Sunday, January 28, 2018

Aaj Ki Raat

Producers: Famous Pictures
Language: Hindustani
Story: D. D. Kashyap
Dialogue and Songs: Rajendra Krishna
Music: Husnalal and Bhagat ram
Photography: Surendra Pai
Audiography: P. N. Arora
Cast: Motilal, Yaqub, Suraiya, Shah Nawaz, etc.
Released At: Minerva, Bombay
Date of Release: 23rd January, 1948
Directed By: D. D. Kashyap

Famous Pictures seem to be going up gradually in popularity and if the huge crowds at the Minerva are any indication of public approval, "Aaj-ki-Raat" must be accepted as not only a very popular entertainment but quite en impressive picture technically.

The most striking feature of this picture is its unusually plesant photography which has given in almost new personality to Suraiya, one of our ugly ducklings of the screen. Even her usually silly eyes look less silly and her unlertain nostrils look less repulsive, that is definitely a point scored by Cameraman Surendra Pai and the pleasant impression thus created by this girl helps her to put over a couple of popular songs very effectively.


There is nothing very unusual in the plot but it contains quite a few sequences which are treated in an original manner.

Suraiya with Motilal in Aaj Ki Raat

Motilal wants to shoot himself having arrived at the end of his financial resources. Surraiya stops him from doing so and incidentally puts him on a slow-killing course — Love. Surraiya is a school teacher with her father, a drunkard. Her earnings help to purchase drinks for him. Raj Mehra, a trustee of the school, where Surraiya works, has a benevolent and affectionate eye on the young teacher.

Suraiya in Aaj Ki Raat

Motilal's and Surraiya's love soon finds an official excuse and Surraiya becomes Motilal's secretary. Love marches on blindly towards an engagement date when Anita Sharma turns up with a child and we are introduced to her as Motilal's wife.

Now love gets its proverbial tears and Surraiya puts in a couple of tearful songs. The climax is soon hitched on to the serious illness of Motilal's little son who brings Motilal back into the traditional home while Raj Mehra, who at one time looked like a probable -ex criminal, becomes a good samaiitan and gives a foreign study ticket to Surraiya who boards a T.W.A. plane. Love thus ends in a practical manner instead of the usual Leila-Majnu tragedy.

Technically the picture is unusually smart, almost everything being smartly managed.

The scenario, however, is a bit on the common side and suffers from familiarity. The dialogue is good while the music is of the popular variety, Surraiya. who has a sweet voice, rendering a couple of songs in a very catchy manner.

Suraiya with Shah Nawaz in Aaj Ki Raat

From the players, Shah Nawaz gives a very sincere performance the heroine's father. This man has a voice that acts according to the situation. Motilal plays the hero with his usual eclat but looks too old in comparison with Suraiya. Suraiya sings well and looks better than ever before. Her work has also improved under Kashyap's direction. She doesn't do those idiotic Punjabi actions which we have seen so often in her previous pictures.

Yaqub plays his usual carefree role of a well-meaning social sponger in his usual slick manner. He provides the laugh in the entertainment.

Raj Mehra, a newcomer, does very well as a seemingly villainous type. He speaks well and fluently and deserves encouragement

In short "Aaj-ki-Raat", though this name has little to do with the story, is a picture worth seeing and the crowds know this. 

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