The movie ‘Mother India’, is a story about a woman Radha (Nargis Dutt) who marries Shamoo (Raj Kumar) and comes to his village, where she discovers that her mother in law, Sundar Chachi, has kept their land as mortgage to the village userer, Sukhilala, for a loan of five-hundred rupees in order to pay for their marriage. Now, since they have to pay off the loan, Radha and Shamoo decide to work on an arid piece of land. While moving the boulders from that land one of them rolls on to Shamoo’s arms and thus he has to have them amputated. With his arms gone, he feels helpless as he is of no use to the family now and runs away leaving Radha behind. Sukhilala takes advantage of the situation. He proposes to offer Radha food in return for her sexual favors. Radha remains strong for a long time and persistently denies his proposal. But then, being unable to bear the fact that her children are starving, she agrees to have sex with Sukhilala. So she goes to his house, but as soon as she is about to submit herself to him, she perceives a divine signal of her husband still being alive and immediately leaves Sukhilala’s house. Next we see that her two sons Birjoo (Sunil Dutt) and Ramoo (Rajender Kumar) are grown men. Ramoo is the responsible types whereas Birjoo is more of an aggressive person. The fact that they still have to give three-fourth of their produce to Sukhilala drives Birjoo insane. His aggression homai vyarawalla becomes a cause of disturbance to the villagers. Despite of several pleas by Radha the villagers throw him out of the village and then he turns into a duct. When Sukhilala decides to get his daughter married, Birjoo threatens to abduct her from the marriage ceremony itself. To this Radha assures Sukhilala that she would protect his daughter. Thus when Birjoo arrives she shoots him dead.
Many scenes in the film depict the submissive nature of a woman. For example when Sukhilala is chasing Radha in his house and is about to grab her, she falls to the floor right in front of her mangalsutra which she had thrown away on reaching his house. Now looking at her mangalsutra in front of her she gets a divine signal about her husband being alive. She then leaves his house hurriedly and goes back to face her sufferings with new hope. From this example, the notion of Radha being submissive to her husband and also her divine love for her husband can be perceived.
This movie was directed by Mehboob long back in the 90’s. An Indian woman at that time was more or less like Radha in the movie. They were strong in nature and character. As for this film itself we can see how Radha helps her husband in the field to make ends meet. She is a good daughter in law and a mother too. She does not submit herself to Sukhilala in the most desperate of conditions when her children are starving and she requires food for them. Mostly, from the movie we come across the fact that Radha lives her life for her family. She does not have any freedom of her own and has dedicated her life to her family right from the beginning. Even though she has all the opportunity to lead a happy life with Sukhilala she does not do so.