indian cinema heritage foundation

Aurat (Woman) (1940)

  • Release Date10/05/1940
  • GenreSocial
  • FormatB-W
  • LanguageHindi
  • Run Time162 min
  • Length4439.72 meters
  • Number of Reels15
  • Gauge35 mm
  • Censor RatingU
  • Censor Certificate NumberB22230
  • Shooting LocationMumbai

Radha is a hard-working woman who is trying to pay off the loans of Sukhilal, the ruthless moneylender in her village. Things take a miserable turn for her when her husband Shamu abandons her once he comes to know that she is expecting their fourth child. She is left with four sons, struggling against starvation and also subjected to the indecent advances of the unscrupulous Sukhilal. Two of her eldest sons die, but the younger ones survive. They grow up to be the hardworking and disciplined Ramu and her favourite, the volatile Birju. Circumstances lead Birju to become a bandit chieftain, which causes the family to be ostracized by their village community. Birju, railing against the injustices committed by Sukhilal, ends up killing him and attempts to abduct his childhood sweetheart Tulsi. At this juncture, Radha is compelled to kill her son for the greater good of the community. 

The film is the blueprint for the much better known Mother India (1957), which Mehboob Khan would make seventeen years later. The production originally started at Sagar Movietone but was finished at National Studios.