I must confess that I don’t enjoy Raj Kapoor’s movies*. The ones I have seen are just too slow and I can’t maintain interest in them. It usually takes me about 4 days to get through one of his movies.
In Aag, you have a protagonist (Kewal, played by RK) with no luck at all. At the age of ten he is deprived of his first love (also ten) when her parents move away and take her with them. Things go downhill from there until he is finally setting himself on fire to make himself less attractive (it works!) to the woman his best friend and mentor** loves, but who loves him instead. In between is a second love ripped away, failure in his college exams, disappointed and angry parents, and two whole days of starvation before he finds his savior**. The in-between takes a loooonnnngggg time to get through and I grew tired of it all.
But there IS a happy ending. It comes when he marries a total stranger and discovers that his new bride is none other than his first love. And kismat is satisfied, finally rewarding sacrifice with happiness. I guess that was supposed to make me happy too, but I just wanted those three hours of my life back. I’ve got a lot more Hindi movies to watch before I die! Perhaps not being the self-sacrificing type myself, I just can’t relate.
I did love Shashi Kapoor as the ten-year-old Kewal. He was just as cute as a button:
Ram Ganguly’s music is beautiful*** and in keeping with the sombre tone. Shamshad Begum’s voice suits the mood perfectly, and is perfectly complemented by Shailash Mukherjee’s voice in “Dekh Chand Ki Or”. Whatever happened to Shailash Mukherjee? I can’t find any record of him singing in any other movies.
This is the thing: a movie needs some humor when it has so much drama in it. I just can’t BE that oppressed for almost three hours. Johnny Walker, where were you?
*With one exception (so far), more on that some other day.
**A young, handsome, Premnath!
***With assistance from Shankar and Jaikishan, who so impressed RK that he used them as music directors in his next production “Barsaat” (which I haven’t seen yet)