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SANGAM (1964)

A Saga of Love and Friendship


Sangam 1964

The first thing that strikes you about the movie SANGAM is its run length. It is the fourth longest Hindi movie ever produced in India, just shy of 4 hours.

Sangam was Raj Kapoor’s labour of love and friendship adorned with excellent music. It ran to packed houses and won many awards including the best director award for Raj Kapoor and also the best actress award for Vyjayanthimala besides other technical awards for that year’s Filmfare awards.

Initially, Sangam the movie was planned much before it was actually made. It was planned in the 1940s and it was planned with Raj Kapoor, Nargis and Dilip Kumar triangle in mind but as the things did not work out Raj Kapoor approached Dev Anand there too it was a no go. Thus the film fell in the lap of Rajendra Kumar and was made much later and released on 18th June 1964. It was not just a story it was a saga of love and friendship thus the run length.

It’s a story of three childhood friends Sundar (Raj Kapoor), Gopal (Rajendra Kumar) and Radha (Vyjayanthimala). When they grow up, Sundar’s world revolves around Radha because he is obsessed with Radha and wants to marry her at any cost, but secretly Radha likes Gopal and vice versa, but this love is unproclaimed. As Sundar confesses his love for Radha, Gopal withdraws from the race as a sacrifice for his friend. Here Radha at the other hand keeps Sundar at an arms length. Sundar has to show his sincerity, for this he joins the Indian Air Force so that he can ask for her hand in marriage from her parents.

But as luck would have it Sundar’s plane crashes and he is captured, but before going off on the mission Sundar had entrusted his dear friend Gopal to look after Radha and see to it that she remains his and no other person comes in-between. When the news of his plane crash and his presumed death reaches them, it gives a freehand to both the silent lovers and Gopal writes an unsigned letter proclaiming his love for Radha and she also responds in equal measure and as things are finally settling for them, there is a twist in the tale and Sundar is back hale and hearty and happy to see everything hunky-dory without realizing that both his childhood friends might be in love with each other.

Gopal again withdraws from the marriage race and as now Sundar as is well known after being awarded a medal of honour by the government, Radha’s parents accept his proposal for marriage to her. Happily married they go on a honeymoon. Now that she is married to Sundar she asks Gopal to strictly stay out their life. Once the couple are back, by a stroke of misfortune Sundar comes across that unsigned love letter written to his wife by her paramour. This sends Sundar in a tizzy as he wants to find out the identity of that person and involves Gopal in it and starts misbehaving with Radha things comes to such a head that Radha has to resort to Gopal’s help to resolve this matter and Sundar also turns up at Gopal’s place and mystery of the letter is resolved when Gopal confesses that the letter was written by none other than himself. Before things take an ugly turn he kills himself with Sundar’s service revolver. Thus vacating his position from the love triangle and uniting the married couple albeit under an aura of gloom.

Some of the songs were fun like ‘Bol Radha bol Sangam hoga ki nahin’ and the very suggestive ‘Mujhe buddha mil gaya’ and then there was that party song ‘Har dil jo pyar karega’. The song ‘Dost, dost na raha’ evokes the pathos. Raj Kapoor was already very famous in the erstwhile USSR after his Awara and Shri 420. It further cemented his place as the first Indian International star not only in the Soviet republic but in other surrounding countries.

  • Revisited by PAWAN GUPTA

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