Changes between Version 9 and Version 10 of Awara (1951)

Jan 25, 2012, 8:56:32 PM (12 years ago)
Lawrence Liang



  • Awara (1951)

    v9 v10  
    3333This was also Kapoor’s first fairy-tale treatment of class division in India, whose nexus of authority (power, patriarchy and law) explicitly excludes the hero. Its main tenet, presented through Raghunath, is the feudal notion of status: ‘the son of a thief will always be a thief’, a view that villain Jagga sets out to disprove by making Raju a thief. Raju’s patricide (he kills Jagga and is arrested for attempting to murder Raghunath) tries to break out of the contradiction set against an alternative, post-colonial, reinvention of an infantile Utopia in which everyone can fully ‘belong’, a condition symbolised by Nargis who is both the hero’s conscience and reward. Kapoor’s later treatments of the same contradictions increasingly took on the ‘frog prince’ fairy-tale structure (Shri 420, 1955; Mera Naam Joker, 1970), mapped on to the middle/working-class divide. The film launched Kapoor and Nargis as major stars in parts of the USSR, the Arab world and Africa, while the US briefly released an 82’ version. Nargis’ appearance in a bathing costume is widely but wrongly believed to be the first erotic swimsuit scene. That cliche had earlier been deployed by Master Vinayak in Brahmachari (1938). Gayatri Chatterjee (1992) published a book-length commentary on the film.