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.