Bollywood’s greatest showman and legendary filmmaker Raj Kapoor started his own production house and his journey as a film director with Aag (1948). However he wanted to make a complete team of himself which could continue for years like a strong and well-coordinated unit and moreover like a family. He wanted it especially in terms of music because he put a heavy premium on the musical score of his movies. This team he could make with his second production as well as directorial venture – Barsaat (1949). With Barsaat, an aura of melodious music started in Bollywood whose nucleus was Raj Kapoor and his production house – R.K. Banner. Raj Kapoor’s musical team included lyricists – Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra, music composers – Shankar Jaikishan and singers – Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh. Starting from Barsaat, this music making team presented many great albums to the music lovers containing several immortal songs.Barsaat (rain) tells the story of two friends – Pran (Raj Kapoor) who believes in true love and Gopal(Premnaath) who believes in ‘enjoy and forget’ philosophy. These two friends are roaming about countryside when they happen to meet two different girls. Pran falls for the charms of Reshma (Nargis) whereas Gopal comes across Neela (Nimmi). Pran decides to unite with Reshma against all odds but Gopal ignores Neela after returning to the city these two friends belong to. Neela keeps the flame of Gopal’s love as burning in her heart while waiting for him in her small, old house situated on a hill. After a lot of sentimental drama, Pran is able to make Reshma his life partner whereas Gopal realizes the importance of true love in a man’s life but he is able to come back to Neela only when it’s too late.The movie is very touching and a beautifully made one. Director Raj Kapoor had started demonstrating his skill in making heart-conquering love stories right from his debut venture – Aag. In this second venture of himself, he has gone a few steps farther and presented a mesmerizing love-soaked narrative which contains two different love stories – one with a happy ending and the other one being a tragedy. Different people have different perceptions of male-female love. The thinking patterns of different ones are bound to be different according to their upbringing and life-experiences. It was as true in that era of the forties as it is true today. Gopal of Barsaat does not believe in true love and feels that philandering with different females is the correct way of life until the eye-opening moment comes for him. It may happen with anybody. My knowledge about romantic love was also academic only until I got someone’s true love for real.
This very well made movie written by Ramanand Sagar (who later on became a very famous movie and TV serial director in his own right) is very interesting and the narrative flows very well. The songs are too many but they do not irritate or bore. Instead they enhance the enjoyment of the viewer like anything just like the icing on a cake. The story meanders through many turns and reaches its heart-piercing climax impressively, leaving a throbbing in the heart of the viewer with the ending scene. I feel, Raj Kapoor could have avoided the tragic ending of the movie and substituted it with a happy ending. However it’s to be admitted that despite appearing somewhat out of place, the tragic ending has made a greater impact than what would have been made by a happy ending for the love story of Gopal and Neela.
As said earlier, the biggest plus point of Barsaat is its music only. Music maestros joined hands for the first time under the stewardship of Raj Kapoor and created an aura which is everlasting. The movie opens with a beautiful song – Hawa Mein Udta Jaaye Mera Laal Dupatta Malmal Ka which has been picturized on a long forgotten actress – Vimla. Thereafter the whole movie is a treat for the music lovers from the side of the composers, the lyricists, the singers and above all, the legendary filmmaker Raj Kapoor. Jiya Beqaraar Hai Chhai Bahaar Hai, Barsaat Mein Humse Mile Tum Sajan Tumse Mile Hum, Mujhe Kisi Se Pyar Ho Gaya, Meri Aankhon Mein Bas Gaya Koi Re, Chhod Gaye Baalam Mujhe Haay Akela Chhod Gaye etc. etc. etc., there’s a long musical river for the listeners to float on the waves of melodies. Barsaat’s music is immortal and will continue to enchant the melody lovers for ages. The movie contains a foot-tapper also – Patli Kamar Hai Tirchhi Nazar Hai on which famous dancer Cuckoo has delivered a mesmerizing performance.
This black and white movie is technically superior. Almost everything is perfect or near perfect. The picturization of certain songs in the rain (being true to the title of the movie) is simply wonderful. Raj Kapoor believed in presenting the songs of his movies on the screen in the most beautiful manner possible, thus making the audience love to watch them again and again. Barsaat is a standing example of this belief and ability of himself.Performances are also brilliant. Raj Kapoor himself was a great actor. And under his own direction, he was truly extra-ordinary. Alongwith himself he has extracted admirable performances from Nargis, Premnaath and debutante Nimmi (who went ahead to play a long and successful innings in Bollywood after this movie). Supporting cast has also done well. Raj Kapoor and Nargis made the most popular and legendary on-screen pair of Indian cinema. A scene from Barsaat with Nargis resting on Raj’s arm became the logo of R.K. Banner displaying the inclination of this banner towards pure love forever.
In the presently running rainy season, it won’t be inappropriate to watch this classic from the black and white era of Hindi cinema whose rain is an inseparable part of. I recommend this blockbuster movie to all the cine-lovers in general and melody lovers in particular. Allow yourself to be drenched in this rain of music, love and emotion.
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