Do Bigha Zamin

Do Bigha Zamin, India, 13 November 1953

The story revolves around a farmer Shambu Mahato (Balraj Sahni), who lives with his wife Parvati 'Paro' (Nirupa Roy) and son Kanhaiya (Rattan Kumar) in a small village that has been hit badly by a famine. After years of drought, the region finally gets rain, leading the farmers to rejoice. Shambu owns two bighas (two-thirds of an acre of land) of land, which is the only means of livelihood for the whole family. The local zamindar (landlord) Thakur Harnam Singh (Murad) partners with some city business men to construct a mill on his large parcel of land, which in return would profit them and bring prosperity to the village. The only problem is that in the middle of Harnam singh's land lie Shambu's meager two bighas of land.

Harnam Singh is very confident that he can buy Shambu's land. Shambu has borrowed money from Harnam Singh several times in the past and has not paid his debt. Harnam Singh calls for Shambu and proposes Shambu to sell his land to him in exchange for his debt. Shambu disagrees to sell his only means of livelihood. Angered by the refusal, Harnam Singh orders him to repay his debt by the next day or risk auctioning his land.

Shambu returns home to discuss the issue with his father, and with the help of his son, they figure out that the debt amounts to 65 rupees. Shambu wants to save his land by all means and sells all his household items including his wife's gold earrings. When Shambu meets Harman Singh's accountant to pay back his debt of 65 rupees, he's shocked to know that he actually owes 235 rupees. The accountant had forged the accounts and now refuses to consider the labor provided by Shambu's father Gangu as portion of debt payoff. The case goes to court and Shambu, being an illiterate, has a tough time explaining to the judge how the accountant forged the numbers and how he took accountant's word of mouth and did not demand any receipt. Shambu loses the case and the judge orders Shambu to pay 235 rupees to Harnam Singh in three months. If Shambu is not able to clear the debt, then his land would be auctioned off and the proceeds would go to pay off his debts.

  • Genre: Thriller
  • Runtime: 142 Minutes
  • Director: Bimal Roy
  • Awards: 1st Filmfare Awards (1954), Best Director - Bimal Roy, All India Certificate of Merit for Best Feature Film,

Story

Do Bigha Zamin (Hindi: दो बीघा ज़मीन, translation "two thirds of an acre of land") is 1953 Hindi film, directed by Bengali film director Bimal Roy and starring Balraj Sahni and Nirupa Roy in lead roles. The film is known for its socialist theme, and is an important film in the early parallel cinema of India and is rightly considered a trend setter. Bigha is measure of land area but is not same as acre though translating the title as such serves the purpose.

Inspired by Italian neo-realistic cinema, Bimal Roy made Do Bigha Zameen after watching Vittorio De Sica's Bicycle Thieves (1948). Like most of Bimal Roy's movies, art and commercial cinema merge to create a movie that is still viewed as a benchmark. It has paved the way for future cinema makers in the Indian neo-realist movement and the Indian New Wave, which began in the 1950s.

A moderate commercial success, it was the first film to win the Filmfare Best Movie Award and the first Indian film to win the International Prize at the Cannes Film Festival, after Neecha Nagar (1946), which won the Palme d'Or (Grand Prize). In 2005, Indiatimes Movies ranked the movie amongst the Top 25 Must See Bollywood Films.