Films that are 50

Films that are 50: ‘Mamta’ is the rare remake that works

Suchitra Sen reprises the role that won her plaudits in Asit Sen’s Bengali original ‘Uttar Falguni.’

Can a regional language film that is rooted in a particular milieu be successfully remade as a Hindi film for audiences across India? Some notable films have not survived this journey, and even some of the better reworkings have not matched up to their originals.

However, one film that checks all the right boxes is Asit Sen’s Mamta, starring Ashok Kumar, Suchitra Sen and Dharmendra. One of the more important releases of 1966, the hugely successful film proves that practice does indeed make perfect, best seen in its leading lady’s incredibly moving dual performances of a mother and daughter and in the composition of its most well-known song.


Despite her iconic status in Bengali cinema, a cloud hangs over the luminous Suchitra Sen’s Hindi performances. There is a stiltedness in the dialogue delivery, perhaps because of her discomfort with Hindi, and an unease before the camera in her few forays into Hindi cinema. Sen looks radiant and even ethereal in films such as Devdas (1955) and Bambai Ka Babu (1960), but the magic of her Bengali performances is missing. A notable exception to the rule is Mamta. Unlike her other Hindi films, Mamta is the only one that is a remake of a film that she had been in before, thereby making her fully familiar with the story and her character.

Mamta is an opulent colour version of Sen’s black-and-white Bengali hit Uttar Falguni (1963). Starring Suchitra Sen, Bikash Roy and Dilip Mukherjee and produced by the legendary actor Uttam Kumar, Uttar Falguni is one of the landmark films in Suchitra Sen’s career.

Suchitra Sen in ‘Uttar Falguni’
Suchitra Sen in ‘Uttar Falguni’

Mamta sees the actress in the dual roles of Devyani and Suparna. Devyani is forced by circumstances to give up her love for Manish Roy (Ashok Kumar) and endure a hellish marriage, from which she escapes to become Pannabai, the famed courtesan of Lucknow. The film examines the sacrifices she makes to ensure her daughter, Suparna, is brought up in a respectable environment. Devyani distances herself from Suparna, admits her into a convent-run school in Kolkata, and gets Manish to looks after her. Years later, Suparna returns from London with a law degree. Life looks bright on the professional and personal front with her boyfriend, Indraneel (Dharmendra), who happens to be Manish’s assistant. Until Devyani’s wastrel husband (Kalipada Chakraborty) shows up and threatens Suprana’s future by threatening to expose her parentage.

Mamta is a standard women’s melodrama, and the story itself appears dated, but it actually holds up quite well. Asit Sen directs the film with restraint and maturity, though the original is a few notches higher on the scales of restraint and subtlety. A director who never believed in flashiness, Sen tells his story simply and effectively. But it is Suchitra Sen who is the heart and soul of Mamta. She is particularly brilliant as the older Devyani, lending the film some of its most poignant moments. Barring the occasional hiccup with her Hindi diction, she plays the self-sacrificing fallen women with tremendous grace and dignity. The gamut of emotions flirting across her face is incredible as Manish describes Suparna to her on the telephone from the airport, or when she observes her daughter from afar at a party. As Suparna, she is let down by a comparatively sketchier character, but comes into her own in the climax.

One of Mamta’s most memorable songs is a reworking of a wonderful tune composed by Roshan for BR Chopra’s flop Chandni Chowk (1954). Roshan rejigged “Tera Dil Kahan Hai”, sung by Asha Bhosle, in Mamta as “Rahen Na Rahen Hum.” The song appears twice in the movie – once as a solo by Lata Mangeshkar and performed by Sen and Ashok Kumar and later as a shorter, romantic duet sung by Mohammed Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur with Sen and Dharmendra. Instrumental snatches are also used in the background score to great effect, highlighting the unrequited love story between Manish and Devyani.


In any other year, Mamta might have swept the Filmfare Awards for the four categories in which it was nominated – Best Film, Director, Story and Actress. However, it had the misfortune of being nominated in the same year as Vijay Anand’s Guide and ended up losing in all four categories to the Navketan classic.

We welcome your comments at
Sponsored Content BY 

Some of the most significant innovations in automotive history made their debut in this iconic automobile

The latest version features India's first BS VI norms-compliant engine and a host of 'intelligent' features.

The S-Class, also known as Sonderklasse or special class, represents Mercedes Benz’ top-of-the-line sedan line up. Over the decades, this line of luxury vehicles has brought significant automotive technologies to the mainstream, with several firsts to its credit and has often been called the best car in the world. It’s in the S-Class that the first electronic ESP and ABS anti-lock braking system made their debut in the 20th century.

Twenty first-century driver assistance technologies which predict driver-behaviour and the vehicle’s course in order to take preventive safety measures are also now a staple of the S-Class. In the latest 2018 S-Class, the S 350 d, a 360-degree network of cameras, radars and other sensors communicate with each other for an ‘intelligent’ driving experience.

The new S-Class systems are built on Mercedes Benz’s cutting-edge radar-based driving assistance features, and also make use of map and navigation data to calculate driving behaviour. In cities and on other crowded roads, the Active Distance Assist DISTRONIC helps maintain the distance between car and the vehicle in front during speeds of up to 210 kmph. In the same speed range, Active Steering Assist helps the driver stay in the centre of the lane on stretches of straight road and on slight bends. Blind Spot Assist, meanwhile, makes up for human limitations by indicating vehicles present in the blind spot during a lane change. The new S-Class also communicates with other cars equipped with the Car-to-X communication system about dicey road conditions and low visibility due to fog, rain, accidents etc. en route.

The new S-Class can even automatically engage the emergency system when the driver is unable to raise an alarm. Active Emergency Stop Assist brings the car to a stop if it detects sustained periods of inactivity from the driver when Active Steering Assist is switched on. If the driver doesn’t respond to repeated visual and audible prompts, it automatically activates the emergency call system and unlocks the car to provide access to first responders.

The new Mercedes-Benz S 350 d in India features another notable innovation – the country’s first BS VI norms-compliant car engine, in accordance with government regulations to control vehicular pollution. Debuting two years before the BS VI deadline of 2020, the S 350 d engine also remains compatible with the current BS IV fuels.

The S 350 d is an intelligent car made in India, for Indian roads - in the Mercedes Benz S-Class tradition. See the video below to know what drives the S-Class series by Mercedes Benz.

To know more about the 2018 S-Class, click here.


This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Mercedes Benz and not by the Scroll editorial team.