Balraj Sahni, A.K. Hangal, Gita Siddharth
One of the most poignant and celebrated films made about Partition, Scorching Winds is the rare tale of the plight of Muslims who opted to stay in the land of their forefathers, rather than leave for Pakistan.
Adapted by poet Kaifi Azmi and Shama Zaidi (wife of director M. S. Sathyu) from an unpublished short story by noted Urdu feminist and writer Ismat Chughtai, it is a film of supreme sensitivity with an acute understanding of the human cost of political and religious division.
In Agra in Northern India, Muslim businessman Salim (Balraj Sahni – Dharti Ke Lal, Do Bigha Zameen – in his final role) and his family struggle against anti-Muslim prejudice following Partition in 1947 and the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948. While friends and family move to Pakistan, rejecting an increasingly hostile India, Mirza must decide whether to abandon his home and personal history or remain in a country that threatens to pull his life apart.
With incredible performances from its then little-known talents and a beautiful score by classical musician Ustad Bahadur Khan, a frequent collaborator with Ritwik Ghatak, Scorching Winds remains as striking and relevant as it was on its release in 1974.