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Shaymchi Aai (1953) (Marathi) - The First Film in India to be awarded with THE NATIONAL AWARD for The BEST FILM in 1954. (Movies To See Before You Die - Drama) (Did You Know - 22)

08 Apr, 2010 | Did You Know! / Movies To See Before You Die / Drama / Indian Regional language Gems (Other Than Hindi)

I was recently introduced to this great piece of art proudly representing the Marathi Cinema wave in the country. Directed by Prahlad Keshav Atre, “Shaymchi Aai” (meaning Shyam’s mother) was released in 1953 and was widely acclaimed by both young and old at the time of its release. Based on a book with the same title written by Sane Guruji in Marathi, the film revolves around the innocent and divine relationship between a child Shyam and his mother ‘Aai’, who teaches him the essential lessons of life with her true love and affection.

In order to make you relate with this old black & white regional classic in a more modern way, I would like to associate it with two immensely famous movies of Hindi Cinema, namely “Mother India” from the past and “Taare Zameen Par” from the current times.
“Shyamchi Aai” made be remember “Mother India” as it also has a similar kind of strong character of a mother (like Nargis), who is willing to fight all the tough times of poverty and grief along with her loving husband and children. She is soft as a flower petal, yet strong as a mountain, having the spirit to face every storm of life with her great courage. And the priceless lessons she teaches her young children in those hard times, make the movie an essential watch for all lovers of good and meaningful cinema. In fact the well written scenes between the mother and the child can easily be rated as one of the best sequences depicting the most respected relationship in the mankind. Certainly both the writer and the director, along with Vanamala playing the mother, truly deserve all the praises they received for their splendid efforts. And for this reason, I would readily like to call “Shyamchi Aai” as the famous “Mother India” of the Marathi Cinema.
Now, coming to “Taare Zameen Par”, the movie reminded me of this recent masterpiece mainly because of the brilliant act performed by the child actor Madhav Vaze, playing the character of Shyam in it. The kid undoubtedly delivers one of the finest acts by a child artist in the history of Indian Cinema till date. His confidence, style and conviction is simply worth watching.  Actually it’s his performance in the movie which enhances the impact of the pain felt by her mother on screen to many folds. In other words after Darsheel Safary in TZM, or rather before him, it was Madhave Vaze performing as Shyam in “Shaymchi Aai”, who was able to set his own new benchmarks in the Indian Cinema way back in the year 1953. In reality, the innocent mannerisms of Shyam keep walking down the memory lanes of your mind, even days after you have watched this famous classic. And that’s the magic of this simple and impressive movie from P. K. Atre.
Shaymchi Aai - Bobby Talks Cinema.comThe movie has numerous scenes teaching the right values of life to the viewer and the sequences also posses the power to transform. For instance, there is one particular scene in the film, where the family is facing their tough days of poverty, but still having a decent dinner together. Now the mother, who has cooked the food, has forgotten to put salt in the dish. But everyone in the family goes on eating the food calmly with no complaints of any sort. Even the child Shyam is having his food, though he refuses to eat that dish, but still is saying nothing about the salt. The moment the mother herself eats the dish, she comes to know that there is no salt and then she asks her husband that why nobody said anything about it. And then the husband answers, “You have made this food with so much love and affection and have taken great pain to give us this lovely dinner in our days of poverty. Then how can we complain of anything to you about your cooking. Instead we are grateful that you are here with us to take care of our hunger and provide us this tasty food.” Now if that cannot teach us anything then nothing can.
The other gem to cherish in “Shyamchi Aai” is its melodious music by Vasant Desai. Though I didn’t understand the language, still I enjoyed all its songs immensely, especially the ones filmed on all the children playing in the school.
The movie was the first film in India, to be awarded The First National Award or Golden Lotus Award for The Best Film in 1954. And the fact says it all for its cinematic importance.
Being a regional flick, it may not appeal to the people, who have no time to watch the old time gems and might not be appreciated by the hip generation which is more interested in living their lives at the maximum speed. But if you love watching black & white classics of different regions, have the patience to sit through its old age pace and want to enjoy a hugely famous landmark classic of Indian Cinema, then just look out for the DVD of “Shaymchi Aai”. It is worth your precious time in this fast progressing monetary world and has some great teachings which must be passed on to all the young kids roaming around in our houses in their playful moods.

Directed By Prahlad Keshav Atre
Music : Vasant Desai

(The DVD of "Shaymchi Aai" is available at  Induna.com.)

Tags : Shyamchi Aai, The First Film To win National Awards for The Best Film in India, Sane Guruji, P. K. Atre, The Best Child Act, Vasant Desai, Marathi Classics, Black & White Classics, Movies to See Before You Die, Must See Movies List By Bobby Sing, Not Be Missed Flicks at bobbytalkscinema.com, Not Be Missed Movies at bobbytalkscinema.com
08 Apr 2010 / Comments ( 10 )
Subhash Chheda

Well written review. By comparing Shyamchi Aai (1953) with Mother India (1957), you have put it on National map. Its a childhood autobiography of Sane Guruji (Pandurang Sadashiv Sane 1899-1950). The Book Shyamchi Aai was written in 1933 by Sane Guruji in five nights in Nasik Jail. It was first published by Amalner Yuvak Mandal and was instant hit. In the same year Shyamchi Aai was translated into Bengali. Later it published in almost all Indian Languages.
Book and the film are most RESPECTED in Maharashtra.
I agree with writer that its must read book and must watch film.

Bobby Sing

Thanks Subhash Ji for your kind comment......Keep Visitng!

Amit Joshi

Noted stage artiste Madhav Vaze, the child hero of the Acharya Atre-directed Marathi film Shyamchi Aai, has played the role of father of Joy Lobo in 3 Idiots. I read in screenplay book of 3 Idiots that Director Rajkumar Hirani asked his assistant director Rajesh Mapuskar to bring a face who should have that much of innocense in his personality that after seeing him crying (after his son\'s death) people should also feel the same.... Raju Hirani took 500 screen test for this particular role.

Below the article


Bobby Sing

Great Info Amit, Thanks for sharing it here....

Keep Visiting and writing in.


manohar j choure

I saw this movie my younger days such type of move does not made hereaftee thanks to P.K. Atre sir,

Bobby Sing

Thanks Manohar J. for visiting and writing in.
Hope you would like the other articles at the site too.

I have watched this movie several times,and every time it has the same impact on me .Most of the scenes in this movie sends u a message of life.
Bobby Sing

Thanks for your kind comment Sushma and the movie surely does have many valuable lessons of life in its various scenes.

Keep Visiting,


wonderful movie! seen it much before... would have been nice if you cover many such nice Marathi (some of it I have seen ) or other Indian regional movies...

Bobby Sing

Hi Chanchal,
Thanks for writing in and I would surely try to write much more about Marathi and other Indian Regional language movies at the site in the coming months.
So Keep Visiting,

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