Kapoor’s sombre musical classic contrasts different notions of love. The rich and ‘sensitive’ Pran (Kapoor) passionately loves the poor country girl Reshma (Nargis). Defying her father’s objections, who repudiates her, she runs to Pran but apparently drowns on the way. Pran and his philandering friend Gopal (Premnath), who callously jilted the village girl Neela (Nimmi), are driving through the country and happen upon Reshma’s wedding to the obsessive fisherman (Singh) who saved her and believes he owns her. Pran crashes his car,stops the wedding and gets Reshma while the repentant Gopal finds that Neela has killed herself. Kapoor’s 2nd independent production starring himself and Nargis was the R.K. Studio’s first major hit. Its unusually innovative chiaroscuro cinematography (e.g. for Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh’s song Chhod gaye balam) created deep rather than laterally elaborated spaces and relied heavily on metaphor, as in the shot where the angled rope cut off by Reshma’s father aligns with the angle of the violin bow with which Pran nightly serenades Reshma (playing the Anniversary Song from The Jolson Story, 1946). The dominant metaphor for the flow of desire, evoked by the title, is that of water, cf. the love sequence after the song Mujhe kisise pyar ho gaya (Lata Mangeshkar) with the waterfall, or the last shot when the smoke from Neela’s funeral pyre merges with the rain clouds. The film is remembered above all for Shankar- Jaikishen’s music, with numerous all-time hits, including the opening number Hawa mein udta jaye mera lal dupatta and Jiya bekarar hai, Barsaat mein humse mile, Meri aankhon mein bas gaya koi re, Ab mera kaun sahara (all sung by Lata Mangeshkar). The specially charged Kapoor-Nargis love duets (cf. the Pyar hua ikraar hua song in Shri 420, 1955) were often singled out as exemplifying the acme of the Indian cinema’s romances.
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The success of this movie allowed director Raj Kapoor to buy RK Studios in 1950. Read More