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Sagar (1951) – Review

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A jejune melodrama filmed against the picturesque background of the Western Ghats, “Sagar” breathes a strange beauty that distinguishes it from other releases of the day.

Paradoxically, “Sagar” has nothing new to offer in story or in its presentation. It is the same old story, a love triangle involving two boys and a girl. It contains all the stockin-trade devices of our producers to sugarcoat the film : a dream sequence, an interlude in an island where a fantastic species of humans lead an equally fantastic life, erotic terpsichorean numbers set to the lilt(?) of meaningless lyrics. And it has a length twice too tong to hold audience interest in the film.

Yet these very defects contribute to make it an exquisitely beautiful film. The weak screenplay affords an opportunity for the cameraman to dominate the film, the over-adequate length makes it possible to include exotic outdoor scenes and the dances and the dream sequence, too, follow the general pattern of the film, with the result that,in this story of people living on the Western Ghats, the ocean comes to life. Its surging waves wash away the other drawbacks, its serene beauty covers the entire film like a colorful blanket.

The story revolves round a little child brought to the coast on the crest of the waves by a storm. Discovered by the villagers, the baby grows into a handsome lad named Deva who lives and loves in the placid life of the marine village. But the vicious undercurrents of village life soon engulf him and he disappears in the ocean, swallowed by the waves, back to the sea from which he came.

Jairaj has a role that fits him like the proverbial glove. A close second in sharing histrionic honors is David, followed by Veera, K. N. Singh and Durga Khote. Nargis, who was ill at the time of the shooting of the film, shows her physical unfitness in her listless characterization and dull, expression less face. And Jairaj should have thought twice before casting Bharat Bhushan in the important role of Raghu. With his sheepish grin and unkempt hair, he looks anything but the guy for whom a girl would fall.

The most significant “performance” in the film is by a unique artiste, one who outdoes everyone else in the film and carries the whole film on his shoulders…that is, if the sea has any shoulders! For it is the sea that has the greatest role in this film.

It not only provides the background for the film but invests it with something of its dark beauty and timeless existence. Jairaj handles the megaphone for the film after a long time, but his direction of the elements, the blending of the colors of Nature with the emotions of the drama, shows a keen study of film craftsmanship. The songs, the music and the costumes, though not very appealing, have a remarkably authentic touch about them and at places they contribute to make the drama rise to lofty heights.

“Sagar” may not be a very good film but it certainly is a different film and a much more edifying specimen of film art than most of the present-day productions.

Year – 1951

Language – Hindi

Country – India

Producer – P. J. Films Unit

Director – Jairaj

Music Director – S. K. Pal

Box-Office Status

Cast – Veera 1, Nargis, Jairaj, Durga Khote, K. N. Singh, Bharat Bhushan, David Abraham, Rajni

Miscellaneous Information – Not Available.

Songs List

SongYearSingersMusic DirectorLyricist(s)
shehnaai baje aur dulhaniya saje1951 RajkumariS.K. Pal Narendra Sharma
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