These were the 1950s and 1960s when the Indian intellectual circles were heavily inspired by Soviet Socialism and this influence was spread through its literature and cinema. Despite taking a neutral stand in the post war world , India was an admirer of Soviet culture. Hindi films played a central role in cementing cultural diplomacy between the two countries. Hollywood films were either dubbed or subtitled for the Soviet audiences. Indian films were also encouraged because they were seen as a protection for the Russian film market against Hollywood films.
Dharti ke Lal (written and directed by K .A Abbas) documented the famine of 1943 and criticised the British policies for denying the initial requests for providing more stocks of food.
In the 1950s Raj Kapoor was regarded as one of the most romantic actors in the Soviet union. His film Awara dubbed in Russian and released as Brodiaga (Vagabond) became hugely popular . Eight hundred prints of Awara were released in all the languages of the 15 Soviet Republics. Raj Kapoor with a goofy smile and trousers that did not go past the ankles was a symbol of optimism in the USSR.
The story of Sita and Gita (released in the year 1972) left the entire Soviet Union in tears. 55.2 million People saw it. The film was so popular that a pair of Siamese twins born in Kyrgyzstan was given the name of Site and Gait.
The last decade of the 20th century saw political and economic realignments in India and the USSR. The mighty Soviet Union had collapsed and the economic reforms of 1991 opened the gates of western influences on Indian Cinema while Russia also started embracing the west, amidst all this what remained was the nostalgia of the years gone by.
About The Author
She’s pursuing M.A. in English and Cultural studies from Panjab University, Chandigarh. Her other interests are travelling, writing, cooking and animals