The Rajasthan Ganga Sagar Canal Project, intended to transform the state’s vast barren desert, was one of the Nehru government’s show pieces. Shot on the canal building site, this distant echo of King Vidor’s Our Daily Bread (1934) endorses Indira Gandhi’s slogans while deploying the developmental rhetoric and Nehruite iconography of dams, bridges and industrialisation. Ganga Singh (Agha) lives in a drought-stricken village in Rajasthan and leaves his wife Gauri (Simi), sister Sonki (Chanda) and father Hari Singh (Sajjan) to dedicate himself to the canal project. He learns of the project via a government propaganda newsreel in a touring cinema. The story intercuts Ganga Singh’s struggle for progress at work with the dire pre-industrial conditions at home: his father dies, his sister is raped by the bandit Mangal Singh (Thapa) and Gauri waits for her husband to return. Ganga Singh sacrifices his life to avert a disaster at the site but eventually industrial progress triumphs and the life-giving water arrives.
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The film marks Kiran Kumar's screen debut. Read More