Earth (1998 film)

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1947 Earth
1947 Earth film poster Aamir Khan.jpg
Directed byDeepa Mehta
Produced byAnne Masson
Deepa Mehta
Story byDeepa Mehta
StarringAamir Khan
Rahul Khanna
Nandita Das
Maia Sethna
Narrated byShabana Azmi
Music byA. R. Rahman
CinematographyGiles Nuttgens
Edited byBarry Farrell
Release date
  • 10 September 1999 (1999-09-10)
Running time
101 minutes

Earth (Hindi: अर्थ; released in India as 1947: Earth) is a 1999 Indian period romance drama film directed by Deepa Mehta. It is based upon Bapsi Sidhwa's novel, Cracking India (1991, US; 1992, India; originally published as Ice Candy Man, 1988, UK), set during the 1947 partition of India. Earth is the second installment of Mehta's Elements trilogy, preceded by Fire (1996) and followed by Water (2005). It was India's entry for the 1999 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


The story is set in Lahore (now the capital of Pakistani Punjab) in the time period directly before and during the partition of India in 1947 at the time of Indian independence.

A young girl with polio, Lenny (Maia Sethna), narrates the story through the voice of her adult self (Shabana Azmi). She is from a wealthy Parsi family who hope to remain neutral to the rising tensions between Hindus, Sikhs, and Muslims in the area. She is adored and protected by her parents, Bunty (Kitu Gidwani) and Rustom (Arif Zakaria), and cared for by her Ayah, a beautiful Hindu woman named Shanta (Nandita Das). Both Dil Navaz, the Ice-Candy Man (Aamir Khan), and Hassan, the Masseur (Rahul Khanna) are Muslim and in love with Shanta. Shanta, Dil, and Hassan are part of a small group of friends from different faiths (some of whom work for Lenny's family) who spend their days together in the park. With partition, however, this once unified group of friends becomes divided and tragedy ensues.

The Novel and the Film[edit]

The movie script differs significantly from the novel it is based on. Unlike the book, there is a justifiable and successful effort on the part of the screenwriter to explain and illustrate the complexities of the Partition of India. In terms of the characters, Lenny's parents play a more prominent role in the script and her little brother Adi and her cousin have been combined into a single character of cousin Adi. Many of the secondary characters have been eliminated to keep the plot more focused, especially when it comes to the neighbors and Lenny's female relatives. The most significant difference is in the ending, when Shanta, the ayah, is drawn between two suitors, Dil Nawaz and Hassan the Masseur. Tragedy strikes just as she is about to escape to India with one of them. The kidnapping of Shanta by Ice-Candy-Man (Dil Nawaz) which is an important development in the novel is not part of the movie's story.


Critical reception[edit]


The film holds an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 35 reviews.[2] Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars and states that Earth, "is effective because it doesn't require much history from its viewers, explains what needs to be known, and has a universal message."[3] The New York Times described it as "a powerful and disturbing reminder of how a civilization can suddenly crack under certain pressures."[4] The New Yorker argues that, "Deepa Mehta handles her material convincingly, and the cast is so likable that they wear the larger themes like beautiful garments."[5] notes that, "Aamir Khan has probably given the best performance of his life. It is hard to imagine another actor bringing alive the nuances of the ice-candy man the way he does."[6] Planet Bollywood gave the film a 9.5 out of 10 and stated that, "Earth is strongly recommended to those who want to see a different type of Hindi film and who are tired of the usual boy meets girl stories and revenge dramas."[7]

Awards and nominations[edit]


1947: Earth
Soundtrack album by
Released1998 (India)
RecordedPanchathan Record Inn
GenreFilm soundtrack
ProducerA.R. Rahman
A. R. Rahman chronology
Dil Se..
1947: Earth
Doli Saja Ke Rakhna

All lyrics are written by Javed Akhtar; all music is composed by A. R. Rahman.

1."Banno Rani"Sadhana Sargam4:09
2."Dheemi Dheemi"Hariharan5:16
3."Ishwar Allah"Anuradha Sriram, Sujatha Mohan5:15
4."Raat Ki Daldal Hain"Sukhwinder Singh4:05
5."Ruth Aa Gayee Re"Sukhwinder Singh5:31
6."Yeh Jo Zindagi Hain"Srinivas, Sujata Trivedi4:51
7."Yeh Jo Zindagi Hain"Srinivas, Sukhwinder Singh4:07
8."Piano Theme" (Instrumental) 1:53
9."Theme Music" (Instrumental) 4:50


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Earth". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 7 December 2017.
  3. ^ Ebert, Roger (15 October 1999). "Earth". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  4. ^ Holden, Stephen (19 September 1999). "'Earth': India Torn Apart, as a Child Sees It". The New York Times. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  5. ^ Gustavson, Jeff (27 September 1999). "Earth". The New Yorker. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  6. ^ Verma, Suparn (10 September 1999). "Breaking new ground". Rediff. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  7. ^ Joshi, Aniket Joshi. "Earth". Planet Bollywood. Archived from the original on 22 January 2009. Retrieved 9 December 2008.
  8. ^ "Mehta's Earth wins acclaim at Asian festival". The Economic Times. 11 March 1999. Archived from the original on 25 July 2011. Retrieved 15 March 2011.

External links[edit]