Aar Paar: Guru Dutt’s film telling love story in the context of society

Radhakanta Barik

It is an interesting love story placed in the social context. Making love is a difficult work in a hierarchical society of ours. It is class and caste society where a young man meets a young woman does not make love easily. It needs to face the reality within which she lives and the reality he confronts. If both realities are different then the love making is more difficult. The usual Hindi film revolves around a love story which can be staged on the screen without any social context. Films during two decades from 1950 to 1970 one finds the different texture of the story. Guru Dutt a loner in the Hindi film making world who takes the story and places himself in a creative manner. In this film he has a peculiar name Kalu as Kalu is usually given to people with low castes. As their name disappears and he gets renamed into Kalu. It does not explain the colour of the man. But it may be combination of colour and caste both work together. He experiences his caste and class in his world of experiences. As one becomes a poor coming from the plebian background then love making is a difficult work. He is an ordinary person who gets arrested on minor issue that as a taxi driver he faces the crossing of the red light on the street and he goes to the jail. The jailer faces the challenge of keeping an innocent person and releases him because of his good behavior. He goes to his girl friend who doubts his character as he has returned from the jail. He takes he to the jail and gets a certificate of the reason for conviction. Then his girl friend gets convinced of him. But he is working as Taxi driver in the city of Bombay. He loses the job as the man who owns the cars whose daughter this person loves her. He loses the job of taxi driver.  He takes the job of taxi driver who gets involved in smuggling activities and but he maintains a distance from it. He leads a simple life and honest life. The rich girl of the smuggler falls in love with him. He faces conflict of love between two girls. This story goes further and finds him as a victim of the smugglers’ complex world. Their smuggled goods get passage through his taxi but he refuses to share the loot. The conflict goes between them. The girl sides with her father whom Guru Dutt maintains a formal relation as employee. Honesty and integrity of a person tells the story.

Guru Dutt has a team spirit with a street boy to well to do person. His friend Johny walker plays a very creative role in making the film more successful ridden with a sense of humour. He has a girl friend who wants to move in the taxi which gets booked by him. His friend’s taxi moves with the girl friend’s whole family members. Camera moves over the whole family consisting of small children to elderly person who consumes the Ice-cream at his cost. His friend takes his girl friend and makes love. He helps him to realize his dream of love making and in return they turn to be his close friends at the time of crisis they all come forward to help him to get liberate from the clutches of smuggler. He has shared friendship with a street boy in a difficult moment and both enjoy their friendship. The street boy helps him to get back his girl friend. Love relationship is a difficult work which gets choreographed in a film song where he is being interrogated by some people travelling in his taxi regarding the love making a difficult work, in the process he is being thrown out of the circle as his views are hindrance to love making. This film is having great film songs which are integral part of the story. He has a tremendous sense of music as he himself started as a music director in the early phase of life.

This film Ara par explains the logic of love making as it is not just emotional outburst but it needs to be placed in the context of social and cultural context. This compared with the hit film Mere Sapno Ki Rani - Aradhana - Rajesh Khanna & Sharmila Tagore - Superhit Song  of 1969 of Rajesh Khanna where Khana  meets Sharmila Tagore  in the train while he was going by the car with his friend and falls in love from a distance. It is a joke on history of love making but the tone and texture of films changed into a sheer commercial entertainment. The changes happened within two decades when the society loses its moorings from the national movement. In their imaginary they confront the complexities of love making where in 1970 the love making becomes a spectacle for the public.

Prof Radhakanta Barik (retd), Indian Institute of Public Administration, New Delhi

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Sep 26, 2020

Prof. Radhakanta Barik

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