Rape is the most heinous crime by which a rapist male crushes not just the body of the victimized female but also her soul. The patriarchal social set up in India as well as in several other parts of the world puts a premium on the chastity of a woman and therefore a raped woman is considered something like spoiled stuff and thus whether or not the culprit gets the punishment, the victim positively gets punished by the society and more so by herself through her own guilt-complex. She tortures herself by thinking that now she is impure and not fit to be someone’s wife or love-interest. That’s the tragedy of this crime which has led to making of several Bollywood movies. Today I am reviewing one such movie only which seems to be a romantic movie by its title but mostly it is an intense drama based on the trauma of the rape of a woman who is all set to marry the love of her life. This admirable movie is Aap Aye Bahaar Ayee (1971).Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayee (primavera has arrived alongwith you) starts with the love story of Rohit (Rajendra Kumar) and Neena (Sadhana). They decide to marry. Meantime Rohit’s friend Kumar (Prem Chopra) also sends his marriage proposal to Neena with his photograph and to his utter humiliation, Neela tears off his photograph even without casting a look at it. This sense of humiliation and defeat turns Kumar into a maniac and he rapes Neena. Now Neena, considering herself as impure, is no longer willing to marry Rohit. However Rohit does not leave her and marries her. She gives birth to a son which, in all probability, is a result of the rape imposed on her by Kumar. Now Neena is living the life of a wife and a mother with all the social respect and her husband’s abundant love being avaiable to her but the thing is that the woman in her has died an untimely death. However Rohit, being a true lover, is ever-trying to keep her happy by all means and he has no issues with the kid also whom he gives all the fatherly love that he has in his heart. The story again gets a twist when years later, Kumar comes back to complete his revenge (he had lost an eye in the post-rape tussle that he had with Rohit). The climax takes the baddie to the destination he deserves and renders security and happiness to the aggrieved family.Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayee starts just like a regular romantic movie made in the style of the sixties and we find the lead pair interacting like their earlier romantic movies. However a few reels later, the movie turns serious and the trauma resulting from Neena’s rape takes the driver’s seat for the narrative to move ahead. The movie is an engrossing one though the tension post the rape makes it a bit heavy. I contrast the rape incident and its aftermath in the conjugal life of the lead pair with that shown in an earlier movie – Satyakaam (1969). In Satyakaam also, the raped lady, despite abundant unconditional love of her husband for her, is not able to establish normal conjugal relations with him because of the negative effect of rape on her mind and heart. And an interesting trivia is that in Satyakaam also, the name of the rapist is Kumar only.Director Mohan Kumar has handled the sensitive subject very well and underscored the significance of the people who genuinely love the raped lady, in her life. Through the character of Neena, he has very accurately portrayed that though the love of the close ones is able to apply ointment on the wound on her soul, finally the biggest healer is time only and nothing else. Despite application of love and sympathy, it may take years for the victimized lady to be normal within her heart. And that calls for a lot of patience on the part of those who love her, who live with her and who console her. The narrative moves steadily and finally, leaves a strong impact on the heart of the audience who start empathizing with the victim and her beloveds. It also underscores this fact that the attitude of the people should be positive and sympathetic towards the child who might take birth as a result of such crime. After all, that kid is an innocent one and had no hand in his birth. Then why should he suffer ? Rape is a sin but who is the sinner ? The rapist is the sinner, not the rape-victim or the child thus born.In my reviews of relatively recent movies like Raavan and Red Alert (both released in 2010), I have raised the question as to why rapes take place at all. There may be many reasons behind it, depending upon case to case as to which reason is applicable in which case. Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayee highlights that hurting of ego and a sense of defeat (plus the associated humiliation) may also lead to such heinous crime by the concerned male. Considering the biological vulnerability of a female, the best revenge that a male can seek from her is rape only which once done, cannot be undone. In India, several rape incidents take place in which the culprits are the losing lovers. It is a lesson for the ladies also that refusals or turning down of marriage or love proposals should be polite and not hard-hitting. You have a right to refuse but the prudent thing is not to hurt the self-respect or the ego of the proposer while forwarding your refusal. Anyway, this is my viewpoint. The lady readers are free to dissent.Now with the changing times at least in terms of mentality of both the men and the women, the womenfolk should bear in their mind that getting raped by misfortune is not to be considered as the end of their life or happiness. They should face this reality with courage and make a fresh start of their life. When the rapist does not feel any guilt for whatever he has done, why should they feel any guilt about it when the sin took place with their physic without their will and therefore, it was an imposed one ? Every such female may not be fortunate like Neena of Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayee who gets such a sincere lover who marries her and stands by her in all the bad times including the rape and after. She should not lose heart all the same. After all, life is more precious than anything else. And times are bound to change. One never knows what is in store for him / her in the times to come.This admirable movie got further elevation through the brilliant performances of the lead actors. Both Rajendra Kumar and Saadhana have done very well with outstanding on-screen chemistry between them. Both were past the peak of their careers as lead actors at the time of this movie. However they have made this last movie done together by them a memorable one. Prem Chopra as the villain is also perfect. He has portrayed the jealousy and sense of humiliation in Kumar with finesse. The complete supporting cast alongwith the child artist has done its part well.Technically the movie is in order. Cinematography, art direction, choreography, action and thrills, editing and background score, everything is satisfactory. Length of the movie is also apt considering the norm prevailing in that period. Laxmikant Pyarelaal’s music alongwith Anand Bakshi’s lyrics is also a big plus point of this movie. All the songs – the title track (Saare Zamaane Pe Mausam Suhaane Pe), Koyal Kyun Gaaye, Poochhe Jo Koi Mujhse Bahaar Kaisi Hoti Hai, Taare Kitne Neel Gagan Pe etc. are ear-soothing ones. The best song is definitely Mujhe Teri Mohabbat Ka Sahaara Mil Gaya Hota which signifies the essence of the movie.Aap Aaye Bahaar Aayee is a praiseworthy movie which is many notches above many other movies made on this theme. It was a box office hit and could have fared even better had it been made prior to the era of Rajesh Khanna. The audience of golden oldies should not miss it.
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