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Former silent film star Sita Devi plays a social worker teaching her Indian village neighbours about clean, modern childbirth

Documentary 1947 16 mins


Former star of Indian silent cinema Sita Devi plays a social worker in this educational film. Realising she has a role to play in building a strong Indian society, she challenges the backward traditions of childbirth in her village and spreads knowledge about modern scientific practices. Released as India won independence, the film shows ‘the right way to be a mother’ while encouraging middle class women to offer their services to the new nation.

Made with the support of the United Nations, the film shares many aesthetic and stylistic similarities with the public information films produced by the Government of India’s Film Division in the 1940s and 1950s, which promoted the Nehru government’s modernising agenda and sought to instruct Indians in how to be good citizens. Dr. Eleanor Newbigin (SOAS University of London)