1949. India. Raj Kapoor. 171 min.
Saturday, January 7, 2012, 2:30 p.m.
Theater 3 (The Celeste Bartos Theater), mezzanine, The Lewis B. and Dorothy Cullman Education and Research Building
1949. India. Directed by Raj Kapoor. Kapoor’s first megahit, featuring “two rousing dance sequences...[and an] idiosyncratic score which reveals Neapolitan, Hungarian and South American influences” (Elliott Stein), Monsoon shuttles between the stories of romantic idealist Pran (Kapoor) and his more carnally driven best friend Gopal (Prem Nath). On two separate trips, they both meet daughters of innkeepers: Gopal loves and leaves Neela, vowing to return when the monsoon comes, while Pran woos Reshma (Nargis) with music until her father ends it, claiming all city boys are degenerates. Much complication, happiness, and tragedy follow until the film’s unsettling end. Set in part against the gorgeous landscapes of Kashmir, Monsoon is beautifully shot, its black-and-white images constantly moving into deep focus and silhouette and elevating the star-crossed lovers to objects of veneration. The film also introduced the “whisper” to Indian commercial cinema, a type of intimacy and emotional depth unknown at the time. In Hindi; English subtitles. 171 min.