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Saturday, 12 May 2012

Inane accusations (Aap ki Kasam)

Now tell me something: Why is everyone in Aap ki Kasam losing sleep over how to exonerate Kamal? Why are they so driven towards showing him sympathy? Does he really deserve any? An insecure and stupid man who brings nothing but unhappiness to everyone around him, Kamal should have just been ignored and allowed to live his life the way he wanted to. I sound harsh, but please, after what he does, I feel he deserved nothing but that...

J Om Prakash's 1974 drama draws attention to the inanity of jealousy and insecurity. That a seed of baseless jealousy can ruin a perfectly happy settlement. What I also liked in the film is how the wife doesn't bother to grovel before her jealous husband trying to explain the truth but walks away with her head held high. The film has several positives. So, when towards the end, when everyone cries and sobs and wants Kamal to get some last respect and peace, it kind of irks me. Well, Kamal, you don't deserve it!
Sunita (Mumtaz is just 27, but she looks a tad jaded) is a rich girl and Kamal (Rajesh Khanna) is the son of a villager. But somehow the status divide never really comes between their relationship. While Kamal's father (AK Hangal) is gung-ho about getting Sunita as a daughter-in-law, Sunita's parents (played by Rehman and Dina Pathak) are sensible and see reason when Sunita explains that Kamal is infact a very good match for her and they shouldn't grudge him not being as rich as she is. I simply liked the fact that at least here this status difference did not become a bone of contention between the two youngsters. In fact, after marriage, Sunita is shown enjoying her duties as a wife and doing all housework herself. Kamal dotes on her and is seen using a friend's recommendation to get a job. The two do fairly well after they tie the knot.
Problem starts quite unexpectedly, though you get hints quite early. Kamal and Sunita move into a new house after marriage. Their neighbour is Mohan (Sanjeev Kumar), Kamal's friend and colleague. He is a lonely soul. While he is chirpy and amiable, he hides within himself a pained heart. His wife, a woman of low morals, is married to her social life and poor Mohan finds solace in his sitar. Sunita notices that and sometimes even says it aloud. Kamal does not like her being so sensitive towards Mohan's plight. There is a scene where Mohan returns from office but is unable to enter his home because his wife has taken the keys. Sunita and Kamal are about to go out. Sunita invites Mohan to go with them also. Mohan politely refuses. Kamal pouts and tells Sunita that she should not have done that because he made plans for only two of them. Sunita laughs and says sorry. Sensible girl.
Small incidents like these keep happening before things take a drastic turn. At a party thrown by the newly-weds, Sunita refuses to sing. Even after Kamal cajols her she doesn't relent. But the moment Mohan draws her attention to the power of music she breaks into a beautiful song while he plays the sitar. This hurts Kamal badly. He gets sloshed and talks weirdly with Sunita and starts avoiding her. When Sunita tells Kamal to visit the club everyday after work so that he can meet his friends, he thinks she is doing so so that she can be alone with Mohan, who visits them often. One day, he even sees Mohan and Sunita share a heart laugh while he is away and obviously doubts the fidelity of his wife and friend. Stupid husband!
Many small incidents cloud Kamal's reasoning and he openly asks Sunita about her relation with Mohan. Sunita is appalled, aghast, but keeps her head held high. She doesn't weep before him, doesn't beg for his mercy. I love that about her. She declares that Kamal's doubting her is a big insult to her and she packs her bag and leaves him. Go girl!
Kamal's ego is hurt and he sees this as a confirmation of his doubts. He slaps Mohan when he comes to meet them and even like a fool, insults Sunita's father when the old man tries to make him see some sense. Well these people should have noticed that this insensitive man is incapable of thinking right. He is insecure and jealous and nothing would make him see light.
Since Sunita loves Kamal, she is very pained when Kamal agrees to a divorce. Little does he know that she is pregnant with his child. I'd say, good he doesn't. He really doesn't deserve the happiness.
A quirk of fate however, makes Kamal see where he went wrong and he is swept by remorse. He goes to Sunita's father's house to ask for her forgiveness and is shattered to hear that she has remarried. What I can't fathom is how he has the guts to wonder why such a big punishment is being rendered to him for what he has done! Listen Mister, you doubt your wife over something that's sick and you expect people to just forgive you like that! Aren't you expecting too much? Trust is the basis of all relationships and you've managed to rattle that. So on what basis will Sunita go back to you again and how can she be sure that you won't repeat your mistake?
The film drags on to show how Kamal spends some long years repenting and suffering. Till he sees an advert in a newspaper and retreats back to Mohan's house. I don't even want to ponder on what happens after that. I simply couldn't take that bit because I don't think Kamal deserved even an iota of sympathy. He should have been just left alone. It's Sunita's and Harish's (Satyendra Kappu) magnanimity that they did what they do to him...
The music of the film is good. Well, you have RD Burman here, so that's a given. My favourite track is of course, Jai jai shiv shankar. And Ankhiya is also good.
Sanjeev Kumar in this itsy bitsy role is absolutely wasted. They should have opted for someone else. Sanjeev Kumar is too good an actor for this small supporting role. The comic interludes starring Kesto Mukherjee should have been cut out. They eat into the narrative.
Rajesh Khanna exercises restraint as the jealous husband. But how I wish he got a haircut. That silly hairstyle that he sported in his later films just gets my goat. And oh dear, his knack of wearing his broad belts over his shirts! Yuck!
Mumtaz is very good as Sunita. She looks a bit old in those westerns but in her performance she is top-notch. Especially when she lands a proverbial slap on Kamal's face by walking out on him, I feel like running and hugging her. Yes, her actions and expressions deserve an applause there...

13 comments:

  1. Sharmi, unfortunately for me, the fact that Kabir, and later, her father decide her fate made me want to slap some sense into Sunita as well. What on earth happened to that woman's spine when it comes to deciding what she wants to do with her own life? Agree with you totally about Kabir - what a goddawful man! It's not a movie I want to watch again.

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  2. @Anu: It's Kamal I think you are talking about hain na? Ya, the movie could have been better :(

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  3. Kabir, Kamal,same difference. :)

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  4. This isn't one of my favourites, though I do like the music. My main contention is not with the fact that Kamal is jealous and suspicious, but with that this is a marriage that was SO lacking in communication. But yes, the end was the ultimate in yuckiness. He deserved to be shot rather than wept over.

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  5. @Dustedoff: Hahaha, shot rather than wept over, hahahahahaha!!

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  6. Saw this a long time ago. I didn't mind it at all. If nothing else it was quite engrossing. It started off well, and was really romantic. I got great satisfaction when he comes back only to find she was married. Yes, the shedding of tears over the ending spoilt the effect. LOL, we are all so unforgiving. :-D
    pacifist

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  7. @Pacifist: Yeah we so are, especially towards these scum-like men!!! hahahahahahaha

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  8. COntrary to what ppl have said here, I don't want to be harsh on any of these characters. I feel they were all human.. full of their own failings, some more, some less. It is not a finely crafted work. But yes, it is the first film that comes to mind when you talk of mistrust in marriage. And what lovely music!

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  9. Mumtaz has done perfect justice to her role.It annoys me how Rajesh Khanna(Kamal)mistrusts her and mistreats her.When he realises his mistakes,it is too late for him! Mumtaz's character is indeed strong in comparison to Kamal.She is superb in her films such as "Kathputli" and "Tere Mere Sapane"........

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  10. @Coolone: I liked her in Khilona also.

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  11. Well, as audience, we can see Kamal being unreasonable on both Mohan and Sunita, but don't you guys think, as a husband, he had valid reasons to doubt her fidelity given the situations he found himself and them in? Including the part where he sees their bed in a mess and the fact she doesn't sing when her husband insists her to, but goes for it Mohan starts playing the sitar (now for all of other people, it may be because she gave into music, but it can get really irking and suspicious for a husband who has already seen suspicious things about his wife and friend's relationship. Bravo that Sunita walked on him without clarifying her to him, head held high, but a little communication could've done the same without her having to bow down... it's a relationship, god damn it! There are bound to be misunderstandings almost all the times... it is for the couple to sort them out without having to kill their
    marriage... for instance, sunita walking outbon kamal only confirmed his wrong suspicions and things started falling apart from there. I agree kamal was unduly unreasonable, but sunita could've acted in a bit more calm manner, more responsibly.

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