Missing home.

I try to have daily calls with my mom for the last 6 years I’ve been away from home. I just got off the phone with her and we teared up a bit in the end. I’m in San Francisco and she’s back home in…


独家优惠奖金 100% 高达 1 BTC + 180 免费旋转

Movies that India watched at the dawn of freedom

Come Independence Day and all cable networks start doing their re-runs of Gandhi, Border, Lagaan, Gadar and that set of indistinguishable movies of Akshay Kumar. We have articles telling us movies based on Independence Day and movies based on our freedom struggle which are a must-watch.

However, which movies were Indians watching at the time that India was having its tryst with destiny? These were essentially the movies that were running in the theatres in the days leading to the most important day in India’s recent past and the days that followed. They were perhaps party to the earliest celebrations and festivities in free India. Most of these movies have been picked up based on their listings for the movie theatres on the newspapers of the time.

Source: The Bombay Chronicle

It is also interesting to see which were the movies that got lost in all the fanfare of this significant year and those that remained as legends with us. So first, lets start with the ones that hardly have any mention or record left of them.

Mera Geet

Source: The Bombay Chronicle

The 15th of August, 1947 was a Friday; which means movie release day (although this was not really a trend that was set in firmly at that point but that topic is for another time). Sure enough, the day India got freedom also marked the release date for 2 films in the Hindi film world. One of them went on to become a super hit and the other one was Mera Geet. Perhaps the only thing Mera Geet got right was that it released on this day because that is the only reason why the movie has been remembered even after so many years. The film starring Naseem Jr, Sushil Kumar and Lila Pawar did not succeed in becoming the song that the nation would hum.

Do Dil

Do Dil, starring the popular Suraiya, Motilal and Karan Diwan, directed by Jagdish Sethi and written by DN Madhok was released on the 9th of Aug, 1947, a week before the day of India’s freedom. It could have become the movie that newly free Indians watched in their days of revelry, but it did not succeed in that.

While the movie did not seem to have made any major waves, the KL Saigal-esque rendering of the songs “Apna Bana ke”, “Jiyaa Beimaan, Bas Mein Paraaye Hai” by Mukesh to the music by Pt. Gobindram and DN Madhok’s lyrics although not a “hit” for the times, are rare gems that got lost due to the fate of the movie.


Source: The Bombay Chronicle

Hatam Tai

Many of the 80s and 90s kids are aware of the 1990 Hatim Tai with the sword wielding Jitendra and flying fairy Sangeeta Bijlani. This one however is one among the many adaptations of the legend of Hatim Tai of Arabia. The other one of them was released a week prior to the Independence Day on 8th August, 1947. The cast of the film included Vanmala, Kamal Kapur, Vikram Kapur, Azurie, Amirbai Karnataki and Kashinath. Music for the film was composed by A. Kumar. The film did not have a significant impact on the audience and there is hardly any information available about the movie today.

Moving away from the movies that failed to make a mark to the ones that are fondly remembered even now. From an Arabian legend to an Indian one — Meera. Both these legendary characters have had their stories told in several adaptations in the movies and television medium.


MS Subbulakshmi is a well-known name for most people in South India. The highly accomplished Carnatic singer had many firsts to her credit being the first musician to receive a Bharat Ratna and the Ramon Magsasay award. However, her career as a film actor is not so well-known and rightly so since she has acted in just six movies and just the one in Hindi — Meera, which gave her national prominence. The movie was originally made in Tamil and released in 1945 and went on to become a huge success. This success paved the way for the Hindi version of the movie to be made. However, it was probably only a few elite Indians who watched this movie at the time of India’s independence at the preview event shown in pictures here. The film was released for the public viewing only 4 months later on 21st November 1947. On this list, it serves more as an honorary mention.

Source: The Bombay Chronicle

Neel Kamal

The cast : A 14-year-old Mumtaz Mahal known at the time as Baby Mumtaz, an assistant to the director Kedar Sharma who became the lead actor after the initially cast actor Jairaj Paidi left the film and the glamorous Begum Para. The 14-year-old would go on to become the charming and wonderful actress Madhubala and the assistant director who got prodded to take the lead role would go on to become the showman Raj Kapoor.

The movie was considered to be a commercial failure. However, it is a treat to look at the first performance as lead actors of the two legends of Indian cinema. The innocence of their performance makes up for all the other flaws of the movie. This movie would also draw the curtains on Baby Mumtaz and Mumtaz Mahal and what or rather who emerged once the curtains opened again is now well known. The movie continues to stay in memory thanks to the powerful cast that it had in its store but was not yet ready for fruition.

Source: The Bombay Chronicle


The word Shehnai has the following introduction note written on it Wikipedia article.

Wikipedia reference — ‘Shehnai’

Remember the movie we began our list with and reserved one for the end? Well, that ‘other’ movie was called Shehnai. It could have only been apt looking at this description of Shehnai. It checks all the boxes for being the movie that was released on the 15th of August, 1947; the first movie released in free India that went on to become a hit and was the fifth highest grossing Indian film of that year. True to its name, it was auspicious for the nation and the movie itself.

The film directed by PL Santoshi had the cast of Nasir Khan in the main lead along with Indumati and Rehana with music provided by C. Ramachandra. Among the cast, we also find the mention of the then relatively unknown Kishore Kumar who happened to have a part role in this movie. The main lead Nasir Khan was the younger brother of another legend, Dilip Kumar. An interesting trivia is that Nasir Khan shifted to Lahore in Pakistan after Partition, only to return back to Mumbai three years later in 1951. However, in his time in Pakistan he went on to star in the first Pakistani film “Teri Yaad” in 1948. Technically, Nasir Khan holds the distinction then of having starred in the first movies made of the two newly independent nations.

While most of these are hardly available on any online medium currently, it is possible to find a few songs and video clips of some of these forgotten movies. If reading this article rose your curiosity about these movies, do try and look up for them.

While we have looked at the Hindi movies that were being watched during this time, there were also a good share of English movies that were vying for attention. This could be a topic for another post but I will leave with one poster of the movie on the heroic Tarzan, who has served as a source of let’s say, ‘fun and entertainment’ in all its different and quirky forms through the ages.

Source: The Bombay Chronicle

Add a comment

Related posts:

Best Family Board Games

For most of the week, your family is likely hustling through work and school while scarfing down a quick dinner before homework and bed. Hit the pause button and make room for memories that’ll last a…

Communication is the Key to Education

Providing each student in the school system with a good education should be the goal of every educator, but this rarely happens due to poor instruction by teachers. Paulo Friere’s 1968 book, Pedagogy…


Hoje eu quero falar sobre o gosto dos doces. E sobre os diversos tipos de doces. E sobre a diversidade inusitada da percepção do que é doce. O que é doce pra você? Pra mim o doce desliza, às vezes…