Saturday, July 21, 2012
Raj Kapoor (India, 1948)
New 35mm Print!
(a.k.a. Fire). Few Hollywood melodramas are as perversely aflame with thwarted, courtly love as Raj Kapoor’s intense directorial debut, which adds more than a touch of postwar American noir to its tale of doomed lovers and youthful idealists fighting the bleakness of the modern world. A young theater director (Kapoor) remains haunted by memories of a childhood crush (he even calls all his other lovers by her name), but also remains loyal to his patron, a wealthy painter (Premnath). A beautiful refugee (the radiant Nargis) soon becomes the center of a love triangle between the two men (or, in a different reading, comes between the platonic love of two men), with dramatic—and fiery—results. Filled with baroque set designs and some spectacular deep-focus photography, Aag represents the hypnotic, florid height of melodrama. "I’ll never forget Aag because it was the story of youth consumed by the desire for a brighter and more intense life,” wrote Kapoor of the film.
• Written by Inder Raj Anand. Photographed by V. N. Reddy. With Raj Kapoor, Nargis, Premnath, Kamini Kaushal. (138 mins, In Hindi with English subtitles, B&W, 35mm)