Some historians say that Balraj Sahni was India's first method actor. There is a scene that I vividly remember after watching it in Doordarshan from the movie Do Bigha Zamin, directed by Bimal Roy who was inspired by the legendary movie Bicycle Thieves after watching it at the first international film festival in Mumbai in 1952, Balraj Sahni apparently lost weight and spent time in Calcutta as a rickshaw puller to look the part.
India is a poor county , 32.7% of our population lives in extreme poverty. Millions migrate to cities from drought stricken farmlands in search of better livelihood. Farmer suicide is still rampant. Crop insurance hardly exists. Its stark and poverty is in your face.
Do Bigha Zameen as the name suggests is a piece of land. Balraj Sahni plays a farmer Shambhu who migrates to the city to earn the princely sum of Rs. 235 that he needs to repay the debt on his land that is pledged to a landlord. He works as a rickshaw puller and his son polishes shoes. I do get extremely ashamed that India still has rickshaw pullers in many cities after so many years of independence .. This dark reality where someone whose only asset is his body is made to sweat for every paisa is a stark reality in India even now.
India is a poor county , 32.7% of our population lives in extreme poverty. Millions migrate to cities from drought stricken farmlands in search of better livelihood. Farmer suicide is still rampant. Crop insurance hardly exists.
Shambhu and his son try to save every paisa but unfortunately his wife falls sick and he meets with an accident. The movie ends with Shambhu going back to his village only to find a factory constructed on his land. As he tries to take some soil from the land so dear to him, the security guard stops him suspecting he is a thief.
In this cruel scene, a city bred rich couple are having a race. The girl boards a rickshaw first and the guy follows on the rickshaw driven by Balraj Sahni. To win the race the man keeps promising more money to Shambhu who in the excitement keeps going faster. The wheel of his rickshaw comes off and he meets with an accident. A man desperate for money is nothing but an animal in the cruel world.
Trivia - Hrishikesh Mukherji was the scenarist for this movie and Meena Kumari made a cameo appearance
In another scorching irony, as you watch this scene on youtube , you will see ads from Uber for drivers. The more we change , the more we remain the same. Can Digital India save Daridriya India? Or is it just irrational Uberance?