The poor boy, the rich best friend, and the beautiful girl next door, friends that grow up together and ultimately form a love triangle. The poor boy goes off to war to prove his worth, and eventually comes back to marry the girl.
Then he discovers something that shatters his belief in life itself! Who but Mukesh could sing with so much pain the words by Shailendra set to music by Shankar Jaikishen?
Nashe ki raat dhal gayi
Ab Khumar na raha
Zindagi humein tera
Aitbaar na raha
But then we are reminded of the fact that we are mere mortals on this earth, fatally flawed people, and not gods! This version used in the film is missing some wonderful singing by Mukesh (Sunte hain pyaar ki duniya mein, do dil mushkil se samate hain, kya gai yahaan apnon tak ke saaye bhi na aane paate hain), but the part sung by Lata and emoted by Vyjayanthi on camera is exceptional! Her dancing skills are showcased at their best
Yeh dharti hai insaanon ki,
Kuch aur nahin insaan hain hum
O mere sanam o mere sanam
Sangam explored the tension caused in a friendship when friends end up desiring the same woman. The Sangam (Ganga, Jamuna, Saraswati) theme runs through the film not just in the love triangle, but in the mindset of the main leads. While the single minded pursuit by one friend is matched by the self-less sacrifice by the other, lost in the midst is the will of the woman, she is a mere helpless pawn in this tug and tension between friends. In the end, just like Saraswati is now a myth and not reality, one of the threads is snapped. Raj Kapoor and Rajendar Kumar shared a natural bond on screen and Vyjayanthi was the siren who daringly donned a swimsuit to entice in Mere Man Ki Ganga in this enactment of the Radha Krishna story:
And then later she played the wife who loves one man but marries another and is now devoted to him. A daring film for its time, but only due to the way the showman Kapoor showcased the female form, and later went on to focus on it more and more in subsequent films. In terms of progressiveness or social message, the film did not cover any ground, but was still a thorough entertainer due to its excellent music and exotic locales.