The contemporary audience of Hindi cinema might not be very familiar with the works of Mumtaz and Rajesh Khanna as both these stars did not continue to work in movies until their later ages. But those who have a fair bit of interest in the films of the 1970s will know that there wasn’t a more successful pair than Kaka and Mumtaz in those years. The films they did together were almost always blockbusters. So much so that when Mumtaz eventually left the film business in 1977, Rajesh was deeply upset as he had lost his best on-screen partner. The two starred in many popular films at the time and one of those massively popular films was J Om Prakash’s Aap Ki Kasam.
For the unversed, Aap Ki Kasam is as mainstream as Hindi cinema could get in those days, yet it manages to talk about relationships in a delicate way. The film’s central plot is about a newly married couple, Kamal (played by Khanna) and Sunita (Mumtaz), who move into a new neighbourhood. One of their neighbours and Kamal’s old friend, Mohan (played by Sanjeev Kumar), is going through a rough patch in his marriage. As Mohan starts visiting Kamal and Sunita’s home, Kamal starts suspecting that his wife and friend might be having an affair.
In a significant scene, where Mumtaz shines, Kamal asks Sunita about her affair. She denies the accusation and decides to leave the house. She is well aware that no matter what she might say in that moment, Kamal will never believe her and she is right. Kamal ends up divorcing her and as a viewer, it is almost impossible to empathise with him.
It’s borderline hurtful to watch him ruin his near-perfect marriage because he has an unfounded assumption about his wife. The lack of faith in their relationship is what causes their ultimate downfall, and by this time, when he walks endlessly to one of Anand Bakshi’s best creations ‘Zindagi Ke Safar Mein’, it forces the viewer to appreciate the opportunities that still exist, because one doesn’t always get second chances in life.
Mumtaz and Rajesh Khanna’s characters don’t get their happily ever after in Aap Ki Kasam, which leaves a certain sense of longing in the viewer. The film has a lasting effect, and that is mainly because it does not pander to the idea that life is an endless pool of opportunities. Aap Ki Kasam might not be the most forward-thinking film of its time, but it certainly was one of the most unique mainstream films that came out of this era.