Purab Aur Paschim Themes

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Purab Aur Paschim is a 1970 Hindi film which was seen as a path-breaking and trendsetting patriotic film in independent India. It displays the different aspects of the social construct and cultural influences of Indians in both London and India. Although this film is best known for its portrayal of values such as national pride and loyalty of Indians, it also conveys important messages such as preventing brain drain in India while embedding values such as filial piety and significance of marriage.

In the beginning of the film, Bharat’s loyalty to India is clearly evident as seen in the dialogue exchange between Bharat and Guruji. According to Guruji, people from the West used to travel to India to seek education whereas today, Indians are
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Second generation Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) such as Preeti and ‘Orphan’ do not even know that the touching of elder’s feet is to seek their blessings. Furthermore, the NRIs who slant their Indian names in a modern angle like ‘Mohan’ to ‘Man’ and ‘Omkar’ to ‘Opee’ prove their dismissal of the Indian roots. The Indians Bharat meet in London have not just forgotten their history but despise it. Thus, he sings ‘Bharat Ka Rehne wala’, a song full of achievements by Indians and praises for India. Despite being Hindus, Indians who are born and bred in London like Preeti do not know what Bhagavad-Gita is as shown in the scene where she asks Bharat if he is reading a novel where the female protagonist is called Gita. However, I do feel that these are slightly exaggerated as the Indians may not be unaware of their roots to this extent.
Although the people from the West are generally represented to be bad due to the values they live up to, their attitude towards life and vices, it is shown in the film that there are some good people who restore our faith in the West. An example would be Christina who had an affair with Mohan before realizing that he is a married man with a child, and thereafter makes him realise his mistake and reunites him with his family. This shows that people from the West are not all about greed and lust as they do place
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The songs’ lyrics are very meaningful and have melodious music to go along with them. For example, lyrics from the song ‘Bharat Ka Rehne wala’ such as “Deta Na Dashamaloh Bharat To Yun Chaand Pe Jaana Mushkil Tha...” tells us that without the creation of decimals by Indians, it would have been difficult to reach the moon. Despite the fact that it was an American who first set foot on the moon, Indians did play a significant role to aid this attempt which is something that Indians should be proud of. The song ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, which is an Indian rendition of the original and that of ‘Jack and Jill’, is very catchy and has lyrics which refer to some Indian values. For example, “Naari Hoke Piye Whisky Aur Piye Cigarette Baby” which tells us that according to Indian values, women neither drink nor smoke. In addition, the use of ‘Hare Rama Hare Krishna’ as background music as a symbol to represent India was good though I felt that using it brings about a more Hindutva nationalism instead of the secularism that India stands

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