Aan (Hindi: आन, Urdu: آن, translation: Pride), released as The Savage Princess in the United Kingdom and United States, is a 1952 Indian Bollywood adventure film, produced and directed by Mehboob Khan. It was India's first technicolour film, as it was shot in 16mm Gevacolour and was blown up in Technicolor. It stars Dilip Kumar, Premnath, and Nimmi, and marked the debut of Nadira. It was the most expensive Indian film ever at the time.
|Directed by||Mehboob Khan|
|Produced by||Mehboob Khan|
|Written by||S. Ali Raza|
|Story by||R. S. Choudhury|
|Cinematography||Faredoon A. Irani|
|Edited by||Shamsudin Kadri|
|Distributed by||Mehboob Productions|
|Box office||est. ₹35,731,000 ($6,042,410)|
It was the highest-grossing Indian film ever at the time, domestically and overseas. Aan was the first Indian film to have a worldwide release in many countries, subtitled in 17 languages and released in 28 countries, including the United Kingdom, United States, France, and Japan. The film also received critical acclaim in the British press at the time. In South India, it was also dubbed and released in Tamil with the same title, Aan.
It begins with a royal Indian family, which consists of the Maharaj (Murad), his brother Shamsher Singh (Premnath) and sister Rajshree (Nadira). A local village leader named Jai Tilak (Dilip Kumar) enters a contest to tame Princess Rajshree's horse, and after he is successful, Shamsher challenges Jai to a bout of fencing. Jai is declared the winner of the fight after much dispute and Shamsher is enraged at losing to a poor villager. Jai then falls in love with Rajshree and tries numerous times to woo her, but the princess's arrogance prevents her from revealing her true feelings.
Shamsher becomes even more enraged when Emperor Maharaj reveals that Shamsher is not the heir to his throne after his death and that he plans to free India from monarchy and turn to democracy.
Shamsher then plans to gain control of the kingdom by killing the Maharajah on the night before he is due to travel to England for a medical procedure. However, he is unsuccessful after the Maharajah escapes an attempt on his life by Shamsher's henchmen and disguises himself as a servant in his own palace.
Shamsher then sets his eyes on Mangala (Nimmi) who was a village girl and childhood friend of Jai, but her love is not reciprocated as he is only in love with princess Rajshree. After Mangala is kidnapped by Shamsher Singh who plans to keep her prisoner in his palace and molest her, Mangala takes a bottle of poison and dies. Jai kills Shamsher in revenge and provokes Princess Rajshree to launch an attack on his village to avenge her brother's death. Jai manages to kidnap Rajshree and sets out to gain her love by taking her into his village and forcing her to live as a peasant girl. Just when Rajshree begins to realize her feelings for Jai, Shamsher Singh who was presumed dead returns to take his revenge against Jai.
This prestigious production was to be India's first full feature in Technicolor. The film was made with an extremely large budget. Dilip Kumar, Nimmi and Prem Nath, then at the height of their popularity and success, were quickly signed on for starring roles, but the second female lead proved more troublesome to cast. Initially, Nargis was cast but left the film to concentrate on her association with R. K. Studios. For a time Madhubala was considered, with considerable lobbying from Dilip Kumar who was romantically involved with her at the time, but for reasons unknown, she was never cast. Finally Mehboob Khan decided to launch a newcomer and selected the then unknown Nadira and promoted her as his new star discovery.
When a first edit of the film was shown to the film's financiers and distributors, they objected that Nimmi's character died too early. This was due to Nimmi's vast popularity as an actress. Therefore, a lavish and extended dream sequence was filmed and edited in to give Nimmi more prominence and screen time in the film.
Innovative music of NaushadEdit
A major highlight of Aan is Naushad's music - both music of film songs and the grand background score that was so innovative and played a key role in the box office success of this film. Reportedly Naushad used a 100-piece orchestra while recording the music of this film, something unprecedented in those days. To create the sound effects that had better bass, Naushad had special rugs put on the walls of the sound studio. Finally, the film songs were mixed in London. Naushad worked very long hours for three whole months to complete this film's music. The symphony with the 100 musicians was much praised and even played on the BBC Radio.
Aan was the first Indian film to have a worldwide release in many countries with the English title - Savage Princess. It was subtitled in 17 languages, and released in 28 countries. Its distribution in the United Kingdom and Europe was handled by Alexander Korda. The film had a lavish London premiere, attended by Mehboob Khan, his wife Sadar Akhter, and Nimmi. The English version was entitled Savage Princess. On the London trip, they met many Western film personalities, including Errol Flynn. When Flynn attempted to kiss Nimmi's hand, she pulled it away, exclaiming, "I am an Indian girl, you cannot do that!" The incident made the headlines, and the press raved about Nimmi as the "...unkissed girl of India". The premiere was also attended by the British prime minister Lord Attlee, among other Indian and British elites at the time.
Although Nimmi was not the romantic lead, she made a big impact on audiences, and her character, Mangala, emerged as the most popular in the film. This was to such an extent that, when the film was released dubbed in French in 1954, it was retitled Mangala, fille des Indes (Mangala, the girl of India) and Nimmi was promoted as the main star of the film in the theatrical posters and trailers for the French language release. Nimmi further revealed in a 2013 interview, that at the London premiere of Aan, she received four serious offers from Hollywood, including from Cecil B. DeMille who greatly admired the production design and Mehboob's vision as a director. He was in fact, so impressed by the film, that he personally wrote a letter of commendation to Mehboob Khan praising the film and the performances of Nimmi and Nadira in particular.
|Soundtrack album by|
|Genre||Feature film soundtrack|
|1||"Maan Mera Ehsan"||Mohammed Rafi||Shakeel Badayuni||02:48|
|2||"Dil Mein Chhupake Pyar Ka Toofan Le Chale"||Mohammed Rafi||02:55|
|3||"Tujhe Kho Diya Hamne" ||Lata Mangeshkar||03:14|
|4||"Aaj Mere Man Mein Sakhi" ||Lata Mangeshkar||03:55|
|5||"Mohabbat Choome Jinke Haath"||Mohammed Rafi||03:36|
|6||"Gao Tarane Man Ke"||Mohammed Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar & Shamshad Begum||04:41|
|7||"Takra Gaya Tumse"||Mohammed Rafi||03:44|
|8||"Khelo Raang Hamare Sang"||Lata Mangeshkar & Shamshad Begum||04:18|
|9||"Aag Lagi Tan Man Mein" ||Shamshad Begum||03:32|
|10||"Mein Raani Hoon Raja Ki"||Shamshad Begum||03:10|
The Tamil lyrics were by Kambadasan. Lata Mangeshkar and Shamshad Begum rendered the Tamil songs also. However, it appears that the lyricist did not approve of their diction, and so songs sung by Lata Mangeshkar were recorded again with M. S. Rajeswari and songs sung by Shamshad Begum were recorded with Soolamangalam Rajeswari. While the film had the original recordings, the records (Plates) had both versions. So, there are 14 songs recorded on the gramophone records.
|1||"Yetriduvaai Arul Thaan"||S. M. Sarkar||Kambadasan||02:48|
|2||"Manadhil Mei Kaadhal"||S. M. Sarkar||02:55|
|3||"Izhandhen Unai Anbe"||Lata Mangeshkar||03:14|
|4||"Izhandhen Unai Anbe"||M. S. Rajeswari||03:14|
|5||"Indru Endhan Nenjil Sakhi"||Lata Mangeshkar||03:55|
|6||"Indru Endhan Nenjil Sakhi"||M. S. Rajeswari||03:55|
|7||"Mohamuththam Tharum"||S. M. Sarkar||03:36|
|8||"Paadu Singara Paadalai"||S. M. Sarkar, Lata Mangeshkar & Shamshad Begum||04:41|
|9||"Sandai Moondathuve"||S. M. Sarkar||03:44|
|10||"Nagaru Nagaru Mel Jal Jal"||Lata Mangeshkar & Shamshad Begum||04:18|
|11||"Aah Sududhe En Maname"||Shamshad Begum||03:32|
|12||"Aah Sududhe En Maname"||Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi||03:32|
|13||Naan Raaniye Rajavin||Shamshad Begum||03:10|
|14||Naan Raaniye Rajavin||Soolamangalam Rajalakshmi||03:10|
Domestically in India, it was the highest grosser of 1952, grossing ₹2.8 crore ($5.88 million).[a] Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to $57 million (₹390 crore). It was the highest-grossing film in India at the time, and the first to net ₹1.5 crore. It held the record for several years, until it was surpassed by Shree 420 (1955).
It was also an overseas success, earning considerable profit from overseas. In overseas markets, the film was released in 28 countries and earned ₹773,060 ($162,410).[a] Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to $2.79 million (₹19 crore). Aan was the highest-gross Indian film overseas at the time, until it was surpassed by Awaara (1951) after its Soviet release in 1954.
Worldwide, the film grossed ₹35.731 million ($6,042,410). Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to ₹395 crore ($58 million). It was the highest-grossing Indian film ever at the time, up until it was surpassed by Awaara after its Soviet release in 1954.
Aan received critical acclaim in the British press at the time. The Times, for example, wrote a positive review of the film, comparing it favourably with Hollywood productions at the time. They stated that "Hollywood has nothing to reach up to handsome Dilip Kumar and seductive Nadira."
Hollywood producer Cecil B. DeMille himself wrote a letter to Mehboob Khan saying, "I believe it is quite possible to make pictures in your great country which will be understood and enjoyed by all nations without sacrificing the culture and customs of India. We look forward to the day when you will be regular contributors to our screen fare with many fine stories bringing the romance and magic of India."
- 4.76 Indian rupees per US dollar from 1951 to 1965
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