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The Runaway Bride


Chori Chori 1956

A fun film from the AVM stables. Chori Chori was the last movie pairing Raj Kapoor and Nargis together ending an era of on and off screen romance between the two. It was adapted from the famous Hollywood movie with Clark Gable, Frank Capra’s ‘It Happened One Night’. Some fantastic music of that era was provided by the duo of Shankar Jaikishan who received the Filmfare award for the music rendered for the movie of romantic musical genre. Directed by Anant Thakur for AVM studios.

Though Chori Chori was their last movie together but the on screen chemistry between Nargis and Raj Kapoor was still crackling. Apart from the lead the supporting star cast were also known faces of the Film Industry of that time including Pran, David, Johnny Walker and the duo of Gope and Bhagwandada (remember ‘Naam bade aur Darshan Chote’). The movie was in black and white but two of its songs were shot in Technicolor namely ‘Rasik balma’ and ‘Jahan main jaati hoon’, this being the first tryst of AVM with colour picturisation.

Chori Chori the movie was one of its kind as this was one of the first time that the Indian audiences was exposed to a girl running away to marry her chosen one against the wish of her father, a novelty in that conservative era. It was a heroine-centric film. Though it was a copy but was adapted well in the Indian context one of the first road movies made in India and shows the lighter side of Raj Kapoor which he carried forward in his later films. The movie was released on 1st Jan, 1956.

A rich brat Kammo (Nargis) who has seen only comfort and obedience from people around her is at loggerheads with her father who wants her to marry who is not after his immense wealth but truly loves her. Kammo the strong headed girl she is has declared that she will only marry Suman Kumar (an ace Pilot played by Pran) but unknown to her that he is actually a gold-digger. After throwing a tantrum and breaking a few plates she jumps from the ship and swims to the shore to run away to her Paramour in Bangalore.

She decides to take the road to Bangalore, pawns off some of her jewellery for some nifty clothes and accessories. Still in her stupor that the world is her slave she romps to her journey to Bangalore. The father here advertises in the newspaper and radio of her running away and announces a reward of Rupees 125 thousand to whoever brings her back safely. It so happens that Sagar (Raj Kapoor), a journalist in search of a story and some advance if off to meet his editor in Bangalore, catches the same bus as the heiress, the first encounter and many after that are mostly tiffs and bickering between the two, though Sagar is aware of her antecedents but won’t care less and is supportive to her throughout the journey as it will be a story for him.

After some missed buses and bad encounters with fellow passengers and night stays at some inns they seem to understand and are attracted towards each other. Leaving a note for a sleeping Kammo at the inn, Sagar goes off to Bangalore alone to arrange some money so that he can take his love story forward but here Kammo is chucked out after a humiliation as she is unable to pay the rent. Extremely cross for being deserted by him for a story, she calls her father and as fate would have it, Sagar sees her leaving only as he is coming back to her, he has the same feeling of desertion about her. Once home father arranges her marriage to Suman to perk her up and after the pre-marriage press meet which Sagar too attends, asks for money which her father gives as a cheque of 1.25 lakh as promised, which Sagar just throws away and presents his bill for the expenses incurred during the journey amounting to Rupee 15.75. As reality dawns both runaway together to live happily ever after leaving behind a very blissful father.

The songs written by Hasrat Jaipuri and Shailendra were the highlight of this light caper specially ‘Yeh raat bheegi bheegi’ and ‘Aaja sanam madhur chandni mein’ and the puppet song where both dream themselves to be in it ‘Jahan mein jati hoon’ and the melancholy ‘Rasik balma’. It is important to note that Manna Dey and not Mukesh who was the playback voice of Raj Kapoor sang all the songs picturized on him.

Chori Chori was one the big grossers of that time. There was a later day movie from the Bhatt camp with his daughter Pooja and Aamir essaying the roles of Nargis and Raj Kapoor in ‘Dil Hai Ki Manta Nahin’ which also went on to be a super hit. This 1956 movie belonged to Nargis with Raj taking a back seat which only brought out the best in her.

– Revisited by PAWAN GUPTA

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