Premiered on March 26th, 1954 at the Imperial Cinema and several other houses in Bombay, Akash Chitra’s “Angaray,” produced and directed by K. B. Lall with a cast of top-notch stars, holds cine-goers pleasantly engaged from beginning to end, despite the crude, melodramatic touches of its amateurish direction. Its story, written by Romney Dey, is packed with action and the strong romantic appeal of young love defying peril and death, and it has been put over by the principals with an ingenuous sincerity which triumphs over all deficiencies of presentation, production and performance to move and, occasionally, even to engross.
Set in the idyllic atmosphere of a picturesque Himalayan valley, the film tells of the love of the daughter of a mountain chief for the son of his avowed enemy. The fact that the boy is really the chieftain’s son, whom the nurse had taken for a still-born child and changed with the girl who was born the same night, enhances the romance and adds powerfully to the dramatic interest of the story.
Fate took a grim hand in this game of vengeance. From a chance meeting in childhood, the children grew to be friends and friendship ripened into a passionate devotion which neither threat nor warning could shake. In a terrific climax, the young lover is fatally wounded by the chieftain in the very moment that he learns it is his own son he is killing just as the girl he has long believed to be his daughter leaps to her own death. It is a tragic and a terrific finale.
Despite all the powerful drama, the picture suffers from a crude naivete of conception, treatment and presentation which creates an impression of unrealism inimical to the drama. One such passage is where the heroine is shown scaling a precipice against the fury of a tumbling waterfall, a feat so obviously impossible that one can only wonder at its inclusion.
The portrayals, however, are good. Nasir Khan, despite his poorly-drawn character, puts over an excellent performance, creating, with Nargis as his sweetheart in a beautifully spontaneous portrayal, a tenderly moving impression of star-crossed love overhung with tragedy. The finest portrayals come from the exotic Vanmala and that grand actor, Jagirdar. As the chieftain’s wife, Vanmala is superb. As the chieftain’s enemy Jagirdar is magnificent.
Paro, as Nargis’s confidante, and Jeevan who plays her lover do well in overdrawn and superfluous parts. Sunalini Devi as the nurse and Pran as the unwanted suitor of Nargis are good in small roles, and also convincing are Rattan Kumar and Baby Nanda who play the lovers in childhood. K. N. Singh as the chieftain hams his way with raucous abandon through the main supporting role of the picture and is responsible for lowering the tone of the whole production with his grossly overdrawn performance.
The photography is one of the major credits of this film. The skillful lighting and imaginative use of a highly mobile camera contribute immeasurably to the drama. The music by Sachin Dev Burman, very pleasing to the ears, appear reminiscent of the more popular songs from such hits as “Babul,” “Mangalfera” and “Sargam.” The sets and costumes are somewhat bizarre and a little too ornate, one feels, for the setting in which the story is laid.
Year – 1954
Language – Hindi
Country – India
Producer – Akash Chitra
Director – K. B. Lal
Music Director – S. D. Burman
Box-Office Status –
Cast – Vanmala, Pran, Paro, Rattan Kumar, K. N. Singh, Nasir Khan, Nargis, Jagirdar, Nanda, Jeevan, Sunalini Devi, Jawahar Kaul
Miscellaneous Information –