Aah is a 1953 black and white Bollywood romantic drama film starring Raj Kapoor and Nargis in lead roles. The film was produced by Raj Kapoor and directed by Raja Nawathe. This was Nawathe's first independent directorial venture. He had previously worked as assistant director to Kapoor in Aag (1948), Barsaat (1949) and Awaara (1951).
The film was rated "Below Average" at the box office but has various hit songs like "Raja Ki Aayegi Baaraat", "Aaja Re Ab Mera Dil Pukara" and "Jaane Na Nazar". The song "Chhoti Si Yeh Zindagani" sung by Mukesh was also picturised on him. Subsequently, the film was later dubbed in Tamil as Avan (Dialogues by S. D. Sundharam) and Telugu as Prema Lekhalu .
Raj Raibahadur (Raj Kapoor) lives a wealthy lifestyle with his father, a widowed businessman. One day Raj is sent to work at the countryside Saraswati Dam. His father one day visits him and tells him how his deceased mother wished that he be married to Chandra (played by Vijayalaxmi), the daughter of his rich family friend. Raj decides to write a letter to Chandra which she completely ignores. But Chandra's younger sister Neelu (Nargis) acknowledges the letter and responds to it in Chandra's name. After few letters Raj and Neelu fall in love, but Raj is still unaware that it is Neelu who writes to him. Just then Raj is diagnosed with tuberculosis, the same disease that killed his mother. Raj decides to pretend that he never loved Neelu and also insists that she should marry his physician friend, Dr. Kailash (Pran). He also flirts with Chandra to make Neelu believe that he does not love her. Chandra decides to end the suffering of her sister, who is sobbing for her love-loss. Upon learning the truth, Neelu accepts Raj as he is. Miraculously, Raj also turns well and both lead for a happy life.
The theme of the tragic hero and the sufferings of the heroine was inspired from Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay's famous novel Devdas, which has also been inspiration to various other films.
The end of the film originally showed Neelu marrying Dr. Kailash at Raj's insistence; Raj dies while Neelu's wedding procession is passing by. But at the premiere, Kapoor realised that this film would not work. Kapoor said,
The atmosphere in an auditorium is like a living, palpitating thing. It told me again and again: "Your picture is a flop."
The end of the film was then changed from a tragic one to the happy one, but the change destroyed the thematic unity of the text. Bunny Reuben, who wrote Kapoor's biography Raj Kapoor, The Fabulous Showman, gives his rationale for the change: "The film had some of Shankar-Jaikishan's loveliest music, and a 'Devdas'-ian tragic ending which was changed to the conventional happy ending because the film didn't do well in its first release."Nargis as Neelu Rai
Raj Kapoor as Raj Raibahadur
Vijayalaxmi as Chandra Rai
Pran as Dr. Kailash
Leela Mishra as Mrs. Rai
Rashid Khan as Dr. Yusuf
Mukesh as Carriage Driver (Cameo role)
Composed by the musical duo Shankar Jaikishan.
Hindi songs for the film are written by Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri.
Tamil lyrics for the film are written by Kambadasan.
Telugu songs for the film are written by Aarudhra. Amongst them Panditlo Pellauthunnadi song is an evergreen track played at many marriage functions even today.