Release date10 September 1998 (1998-09-10) WriterDeepa Mehta, Bapsi Sidhwa (novel) SongsRuth Aa Gayee Re Similar movies2012, After the Wedding, Gandhi, The Jungle Book, The Secret Garden, The Jungle Book
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Earth (released in India as 1947: Earth) is a 1999 Indian period drama film directed by Deepa Mehta. It is based upon Bapsi Sidhwa's novel, Cracking India, (1991, U.S.; 1992, India; originally published as Ice Candy Man, 1988, U.K.). 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 who 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.
Aamir Khan – Dil Navaz, the Ice Candy Man
Nandita Das – Shanta, the Ayah
Rahul Khanna – Hassan, the Masseur
Maia Sethna – Lenny Sethna
Shabana Azmi – older Lenny, narrator
Kitu Gidwani – Bunty Sethna
Arif Zakaria – Rustom Sethna
Kulbhushan Kharbanda – Imam Din
Kumar Rajendra – Refugee Police
Pavan Malhotra – Butcher
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." 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." Rediff.com 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."
Awards and nominations
Asian Film Festival – Best Film Award
Filmfare Best Male Debut Award – Rahul Khanna
Earth was India's 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.
All lyrics written by Javed Akhtar; all music composed by A. R. Rahman.