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Dharti Ke Lal
Directed by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas
Produced by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas,
IPTA Pictures
Written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas(Screenplay),
Bijon Bhattacharya (Screenplay),
Krishan Chander (Story)
Story by Krishan Chander
Starring Balraj Sahni
Tripti Mitra
Sombhu Mitra
Music by Ravi Shankar
Cinematography Jamnadas Kapadia
Release dates
Running time
125 mins
Country India
Language Hindi

Dharti Ke Lal (Children of the Earth in English) is a 1946 Hindi film and the first directorial venture of the noted film director Khwaja Ahmad Abbas (K. A. Abbas). It was jointly written by Khwaja Ahmad Abbas and Bijon Bhattacharya, based on plays by Bijon Bhattacharya and the story 'Annadata' by Krishan Chander.

The film had lyrics by Ali Sardar Jafri, and Prem Dhawan.

In 1949, Dharti Ke Lal became the first Indian film to receive widespread distribution in the USSR.[1]


Dharti Ke Lal was critically acclaimed for its scathing view of notorious Bengal famine of 1943 in which over 1.5 million people died. It is considered an important political film as it gives a realistic portrayal of the changing social and economic climate during the World War II.

The film uses the plight of a single family caught in this famine, and tells the story of human devastation, and the loss of humanity during the struggle to survive.

During the Bengal famine of 1943, members of IPTA travelled all over India, performing plays and collecting funds for the survivors of the famine, which has destroyed a whole generation of farmer families in Bengal.[2] Thus Abbas was deeply influenced by the work of IPTA, and hence based his script upon two of IPTA plays, Nabanna (Harvest) and Jabanbandi by Bijon Bhattacharya, and the story Annadata by Krishan Chander. Even the cast of the film was mainly actors from IPTA.

The film marked, another chapter in the influential new wave in Indian cinema which focussed on socially relevant themes as in Neecha Nagar (1946), made by Chetan Anand, also scripted by Abbas, and which continued with Bimal Roy's Do Bigha Zamin (1953).

It was the first and perhaps the only film produced by IPTA (Indian People's Theater Association) and remains one of the important Hindi films of that decade. The film marked the screen debut of Zohra Sehgal and also gave actor Balraj Sahni his first important on screen role.[3]

The New York Times called it "...a gritty realistic drama." [1]

It proved to be tremendously influential not only to future filmmakers who admired its neorealist-like qualities—but also to intellectuals of India's left-wing.[4]



  1. ^ Dharti Ke Lal Indian Express.
  2. ^ Indian arts
  3. ^ Balraj Sahani Rediff.com.
  4. ^ Dharti ke Lal Overview New York Times
  • Dictionary of Films (Berkeley: U. of CA Press, 1977), p. 84.
  • Vasudev and Lenglet, eds., Indian Cinema Super-bazaar (New Delhi: Vikas, 1978).
  • Shyamala A. Narayan, The Journal of Commonwealth Literature, 1 1976; vol. 11: pp. 82 – 94.
  • Amir Ullah Khan and Bibek Debroy, Indian Economic Transition through Bollywood Eyes.

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dharti_Ke_Lal — Please support Wikipedia.
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India Today

India Today
Fri, 10 Jul 2015 01:14:19 -0700

Legendary actress and the Grand Old Lady of Bollywood, Zohra Sehgal, was born on April 27, 1912. Zohra Sehgal is a well-known actress and choreographer of the Indian cinema. She started her career as a dancer in Uday Shankar's dance company and ...
Economic Times
Fri, 01 May 2015 03:16:58 -0700

Known for films like "Do Bigha Zamin", "Dharti ke Lal", "Waqt" and "Kabuliwala", the actor passed away on April 13, 1973 following a cardiac arrest. He is still remembered for his energetic and lively performance on song "Aye meri zohra jabeen" and ...

The Hindu (blog)

The Hindu (blog)
Tue, 17 Feb 2015 01:22:30 -0800

The rise of the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) has given an outlet for the exasperation and frustration with the political system faced by the educated middle-class youngsters in this country. Idealism -- hitherto masquerading as apathy -- has found a refuge in ...


Mon, 13 Apr 2015 05:09:43 -0700

Indian Cinema shall always remain indebted to Balraj Sahni, the brilliant actor who gave respectability to the otherwise looked down profession. A highly educated person with degree in both English Literature and Hindi, he was one of the most sensitive ...

Hindustan Times

Hindustan Times
Sat, 24 Jan 2015 02:19:00 -0800

The festival is screening nine of Sahni's films this week. The actor's son, Parikshit Sahni who flagged off the event last Friday says, “Thanks to this festival I got to see some rare archival works of my father, like Dharti Ke Lal, that are not ...
Sun, 10 Aug 2014 12:13:16 -0700

She made her film debut in 1946, appearing in the Hindi film Dharti Ke Lal (Children of the Earth), the first venture of the film director Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, which was acclaimed for its searing depiction of the 1943 Bengal famine. Her second picture ...
Sun, 19 Oct 2014 19:48:45 -0700

Ravi Shankar was the music director of the IPTA's first film venture, Dharti Ke Lal (1946), directed by Khwaja Ahmed Abbas. It won an international award at the Cannes Film Festival. Preetidi was one of the main singers in it. Among other films of the ...
Fri, 22 Aug 2014 02:12:53 -0700

Some of his popular films include "Dharti Ke Lal" (1946), "Jagte Raho" (1956) and plays such as "Chand Baniker Pala". On the occasion of the prolific playwright's birth centenary, DD Bharti will telecast Bohurupee's production 'Dak Ghar' directed by ...

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