Aas, directed by Devendra Goel, is supposedly one of those ’emotional’ women pictures so yes, it is all about the trials and tribulations of the whiter-than-white Hindi film heroine who must suffer enough before the customary happy ending. Sadly, it isn’t even one of the better ones in the genre.
Ashok (Shekhar) is a rich widower, who offers a reward for his missing son Kishore (Ramesh Kapoor). Kishore is found by a young woman, Asha (Kamini Kaushal), who refuses the reward saying she did what she had to on grounds of humanity. Realizing he can’t bring up the boy independently, Ashok advertises for a Governess. Asha applies and gets the job. Gradually, she and Ashok fall in love. However, Ashok’s aunt (Gulab) wants her neice to marry Ashok and with the help of the servant, Chanda (Chanda Bai), plots to get Asha out. Ashok nevertheless marries Asha and gradually they have a child of her own, Munna. The aunt and Chanda convince Ashok that Asha is neglecting Kishore and frame her for attempted murder on Kishore. Ashok, not believing Asha, kicks her out. Asha leaves with Munna. As Asha struggles for survival in the outside world, Munna dies and Asha attempts suicide. However, she is saved in the nick of time by Kishore and the resident teacher in Ashok’s house (Om Prakash). The latter convinces Asha she must fight for her rights and expose the aunt and Chanda…
The story and screenplay of Aas is over simplistic, pretty unimaginative and even absurd. Characters are unidimensional, convenient coincidences of the worst kind abound and new characters arise as and when needed rather than being planted credibly into the plot. Suddenly, when the revenge drama is in place, we are told Chanda has a brother to whom she was sending money regularly. And then for instance, how convenient is it that Kishore and the teacher are around to save Asha?! This when we’ve never seen them go out together at all before. And this is at some god forsaken place where Asha waits on the railway tracks for the oncoming train to run her over! But someone had to save Asha and hubby Ashok is till angry at her, so…
Hackneyed schemes like losing of necklaces and attempted poisoning, which causes the cat’s death, don’t help the cause of the film either. The scenes of Asha re-entering the house as the teacher’s burnt and scarred sister in disquise simply don’t work and the exposure of the aunt and servant is done very, very unimaginatively. Also, Ashok is supposed to be this rich Export-Import guy (we are told that, not shown) but seems to be hanging around only at home as and when he is conveniently required. If you’re even thinking the film addresses relavent issues of an adoptive mother combating feelings when she has her own child, forget it. The heroine, as mentioned above, is simply too good to be true! In fact, Ashok is shockingly indifferent to Munna. The child is also his after all. On the plus side, Ashok and Asha’s silent romance with looks, smiles and gestures does manage to have its moments but that’s it really.
Kamini Kaushal gives the film some weight and dignity and without her, the film would have collapsed totally. Still, she can salvage it only to a certain extent. Shekhar makes a weak, wimpy hero who has no mind of his own. Thankfully, his role is purely a supporting appendage as it would have been difficult to bear him any more. The moppet, Ramesh Kapoor, and Om Prakash are adequate while Gulab and Chanda Bai ham it over as the scheming women. The less said about the actress playing the neice the better!
The cinematography is a definite asset even if the film is a tad too static in its shot taking. Some of Kamini Kaushal’s close ups are nicely done and she does look beautiful in the film. And as in most older films, the music by Shankar-Jaikishan is also melodious enough. Picturisation wise, the choreographer and Kamini have some fun with the costume party song Main Hoon Tere Sapne ki Rani while the romantic duet Pyar Hoge Rahega is easily the best composition of the film.
All in all, Aas makes for tedious viewing and is a reminder that old is not always necessarily gold.
Hindi, Drama, Black & White