Year – 1952
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Bombay Talkies
Director – Bimal Roy
Music Director – S. K. Pal
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Bhupen Kapoor, Kusum Deshpande, Shyama, N. Hussain, Paul Mahendra, Achla Sachdev, B. M. Vyas, Kumud, Bharat Vyas, Bikram Kapoor, Asit Sen, Leela Chitnis, Bharat Bhushan, Manju
Miscellaneous Info –
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BIMAL Roy’s “Maa” is an outstanding picture. Centering around the lives of a self-sacrificing son and his mother, it moves from one emotional experience to another with such deep realism that the audience literally lives through the vicissitudes of the principal characters. It is in this artistic realism and general appeal that “Maa” scores and leaves a lasting impression on one.
The film opens with the exploits of one Bhanu, the go-getting son of Chandrabhan. a zamindar’s clerk. His elder brother Rajen, a law student, and his wife Padma bear a lasting grudge against him. Even his father is thoroughly displeased with him. The story reaches a climax when the father, forced by circumstances, commits theft. Bhanu takes the blame upon himself and is awarded one year’s jail. Troubled by his conscience, the father falls ill and the mother looks forward to the day when her son will come back.
After a year Bhanu is released. His friends and relations shun him. Even his sweetheart Meena misunderstands him. Caring a fig for the entire lot of them, he goes to meet his mother. But his brother Rajen turns him out of the house. He leaves the village. His ailing father collapses and makes a dying declaration that it was he ho committed the theft. The mother goes mad with her double loss and only the hope of getting Bhanu back keeps her alive. She is reduced to utter misery.
Luckily Bhanu gets a good position in a city firm and he keeps sending money to his mother. But Padma and Rajen conspire to draw the money each time, while the poor mother starves. Bhanu comes to know of her plight and rushes anxiously to her side. The meeting between mother and son is so moving that many in the audience will feel a lump in their throats.
In this film interludes of humor punctutuate the otherwise heavy drama. Acting standards are unusually high. Leela Chitnis in the title role has given easily the best performance of the year so far. Equally forceful is Bharat Bhushan in the role of the dutiful son, and it is pleasing to witness this handsome young man ascending the ladder of stardom after a chequered career. Kumud as the shrew, Nazir Hussain and Vyas are impressive. Shyama, however, is the only disappointment. Her mechanical acting not only spoils the poignancy of the theme but also reduces its emotional impact.
The dialogue is natural and full of wit. The music on the whole is appealing and at least two of S. K. Pal’s tuneful songs are likely to become popular. Editing is crisp and the “taking” is of a very high order. The photography is also good but it does little credit to Bimal Roy and Joseph Wirsching, two of India’s top cameramen. It is extraordinary at places but, on the whole, erratic. The worst job, however, is done by the printer, who has spoiled the technical brilliance of the film to a very large extent.
In “Maa” director Bimal Roy surpasses even his monumental contribution for 1950, “Pahela Admi.”