Romantic songs Shankar Jaikishan

Unmistakable signs of a master storyteller..

Raj Kapoor was truly a precocious and a remarkable genius movie maker. A master storyteller, he was sent while in his late teens by his father, Prithviraj Kapoor to work with the polymath of the time, Kidar Sharma, who took him under his wings as a directorial assistant, noticed his handsome good looks and blue eyes and cast him as the male lead in Neelkamal with the debutante (in a lead role) Madhubala. The movie only met modest box office success but both the male/female leads had outstanding careers. The precocity of the man is seen in his self confidence. The very next year, at the ripe old age of 24, he not only established his own RK Studios but also made his directorial debut (the youngest in Bollywood at the time) producing and directing Aag casting himself with Nargis in the lead. The two got along like fire. His ability to spot and encourage talent in his colleagues was seen. Raja Nawathe who was his directorial assistant in Aag, Barsaat and Aawaara made his directorial debut with Aah. RK Films made movies with good storylines, great acting and always, a wonderful musical score.

The central theme of the tragic hero and the sufferings of the heroine was inspired from Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay‘s famous novel Devdas, which has also inspired dozens of other movies. The movie had a theme of Raj Kapoor’s father wanting him to marry a friend’s daughter, Raj Kapoor falls in love with the younger sister instead and the letter meant for the younger sister lands up with the older one and as it doesn’t specify the lass’s name, creates predictable confusion. Vijaylaxmi acts the role of the older sister. She has been seen earlier with Raj Kapoor in Kidar Sharma’s Baaware Nain as well (remember the delicious duet “Khayalon mein kisi ke is tarah aaya nahin karte”).

Vijayalaxmi started her career with Mahal, which had Madhubala in the lead. In the beginning, she played supporting roles in classic movies like Baawre Nain, Aah, and Toofan. She was a versatile actress, excelling in every role she played. After a number of years in supporting roles, she finally got her lead role in Rishta , a role admired by both audience and critics. She even played a small part in Mughal-e-Azam.

Here she is singing a typical Shankar Jaikishan- Hasrat melody from Aah, a typical party song from the era, piano, cigarette smoke and free flowing alcohol (in an era ostensibly of prohibition) .

The movie has Pran in an early attempt to break free of the tag of villain. He is Raj Kapoor’s doctor friend who is married off to Nargis by Raj Kapoor who himself is dying of Tuberculosis in the initial cut of the movie that was released. However this wasn’t liked by the audience.

The end of the film was then changed from a tragic one to the happy one, with Raj Kapoor staging a miraculous recovery but the change destroyed the thematic unity of the story. Bunny Reuben, the author of the biography Raj Kapoor, The Fabulous Showman, explained the need for the change: “The film had some of Shankar-Jaikishan’s loveliest music, and a ‘Devdas’-ian tragic ending which was changed to the conventional happy ending because the film didn’t do well in its first release.” The changed end gelled a bit better with the audience but didn’t quite set the box office on fire.

The film was later dubbed in Tamizh as Avan and Telugu as Prema Lekhalu. The Telugu version actually met much better commercial success .The film was remade in Turkish as Ah Bu Dünya (1965), and again as Boş Çevçere (1969). (Just to set the record straight for the pandits of Whatsapp university who will undoubtedly claim to the contrary that Aah is a remake of a Turkish film made 15 years after the Hindi movie and the lie will be definitely amplified by repeated viral messaging on WA without checking the truth)

Raj Kapoor showed his gratitude for Telugu audiences by having a song in Shree 420 beginning with the Telugu lines Ramaiya Vastavaiya.

A movie which didn’t do that well for an RK Films production, but has a fabulous score.

Have fun, guys and enjoy the day.


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

18 replies on “Unmistakable signs of a master storyteller..”

Lovely share SIRJI🙏🏾and fabulous information on Vijaylaxmi👌👌 Although Aah wasn’t a box office hit Songs still remain immortal 👍

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Very nostalgic indeed. In those days (in 60’s & 70’s) apart from story of the film the music & songs were produced in competition. Thanks doc for such a beautiful selection (probably the best song of the film)

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RK was real perfectionist regarding screen play,story,lyrics and music.most of his movies depicts sad and sorrow part of human life.Genious as a film maker.His private life was different.

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Raj Kapoor even did the Devdasian part with extreme tenderness and surprised many with his acting prowess.
He actually hit me below the navel(is that an acceptable idiom?) in Teesri Kasam , Hiraman the bullock-cart puller, with intense love for the fair fare but no resource to make it viable, helpless in one word.
Well, I’m digressing!

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