Aan (1952)

Aan (1952)
Article 5587 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 11-24-2018
Directed by Mehboob Khan
Featuring Dilip Kumar, Nimmi, Prem Nath
Country: India
What it is: Epic romance

When an ambitious and tyrannical prince usurps the throne, he is opposed by a heroic peasant who has fallen in love with the princess.

For those who’ve noticed that I’m watching a lot of movies that began with AA, that’s because right now I’m going through Walt Lee’s Reference Guide to Fantastic Films in alphabetical order and watching any movie I can find on the internet listed there. As it turns out, there’s a heavy dose of films from India near the beginning of the book, and it seems they’re easy to find on YouTube.

Still, that doesn’t mean that they’re easy to find with English subtitles (even though I know prints do exist with them), and so I had to watch it in Hindi without subtitles. Fortunately, I had some plot descriptions to help work out the general story. It’s something of a cross between your typical palace intrigue story crossed with “The Taming of the Shrew”; the fantastic content (according to the Lee guide) is a dream sequence which includes some magic in it. Still, I have to say that the dream sequence (which is, of course, a long musical number) is only slightly weirder than some of the other musical numbers in this ambitious but bizarre drama. It was the first Indian film shot in Technicolor, and it makes as much use of the color as it can. Even with the plot descriptions, this one gets confusing at times, but it is loaded with spectacle, some of it quite jaw-dropping. Still, the most memorable thing I found in this one was the acting of female star Nadira as the princess, whose ability to overact with her eyes (and I do mean overact) is almost beyond human comprehension. Still, at least I didn’t need English subtitles to know how she was feeling.

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