Aakraman (1975)

Published - June 30, 2017 01:40 am IST

WAR AND LOVE J. Om Prakash’s “Aakraman” starring Sanjeev Kumar, Raakesh Roshan, Rekha and Rajesh Khanna in a cameo has some memorable moments

WAR AND LOVE J. Om Prakash’s “Aakraman” starring Sanjeev Kumar, Raakesh Roshan, Rekha and Rajesh Khanna in a cameo has some memorable moments

Salman Khan’s “Tubelight” brings back memories of Hindi films where war formed the backdrop. Of course, nobody can forget Chetan Anand’s “Haqeeqat” but there have been little known films which created a flutter when they released but failed to linger in public memory. One of them is Joy Mukherjee’s “Humsaya” (1968), where the romantic hero experimented with his image and played an Indian as well as a Chinese officer. Another is “Aakraman” by J. Om Prakash, where the producer-director, known for his love triangles, used war to solve the romantic quandary.

As expected, Prakash takes a long time to come to the battleground and spends more than half of the run time in creating the love triangle in a rather stereotypical way. Lieutenant Sunil Mehra (Raakesh Roshan) falls in love with Sheetal (Rekha) only to discover that she is betrothed to Major Ajay Verma (Sanjeev Kumar). In such films, the female protagonist takes a long time in clearing the air or what’s in her heart, giving the director an opportunity to slip in couple of songs. However, here Laxmikant-Pyarelal and Anand Bakshi are not at their best to keep us riveted.

Sugary proceedings

Again, as expected, Sunil drowns himself in alcohol and carries a glum face, something Ajay fails to decode till the climax when he gets to check his wallet during the battle. If Sunil hits the bar because of being spurned in love, Sheetal’s uncle (Ashok Kumar) is an alcoholic because he lost his son in the 1965 war. All this makes the proceedings suitably melodramatic and sugary. Add to it Sulochana as the mother with a weak heart and Farida Jalal as the chatty sister, you don’t need to guess, what’s next! And with Ajay saying lines like ‘duniya main maa se achcha khana kisi ka nahin hota’ in front of his fiancée, you know how films are responsible in cementing public sentiment.

Things look up when the two men in uniform have to leave their personal matters behind and fight for the country. Seasoned screenwriter Sachin Bhowmik weave interesting dilemmas in the mind of Sunil, who, at one point, thinks of killing Ajay in the battle field. Then there are predictable but moving cameos by Ravinder Kapoor and Sujit Kumar as the members of Ajay’s battalion. Kapoor as Subedar Usman brings in the ‘country above religion’ sentiment when caught by Pakistani rangers. Picturised by V. Balasaheb, the battle scenes are effective in sustaining interest.

Made just after his superlative “Aap Ki Kasam”, here Prakash, who had this habit of coming up with titles starting with letter A, gave his son-in-law Rakesh Roshan the opportunity to prove his worth. Alas! he could not stand upto the challenge and delivered an affected performance. It is as false as the moustache that he sports. Rajesh Khanna, the reigning star, is cast in a cameo where he gets to sing couple of songs as a war veteran who lost his leg in action during the 1965 war. Sung by Kishore Kumar, “Dekho Veer Jawano” continues to live on. Rekha is her natural self but as Sheetal her relationships with the two men hardly generates any emotional swell.

The film belongs to the other Prakash favourite, Sanjeev Kumar. He played this sacrificing lover many times in his career but every time brought in some nuance to the formula. Here again as a macho kind of military guy with thick buns, he excels. He makes you believe that this guy can’t even sing borrowed poetry!

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