Thematic similarities between Indian and Italian neo-realist cinema

Considering the thematic similarities between the the three films namely, Do BheegaZameen by Bimal Roy; PatherPanchali by Satyajit Ray; and Bicycle Thieves by Vittori de Sica one can encounter the outline of a meagre lifestyle of a man in the mid nineteenth century. 

The three films have been made along the same time in the era of oppression of the labour class. Many labour movements and labour laws were established around this period along the world. Made in 1953, 1955 and 1945 respectively the films explored the lives of a common labourer and their misfortunes in with a realistic lens excluding the need for an exaggerated or dramatic reaction.

Socialist view and economics

The films have explored the lives of a farmer in Do BheegaZameen, a priest in PatherPanchali whereas the life of an unemployed person in Bicycle thieves. At a point in each of these films the protagonist is looking for work in times where even basic earning is competitive. The dreams of earning daily bread are shattered a number of times with the striking reality of city lives and choking existence of a barren village life. The films are about seeking happiness in meagre things like a private locker in office, or the onset of monsoons. The tragedy of their filthy lives is that even this small speck of happiness puts a big price over their heads whether it may be leaving home and family in search of a job, falling ill, or the cost of a bicycle for a job. The theme talks of a delusional world of desires, a mirage of happiness that seems endlessly far. There are similar portraits of people in power in the three films; the employment firms or Thakur Harnam Singh who push people letting their lives go downhill with their simple dreams.

Divide between people

The films draw a contrasting line between the lives of privileged and that of the poor with the use of interesting and influencing architectural development, use of cityscapes and countryside landscapes, complimenting music and silences, the behavior and etiquettes of lifestyle etc. The films are unrushed to cherish and live through the lives of the common folks of the mid nineties.

Portrayal of women

Another noticeable resemblance has been in the representation of women in the three films. The main female characters have been portrayed against the stereotypes of women back then. Sarbojaya Ray and Durga in PatherPanchali are women of strong will and internal strength who modify the confines of their existence as per their choice often in a duel with the norms.

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