Do Bhiga Zamin (1953 movie worth a watch)

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Do Bhiga Zamin (1953 movie worth a watch)

Post by Seva Lamberdar on Thu Apr 09, 2015 9:21 am

Hard to believe Bombay movie industry used to make such movies ("Do bhiga zamin" literally means "a small piece of land").

Bimol Roy (director) and his acting crew (actor Balraj Sahni and others)  did an excellent job in making this movie.

"Do Bigha Zameen would earn Bimal Roy the first of many important accolades that he would receive the rest of his life. Roy got awards for Best Picture and Best Director in India. It was not an immensely successful film at the box-office, but it was very well received at international film festivals such as Cannes and Karlovy Vary. Film critics compared it with the master works of Italian neo-realism, such as Bicycle Thief and Umberto D, and many thought that it spoke on behalf of the exploited around the world. Balraj Sahni was already a known entity in the film world; but Do Bigha Zameen would catapult him into the first rank of actors. “When, one day, I die,” he has written, “I shall have the satisfaction that I acted in ‘Do Bigha Zameen.’”

"Note 1: There is an interesting account in Bhisham Sahni, Balraj: My Brother (New Delhi: National Book Trust, 1991[1981]) of how Balraj Sahni trained for this role. He went to the Calcutta rickshaw-pullers’ union and took lessons. Among those he encountered on the roads was a rickshaw puller who, it transpired, was living the very story that was being shot – except that, unlike Shambu who spent three months in Calcutta, this rickshaw puller had been in Calcutta for over 15 years in an attempt to save his two bighas of land. Here is how Balraj described the moment of epiphany: “Then I, as it were, imbibed the soul of this middle-aged rickshaw-puller within me, and stopped thinking about the art of acting. I think the real secret of the unexpected success of my role lay in this. A basic rule of acting had come my way suddenly, not from any book but from life itself”  (

Seva Lamberdar

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