1948. India. Raj Kapoor. 138 min.
Sunday, January 8, 2012, 2:00 p.m.
Theater 1 (The Roy and Niuta Titus Theater 1), T1
1948. India. Directed by Raj Kapoor. "I'll never forget [Fire] because it was the story of youth consumed by the desire for a brighter and more intense life. And all those who flitted like shadows through my own life, giving something, taking something, were in that film” (Raj Kapoor). This brooding, noirish melodrama is an ideal entrance point for audiences unfamiliar with Hindi cinema: it often feels like a 1930s Hollywood melodrama with an expressionistic twist. Kapoor stars as a theater producer, obsessed with the twinned ideas of ideal beauty and self-sacrifice, who meets and falls in love with three women named Nimmi at different phases of his life. In each instance she is taken away from him. Introducing two key themes for his future work—the love triangle and Kapoor’s casting of himself as a theatrical performer—Fire also represents one of Kapoor’s earliest experiments with heavily symbolic shots, in this case evoking the manifold meanings around fire. In Hindi; English subtitles. 138 min.