Monday 1 September 2008

Aan (1952)

Aan: Every time I try to sit down and collect my thoughts about this movie, I realise that I only have the vaguest memories of the plot but very vivid recollections of giant fish, small castles, a most impressive dungeon door, and Nadira's eyes. So, I decided to give up, and just write my vague memories of the plot; and show some of what distracted me so much.

The film is set somewhere in India at some not very clearly defined time in the past. There is a kindly king (Murad) who has to go abroad for some medical treatment, and wants to bequeath his kingdom to his subjects before he leaves. Unfortunately, he has used up all the royal families kindliness quota, so his brother (Prem Nath) is a rather unpleasant person and his sister (Nadira) very arrogant. The younger brother has the king killed (or has he) and makes himself ruler. Meanwhile, a strapping young farmer, Jai (Dilip Kumar), has fallen for the king's younger sister, though I really can't see why unless he either enjoys being beaten up, and whipped, and shot at, and being stabbed in the back, and burned; or he likes a serious challenge, or both. This is rather unfortunate for Mangala (Nimmi) who loved him since they were children. Even more unfortunate for her is that the evil prince has fallen in lust with her. The poor woman ends up poisoning herself and throwing herself from a tower.

This leads to a fight in which Jai seems to kill the evil prince which in turn leads to him and his entire village fleeing from the King's army. Somehow, Jai manages to kidnap the princes, too, and expects her to do his housework. To be fair, he is actually prepared to eat what she cooks, which does require some courage. After a dream sequence/vision which finally sorts out the relation between Jai and the princess; everybody is taken captive and the movie culminates in a big fight involving the princess in danger of being burned at the stake, and everybody else in danger of being blown up in the dungeon.

So much for the plot, now some illustrations of what really stuck in my memory:

Distraction No.1: The handsome hero and his amazing wardrobe





Distraction No.2: The sets:

Now, that is what I call a dungeon door:

This makes my bathroom look even more poky:

And I would hate to loose a contact lense here:

This castle seems rather petite:

Hmm, I wonder whether the budget for special effects had run out:

Distraction No.3 : The constant worry that her eyes might fall out of her head:


Of course, Aan has an important message about people being good, and rulers being evil, unless they are willing to abdicate in favour of the people, and it hits you over the head with it so hard, even I was unable to miss it. And I did really enjoy watching this and have made other people watch it. It was so much fun, if not necessarily for the reasons it makers intended.


yves said...

Hello Antarra,
Yes, I remember well what you remember about Aan; but I also remember how difficult it was to actually forget all this was nothing more than cheap cinema, fit for magic-thirsty ignorants! I'm severe, no doubt, but really, that was my impression at the time. I suppose conventions were what the film-makers wanted to achieve, because they knew that the public loved them, but somehow they were just too visible.

Anonymous said...

I remember liking it too, but I like cheesy style-fests :-)

I wonder if that's the same castle from the film Humayun made in 1945. It was really tiny too (screen cap on my review of it)...

Nadira must have had some thyroid disorder, her eyes are so Big.

Beth Loves Bollywood said...

That dungeon door is truly fabulous!

I've yet to indulge in any Dilip. Perhaps this is a starting point!

antarra said...

Yves -- Yes, it doe sound rather harsh. The movie is meant to be an entertainer but I am not sure that necessarily implies that the audience is regarded as stupid.

Memsaabstory -- I had the same thoughts about the tiny castles. Maybe that is why Nimmi poisons herself first. Nobody would believe that she died jumping of that tower.

Beth -- Do give it a try. I think it might be a good introduction to Dilip for somebody less keen on melodrama, and if you find you don't get on with him, there is still lots to see.

Unknown said...

Where did you find this movie with English subtitles?