Raj (Kapoor), a poet at heart, is the chief engineer in charge of building the Saraswati dam. Raj’s father wants him to marry the glamorous Chandra (Vijayalakshmi), but he loves Chandra’s sister Neelu (Nargis) who shares his poetic inclinations. Raj discovers that he has tuberculosis. He then pretends never to have loved Neelu and persuades a doctor friend (Pran) to marry her. Raj also pretends to love Chandra to prove to Neelu that he is an untrustworthy man. All his lies create far greater emotional problems than the disease itself but Raj and Neelu do eventually unite. Although one of Kapoor’s less memorable films, it remains important as one of the first movies to deploy the very popular melodramatic device of the hero suffering nobly from a terminal disease. Masochistically wallowing in his suffering while arrogantly spreading misery all around, the infantile yet paternalistic hero, presented as a ‘realist’, denies the heroine, presented as an incurable romantic, the chance to make up her own mind by telling her lies. This device allows for a great variety of twists in the plot and countless displays of emotion. Here, an extra opposition is woven into the plot: the city/country dichotomy, with good tribals and workers being faced with urban profiteers. The ending sees good (country and love) triumph over evil (money and disease). In Bobby (1973), a tribute Kapoor paid to his own early work, some shots of Aah are reprised. He also incorporates a reference to the popular Devdas (1935) by having the dying hero make his way to his beloved’s village in a cart, as Devdas did. Telugu and Tamil versions of the film were also released.
Did you know?
The tragic theme was inspired by Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's famous novel Devdas, which has also inspired several other films. Read More