indian cinema heritage foundation

Babla (1951)

  • LanguageBengali

The film centers around the family of Purna Ganguly. Purna works at a factory in Kolkata. His wife Shailya and infant son Babla live in rural Bengal. He plans to move his family to Kolkata where he lives in the house of a kind old woman. Shailya arrives in Kolkata with their son only to find Purna had met an accident on his way to receive them. The old woman accepts Shailya as her own daughter-in-law and lets her stay at her place. Babla grows up to be an intelligent and studious boy. However, he finds it difficult to secure his admission in a good school that would provide him free education. Luckily, he gets admitted to a school where the headmaster waves half the fee. Babla excels as a student and ranks first in the class. Lalu, the old woman's nephew, does not pass for the third consecutive time. He starts selling newspapers to earn a livelihood. One day Babla helps Lalu sell his newspaper for which Lalu pays him a small sum. Babla returns to his place only to find his mother very ill. The doctor advises that she should be kept in seclusion. Baba does not pay heed to this instruction and clings closer to his mother who grows feebler day after day. On the day of his school's annual prize distribution, Babla impresses the magistrate Birendranath Mukhopadhyay and his daughter Bibha. The condition of Babla's mother continues to worsen which affects Babla greatly. Babla also comes to know of the acute financial strain on the family due to his mother's treatment. He starts selling newspapers on his own and doing odd jobs. One day Babla returns the lost purse of Pramod Banerjee who is a lawyer and Bibha's fiance. Pramod comes to know of the illness of Babla's mother and promises to send his doctor. Babla also becomes aware of the relation between Bibha and Pramod. In a tragic turn of events, Bibha meets an accident and is kidnapped by two men whose case was refused by Pramod. Babla, a witness to this incident, informs Pramod of Bibha's abduction. Pramod and Babla arrive with the police at the hideout to save Bibha. Babla returns to his sick mother. Pramod takes his doctor to Babla's place only to find that his mother had died. Bibha and Pramod decide to bring Babla home to take care of him. However, they find out that Babla had already set on a journey of self-discovery and independence. They realise that Babla does not want their help in his life but he would rather take charge of it all by himself. The film ends with Babla walking away from Bibha and Pramod who have now accepted Babla's choice and let him go.

The film was later remade in Malayalam as Newspaper Boy (1955).