sequence ends with Aaron and Yisrael singing a mournful song from Sangam , ‘Dost dost na raha, pyaar, pyaar na raha, zindagi hamein tera aitebaar na raha/My friend was no more my friend, my beloved was no longer my beloved, Life, I no longer trusted you …’ Nissim looks at them in surprise and turns to George stating, ‘That’s the music I heard in my dream.’ This fact clinches the deal and George says, ‘ Sangam , it is.’ I suggest that as a ‘practicing cinephile’, Torati chooses Sangam over blockbusters such as Awaara or Mother India because its story resonates with KHH ’s narrative. In 1964, Raj Kapoor’s first technicolor film, Sangam , was released in India. Taking its title from the meeting place of three separate rivers, Saraswati, Ganga and Jamuna, the film narrates the conflict between homosocial bonds, i.e. dosti /friendship and heterosexual romance. In a familiar resolution to the triangle in Hindi films, Gopal/Rajendar Kumar dies (he shoots himself) so that the heterosexual marriage can survive. The 1960s in the Indian film industry witnessed a shift in terms of both themes and technology. More films began to be made in colour and directors left behind old narratives of social realism to explore consumer romance both at home and abroad (Dwyer and Patel 47–67). While Sangam was very much part of the new breed of films which emerged in the 1960s, it was not without older, familiar themes of Kapoor films’ including patriotism, sacrifice and class conflict. According to Elliot Stein, Sangam was a runaway hit–from its release in 1964 until 1969 it held the record as the biggest grosser in the history of Indian cinema. Today, it still ranks as one of the half- dozen top-grossing Indian films of all time. It was also a huge money-spinner through the Middle East–the only film to run simultaneously for several years in both Israel and Egypt. Sangam’s blockbuster status is confirmed by the distributor in KHH who tells the brothers when they ask him for a print of Sangam , ‘Would I be sitting here, if I had Sangam? ’ Dwyer and Patel note that Sangam was: READING CINEPHILIA IN KIKAR HA-HALOMOT/DESPERADO SQUARE 155
… described as an ‘‘earnest and ambitious effort to synthesize the modern European culture with that of ancient India through an immortal love story of love and friendship’’ (168). Torati’s film is less interested in the modern pleasures offered by Sangam and more in the traditional themes of love and sacrifice. In KHH , when the brothers ask Yisrael, how many times he had seen Sangam , he coolly replies, ‘100 … 200 times.’ To convince the brothers that this is no exaggeration, he lists his viewings, ‘the matinee show, the evening show, and the midnight show with Avram and Seniora.’ In the process, he unwittingly reveals that Seniora and Avram were once lovers. Perched on the theatre’s rooftop, Yisrael used to watch both the on and off-screen romances. Aaron later confirms this revelation and tells the brothers that everyone was in love with Seniora, but she loved Avram.
You've reached the end of your free preview.
Want to read all 16 pages?
- Spring '20
- Dr Lucy
- Bollywood, Cinema of India, KHH