Retro Review – Amar Prem: The movie of which Rajesh Khanna wasn’t the first choice

Amar Prem is a classic 1972 movie featuring Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore, and Vinod Mehra. The movie is produced and directed by Shakti Samanta, and its lyrics have been written by Anand Bakshi and composed by RD Burman.

Amar Prem Review
Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore in the classic movie Amar Prem (Photo Courtesy: Cinestaan)

Some movies remain not only in our hearts but also in our souls. Amar Prem, the 1972 classic, is one of those movies. As the title suggests, it is a story that remains immortal. The best part of the story is that despite the two main characters feeling the love between them, they never express it to each other, never!

Amar Prem (1972)

Cast: Rajesh Khanna (Anand Babu), Sharmila Tagore (Pushpa), Abhi Bhattacharya (Dr. Ghosh), Madan Puri (Nepal Babu), Master Bobby (Young Nandu), Sujit Kumar (Mahesh), Farida Jalal (Nandu’s wife), Bindu (Kamla), Satyendra Kapoor (Vijay), Manmohan (Ramratan), Om Prakash (Natwarlal – cameo), and Vinod Mehra (Nandu)

Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Music: RD Burman

Produced & Directed by: Shakti Samanta

Run Time: 2 hrs 33 minutes

Synopsis of Amar Prem

Pushpa marries Ramratan, but after some time, Ramratan marries another woman and kicks Pushpa out of the home. While not knowing the immediate future, Pushpa meets Nepal Babu, a pimp, who tells her he will give her a good job in Calcutta (now Kolkata). So Pushpa goes with Nepal Babu to Calcutta, but Nepal Babu sells Pushpa at a brothel.

One night, Pushpa entertained her customers by singing and entered Anand Babu. Although Anand Babu is a regular in this area, he never heard a soulful voice before this day. Hence, Anand Babu meets Pushpa, creating a new bond. By the way, Anand Babu, a prominent businessman from Calcutta, is not having a good married life, and he runs brothel to brothel in search of love, which, as per him, ends at Pushpa’s doorsteps.

Another ‘Amar Prem’ is prospering between Pushpa and Nandu. Nandu is a son of Mahesh, who was a neighbour of Pushpa when she used to live before coming to Calcutta. Nandu’s foster mother, Kamla, doesn’t treat him well, and Nandu finds motherly love in Pushpa. But since Pushpa is a courtesan, Mahesh doesn’t like Nandu going to her place.

One day, Pushpa finds both Anand Babu and Nandu out of her reach. This sudden and emotional jolt destroys Pushpa, and then to check what happened to her you must watch this classic movie, Amar Prem.

Review of Amar Prem

Amar Prem is a clean movie; I mean, although it talks about brothels and courtesans, it doesn’t get low on the dignity of any human being. Perhaps this is what parts past-century movies with the current ones. The film focuses purely and strictly on its title, which means immortal love. When we think about immortal love, we think about the purity of love, and that is precisely what we find in Amar Prem.

As I have mentioned at the very start of this article, both Anand Babu and Pushpa feel a love connection between them, yet they never express it and yet feel the love simultaneously. This emotion has been portrayed with such masterfulness by the director Shakti Samanta.

Another axis of this ‘immortal love’ is between Nandu and Pushpa, a motherly love of Pushpa that attracts Nandu towards her despite Mahesh and Kamla putting pressure on him. That love has also been pictured with some authority by Shakti Samanta, and we will find the peak of that love during the last few moments of the movie.

Being a non-fan of Rajesh Khanna, along with Anand, Amar Prem is one of my two favourite Rajesh Khanna movies. He plays Anand Babu with such ease the way he played Anand in Anand. There are no extra mannerisms for which Rajesh Khanna was known; just playing the character with honesty makes him unique in this movie.

Sharmila Tagore, who is always charming during her peak career, looks no different than Pushpa. Showing her affection in two different ways to Anand Babu and Nandu could have been a challenge, but she puts forward her best step as Pushpa.

The other actors in the movie are to support Rajesh Khanna and Sharmila Tagore. Still, during the film’s last moments, Vinod Mahera, probably in the early stages of his career, leaves an impression as grown-up Nandu, who still loves Pushpa as his mother.

The best part of Amar Prem is its melodious music. Who better than the man himself, RD Burman, can create such heartwarming songs, and that too written by Anand Bakshi? All the pieces are melodic and can still give you goosebumps while listening to them even today.

Two songs, ‘Kuchh toh log kahenge’ and ‘Yeh kya hua, kaise hua’ sung by the great Kishore Kumar, are the best life philosophy you may ever find in any life coaches’ lectures. One song tells you why to worry about what people think about you. Because it is their job to talk about your life, and it is all useless to you. The other song tells you the best message from the Bhagavad Gita: whatever happens, happens for good; don’t think, move on. Will you find such a profound message in this generation’s song? Perhaps not.

Despite such beautiful songs, RD Burman didn’t get the Filmfare Award for Amar Prem, and personally, that is a significant loss for the awardees and not for the Pancham – the great!

Unknown Fact About Amar Prem

Amar Prem is a remake of the Bengali movie Nishi Padma, released in 1970. Rajesh Khanna was not the first choice for Shakti Samanta as Anand Babu. Samanta first approached Raj Kumar for this role. Having given the most significant break of his career, Rajesh Khanna scolded Samanta for not considering him for this role. In response, Samanta gave Khanna’s busy schedule for not approaching him. Later, Rajesh Khanna mainly worked at night for the shoot of Amar Prem and gave one of the best performances of his entire career.

I always say that Hindi movies till the mid-1990s  had their innocence. And that is why plenty of the films from that era are still lovable to all, even to the millennials. Amar Prem is one such movie where one can sense the love between two adult people on the surface, yet they don’t express it verbally but with their actions.

If you still have not watched Amar Prem, I recommend you watch it and let me know whether my views in this review are correct. To simplify your task, here is the link to watch Amar Prem.

31.08.2023, Thursday






Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here