Mehboob Khan remade his own directorial venture Aurat into Mother India and it turned out to be a landmark movie not only for him and Nargis but also for the Hindi film industry. It is the story of a strong-willed poverty-stricken widowed villager struggling to raise her children against all odds. The gamble of Mehboob Khan in featuring Nargis, who had the reputation of being a romantic queen, in such a deglamorised role paid off as she delivered a sterling performance. So also did Sunil Dutt as the angry dacoit Birju. The theme of sacrificing an erring son found many takers in later Hindi films. There is no match to Kanhai Lal who essayed the role of the money lender and raised the bar for villainy in Indian cinema. Mother India, the flag bearer for women empowerment, still remains a cult classic.