Radha (Nargis), now an old woman, remembers her past: her married life with two sons in a village. The family have to work extremely hard to pay off the avaricious moneylender, Sukhilala (Kanhaiyalal) and her husband (Raaj Kumar), having lost both arms in an accident, leaves her.
Alone, she has to raise the children while fending off the financial as well as sexual pressures from Sukhilala. One son dies in a flood and in later years her son Birju (Dutt, Nargis’s later husband) becomes a rebel committed to direct, violent action, while the other one, Ramu (Rajendra Kumar), remains a dutiful son.
In the end, the long-suffering Mother India can only put an end to her rebellious son’s activities by killing him, as his blood fertilises the soil.
Did you know?
This film has acquired the status of an Indian equivalent to the English classic 'Gone with the Wind' (1939); massively successful and seen as a national epic, although formally the film’s rhythms and lyrical ruralism seem closer to Dovzhenko’s later work finished by Yulia Solntseva. Read More