(function() { var c = -->

17 October 2014

Naya Daur (1957)

Directed by: BR Chopra
Music: OP Nayyar
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Starring: Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Ajit, Chand Usmani, 
 Johnny Walker, Jeevan, Nasir Hussain, Manmohan Krishna
It was when I was looking for back-to-back songs for my Twin Songs post that I took out my DVD of Naya Daur again. Watching the scene that comes before the song piqued my interest in watching the film once again. It's been a long time since I watched it. What impresses me is how well the film has aged. Man vs. the machine is as relevant today as it was more than half a century ago. Perhaps not so much a tanga vs. a bus, but when businesses are downsizing, and automation is shutting down factories and putting people out of jobs, the basic plot point still remains a relevant point of discussion. Even so, I watched the film and, like many of my ideas for posts, filed it away as a 'Hmm, I should probably review this some time.'

But I never did put the DVD away, and so, when we had overnight guests shortly after that post was published, it was still lying around on the couch in the living room. One of them asked if I was going to review it, and I said, 'Oh, yes', still not sure just when I would. But it did give me the impetus to decide that it had to be sooner than later.  As you can see, it took another couple of months to actually get around to doing so. By which time, I'd completely forgotten the the sequence of plot, and in any case, hadn't taken screenshots, so I had to watch the film again. Long story short, I needed to find time to actually watch the film, and take screenshots, and write notes - and I cannot, just cannot do the last two when I'm watching the film because, hey, when I'm watching, I want to watch! Fun!

Anyway, eventually everything came together, and I had the screenshots and the notes, and all I had to do was write it. You know where this is going, don't you? Before I start long-winded excuses (again!), here is the result of all that cogitation. Can I just say in passing how glad I am that I have the remastered B&W copy (courtesy Yashraj Films) of the film?

Like the 'little village in Gaul that we all know so well', the sun has risen on the bucolic village in Chopra's film; the hero, Shankar (Dilip Kumar), is squabbling with his sister Manju (Chand Usmani), his mother (Leela Chitnis) is feeding him (apne haath se) while he tightens the cinches, his horse has sense of humour and so does his best friend, Krishna (Ajit) and all is well with the world. 
Shankar is a tangewala, driving passengers to and from the station to the village. He sets off cheerily that morning, with Krishna in tow, dropping the latter off at the timber mill where he works, promising to pick him up  in the evening.
Seth Maganlal (Nasir Hussain), the timber-mill-owner-cum-local-landlord, is a benevolent paterfamilias to the villagers, concerned about their well-being; he even adjures his munshi not to fire a worker because he is old. If the man cannot work in the saw mill any more, hire him to work at a less taxing job. He firmly believes that the workers and he are equals - neither of them is doing the other a favour. 

But he has had enough of worldly problems for the time being. He is setting off on a pilgrimage to Kashi; in his absence, his son, Kundan, will look after his business. Kundan is city-bred and educated, and Sethji requests Juman (Manmohan Krishna) to take care of him. Shankar drops him off at the station. 

The next day sees Shankar back at the station, awaiting passengers. He runs into the beautiful Rajni (Vyjayanthimala), with whom he flirts rather outrageously under the pretext of talking to her mother, Durga mausi (Pratima), who used to reside in their village before, and is now returning with her children to live there. 
He also rather highhandedly decides that they will all stay at his house until their home is repaired (and volunteers his friend, Krishna's labour to do so).

That evening, Krishna is picked on by the men of a neighbouring landowner. He fights bravely but is outnumbered. Shankar arrives in the nick of time, and the friends drive the men away, but Krishna is slightly injured in the process. Shankar's mother is horrified when she sees them, but it is very clear that Manju feels even more strongly.
It is equally clear that Rajni feels the same way about Shankar. But when Krishna sees Rajni, he falls in love with her at first sight. He throws himself into repairing their house, as Shankar had promised. And each subsequent meeting with Rajini only enchants him more. 
Rajni, though, is thoroughly besotted by the quick-talking charmer - Shankar. And even though they are chaperoned everywhere by her brother, Chiku Master (Daisy Irani), Shankar manages to find ways to flirt with her. ('The tanga is lopsided', he tells her, persuading her to sit up front with him.)
Meanwhile, Kundan (Jeevan), the chhote babu, has also arrived. Very soon, the villagers begin to realise that there is a whale of a difference between him and his father. Kundan looks at the forests and sees gold - if only he could mechanise the mill's operations. He is full of new ideas to increase profits.
Finally, the machines arrive, and the workers are thrilled. The arrival of the machines will reduce their back-breaking labour, or so they believe. Until they learn that they have been made redundant. The machines will be worked by men from the city who know how to work them. Moreover, each machine replaces more than one man. Carrying their plaint to Kundan gives them no relief. 
Bereft of employment, the villagers are forced to choose between hunger and leaving their homes to seek employment elsewhere. Shankar tries to mediate on their behalf with Kundan, but the latter is obdurate. Shankar is furious, but there is nothing he can do. Facing certain poverty if they stay, the villagers begin to leave the basti.

At the same time, Shankar and his mother learn that Manju's betrothed (she was betrothed when she was a child) is looking for a bride elsewhere. Ganpat, the father, is in favour of the new alliance because it will bring him a dowry of Rs2000. In disgust, Shankar breaks the engagement (but only after forcing Ganpat to come before the panchayat). He consoles his distressed mother - he will conduct his sister's marriage. To Krishna. Manju is ecstatic. However, there's many a slip... When Shankar learns that Krishna is also in love with Rajni, he is taken aback. 
Their friendship is too strong to break over a mere woman (they both do the sacrificial dance), but how do they solve this problem? Rajni can only belong to one of them. (No mention that Rajni loves Shankar!) Finally, Shankar comes up with an idea - the next day is the day of a maha puja. Depending on the flowers that Rajni proffers at the temple, she will wed one or the other. (Jasmines, and she will wed Shankar, marigolds, and she will wed Krishna.)

Unknown to both of them, Manju has overheard their conversation. Madly in love with Krishna, she decides to take matters into her own hands. 
Unfortunately, Krishna sees her. He assumes that she did so on Shankar's behest. Bitterly angry, he refuses to listen to Shankar, and the friendship, once so strong, falls by the wayside. While Krishna feels betrayed, Shankar has no clue as to what he is being accused of, or why. His grief at the loss of the friendship even poisons his relationship with Rajni, who is hurt by his behaviour. When she confronts him, he explains that if he had known that his love for her would cause a rift in his friendship with Krishna, he would never even have looked at her. She is devastated, but a heartbroken Shankar does not see her distress. 
Manju, aghast at what she had innocently wrought, tries to set matters right, but a brooding, bitter Krishna is unwilling to listen. I have seen your brother's friendship, he tells her. Now he can see my enmity. And he proceeds to do just that. He advises Kundan to bring a bus to the village to ferry the passengers to and from the station. Krishna is exultant - Ab aap faayda dekhiye, aur main nuksaan dekhta hoon! (You count your profits, and I will witness the losses.)
When the bus comes, it impacts not only Shankar's livelihood, but also that of the other taangewalas. The villagers are now up in arms. If there is not a resolution, they tell the Chaudhary, they will burn both the bus and the factory down. Kundan is not one to back down despite their pleas. Will the nation stop its progress for a handful of people? he asks. Finally, a cocksure Kundan throws down the gauntlet - he will take his bus off the road if Shankar can prove his tanga is better. Three months hence, let there be a race. If Shankar wins, the bus goes.
A rebellious Shankar accepts the challenge. If he wins, the bus - and Kundan - will leave the village. The villagers are aghast. A tanga win against a bus? They are not willing to be party to such foolishness.

Shankar is left alone but he is unwilling to give up. He sets out to single-handedly carve a rough road through the forests, a short-cut that will shave off six miles from the road that the bus has to traverse in order to reach the temple. But Rajni is there - to support him with her love. 
Soon, the villagers join in, preferring to fight for their rights instead of begging for them. With their help, the new 'road' begins to look less symbolic, and more of a reality. But soon work comes to a stop. The newly-cut road has reached a culvert and Shankar and the villagers are at a loss how to ford it. It is Rajni who comes up with the solution. The villagers toil night and day to complete the path to the temple.  Much to Kundan's fury, much progress is made. Krishna is furious too. He knows Shankar, and he knows that once the road is made, Shankar will win. It is up to him now to ensure that the road is not finished. 
His need for vengeance against a friend who he thinks betrayed him does not allow Krishna to think rationally. Kundan advises caution. He has another plan up his sleeve. Luckily for Shankar, Rajni and the villagers, it fails. So do their next scheme. What is more, the competition is beginning to gain in publicity, courtesy an intrepid reporter from Bombay. What will Krishna do next?  
Naya Daur, like other BR Chopra films, had a strong vein of social consciousness that underpinned the whole narrative. Funnily enough, when BR Chopra wrote the story and hawked it around, he was warned against making the film - directors like Mehboob Khan warned him against making it as a feature film; it would make a good documentary, he was told. 

Naya Daur dealt with the paradox of a newly emerging nation on the path to industrialisation - what do we adapt and make ours? What do we leave behind? The film begins with a quote by Mahatma Gandhi, part of which states, "In this there is no room for machinery that would displace human labour and concentrate power in a few hands."At the same time, it was made during the period of Nehruvian governance that saw the beginnings of economic planning. Director BR Chopra strode the fine line between the twin arcs of industrialisation and modernisation on the one hand, and the rural economy and the human factor on the other. His protagonist, in fact, falls somewhere in the middle of the venn diagram - he is not against progress; all he wants is to progress too. Where will the nation be, he queries, if it leaves its people behind?  

This was one of Dilip Kumar's finest roles, and the irony lies in that he may never have done the film at all. When BR Chopra first came to him, Dilip Kumar refused because of date issues. It was then offered to Ashok Kumar, who felt he was too urban to fit into a rural milieu. He liked the story, though, and persuaded Dilip Kumar to at least hear it. Luckily for Chopra, not only did Dilip like the story, the movie he had assigned dates for fell through, and he was free to begin shooting.
It was a god-send, because Dilip slipped into the character of Shankar very believably. He was the gregarious, cheeky taangewala to life, without falling into the trap of being annoyingly cheerful. Similarly, in his dramatic scenes with Ajit, or even the scene where he breaks off his sister's engagement, you see a principled man, and a honest one. He makes it easy to root for his character, and not just because he is the 'hero'. As he fights against the machines that have ruined the villagers' livelihood, he makes it clear that he is not against progress; as he tells Kundan, "Aap logon ki jeb bhi bharti rahein aur gareeb logon ka pet bhi bharta rahein, koi aisa rasta nahin nikaal sakte hain aap?"(Can't you think of a way in which your pockets and our stomachs are filled at the same time?) He is also not afraid to show his emotions - when he is, as he thinks, fighting the lone fight, you see his dejection.
But as he squares his shoulders and sets to the task ahead, and Rajni comes to lend him a hand, there is a palpable sense of relief that he is not alone any more.  He won a well-deserved Best Actor award at the 5th Filmfare Awards.

Naya Daur works because it is about the triumph of the human spirit against seemingly overwhelming odds. And while you know how the race will end, it is interesting to note how invested you, as the viewer, are in the outcome. Chopra did well, interspersing the race with shots of the villagers, allowing us to be part of the challenge, and its denouement - when man finally beats machine, there is a feeling of personal achievement.
Ajit is a revelation. This was before he got slotted into playing the suave villain, and this film is an example of why it was such a shame that he did. As the parallel lead, he not only had almost-equal screen time as the 'hero', but he also had a very nuanced character arc - from the faithful friend to the man who seeks vengeance because he has been betrayed, or so he thinks, by his dearest friend. Krishna is shown to be a hothead; he doesn't back down from a fight, in fact he provokes one; he is quick to assume that his friend betrayed him, and his anger doesn't let him see that he is wrong. Yet, you do not hate him - because there is an innocence to his emotional outbursts. (Just watch his expression when he sees Rajni for the first time - jaise chakkar aa gaya...
Similarly, while Shankar is the man on whom the villagers' hopes rest, he could not have done it without Krishna, whether he knows it or not. It is Krishna who supports the bridge that he destroyed so that Shankar can make that desperate final run to win his challenge.  
If the film is about the bonds of friendship between Shankar and Krishna, Vyjayanthimala's Rajni was no cardboard cutout, just there for the regulation songs-and-dances. (It doesn't hurt that she is extremely easy on the eyes, and that she can dance.) Her Rajni is strong, self-respecting, and knows her own mind. She has no qualms in admitting to Shankar that she loves him. When Shankar regrets the breakdown of his friendship with Krishna, and wishes that he had never set sight on her, Itna toh mat girao (Don't humiliate me so much), she pleads. When distraught, he accuses her of not understanding the value of a man's friendship, the self-respecting Rajni leaves him. 'I don't want to know its value either,' she tells him. 'Main apna mol jaan gayi hoon. Itna bas!' (I have learnt where I stand. That is enough!) She is not about to stand quietly and be the pawn between two men. Later, when she comes back, it is because she wants to.  It is also she who figures out what to do when they are faced with a roadblock to their plans. (It was her ease with the mannerisms of a village girl that prompted Dilip Kumar to offer her the role of Dhanno in Ganga Jumna.)  
This was the first film in which she was romantically paired opposite Dilip Kumar, and the chemistry between the two was fascinating to watch. Interestingly, Vyjayanthimala was not the first choice for Rajni. Madhubala was. She even shot some scenes in Bombay, but when the Bhopal outdoor schedule came up, her father, suspicious of her relationship with Dilip Kumar refused to send her. It led to a very acrimonious court case when BR Chopra took her to court. (He had to convince the court that the film needed an outdoor schedule.)

Jeevan, though dressed rather outlandishly (jodhpurs anyone? when he is not shown anywhere near a horse?), restrains himself to make his character not 'evil'; just a businessman in quest of more profits who sees machines as a great solution. As his father points out, 'Tum sahi kaam galat tareeke se karna chaha.'(You were doing the right thing the wrong way.)
Johnny Walker comes in as the intrepid reporter who stumbles on the story of a lifetime. As expected, he also gets a song. His is actually the part that seemed written in because they wanted to sign him; not really necessary, but luckily, not overdone either. Chand Usmani, Nasir Hussain, Leela Chitnis (who does not die in this movie, let alone cough even once; in fact, she actually laughs!), and Manmohan Krishna provide able support.

And of course, where would Naya Daur be without its music? This was OP Nayyar's year - both Tumsa Nahin Dekha and Naya Daur released in 1957, cementing his place in the ranks of successful music directors. (It was also Asha Bhosle's ticket to moving away from under her sister's shadow, catapulting her to the major league.) This was lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi's first collaboration with BR Chopra; he would remain BR's in-house lyricist for the next two decades. Together, OP Nayyar and he would give us the nationalistic Ye desh hai veer jawaanon ka, the romantic Maang ke saath tumhara, the flirtatious Ud jab jab zulfein tere, the devotional Aana hai to aa that comes at a crucial point in the story, the comic Main Bambai ka babu, the inspirational Saathi haath badhana and of course, the earthy Reshmi salwar kurta jaali ka.  
OP Nayyar's score won him the Filmfare award for Best Music Director, and Chopra used these songs well. None of them seemed out of place in the tight script that was the handiwork of scriptwriter Akhtar Mirza (father of directors Saeed and Aziz Mirza) - his script was the textbook example of a good masala script. Subtle, restrained, and complete, it mixed the disparate strands - romance, comedy, action and drama - with great panache. (Mirza won the Filmfare Award for Best Story.) It is the reason why one can watch the film even today - great script, excellent acting, wonderful songs - what more does one need?


  1. Wonderful review, from the standpoint of the social impression this movie was trying to make. I have forever loved the music of this movie, but saw it just a few years ago and loved it. I have the DVD so after reading your review, I want to watch it again. The CD gets played over and over again on our long car trips. There is something about the beginning music part of "saathi haath badaana" that I can listen to over and over again.
    Vyjayanthimala in your screenshot with Dilip Kumar ( holding hands) looks a little bit like Nirupa Roy ! Meenu Mumtaz is quite an elegant dancer along with Kumkum.

  2. I thought I was the only one who saw a resemblance between the young Nirupa Roy and Vyjayanthimala. :)

    This is a film that I can watch again and again - the story and the acting and the music are all so good.

    Thank you for your appreciation, Neeru. It is impetus to keep blogging.

  3. What a very satisfying review, Anu. :-) It's been a long time since I last watched Naya Daur, but it's a film I've always enjoyed, and your review really makes me wish I had the time to watch it all over again.

    Incidentally, the Madhubala-Dilip Kumar court case you mention also resulted in the scrapping of another film they were supposed to star in, Pathan, produced by Madhubala's father. He did make it later, with Premnath, I believe. The music for Pathan was composed by my uncle.

    "This was before he got slotted into played the suave
    villain, and this film is an example of why it was such a shame that he

    So very true! I also really liked his character in Mughal-e-Azam. And my favourite Ajit film is Dholak. I so wish he'd done more films like that!

  4. Good review as usual. Should have mentioned the multifaceted Prem Dhawanji for his wonderful choreography.
    Somehow some people don't get their due.

  5. Thank you, Madhu. :) It is a very enjoyable film, and it had been a long time since I had watched it. With so many other films to watch and books to read and things to do, one never seems to have the time to revist old favourites. I'm so glad I gave in to temptation that day when I put this in to confirm which song preceded or followed Ye desh hai veer jawanon ka. Honestly, it is also the fact that I had the remastered B&W version (Yashraj Videos) that made me watch it again. Somehow, I hate the 'coloured' versions. I've never understood this fascination for colourising B&W films - why not simply clean up the old print? There is a beauty about B&W films that gets ruined by the colourising process - I think it was VK Murthy who pointed out that the film used was different and just colourising the old prints made it look rather garish. Pet peeve that. Sorry for the rant. :(

    I too liked Ajit in Mughal-e-Azam, and wish that he had done more such roles. He would have done very well as a good parallel lead, or as a character artiste. But then, I suppose there really weren't that many roles that demanded a good parallel lead. Neither did they write in good characters other than the heroes/heroines. In that sense, I suppose he was lucky to have become the main villain for so many years.

    I remember reading about Pathan - in the comments on one of your posts on your blog, I believe. Theirs is a very sad love story. :( As was Dev Anand's and Suraiya's.

  6. Thank you, Shyam. Yes, I should have mentioned Prem Dhawan for his choreography. And I would have, if I had known he was the choreographer. :( I agree that it is a shame that technicians rarely get their due. I particularly liked the cinematography as well - Wikipedia mentions a M.Malhotra. Again, I have no clue who he is.

  7. Prem Dhawan was quite versatile, Music Director (Shaheed, Pavitra Papi ) are the two well known, but there are others, will have to di some names up., Lyricist and Choreographer. "Kachhi hai umariya.... Mujhe bhi rang deta jaa" was choreographed by him too. Your favourite song Anu, Ae mere pyaare watan is also penned by him. I watched a program on him by Rajya Sabha TV that you might enjoy.http://youtu.be/9W3iTutOFEo

  8. Neeru, I know Prem Dhawan was a lyricist and music director. I also know that he had penned a couple of scripts. I didn't know that he was a choreographer as well.Thanks for that link - will watch it later today.

  9. Sorry Anu, I did not mean that you were not aware, it was just a general sentence of information about Prem Dhawan.

  10. Hoye, I wasn't offended. I was just explaining what I knew and what I didn't. :)

  11. Though the Rajya Sabha TV program was good, it still was incomplete or inadequate. I think he did choreography for 25 films or so. Many of his meaningful or beautiful lyrics have not been mentioned even. Examples, Jagte Raho and sawan. I remember Salil Choudhury mentioning somewhere about his contribution for tunes of Teki Main Jhooth Boliya, Aye Mere Pyare Watan.
    I hope you would write on Prem Dhawan at some point in future.

  12. I don't know if it was because I saw Dilip in mostly urban and urbane roles first, but I have watched the first 20-30 min of this multiple times and always get put off by the "gaonish" version of Dilip's character. I have yet to develop a taste for his "rustic" avatar. My guess is that one gets used to it, but I think that's ironic, considering that you mention Ashok turning down the role for the same reason. (That I can't see it all, though, so good choice Ashok!) Worse, Vijayanthi is far from my favorite heroine of the time. However, it's such a touchstone piece from what I gather that it's probably a film for one of those brandy nights when I'm inclined to be indulgent ;) Loved all the backstory info in your review, btw.

  13. I still haven't watched the TV program that Neeru linked to, but I hope to be able to do so tomorrow. I wouldn't mind writing about him at all - he sounds very interesting. But it is going to take me some time to research.

  14. It is funny you should say that, Miranda; of the triumvirate, I thought Dilip and Raj were the two who could have played the rustic without issues.

    Do watch, even if you have to swig brandy to get through it. I can assure you that you will find it enjoyable. :)

  15. As I have seen the Rajya Sabha TV program earlier I could say that. I know you need time for watching that and for the kind of work you do.
    So I expect a wonderful piece on a remarkable person.

  16. I agree, Anu - I can't understand this penchant for colourising B/W films. Mughal-e-Azam, Naya Daur, Hum Dono and the odd song here and there from other films which have been colourised in recent years all look uniformly unnatural (garish, too, though in Hum Dono that wasn't so much the case - there, for some odd reason, all the vegetation looked more grey than green). I wish they'd spend all that time cleaning up the prints instead.

  17. I have been laughing for the last 22 minutes or so. Does Kuttichathans only live in Keralite 's home or can he wander off to other people's home too. I am sure he does in ours and has been for many years :).
    I had read somewhere that the reason something is lost is, that you are not looking where it is. Well that may sound very logical but I like your explanation better.

  18. That was a very sweet thing to say, Shyam. Thank you. You've made my day. :) Now I really have to work hard to justify your faith. Will do my best.

  19. I'm glad that the RK scions have not given in to the trend. So far. Rishi Kapoor was rather vehement about not colourising them, so I guess we are safe for now. :(

    How nice it would be if, instead, people spent some time cleaning up prints of all our old films and archiving them properly!

  20. Hey, hey, hey, find your own kuttichatthan! Mine is alive and well in my home. :)

    And see, the point about looking where things 'are' doesn't work, when you don't find them there. They have been moved, I tell you. kuttichathans are quick! And as I wrote, a kuttichathan by any other name is just as effective in nicking things. So you probably have his cousin or long-lost uncle or someone living with you. :)

  21. Whew! Finally managed to find some time and read this one. I had seen the film ages ago on Doordarshan, I liked it, actually I like the film's songs, I am not a Dilip Kumar fan but I am definitely a fan of Vyjantimala the graceful dancer. I just love to watch her dance and then there were my two other fav dancers Minoo Mumtaz and Kumkum in reshami shalwar, so yes it was a good watch.

  22. Anu,
    A very nice review as usual. Man versus machine - a beautiful film is Charlie Chaplin's Modern Times I got to see a number of times recently. No preaching, but powerful all the same.
    On the question of how to figure out which guy the lady loves, I have a very dumb question for film experts like you and Madhu. Why couldn't they simply ask the lady to settle the question? If that was delicate, the next best alternative was the bahen, but since she was an interested party, they could have sought the help of the Ma, Mausi or Chaachi to talk to the girl. Even Ekta Kapoor would do better than think of a convoluted plan of marigolds/ jasmines, and someone swapping them. What if the lady went with roses?

  23. Thank you, AK. :)

    As for your question, it is something that leaves me (and I daresay, Madhu, as well) scratching our heads. It is as if the women have no agency in their own lives at all. They are supposed to be happy being passed around like parcels for some stupid man-code. In this film, it is worse - Shankar knows that Rajni loves him; but he is willing to 'let her go' because his friend Krishna loves her as well. I mean, what the heck is wrong with the man? Couldn't he have just told Krishna that he and Rajni love each other? I actually liked Rajni's response when Shankar blames her for his falling out with his friend.

    Laughing at the idea of Rajni bringing roses to the puja. Perhaps the only flowers that were available in the region were marigolds and jasmine. :)

  24. It is so sweet of you to take the time out to read my post, Shilpi, when you are so busy running around!

  25. Nalini Ikkandath24 October 2014 at 04:50

    After I read the review I realised that I have seen this movie, long, long, ago, in the dark ages of Doordarshan. And liked it too in spite of not being a big fan of Dilip Kumar. However I have often noticed that back then (60's and even upto the 70's), many women (in movies) did have a mind of their own, e.g. Meena Kumari in Parineeta (the way she confronts Ashok Kumar when she considers herself married to him but he thinks she's married to another man) and Paro in the old Devdas when she tells him,'mujhme roop bhi hai, gun bhi hai, tumme doono nahi hai' or something to that effect. See, a nice idea for a blog too, heroines who stand up for themselves. Anyway glad to read all the new blogs Anu. Thank you. The Shammi one (which I read first) was extremely well researched.

  26. Nalini, that is a fine observation about women in movies. And yes, definitely worthy of a post. (Thanks for the idea.) There have been many, though we were also treated to the ideal versions of the 'Bharatiya naari as well. What I found intriguing about some of those (former) characterisations was that the woman was strong even within the boundaries of tradition. It was not just the 'modern' woman who was strong; traditional heroines were equally self-respecting characters with wills of their own.

    Thank you for reading and commenting! I'm glad you enjoy my posts. :)

  27. Nalini Ikkandath25 October 2014 at 05:30

    Actually these women were strong within their boundries. The "modern" woman, as you have so often observed, either grew long hair and took to sarees (if it was Nanda, Mumtaz, etc.) or repented and died (if it was Helen, etc). While on this topic I also liked Hema who in Khushboo refuses to go to her husband's house until HE comes to take her.

  28. True. It was the bane of Hindi films that (contradictorily) you had to be 'modern' to be strong ('traditional' meant being a doormat) but that if you were 'western' and had short hair, you were either a) a bad woman or b) would be changed by the rustic hero into a sari-clad, long-haired woman.


Back to TOP