ⓘ Earth (1998 film)

Earth (1998 film)

ⓘ Earth (1998 film)

Earth is a 1999 Indian period romance drama film directed by Deepa Mehta. It is based upon Bapsi Sidhwas novel, Cracking India, set during the 1947 partition of India. Earth is the second installment of Mehtas Elements trilogy, preceded by Fire and followed by Water. It was Indias entry for the 1999 Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


1. Plot

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 Lennys family who spend their days together in the park. With partition, however, this once unified group of friends becomes divided and tragedy ensues.


2. The Novel and the Film

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, Lennys 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 Lennys 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 movies story.


3. Cast

  • Arif Zakaria – Rustom Sethna
  • Kitu Gidwani – Bunty Sethna
  • Kumar Rajendra – Refugee Police
  • Pavan Malhotra – Butcher
  • Aamir Khan – Dil Nawaz
  • Rahul Khanna – Hassan, the Masseur
  • Maia Sethna – Lenny Sethna
  • Kulbhushan Kharbanda – Imam Din
  • Nandita Das – Shanta, the maid
  • Shabana Azmi – older Lenny, narrator

4.1. Critical reception Reviews

The film holds an 86% rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 35 reviews. Roger Ebert gave the film three out of four stars and states that Earth, "is effective because it doesnt require much history from its viewers, explains what needs to be known, and has a universal message." The New York Times described it as "a powerful and disturbing reminder of how a civilization can suddenly crack under certain pressures." 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." 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." 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."


4.2. Critical reception Awards and nominations

  • Asian Film Festival – Best Film Award
  • Filmfare Best Male Debut Award – Rahul Khanna
  • Earth was Indias official entry for the 71st Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film in 1999, but was not included among the final five nominees selected by the AMPAS.
  • Lord of the Rings film trilogy. The Complete Guide to Middle - earth is generally recognised as an excellent reference book on Middle - earth Christopher Tolkien
  • The Whole Earth Catalog WEC was an American counterculture magazine and product catalog published by Stewart Brand several times a year between 1968
  • Earth Wind Fire abbreviated as EW F or simply EWF is an American band that has spanned the musical genres of R B, soul, funk, jazz, disco, pop, rock
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  • The Hollow Earth is a concept proposing that the planet Earth is entirely hollow or contains a substantial interior space. Notably suggested by Edmond
  • Target Earth may refer to: Target Earth video game the video game also known as Assault Suits Leynos Target Earth film a 1954 Science Fiction B - Movie
  • The Dalek Invasion of Earth is the second serial of the second season in the British science fiction television series Doctor Who, which originally aired
  • in 1998 Jones wrote another book about his experiences in space, Sky Walking: An Astronaut s Memoir, which was published in 2006. In Mission: Earth Voyage

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