In a way Mother India idealized the woman and the mother as an almost sacred concept. The film purports to be an illustration of women's fight against male oppression of nature as well as celebration of the Indian farmer's will to save his land from domination by external forces. The central character Radha, played brilliantly by Nargis, takes on the symbolism of 'national mother' as well as that of mythical mother goddess. The relation between her and her two children (played by Rajendra Kumar and Sunil Dutt) are wonderfully scripted and shown on the silver screen. Mehboob Khan shows the strength of a woman who can go to any extent to fight the unethical, even to the extent of killing her own son.
In the Indian patriarchal society the mother is immensely respected and is revered as much as God himself. Mother India continued to propagate this image. It is also a landmark film in the history of Indian cinema. It is one of those earlier films that are woman centric. A great success with the public when it was released, this film continues to be as popular whenever it is shown in theatres or television, in India, the Middle East and the world over.