Late Manmohan Desai has reserved his name in the list of Bollywood’s great entertainers. Right from his maiden directorial venture – Chhalia (1960) to Mard (1985), he kept on delivering box office hits for around a quarter of a century with only two flops in the end (Ganga Jamuna Saraswati and Toofan). His great association with Amitabh Bachchan started with Amar Akbar Anthony (1977) but prior to that also he had given consecutive hits with other heroes. Today I am reviewing a very interesting movie of Manmohan Desai starring Shashi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore and Shatrughan Sinha which was also a box office success. It’s Aa Gale Lag Jaa (1973).Aa Gale Lag Ja (come, embrace me) is the story of a skating trainer – Prem (Shashi Kapoor) and Preeti (Sharmila Tagore) who is the daughter of a rich man – Heera Chand (Om Prakash). Both fall in love and in an extremely cold, snowfall ridden night of Shimla, Prem sexually contacts Preeti to save her life (because there was no other means available at that time to transmit heat to her body). Preeti gets pregnant but her father who is against their marriage creates misunderstanding between them and their ways are parted. However when Preeti gives birth to a son, his father quite generously allows Prem to take away that child to foster and tells a lie to Preeti that she had given birth to a dead child.Years pass and Prem and Preeti happen to meet again. Preeti meets Prem’s (and her) son who is a handicapped boy. Now she is going to be married to a foreign-returned doctor – Amar (Shatrughan Sinha). Dr. Aman assures Prem to cure the handicap (in the leg) of his son. However the emotional tensions between the threesome (as well as the handicapped child) and intricacies of their relationships create many twists in the story before it reaches its happy ending.Aa Gale Lag Ja is a formula-based pure entertainer which is completely successful in its objective of entertaining the audience right from the very first frame to the very last frame. It’s an emotional drama with a good dose of romance and some punches of action also. Intelligently written screenplay (by Prayaag Raj) and tight editing keeps the interest of the audience alive throughout despite the climax being a predictable one. There is no boredom at all in the movie whose story moves at a decent pace and never allows the spectator to have a glance at his watch. K.B. Paathak’s dialogues are also quite impressive.Technically the movie is good and the production value is high. The beauty of Shimla has been captured very well in several scenes.Songs composed by R.D. Burman with Saahir Ludhiyanvi’s lyrics are the icing on the cake for this good movie. The best song is Tera Mujhse Hai Pehle Ka Naata Koi, Yun Hi Nahin Dil Lubhaata Koi which is hilarious in its first version and emotional in the second one. Sushma Shreshtha has given her voice to the child artist – Master Tito for this song. The voices of Kishore and Lata have been used for Shashi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore. Other than Tera Mujhse …, Vaada Karo, Nahi Chhodogi Tum Mera Saath, O Mere Bete, Sunn Mera Kehna (very emotional and inspirational song) and Na Koi Dil Mein Samaaya are also very good to listen. The songs have also been picturized very impressively like the whole movie. They have been placed situationally and made a part of the storyline which is an evidence of skilled direction.
Performances are all good. However child artist – Master Tito takes the cake. He has delivered an outstanding performance in the role of the handicapped boy who is frustrated with his handicap (because his father is a skilled skater and he wants to be like his father) but who loves his father very much and remains a perennial source of inspiration for him. The movie can be watched several times for the heart-winning performance of Master Tito itself. Otherwise also, the movie has a repeat value because of its entertaining quality.
I will not say that Aa Gale Lag Ja is a great movie. However it is definitely a very good watch which entertains, inspires and moves the audience at the same time. I wholeheartedly recommend it to the movie buffs of all categories.
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