Do Ankhen Barah Haath – 1958 Film
The movie is good. Without a doubt. But a little too Christian for my taste.
For starters, the protagonist is called Adinath, meaning ‘Lord of the beginning’. This is not a Hindu concept, and I have never heard it used by anyone to refer to (any) God. It is used by Jains, but V. Shantaram is not concerned with it, he is concerned with making something he can sell in the west.
- The idea that God (Adinath) is different (as compared to the Hindu idea that God is present in everyone).
- The idea that God is inherently superior (everyone starts calling the protagonist ‘Babu-Ji immediately). He is not better, he is just different.
- The idea that God has a father figure to play.
- Babu-Ji is western (and characteristically wears western clothes), while the rest of them are “savages” (with raw expressions and uncivilized movements).
- Men carrying the burden of sin, of which they are never absolved, but forgiven.
- The idea that God is ‘disappointed’ but always gives another chance to those who ask for it.
- That the right way is to surrender yourself to God. (I mean, they leave their wife and children to stay with ‘Babu-Ji!!!)
I might be forgetting some more points, but the fact that the movie is all about Christian morality being bestowed over lowly Indians is beyond doubt. Not to mention that the director’s other movies also bear his trademark of pandering to a Western audience.
Due to this reason I put this movie in the same category as The Birth of a Nation, though probably much more thinly veiled and not as controversial. And looking at current-day India, probably apt.
Technically good never the less.
EDIT: It won the Silver Bear Grand Jury Prize in 1958.