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Aan (Hindi: आन, Urdu: آن, translation: Pride), released as The Savage Princess in the United Kingdom and United States, is a 1952 Indian Bollywood 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.[2][3] It stars Dilip Kumar, Premnath, and Nimmi, and marked the debut of Nadira. It was the most expensive Indian film ever at the time.

Aan
Aan 1952 film poster.jpg
Film poster
Directed byMehboob Khan
Produced byMehboob Khan
Written byR. S. Choudhury (story)
S. Ali Raza (dialogue)
StarringDilip Kumar
Nimmi
Premnath
Nadira
Music byNaushad
CinematographyFaredoon A. Irani
Edited byShamsudin Kadri
Release date
  • 4 July 1952 (1952-07-04)
Running time
161 min.
CountryIndia
LanguageHindi-Urdu
Budget3,500,000[1]
Box officeest. 35,731,000 ($6,042,410)

It was the highest-grossing Indian film ever at the time, domestically[4] and overseas.[5] Aan was the first Indian film to have a worldwide release in many countries, subtitled in 17 languages and released in 28 countries,[5] including the United Kingdom,[6] United States, France,[7] and Japan.[8] The film also received critical acclaim in the British press at the time.[9] In South India, it was also dubbed and released in Tamil as Aan (Murattu Adiyaal).[10]

Contents

PlotEdit

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 him 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 the 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 is 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 realise her feelings for Jai, Shamsher Singh who was presumed dead returns to get his revenge against Jai.

ProductionEdit

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.[11]

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.[12]

The production cost of the film was 35 lakh (equivalent to 26 crore or US$3.7 million in 2017).[1] It was the most expensive film ever at the time.

CastEdit

International releaseEdit

Aan was the first Indian film to have a worldwide release in many countries. It was subtitled in 17 languages, and released in 28 countries. Its distribution in the United Kingdom and Europe was handled by Alexander Korda.[5] The film had a lavish London premiere, attended by Mehboob Khan, his wife Sadar Akhter, and Nimmi.[6] 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".[13] The premiere was also attended by the British prime minister Lord Attlee, among other Indian and British elites at the time.[9]

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.[14] 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, 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.[7]

Aan was also released in Japan in January 1954, as the first Indian film to ever release in Japan. Aan was accepted by audiences there, and it earned a considerable profit in Japan.[8]

MusicEdit

Aan
Soundtrack album by
Released1952
GenreFeature film soundtrack
Naushad chronology
Jadoo
(1951)
Aan
(1952)
Baiju Bawra
(1952)

The film features an acclaimed soundtrack composed by Naushad.

Hindi lyrics were by Shakeel Badayuni

No. Song Singers Lyrics Length (m:ss)
1 "Maan Mera Ehsan" Mohammed Rafi Shakeel Badayuni 02:48
2 "Dil Mein Chhupake Pyar Ka" 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.[15]

No. Song Singers Lyrics Length (m:ss)
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

ReceptionEdit

Box officeEdit

Domestically in India, it was the highest grosser of 1952,[16] grossing 2.8 crore ($5.88 million); adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to 356 crore ($53 million) in 2016.[b] 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).[4]

It was also an overseas success, earning considerable profit from overseas.[8] In overseas markets, the film was released in 28 countries and grossed 773,060[5] ($162,410).[a] Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to $1.5 million[21] (10.25 crore)[20] in 2016. 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 3.5731 crore ($6.04241 million). Adjusted for inflation, this is equivalent to 373.25 crore ($54.7  million) in 2016. It was the highest-grossing Indian film ever at the time, up until it was surpassed by Awaara after its Soviet release in 1954.

Critical receptionEdit

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."[9]

NotesEdit

  1. ^ a b 4.76 Indian rupees per US dollar from 1951 to 1965[18]
  2. ^ Domestic gross: 2.8 crore[17] ($5.88 million),[a] equivalent to $53.2 million[19] (363 crore)[20] in 2016.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b "Nadira – Interview". cineplot.com. 25 November 2012.
  2. ^ Aan Archived 6 January 2007 at the Wayback Machine. University of Iowa.
  3. ^ "Aan". Upperstall. Retrieved 4 May 2013.
  4. ^ a b "Top Earners 1950-1959 (Figures in Ind Rs)". Box Office India. 19 September 2012.
  5. ^ a b c d Rajinder, Dudrah; Jigna, Desai (2008). The Bollywood Reader. McGraw-Hill Education. p. 65. ISBN 9780335222124.
  6. ^ a b https://moviemahal.net/2017/01/11/mehboobs-aan-1952-indian-cinemas-entry-into-europe
  7. ^ a b https://www.filmfare.com/features/nimmis-filmfare-interview-11920-2.html
  8. ^ a b c Matsuoka, Tamaki (2008). Asia to Watch, Asia to Present: The Promotion of Asian/Indian Cinema in Japan (PDF). Senri Ethnological Studies, Reitaku University. p. 246. Archived from the original (PDF) on 22 July 2011.
  9. ^ a b c Gaur, Madan (1973). Other Side of the Coin: An Intimate Study of Indian Film Industry. Trimurti Prakashan [distributed through Universal Book Service, Delhi]. p. 160.
  10. ^ "Dhool". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016.
  11. ^ http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-metroplus/Aan-1952/article15922186.ece
  12. ^ http://m.rediff.com/%0Amovies/2003/feb/13dinesh.htm
  13. ^ https://www.cinestaan.com/articles/2017/feb/18/4378/when-nimmi-turned-down-errol-flynn-s-kiss.
  14. ^ http://m.rediff.com/%0Amovies/2003/feb/13dinesh.htm
  15. ^ "Dhool". Archived from the original on 5 March 2016.
  16. ^ http://www.boxofficeindia.com/topactors.htm
  17. ^ "Box Office 1952". Box Office India. 22 September 2012.
  18. ^ "Pacific Exchange Rate Service" (PDF). UBC Sauder School of Business. University of British Columbia. p. 3. Retrieved 21 November 2017.
  19. ^ "CPI Inflation Calculator (domestic gross)". Bureau of Labor Statistics. December 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  20. ^ a b "Exchange Rates (68.3 INR per USD)". The World Factbook. Central Intelligence Agency. 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2017.
  21. ^ "CPI Inflation Calculator (overseas gross)". Bureau of Labor Statistics. December 2016. Retrieved 30 November 2017.

External linksEdit