Kal Aaj Aur Kal (1971)

February 04, 2016 11:07 pm | Updated 11:07 pm IST

A scene from the film

A scene from the film

After the colossal disaster of “Mera Naam Joker”, Raj Kapoor was heartbroken. He decided never to face the camera in films he directed. First amongst the contemporaries to realise he was aging, Raj Kapoor switched over to mature characters in the early ’70s. He was the saving grace of an otherwise average “Kal Aaj Aur Kal” which was the debut of his elder son Randhir Kapoor.

“Kal Aaj Aur Kal” is a tale of three generations, their ideological conflicts and final reunion. Ram Kapoor (Raj Kapoor) is a loving industrialist. His father (Prithviraj Kapoor) stays at his ancestral home in a village. Ram Kapoor’s son Rajesh Kapoor (Randhir Kapoor) is away at London pursuing higher studies. Ram Kapoor is a widower desperately fighting loneliness by throwing parties, entertaining friends – Iftekar among them.

On the advice of his well wishers he requests Rajesh to return home. Rajesh obliges and during the flight back he comes across beautiful Monica (Babita). It is love at first sight. Monica is the only daughter of a renowned lawyer (Achala Sachdev). After coming back, Rajesh sends a telegram to his grandfather with the false news of his father’s accident.

Rajesh’s Dadaji rushes to Mumbai only to discover it was a game played to pave the way for his return to the family. As the three generations get together, conflicts of traditional and modern values brew between grandfather and grandson. Rajesh’s affair with Monica continues.

Ram is sandwiched between his father and son to maintain a proper balance. In sheer frustration, he leaves home and enacts a drama of a spoilt character. This is with the aim of uniting the three generations and only his trusted Munshiji (David) knows the inner truth. The story then takes a dramatic turn with the family uniting for better days. Grandfather and father accept Monica as Rajesh’s wife.

An unimpressive story, ill scripted by Virendra Sinha, “Kal Aaj Aur Kal” does not have much to recommend it beyond the three Kapoors together in a film. The story, screenplay and dialogues lack the masterly touches of K.A. Abbas and Inder Raj Anand. Cinematography by Taru Dutt is nowhere compared to the expert visualization of Radhu Karmakar. Editing by S.R. Kabre is not much to rave about.

Randhir Kapoor does not show much of promise as a director or actor. He lacks Raj Kapoor’s classic touch. Babita impresses but appears too flashy at times. Prithviraj Kapoor is theatrical except for the Durga Puja scene where with regal movements he requests guests not to refuse prasad. Raj Kapoor is brilliant, effortless as his face conveys myriad emotions. David, Achala Sachdev and Rashid Khan are wasted.

“Kal Aaj Aur Kal” was made in fond memory of the late Jakishan, the musical soul of R.K. Films. Lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri, Neeraj and Shaily Shailendra do not possess much of depth. Music by Shanker sans Jaikishan is average. Nothing compared to “Barsaat”, “Awara” and “Shree 420”. There are some hummable tunes like “Aap Yahan Aye” and “Tik Tik Tik Tik” though. The background score is a combination of straight lifts from earlier ones of “Sangam”, “Pyar Mohabbat” and “Around The World”.

“Kal Aaj Aur Kal” could have been a true R.K. classic if directed by Raj Kapoor minus the unnecessary action scenes.

Genre: Social drama

Director: Randhir Kapoor

Cast: Prithviraj Kapoor, Raj Kapoor, Babita, Randhir Kapoor, Roopesh Kumar, Achala Sachdev, Narendra Nath, David, Iftekhar, Abhi Bhattacharya

Story, screenplay and dialogue: Virendra Sinha

Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri, Neeraj, Shaily Shailendra

Music: Shankar-Jaikishan

Box office status: Average

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