Indian film legend Bimal Roy is India’s most revered filmmaker after Satyajit Ray in International cinema. Interestingly, while Satyajit Ray made sober and realistic cinema that depicted the naked realities of life minus entertainment, Bimal Roy, introduced in a new brand of cinema that was realistic and took serious subjects but presented it on screen with a perfect blend of song and entertainment. Hence Bimal Roy‘s cinema was both artistic and commercial. Remember his hit films like Parineeta, Devdas, Madhumati, Yahudi, Sujata, Bandini, etc.
In 1953, Bimal Roy turned film producer after he witnessed Vittorio De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves and was left spellbound by its magic. After leaving the theatre he was so overwhelmed by the film that he decided to make a similar film which was a perfect combination of art and commerce. When film producers did not come forward to support his style of cinema, Bimal Roy turned producer. Bimal Roy wanted to make a cinema that was purposeful yet entertaining thus he made his first film Do Bigha Zamin (1953) and was flooded by appreciations and awards.
Do Bigha Zamin dwell with the issue of farmers’ and the tussle between them and land mafia, who try to grab their land for making industries. The film brilliantly depicted a farmer’s struggle how he tries to rescue his land. He migrates to the city to make money and pay back the Landlord’s debt but fails in his endeavor. The climax where his land is grabbed by land sharks and he watches them helplessly is moving and heart-rendering.
The performance by young actor Balraj Sahni as the farmer is excellent. The melodious music by Salil Chowdhary made the film light and entertaining. The film to date is regarded as a classic in Indian cinema.
Incidentally the same year the Indian government started National Film Awards and Do Bigha Zamin (1953) became the First Film to win the Best Film National Award. The same year, the Times Of India Group instituted the Filmfare awards and interestingly Do Bigha Zamin (1953) had yet again the distinction of winning the Best Film Award. Thus Do Bigha Zamin wrote history as the First Film to win both First National and Filmfare Best Film Award!!
Besides, winning laurels in India, Do Bigha Zamin created ripples in International film awards and became the First Film to win the prestigious Prix International at Cannes. It also won Social Progress Award at the Karlovy Vary International Film Festival.