The Dialogue of Mother India, Mehboob Khan’s Immortal Classic features the film’s complete dialogue by Vajahat Mirza and S. Ali Raza and songs by Shakeel Badayuni presented in Hindi, Urdu, and Roman scripts. Lavishly illustrated, the original dialogue is accompanied by an English translation, introduction and commentary.
Though cinema is primarily a visual medium, dialogue is crucial to every aspect of the film narrative. It can identify the location of the story, direct and hold the attention of the viewer, develop plot, create atmosphere, situate the story in a social and cultural context and, most importantly, reveal and express every character’s emotion. The film’s dialogue, brilliantly delivered by Nargis, Raaj Kumar, Kanhaiyalal, Sunil Dutt and Rajendra Kumar bring alive this magnificent saga of survival and fortitude.
Acknowledged as one of Indian cinema’s most important and best-loved films, Mehboob Khan’s Mother India has a powerful and poignant screenplay that matches its visual beauty and enduring appeal.
Born in Lucknow in 1908, Vajahat Mirza began his cinema career as an assistant cameraman at New Theatres in Calcutta. He later moved to Mumbai in the 1940s where he worked as an actor and a director. An exceptional screenplay and dialogue writer, Vajahat Mirza’s poetry in Urdu, though never published, was also regarded as first-rate. He gave to Indian cinema extraordinary screenplays, including Mughal-e-Azam (co-writer), Shikast, Yahudi, Gunga Jumna and Leader. The award-winning Mother India was his sixth collaboration with Mehboob Khan.
Nephew of celebrated writer Agha Jani Kashmiri, Syed Ali Raza’s distinctive and marvellous writing style shone through from his first film Andaaz (directed by Mehboob Khan). S. Ali Raza wrote dialogue for many Mehboob Khan films, including the popular Aan. During the making of the film, he met the actress Nimmi and they later married. S. AN Raza passed away in Mumbai on I November 2007 at the age of 85.
Notes on translator Author and documentary filmmaker, Nasreen Munni Kabir has written many books on Indian film, including Guru Dutt, a life in cinema (Oxford University Press, New Delhi, 1996), Lata Mangeshkor in her own voice (Niyogi Books, 2009) and The Dialogue of Awaara, Raj Kapoar’s Immortal Classic (Niyogi Books, 2010).
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