlessly. And the film has a melodious soundtrack with songs like “Mausam Beeta Jaaye”, “Hariyala Saawan” or “Aa Ja Ri Nidiya”, well composed by Salil Chaudhary and thoughtfully penned by Shailendra forming the musical team. But not many know that along with the music, DO BIGHA ZAMIN was also based on a story written by the master of chords, Salil Chaudhary himself.
Interestingly along with Kamal Bose, beautifully canning the film in Black and White, the project also has two other master film-makers involved in its creative team behind the curtain, namely Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Moni Bhattacharjee (Usne Kaha Tha & Mujhe Jeene Do) as assistant directors. Besides Hrishi Da not only worked as an assistant director but also did the ‘Scenerio’ and ‘Editing’ of the film too as duly mentioned in its titles.
In short, DO BIGHA ZAMIN is like watching one of the foundation stones of our Hindi Cinema, laid by many renowned masters together. So if you consider yourself as an ardent fan of Hindi Films, then you got to see this ‘Cult-Classic’ as a must, may be more than once and its DVD has to be there in your home library for many future timely references, for sure.
Directed By Bimal Roy
Music By Salil Chowdhary    Lyrics by Shailendra
Starring : Balraj Sahni, Nirupa Roy, Ratan Kumar, Murad, Nasir Hussain & Meena Kumari (Guest Star)

Tags : Do Bigha Zamin (1953), Movies To See Before You Die Drama, Bimal Roy Classics, Balraj Sahni masterpiece, Inspired from World Cinema, The Bicycle Thieves, Not To Be Missed Hindi Films List by Bobby Sing, Must Watch Movies List by Bobby Sing, Must See Films list at bobbytalkscinema.com
25 Sep 2013 / Comments ( 6 )

Indeed, Do Bigha Zameen is indeed a great film..Genuises like Satyajit Ray, Shyam Benegal, V.Shantaram, Ashutosh Gowariker,Raj Kapoor etc all mentioned Do Bigha Zameen as one of the greatest Indian film made ever and listed the film as one of their all time favorite films.

Coming back, Do Bigha Zameen does show influences of Bicycle thieves n other italian neoralist films in its style n structure but its storyline, screenplay n direction shots are completely different from the De Sica classic . In short one can say that while being an original film, the film falls in the italian neorealist genre..But then which film does not fall into a genre...Raj Kapoor\' Awara shows heavy influence of Hollywood Musicals while his other film \'Shree 420\' shows heavy imprint of Chaplin\'s films..Guru Dutt\'s Pyaasa too has its share of influences from the Bengali cinema n literature from the 30\'s n 40\'s. Sholay too falls in the genre of \'Western cowboy\' films...But that does not mar the greatness of any of these films nor does it make them \'inspired\'..The same stands true for Do Bigha Zameen too..

I dont think that Do Bigha Zameen should be called \'inspired\' just bcoz it falls in the neorealist genre...It\'s like saying that all Beatles n Rolling stones rock n roll numbers are \'inspired\' just bcoz they fall in the \'rock n roll\' genre,which by the way was not invented by Beatles or Rolling stones!!

Bobby Sing

Hi Raunak,
Yes you are very right in saying that having similar themes and resemblences does not take away any of the greatness from these films at all.
But the truth remains that when a film has been made taking references from another source then I it has to be considered as inspired keeping the respect of the film-maker intact and I cannot ignore the fact just because the film is considered a masterpiece by one of our own maestros.

And here once again I would like to express that the term INSPIRED does not necessarily needs to be taken as COPIED.
For instance the same goes with the case of many more films such as Hrishi Da's ANAND and Kurosawa's IKIRU.

Keep Visiting and Writing In,



I have read your \'V.Shantaram inspires the West...\' article earlier also. Infact i have commented on that post of yours!! Me just saying that your site would be so much better if the films are split into two categories- 1) which are blatantly copied & 2) which show little or some influence in structure, style, genre or scenes..

I know that Shree 420 lead character resemblance with the The tramp character is talked about but what is not talked about is the use of the \'road\' in both the films and the fact that Shree 420 does show an influence in its style & structure from the 1916 movie \'The Tramp\'.. Of course that does not take away anything from Shree 420. Indeed, to tell one the truth no film is the world is free from references from other films. The only thing that one should keep in mind though is that blatantly copying in toto should not be practised.. To say it in other words, blindly copying the screenplay & direction from one place without credits should not be there... In the end, the vision in total should be the filmaker\'s own, even if the plot or style or some scenes are borrowed coz that\'s wat matter in the end.

Bobby Sing

Yes Raunak its perfectly right in saying that film-makers always takes references from their loved films & director, plus also from the real life.
But its utterly wrong when they dont give credits for things adapted as it is.

Therefore I try my best to use appropriate words to indiciate that whether this is inspired, takes a reference or simply copies.......very carefully.
However do let me know if any case you feel that the word used needs to be changed.

Well i don\'t think a film should be called inspired because it falls in a particular genre or borrows its style from another film. If that is the case, then Do ankhen Barah Haath and Shree 420 too should be listed as inspired films as they show resemblances with Seven Samurai and Chaplin\'s 1916 film \'The Tramp\'.
In my opinion, a film should only be called \'inspired\' if its story-line is borrowed, which is not the case with Do Bigha Zameen. The story line of DBZ is completely its own. Now just showing the experience of a father and son in an urbane land does not mean its plot is inspired. It\'s like saying that Majid Majidi\'s Children of heaven is inspired from Ray\'s Pather Panchali as both of them revolve around the lives of a two kids, a boy & his sister in a non-urban place. But we don\'t say so as the story-lines of both the films are different. Same should be the case with Bicycle Thieves & DBZ too.

And by the way, if that is the case that you have to list a film as inspired just bcoz it takes some references from some other source, then why don\'t you list Awara & Waqt (which you label as the originator of lost n found films in bollywood, which is not true at all) as inspired from Kismet (1943), when in reality both Waqt & Awara borrow a lot from Kismet.

P.s: Influence of Devdas on Pyasa is very much evident. A person (dutt) falls in love with a girl (Mala Sinha) but the girl ends up marrying another rich guy. Then a prostitute ( Rehman) enters in the life of the guy and falls in love with him. All three chracters of Dutt, Sinha & W.Rehman are very akin to Devdas, Paro & Chandramukh and so is the plot. The only major difference between Pyaasa and Devdas is the ending, where going against all the norms of the society, the guy chooses the prostitute as his life partner, which is something, that is again borrowed totally from Srikanta novel of Sarat.
Bobby Sing

You are entitled to have your own opinion Raunak and I respect that too.
But again you are focibly taking the meaning of word INSPIRED as equavalent to COPY which is creating the issue here.

Anyway for that matter, yes Shree 420's lead character was inspired from THE TRAMP and there is no denying to the fact anywhere.
Secondly, for Do Aankhen Barah Haath, again yes this could be an inspired version of SEVEN SAMURAI arguably.
But for this you should read the following article at the site discussing it in details.

V. Shantaram inspires the west with his landmark masterpiece.

P.S: I will surely use this reference in my one of the coming articles on DEVDAS.


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