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Roti Kapda Aur Makaan

Roti Kapda Aur Makaan

By Patrick Samuel • July 14th, 2013
Static Mass Rating: 4/5
V.I.P. Films

Original release: 1974
Running time: 161 minutes

Country of origin: India
Original language: Hindi

Writer and director: Manoj Kumar
Composer: Laxmikant-Pyarelal

Cast: Manoj Kumar, Shashi Kapoor, Zeenat Aman, Amitabh Bachchan

Roti Kapda Aur Makaan

We all want things in life, and as we move further into the 21st century those wants become more centered on technology and further away from the basics. Whether it’s the latest computer, car, phone or various forms of entertainment available to us, what we want is rarely the same as what we need and we tend to forget about the bare necessities of life because we so often take them for granted. In 1967, more than a decade before my time, Indira Gandhi, who was India’s Prime Minister, made an address to her people:

“In her broadcast to the nation within two days after assuming office, [she] declared her commitment to the objectives laid down by her illustrious faiths and proclaimed “we have promises to keep to our people – of work, food, clothing and shelter, health and education.” ¹

It’s this address which went on to inspire a nation that was struggling with the bare necessities of life and helped usher in the Green Revolution which transformed India from a nation heavily reliant on imported grains from U.S. shipments, and prone to famine, to being largely able to feed itself, and become successful in achieving its goal of food security. This address also served as the inspiration for the title of this 1974 Bollywood epic.

Roti Kapda Aur Makaan

Roti Kapda Aur Makaan is the story of a poor family struggling in hard times. When the head of the family retires, Bharat (Manoj Kumar), the oldest son, becomes responsible for looking after them all. Although he has a degree, he’s unable to find a suitable a suitable job and ends up as a low-paid singer, which doesn’t do anything to help his relationship with his girlfriend, Sheetal (Zeenat Aman).

Meanwhile, his two younger brothers, Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) and Deepak (Dheeraj Kumar) are both attending college and his sister has reached the age to be married. To try and help his family out, Vijay decides to take up work with questionable legality – in order words, he turns to a life of crime, but after an argument with Bharat, the boy leaves home and goes off to join the army in order to make amends for the wrongs he’s committed. Things continue to get worse for Bharat when Sheetal falls for her new boss, rich businessman Mohan Babu (Shashi Kapoor). He has everything she’s looking for in a prospective husband (wealth and luxury), and when he proposes marriage, she accepts, leaving Bharat a heartbroken man.

Without a way to provide food, clothing or shelter for his family, and after a devastating personal loss, Roti Kapda Aur MakaanBharat burns his diploma on his father’s funeral pyre. Roti Kapda Aur Makaan is a film of epic proportions and great cast who are given a terrific story to work with. We see the characters doing their best at difficult times, not just in their own lives, but at a time when India was facing great change. The social and political aspects of the storyline are handled superbly, allowing for Manoj Kumar to shine as brilliantly as he did in Upkar (1967), and then a few years later in Kranti(1981).

However, the film really belongs to Amitabh Bachchan who manages, as ever, to steal every scene he’s featured in. Though not a large role, his charisma ignites the screen, even as we’re expected to believe in some over-the-top stunts later on in the film. What really centres Roti Kapda Aur Makaan is the moral aspect.


  • [1] Je Varalak?mi, Varalakshmi Janapathy, Indira Gandhi: Woman of India’s Destiny (2005), Gyan Publishing House
  • [2] Geoff Hiscock, India’s Store Wars: Retail Revolution and the Battle for the Next 500 Million Shoppers (2012), John Wiley & Sons

After judging Vijay for the mistakes he’s made, Bharat finds himself faced with an agonising choice when a corrupt businessman, Nekiram (Madan Puri), offers that his family will finally come out of poverty and be wealthy if he does his illegal bidding for him. Despite trying to live by a strict moral code and failing miserably so far to provide for his family, Bharat’s decision as to whether or not to accept Nekiram’s offer is what drives the plot forward. Though made almost 40 years ago, roti (food), kapada (clothing) and makaan (shelter) still dominate the spending habits of Indian consumers.

“According to data from National Sample Survey Organization, food takes up to 40% of the average household budget while rent and utilities account for 12%, and clothing takes 5%.” ²

Featuring some excellent song and dance sequences, including the risqué wet sari number Hay Hay Yeh Majboori with Zeenat Aman, the two versions of Main Na Bhoolunga, sung by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar, and the tearful Aur Nahin Bas Aur Nahin which Bharat sings on television for Sheetal when she drifts away from him, Roti Kapda Aur Makaan remains one of the highlights from classic Indian cinema with strong themes, affecting performances and timeless music from the greats.

Roti Kapda Aur Makaan

Patrick Samuel

Patrick Samuel

The founder of Static Mass Emporium and one of its Editors in Chief is an emerging artist with a philosophy degree, working primarily with pastels and graphite pencils, but he also enjoys experimenting with water colours, acrylics, glass and oil paints.

Being on the autistic spectrum with Asperger’s Syndrome, he is stimulated by bold, contrasting colours, intricate details, multiple textures, and varying shades of light and dark. Patrick's work extends to sound and video, and when not drawing or painting, he can be found working on projects he shares online with his followers.

Patrick returned to drawing and painting after a prolonged break in December 2016 as part of his daily art therapy, and is now making the transition to being a full-time artist. As a spokesperson for autism awareness, he also gives talks and presentations on the benefits of creative therapy.

Static Mass is where he lives his passion for film and writing about it. A fan of film classics, documentaries and science fiction, Patrick prefers films with an impeccable way of storytelling that reflect on the human condition.

Patrick Samuel ¦ Asperger Artist

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