Sunday, March 1, 2015

Aah - 1953

Aah is a Raj Kapoor Nargis romance, a journey that began with Aag and ended with Chori Chori.  These movies have a very intense romance at its heart, a Heer Ranjha kind, where the hero and heroine are prepared to die for each other.

These movies were also an example of a very polished cinema, good story, interesting situations, lovely songs and lots of glamour.

Aah begins with a picture of an industrious Raj Kapoor, as Raj.  He is the son of a rich businessman, but loves to work.  He is busy on a building project that keeps him in an idyllic spot, full of lakes and waterfalls and greenery all around.  His father is eager to see him married to a girl that his mother ear marked for him. A Miss Chandra (Vijaylakshmi), who belongs to a well-to-do family.  Raj wants to know the girl better before he can commit himself, so he writes to her.

Chandra is not pleased.  She does not want to go and live in a jungle, and asks her younger sister Neelu (Nargis) to write on her behalf.  Neelu is charmed by the poetry in Raj's letter.  She responds warmly, and soon they are corresponding with each other.

Neelu and Raj decide to bring their story to the notice of Neelu's father and set things right.  But Raj fails to make an appearance on the appointed day. Neelu is distraught and nearly turns mad.  She feels even worse when Raj appears in her house, but as the beau of her sister, Chandra.  Will she be able to survive this cruel blow to her heart?  More importantly, why is Raj behaving this way?

Nargis, Raj Kapoor and Pran own their parts.  These actors acted in so many different movies, but even so, they allow themselves to inhabit the identity of the Neelu, Raj and Kailash completely.  We are carried along the story, and moved by it.  Even though it takes a melodramatic turn here and there, and we are on tenterhooks about certain characters being on verge of death.  For a while I was sure that the film was going to go downhill after the first hour was up, but the plot threw a googly at me and I was riveted.

Unlike so many movies of that era, where the songs were the only saving grace of the film, in this film the songs complement the movie, instead of being the only stand out point.  And what lovely songs these are:

1. Aaja re, ab mera dil pukara
2. Raja ki aayegi baraat
3. Raat andheri
4. Jaane na nazar, pehchane jiga
5. Jhanan Jhanan ghoongarwa baaje
6. Ye shaam ki tanhaiyan, aise me tera gham
7. Chhoti si yeh zindagani re
8. Sunte the naam ham

Here is a link to a jukebox filled with the songs of Aah.

Vijaylakshmi as Chandra also acquits herself well, she gets to sing the beautiful Sunte the naam ham. Pran plays the role of Kailash, Raj's best friend and companion.  He has very few lines, but as he is privy to all the drama that is going on, his sympathetic silence is very evocative.

The plot of the movie is very uncluttered.  There is no comic sub-plot, and the main story has enough twists to carry the film on its steam.  It is a very good example of a strong script that is the most important thing in a film.

A lovely film from the 50s that should not remain unseen.


  1. I suffered through this film ages back and have no plans, absolutely none to go back.

  2. Ava, thanks for the positive write-up. I'm so used to the Raj-bashing that goes on in bloglands that I cringe whenever someone writes up an RK movie. (Aah was an RK movie though it was directed by Raja Nawathe.)

    Only, the Raj-Nargis romance did not begin from here. It began way before, from their first film together - Aag and continued through Andaaz, Barsaat, Jaan Pehchaan, Pyaar,Awaara, Anhonee, Bewafa, Aashiana, Amber, etc., which all came before Aah. In fact, her family did not want her to act in Awara because of her involvement with him.

    But thanks once again for writing this film up. Incidentally, I was just wondering why you hadn't posted anything recently. :)

  3. Harv, If you suffered... rehne de. Just listen to the songs.

  4. Oh Anu, I meant to say Aag, but wrote Aah by mistake, late night and all that.

    I was expecting a terrible melodrama, to be frank. It was the love of songs the drew me to the film. I was impressed by the good story and (of course) great acting and the tight narrative.

    I really should update my blog more often.

    Thank you.

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  6. You have seen many RK films, I am guessing, Anu. I wonder if the comic side-plot was absent in his movies in general or is it absent just in this one?

  7. I love the songs of Aah, but hate the movie - I find it just too morbid for my liking. The first half is fine, where they're falling in love and so on, but the second half I find impossible to sit through.

  8. So you are half on Harvey's side and half on mine :), Madhu.

    I kind of the liked the twist thrown in the second half. Is the wedding going through, will some one die, that kept me going.

    I have seen too many films to allow a little melodrama rattle me, frankly. :)

  9. Ava, he never did have comedy as a side plot in his movies. The humour in his movies, often black humour, appeared organically within the plot, and was usually part of the dialogue between (at least one of) the lead characters.

    Chori Chori is the only RK film I've seen which had comedy as a side narrative of its own. And that wasn't an RK film per se.

    And yes, please do update your blog more often. Especially if you are going to spread some RK love around the blogosphere. :)

  10. Thanks for this Anu. As I was reading it, I was thinking of the Johnny Walker Tun Tun song from Chori Chori.

    Remember the great - Tumhari istri garam nahi hoti - line from Shri 420? Such a lovely way to bring poor Raju down from his romantic heaven.

    I will try.

    I may write about Lala Rukh next. I just saw it, and possibly remember enough to write about it. :)