Yahudi (1958)


REVIEWER :hitesh.mehta@gmail.com

Director: Bimal Roy; Producer: Savak B Vacha
Artistes: Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari, Sohrab Modi, Nigar Sultana,
Nazir Hussain, Kamala Laxman, Helen, Cuckoo, Tiwari, Baby Naaz,
Anwar Hussain, Minoo Mumtaz, Murad, Indira Bansal, Munshi, Bikram
Kapoor, Romi, Adil

This is only film Shankar Jaikishan did for Producer Savak B Vacha, who died even before this film could complete. Also its SJ’s only film for Director Bimal Roy- a legend director, who happened to be producer also for many films- notable were Do Bigha Jamin, Parakh, Devdas, Madhumati etc. He normally worked with Bengali MDs like SDB and Salil Chaudhury, but I think, for Yahudi, Savak Vacha chose SJ.

This is based on historic theme of Romans and Jews (Yahudis) rivalary in Rome thousand of years ago. SJ, master of varieties as they are, blended their music perefectly with situation and time frame of story- lot of arabian touch in music. This movie is a masterpiece, not only for its music but also direction,  acting,screenplay, sets, dialogues, acting and lyrics. Bimal Roy, as we know, was a master director. Film’s dialogues were very popular, eg. “Tumhara khun khun, hamara khun pani hai”. Two great actors of Hindi movies, Sohrab Modi and Dileep Kumar were at their best. The sets were very good and able to create scene of Rome hundreds of year ago. As usual SJ’s music was adding to magic- not only songs but background music too. On top of that simple but soulful lyrics by Shailendra- this film has 7 songs, in which 6 were written by Shailendra and he won first filmfare award for “Ye mera diwanapan hai”.

In the film title, Only Dattaram’s name appeared as Asst. Music Director, so I believe Sebastian was not assisting SJ in this particular movie. Movie start with instrumental music of song “ye duniya , ye duniya” alongwith titles. For a change, this movie doesn’t have any title song. Also there are only 7 songs and its pity, IMO it should have atleast 3 more songs because its romantic story in backdrop of roman-yahudi rivalary and there is only one song picturised on hero Dilip Kumar. Definitely hero deserved couple of more songs- IMO. Out of 7, only 4 songs are picturised on main stars, 3 went to supporting cast. But Bimal Roy used songs’ beautifully to support flow of story and nowhere they looked unnecessary or coming in the way of story.

Here are the songs and commentary on them:

1) ye duniyaa, ye duniyaa, haa_e hamaarii ye duniyaa. Singers:
Muhammad Rafi, Chorus; Lyricist: Shailendra

Picturised on supporting actor, only Md. Rafi song of film- lyrics and music give voice to pain of yahudis due to excesses by Romans. Md. Rafi did justice in expressing deep sorrow and pain.

2) bechain dil kho_ii sii nazar, tanhaaiyo.n me.n. Singers: Lata
Mangeshkar, Geeta Dutt; Lyricist: Shailendra

Dance song by Lata and Geeta Dutt- picturised on Helen and Cukoo (?). Its treat to see this for dance lovers. Energy of orchestra and of dancers competing to each other. Traditional orchastrisation of SJ and fast rhythem but still very melodious song. You may not impress with song in first go but after hearing few times, you will fall in love with this song.  I feel SJ should have used Geeta Dutt for more songs in their films.

3) merii jaa.n merii jaa.n pyaar kisii se ho hii gayaa hai. Singers:
Lata Mangeshkar, Chorus; Lyricist: Shailendra

SJ were not getting best only out of singers but from chorus too and this is one of example. This is picturised on main heroine Meena Kumari who looks very young and beautiful and supporting actresses. Its a sheer melody and more you hear this song, more you will like it. And what a simple way to express feelings by Shailendra- “jinki nigahon ne ghayal kiya, unhi se lenge dil ki dawa, na ham muskurate na wo pas aate, uski mili hai saja kya kare….”

4) aate jaate pahluu mein aayaa ko_ii, mere dil batlaa na chhupaa.
Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Chorus; Lyricist: Shailendra

Meena Kumari sings and dances while Dilip Kumar looks at hiding. Shankar Jaikishan actually known for variety and no other MD gave so many different kind of songs so you can not associate a single style with SJ but nevertheless by hearing some songs itself, especially their orchestra, you can identify them as SJ song and this is one of them. Use of violins, mendolin, congo, bongo and dattu ka thheka (dattaram’s rhythem)- a distinctive SJ song. The tune of mukhada is not so ‘catchy’ but antaras’ tunes are more attractive, especially when Lata take alaap aa, aa, aa…..and goes back to Mukhada. The continuously  playing rhythem instruments are the main attraction of this song.

5) dil se tujhko bedilii hai…ye meraa diiwaanaapan hai. Singer:
Mukesh; Lyricist: Shailendra

Most hit song of the film, Mukesh beautifully expresses romantic as well as sad feelings at same time! Only song picturised on Dilip Kumar, which is quite unusual given the stardom Dilip kumar was enjoying and looking into his fondness for songs. Mukesh used to be voice of Dilip Kumar in late 40s and early 50s when Rafi was not established- In Naushad’s 1949’s superhit Andaz, Mukesh sang 6 evergreen song for Dilip Kumar while Rafi gave playback to Raj Kapoor!!But then Rafi and Talat Mehmood became voice of him, and Mukesh started getting identified more as Raj Kapoor’s voice. In early 1950s, Mukesh volunteerly left playback to pursue Acting career but miserably failed commercially and was struggling literally to get back his foothold in playback singing. It is said that this song and same year’s “Suhana safar aur ye mausam hasin” again picturised on Dilip Kumar gave him fresh lease of life and after that he never looked back till his death. Ironically he never sang for Dilip Kumar again. It is well known fact that Dilip Kumar wanted Talat to sing this song but Shankar was putting his full weight behind Mukesh. It is said that few people associated with movie wanted Rafi for this song. Shankarji has confirmed on record that Mukesh’s name was finalised by toss but even then Dilip Kumar wanted his approval before song finally goes to film and when he heard recording in voice of Mukesh, he embraced Shankarji for his judgement- for Shankarji made this song keeping Mukesh’s vocal in mind. The moment mukesh starts with lines “dil se tujko bediili hai..” one get immersed in melody of song. Interludes of song are very good and no need to write about orchestra which is outstanding by default as per SJ standard. Two lines of song repeats at the end also.

6) aa.nsuu kii aag leke terii yaad aa_ii, jalte hu_e raag leke.
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar; Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri

Only Hasrat song of film, a very beautiful sad song, sang perfectly by Lata Mangeshkar. There is arabian touch to orchestrisation and instruments supporting singer like ‘chorus’. This is also one of the great feature of SJ songs, where musical instruments play such prominent role in some of songs, to such extent that without them song loose its sheen. Absolute melody- classic- what to say more?

7)dil me.n pyaar kaa tuufaan na samjhe ko_ii naadaan. Singer: Lata
Mangeshkar; Lyricist: Shailendra

Picturised on supporting actress, I could not recognise- may be Kamla Laxman. This is very good dance number with long prelude. SJ used big orchestra for this but still its nowhere become loud. Needless to say Lata’s rendition was very good.

In summary, this is a classic SJ album, definitely in best 15 of them. Everything in music department was great here- lyrics, orchastrisation, rhythem, background music, preludes and interludes of songs, rendition by singers and picturisation- absolutely fantastic!!! !!!!!

I have pasted lyrics of songs in devnagri lipi below. Also given the links, where by clicking you will get lyrics in english fonts too. My sincere thanks to RajPrakashji Ratnam for providing me DVD of Yahudi twice, without which this review was not possible. Due to my limited knowledge of musical instuments and raags, I have not touched that part and that is lacking in review, but hopefully our learned members will add that in their comments to make review more meaningful.


बेचैन दिल खोई सी नज़र
तन्हाइयों में शाम\-ओ\-सहर
तुम याद आते हो

दिल नहीं पहलू में रह गईं दो आँखें
जाने क्या\-क्या हमसे कह गईं दो आँखें
सुनसान रातों में अक्सर
जब चाँद पे जाती है नज़र

तुम याद आते हो

दिल तो दीवाना था हम भी क्या कर बैठे
मर्ज़ जाने क्या था क्या दवा कर बैठे
इक आह ठंडी सी भर कर
उनसे कोई कह दे जा कर
तुम याद आते हो

हम तो ये समझे थे ख़त्म है अफ़साना
उठ चुकी है महफ़िल रह गया वीराना

हमको न थी लेकिन ये ख़बर
ख़ुद हम कहेंगे रह\-रह कर
तुम याद आते हो
बेचैन दिल खोई सी ...
आँसू की आग लेके तेरी याद आई
जलते हुए राग लेके तेरी याद आई
शिक़वे हज़ार ले के तेरी याद आई
हाय रे कैसी जुदाई

रोता है गुँचा\-गुँचा आँगन उदास है
अब दिल की आरज़ू को जलवों की प्यास है
आँसू की आग लेके ...

दोनों जहान तेरी चाहत में छोड़ दूँ
प्यार का नाज़ुक रिश्ता कैसे मैं तोड़ दूँ
आँसू की आग लेके ..
आते जाते पहलू में आया कोई
मेरे दिल बतला न छुपा
आज से मैं तुझे दिल कहूँ या दिलरुबा

तेरी सुनूँ और सुनती रहूँ
मैं अपनी तड़प छुपा लूँ
फिर भी कहाँ तक सब्र करूँ
मैं खुद को कितना संभालूँ
आते जाते   ...

मस्त नज़र तूने ये क्या किया
लिया ये कौन सा बदला
है ये शराब\-ए\-नज़र का असर
कि मुझे दिल भी न संभला
आते जाते   ...

तेरा तसव्वुर तेरा ही ग़म
लबों पे अब तेरा तराना
नींद से भी अब कहती हूँ मैं
तू उनको ख़्वाब में लाना

आते जाते   ...
दिल में प्यार का तूफ़ान
ना समझे कोई नादान
ज़ालिम घूर\-घूर के
देखे दूर\-दूर से
दिल में प्यार का ...

जिसके लिए मैं सारी रात जागी
उसने ही देखो मेरी ख़बर न ली
छेड़े मीठे राग
मेरे दिल में जागे आग
दिल में प्यार का ...

ये बेरुख़ी न दुआ न सलाम
मुझको वफ़ा का मिला ये ईनाम
वादा करना था आसान
जा देखा तेरा ईमान
दिल में प्यार का ..
दिल से तुझको बेदिली है, मुझको है दिल का गुरूर
तू ये माने के न माने, लोग मानेंगे ज़ुरूर

ये मेरा दीवानापन है, या मुहब्बत का सुरूर
तू न पहचाने तो है ये, तेरी नज़रों का क़ुसूर
ये मेरा दीवानापन है ...

दिल को तेरी ही तमन्ना, दिल को है तुझसे ही प्यार

चाहे तू आए न आए, हम करेंगे इंतज़ार
ये मेरा दीवानापन है ...

ऐसे वीराने में इक दिन, घुट के मर जाएंगे हम
जितना जी चाहे पुकारो, फिर नहीं आएंगे हम
ये मेरा दीवानापन है ...
मेरी जाँ मेरी जाँ प्यार किसीसे हो ही गया है, हम क्या करें \-२
हम क्या करें, और कोई क्या करे, दिल जो दिया है कोई क्या करे

(भोली थी मैं, हाय क्या थी खबर
 लूटेगी यूँ मुझे उनकी नज़र) \-२

न होते मुक़ाबिल न दिल हारते हम
ये अपनी ख़ता है, ग़िला क्या करें
मेरी जाँ मेरी जाँ...

(जिनकी निगाहों ने घायल किया
 लेंगे उन्हीं से दिल की दवा) \-२
न हम मुस्कुराते न वो पास आते
उसकी मिली है हमको सज़ा, क्या करें

मेरी जाँ मेरी जाँ ...


The legacy that Bimal Roy left behind

They say a picture speaks a thousand words. Nothing seems truer to describe Bimal Roy's works. One of the most acclaimed film directors of all time, Bimal Roy is particularly noted for his realistic and socialistic films like Do Bigha Zamin, Parineeta, Biraj Bahu, Madhumati, Sujata and Bandini. The book, The Man Who Spoke in Pictures: Bimal Roy, showcases the director like never before, as seen from the eyes of various film personalities like directors Shyam Benegal and Jahnu Barua, film critic Khalid Mohamed, lyricists Prasoon Joshi and Gulzar and actors Naseeruddin Shah, Nutan and Shashi Kapoor. Edited by Roy's daughter, Rinki Roy Bhattacharya, the book boasts of some interesting pictures as well. We present a chapter from the book, written by Naseer. Take a look: Assessing an actor's contribution to a film is tricky business. Unlike in the theatre where an individual actor can mesmerise an audience by his very presence, in cinema the most skilful actor in the world can appear false when playing a faultily etched character. In cinema it is not possible to talk of 'acting' as an end in itself, and thus to judge the actors on the basis of their individual virtuosity would be wrong. The value of the acting must be assessed on how successfully or otherwise the actors performed their jobs as messengers of whatever the writer or director wished to convey. This is true for the theatre as well, but it provides far too much opportunity for the kind of narcissistic showing off by actors that often dazzles audiences but upstages the content of the play, and, when transformed into a film, appears terribly excessive. Further, the hollowness of an actor acting 'for its own sake', show up much more in films than in the theatre, and in either medium the case gets highly aggravated when the character is put into an unconvincing context. But whereas in the theatre an actor can, by personal magic, transcend a poorly written part, in cinema one cannot separate the actor from the way the character is written, and the way the actor is guided. The tradition of acting that has perpetuated itself in Indian cinema via the films made in the early 1930s was of the nautanki gharana. No surprise then that the early talkies, made in Urdu, drew almost their entire performing talent from the theatre of that language, and were little more than filmed plays performed in the style of the naatak tolis (theatre groups). This quaint theatrical form, considered the folk drama of Uttar Pradesh, had in turn borrowed generously from the myths and folklore of ancient Iran and mythical Arabia, and had probably drawn inspiration, at least as far as the demonstrative acting went, from the tradition of dastangoi (literally: storytelling), a performance in which a single storyteller recounted tales of resourceful heroes outwitting villainous sorcerers and wicked demons; about potions with magical powers, about damsels in distress and miraculous last-second rescues, about flying horses, fire-breathing serpents and bridges made of smoke. Though the facility with language in these narratives is astounding there is hardly a shade of grey in the delineation of the people. Every character is representative of an idea, and has barely more than a single dimension. The story often stops in its tracks for a musical interlude underlining what has already happened, and the tales always end with righteousness triumphant and villains annihilated. Sounds similar? The form of the nautanki in Indian drama enlarged upon this premise, and later, apart from the writer Agha Hashr Kashmiri's adaptations of Shakespeare, included into its repertoire age-old tales of valour, misunderstandings, estranged lovers, warring families and so on. Add to this the fact that these predominantly wordy pieces were performed to mammoth audiences, in rustic settings with rudimentary staging and lighting facilities and non-existent acoustics, and it becomes immediately apparent why bold gestures and the emotional outbursts were standard tools for Urdu actors to communicate with their audience. Such dramatic devices are used even today in our movies, technical advancement notwithstanding. It also explains why dialogue-driven dramatic pieces have always been of such importance to us as audiences, and to our actors and subsequently to our film-makers. And why does the flawless hero always had to be larger than life, and the villain blacker than night? Excerpted from The Man Who Spoke in Pictures: Bimal Roy, edited by Rinki Roy Bhattacharya, published by Penguin Books India with the publisher's permission, Rs 499. LINK:http://movies.rediff.com/slide-show/2009/aug/18/slide-show-1-bimal-roys-actors.htm
Talat Mehmood(centre) with Van Shipley (left) and Enoch Daniel

Talat Mehmood(centre) with Van Shipley (left) and Enoch Daniel


Friends here my review of AAS – 1953 SJ movie:
Chander Mehta
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Goel Cine Corporation, Bombay

Director: Devendra Goel

Music: Shankar Jaikishan

Lyric: Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri

Music Assistant: Dattaram (Sebastian was not listed in the credits!)

Starring: Shekhar, Kamini Kaushal, Om Prakash, Gulab, Chandabai, Master Ramesh

You have to actually understand what 1953 was like to hear music like this. For that year, SHANKAR JAIKISHAN were considered innovators and public had never heard any orchestra like that! Mind you this was not a Raj Kapoor film but a boring family drama that otherwise would not have been noticed if it was not for the music of SHANKAR JAIKISHAN! They had to stick to the traditional melody and add limited amount of their new twists and tunes arrangements. If SHANKAR JAIKISHAN overdid, they would be out of bollywood as loud orchestra people! In fact, even after being so careful, SHANKAR JAIKISHAN were accused by their enemies as band masters with loud music.

So you can see, that adversaries can easily destroy you by just saying something nasty, catchy and destructive like being “band masters”. They wanted to be in the same league as C. Ramchandra, Naushad, Anil Biswas, Khemchand Prakash, SD Burman, Hanslal Bhagatram etc but still be different from them, They did a marvelous job of walking this tightrope in the early 1950s and 1953 was a great year for them to be recognized as good as the old guard but newer than anybody! So these songs by today’s standards may look old but there was something magical, something different about them in the early 1950s.

The year 1953, in which Aas was released, there were 5 other SHANKAR JAIKISHAN composed movie and they were all hits, or super hits. So 1953 was a good year for SHANKAR JAIKISHAN. The 5 movies aside from Aas were AAH, AURAT, NAYA GHAR, PATITA, and SHIKAST. Of these movies Shekhar was also the hero of NAYA GHAR, another of my favorite movie! More about Shekhar and Kamini Kaushal later. Shankar Jaikishan released 47 songs for all these films and songs of Aas were as follows:

1. Hum pe dya rakhna he data, Lata, Shailendra

2. Itna pyar karega kaun maa karti jitna, Lata, Shailendra

3. Chahe naina choorao chahe daman bachao pyar hoke rahega, Talat, Lata, Shailendra

4. Dekho ji dekho ek baar ish taraf dekho, Mukesh, Lata, Shailendra

5. Mai hoon tere sapno ki rani tu ne mujhe pehchaana na, Lata, Shailendra

6. Zulm ki nagari mai kisika kaun sahara hai, Lata, Hasrat Jaipuri

7. Humko chhed ta hai dil kaun dane kya huwa, Lata, Hasrat Jaipuri


Cast of AAS: Shekhar (acts as Ashok), Kamini Kaushal (acts as Asha), child star Ramesh Kapoor (acts as little Kishore), Om Prakash (acts as Om masterji), Gulab (acts as chachi), Chandabai (acts as Chandabai a conniving maid)

Here I need to say something about 3 main cast members namely; Shekhar, Kamini Kaushal, and the child star Ramesh Kapoor in the early 1950s. Shekhar as an actor was not in the same league as the triple leading heroes Dilip, Raj, and Dev Anand. But he certainly was in the second tier with Bharat Bhooshan, Pradeep Kumar, Prem Nath (whose stock rose tremendously after hooking up with his future wife Beena Rai), aging hero Ashok Kumar and young and coming Shammi Kapoor. Shekhar was a very suave and polished actor, whose pleasant demeanor would at once impress the audience for his good guy image. A real hero indeed. I loved him and was delighted that he acted in another Shankar Jaikishan movie named NAYA GHAR with Geeta Bali. He also acted in other musically beautiful movies like Chhote Babu, Aakhri Dao, etc.

Kamini Kaushal also created positive vibrations as an educated and a real nice person with a very good heart. I don’t believe I ever saw her in negative roles. True to life, this fine, elegant, gentle person, who evoked motherly feelings for a child like yours truly, after her marriage and screen career she moved into equally important role as a writer for children’s stories. She is one person whose screen career as a leading lady ended in the 1950s with many memorable films and a smooth transition off-screen into a fine Indian mother for her children and for all other children she indeed contributed well in the literary circle.

Ramesh Kapoor as a child star was in good company as other child actors namely Ratten Kumar (in Boot Polish, Do Bigha Jamin, Jagriti etc), Master Romi (Mastana, Ab Dilli Dur Nahin etc). Ramesh was a very cute 8-year old boy with a very nice personality.

So the cast of the movie was great for the story and most importantly for ALL the songs! The songs of Shailendra and Hasrat Jaipuri matched the feelings of all these characters. Also, Om Prakash had a very nice role as Masterji, who taught both the father, when he was a kid, and his son in the movie. He is portrayed as a naïve person with tremendous comedic potential.

So the story of AAS begins in the Ashok Villa located in Mumbai. It is a home of Ashok, a successful Chevrolet Impala driving businessman and a widower or a single father to an eight year old boy Kishore, as his only child. Readers should forgive me, if I strongly identified myself with Kishore, the nice kid who loved to play and learn!

But Kishore needs a guardian and servants in the house are no help except Masterji, a decent yet naïve fellow. Masterji loves Kishore like he loved his father Ashok but he is very busy in other things. Ashok too as Kishore’s father is too busy in his business and usually comes home to Ashok Villa very late.

The film opens with Kishore getting lost after school and Ashok frantically looking for him in his 1952 Chevrolet Impala. He arrives at the police station and pleads to the police inspector on duty to let the whole police force look for his child (forgive him for being a father in panic!). He is posting a Rs. 1000 reward (a lot of money in 1953 – a bottle of coke was 25 naiya paise (25% of a rupee) in 1961. Just as he finishes filing his complaint of his missing son, Asha walks in to hand over the lost child to the police and meets the Ashok the father. She refuses the huge financial award saying that it was her duty to return any lost child to police station. Later we learn that she was in dire need for money and without any family in Bombay. Never fear, Ashok and Asha meet again as she answers an advertisement for a governess by Ashok. Needless to say that due to positive impression created at the police station, Asha gets the job as Kishore’s nanny in the beautiful Ashok Villa.

As she enters the villa with Ashok, a sign of possible bad luck – a cat walks in front of them! Nice directional touch! But Ashok says to hesitant Asha that the cat is their pet and is always there. Masterji Om, who was Ashok’s and now Kishore’s teacher, warmly welcomes the new child governess. Chandabai, the evil one, does not like competition and is clearly jealous of the new arrival! But Kishore loves his live-in governess.

On first day at the villa, early morning Asha lovingly wakes up Kishore and makes him take a bath and breakfast. And then tells him that they must pray to the God. So begins our first song (Ashok, Masterji, and Chandabai are listening to the song in different rooms of the villa with differing emotions!):

Song 1. Hum pe daya rakhna hai data – Shailendra song sung by Lata

http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=ltoGnhzm5fQ

Beautiful traditional composition begins with bansuri, dholak, like typical 1950s composition, but what is different is the beginnings of experimentation in orchestral arrangements by SHANKAR JAIKISHAN. One can here the famous string section arrangement of SHANKAR JAIKISHAN and that is totally unlike any other arrangement by any other music composer! The song composition is traditional bhajan but made amazingly melodious by magical use of western orchestra. Lata sings beautiful the magical lyrics of Shailendra.

“Tum na hote jag na hota

Bikhare moti kaun pirota?

Jeev bichara tum bin kaise

Balak bin mata, hai data balak bin mata, humpe daya rakhna hai data”

Everyone in the house, including Ashok is impressed by this Shankar Jaikishan song penned by Shailendraji. Only Chandabai, the evil naukarani is unhappy! She is ticked off at the positive impression created by the song on Ashok by the beautiful nanny!

Little Kishore is impressed by the new aunty, who after school teaches him lessons like geography etc. He finds out that the world’s tallest building is the Empire State building at 1250 ft. Kishore quizzes his father if he knew which was the tallest building in the world? The father didn’t and needless to say the single parent Ashok was impressed by the new nanny. Ashok loves how Asha takes good care of Kishore throughout the day and possible cupid connection is about to happen!

Evil maid Chanda tries to poison Masterji’s ears but he doesn’t listen to the jealous maid. She tells him wait for Asha to become Ashok’s new wife! Just then, while teaching her eager pupil, Ramesh, Asha teaches how important mother is and how mother’s love is the best for a child. So begins the next song and anyone listening to this song for the first time will find that Shailendra has penned very beautiful and touching lyrics to this MAA song!

Song 2. Itna pyar karega kaun, maa karti jitna – Shailendra song sung by Lata

http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=uTe6uknwQY8&feature=related

Lata’s beautiful humming before the song starts, is very effective. On screen Asha (i.e. Kamini Kaushal) sings to little Kishore. this beautiful song that a mother would sing for her child. Orchestra again is mind blowing for its initial introduction in early 1950s. The song is so melodious that it can be well-liked even today!

For a mother-less child this song would be precious as Kishore shows as he cuddles with Asha aunty. On a personal note – I was the same age as Kishore and I missed my mother in the theatre. My mom had quite a few similarities with Kamini Kaushal! I want to caution readers that there is a child in me that is also writing this review so be kind and forgive all childish heroine worshiping!

Listener would immediately notice a turning point in Hindi film music. The early 1950s songs of Shankar Jaikishan were laying the ground work for massive changes in the orchestral arrangements. The changes about to come were to forever change the music for the next 50 years and beyond! This unusual orchestra arrangement for its time even in MAA song may have involved Sebastian but he was not listed in the credits.

While teaching her eager pupil, Kishore how important a mother’s love is for her child (Kishore doesn’t know anything about his mother as she died when he was very young), there is accidental attraction between Ashok and Asha as little Kishore innocently asks Ashok about Asha aunty after the song, “kya aunty hamari maa nahi ban sakti?” as his father walks into the room. Ashok and Asha exchange tender glances! Love is in the air.

The lurking evil woman Chandabai hates the popularity of Asha in the house and possible love between Ashok and Asha. Chandabai first tries to poison Om Masterji’s ears but Om is a good man and doesn’t like evil ways of Chandabai and tells her to get lost.

Ashok gets attracted to Asha and takes her out with Kishore for shopping to Flora Fountain, Bombay and then for a drive in the country. Remember in early 1950s, a film about domestic family drama had to show Indian conservative values and passionate love scenes in Ashok Villa with skimpily dressed heroine would be sacrilegious! But never fear, Indian directors want to show love song and little less dress on females for mass appeal by showing a fishing village and fisher women’s’ dance! So after shopping the three stop by a fishing village to see a dance. Kishore immediately runs to the front of the audience to enjoy the dance while Ashok and Asha sit back and exchange loving glances! Kind of like “Kahe rahi hai nazaar nazaar se afsaneh!” So the setting of this song is perfect to show love between adults. So here is a very romantic duet picturized on a fisherman and his lady and all the romantic lyrics are well understood by the two new lovers, Ashok and Asha. Fisher woman was a very beautiful lady who came on screen as extra in many dances.

Song 3. Chhahe naina choorao – Shailendra song sung by Talat and Lata

http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=oik-anrZVPk

Talat Mehmood’s voice is appropriate for this song but you could tell that his velvety voice was no match for the new orchestral arrangement. Nevertheless 1950 to 1955 were the best years for Talat Saheb. Lata sings her part very well.

At the end of the song, Ashok draws Asha close to her and first physical contact is made! Ashok wants to marry Asha now.

Imitation is a norm in bollywood and so a similar scene was created in 1955 movie Amanat with Bharat Bhooshan and Chand Usmani exchanging loving glances and thoughts while a fisherman and his woman sang Salil Choudhary and Shailendraji’s song “Ho jabse milli tose ankhiya, jiyara dole re ho dole ho dole!” Check out the similarity in this link:

http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=a7W0x8UFcF4

Song 4. Mei hoon tere sapno ki rani – Shailendra song sung by Lata

http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=wMUgapbZNbM&feature=related

Birthday song for little Kishore. Ashok and Asha are in fancy dress attire and Ashok looks very charming with long side-burns and playing accordion.

In fact, this song opens with accordion and then beautiful rhythmic bongo joins in with SHANKAR JAIKISHAN orchestra! Accordion was never played like this before! Lata is voice is playful for this dress party for the child’s birthday. Mute trumpet and mandolin really compliment the song.

Song 5. Kya yeh duniya hai? Zulm ki nagari mei kisika kaun sahara hai? (2 parts) – Hasrat Jaipuri song sung by Lata

http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=IG0rwFJA3v4

Ashok’s aunty Gulab manages to drive Asha and her little infant out of the house and the next song begins.

Orchestra in this song employs unbelievable melody. With regular instrument of the era in old songs – the harmonium – is cleverly employed. Picturization of the song in Mumbai locations was amazing in 1953 and now it brings my memories of Mumbai with this old 1953 shots. Check out this song at:

After the song Asha and Ashok’s young infant dies of fever without any medical treatment. Asha is penniless and without job because she can’t get job After her child’s death she tries to commit suicide under a train when Masterji and Ramesh see her. Ramesh saves her life by pulling her aside from rail track. She is without any hope (AAS). Masterji encourages and helps her. He extols her to fight for her innocence and her right. With Masterji’s help she reenters Ashok Villa as his sister in-cognito.

Song 6. Dekho ji dekho ek baar is taraf dekho– Shailendra song sung by Mukesh and Lata

http://www.youtube. com/watch? v=JaDCw3ySbGw

This is the only song of Mukesh and his voice matches well with Shekhar. But I like Talat’s singing for Shekhar (which was not seen in this film) as in NAYA GHAR with a beautiful classic “Unhe tu bhool ja ai dil”

The song is unique in that it takes on South American rumba samba melody and even you find it in counter melody! Very magical composition of SHANKAR JAIKISHAN like no one could image in 1953!

Song 7. Humko chhed ta hai dil kaun jane kya huwa – Hasrat Jaipuri wrote this song and Lata was the only singer.

The last song is listed in the credits but I have yet to hear that song! I am sure if our Kalraji was alive, he would have had it. Any help or more info about the last song will be appreciated by me.

I would end this review by inviting you all readers to go to YOUTUBE links that have been inserted and really experience the songs and the period i.e. 1953 in Bombay! You will agree that the composers SHANKAR JAIKISHAN did a masterful job of composing melodious tunes for a very bland domestic drama! Shahrukhbhai pointed it out to me that movie songs have a unique place in our Hindi films and lots of views about their use in films have been expressed. He pointed out that even celebrity film makers like late Satyajit Ray do not understand the role of songs, please do read his essay on Hindi Film songs here . For me these AAS songs are interwoven with my childhood memories and I will always remember every minute of the film AAS and every melody, rhythm, and every word of all the songs of AAS.

Dr. Chander Mehta (cm381@yahoo.com)

RLC11Mrs. Ruhi Khan, Founder President of Rafi Lovers Circle, Kolkata with Mubarak BegumRLC95Mubarak Begum conferred with he 5th Mohamed Rafi Memorial Award

Report by Hashim Khan

Rafi Lovers Circle organized a musical concert Remembering Melody Queens with Mubarak Begum to confer Mohamed Rafi Memorial Award 2009, on Mubarak Begum, reputed Playback Singer of yesteryears . The programme was held on 25th Oct, 09 at the Satyajit Ray Auditorium, Rabindranath Tagore Centre, of The Indian Council for Cultural Relations Kolkata. First of all rich tributes were paid to the incomparable Rafi Saheb by Calcutta’s famous aspiring singer Debajit Dutta of Indian Idol and Sa Re Ga Ma fame, who sang Kabhi Na Kabhi To Kahin Na Kahin and Hui Shaam Unka Khayal Aa Gaya. The Programme took off with a Rafi Saheb and Mubarak Begum Cutain Raiser song……. Bahut Khoobsurat Hai Ankhen Tumhai from the 1966 film Sushila. Noorjehan, Suraiyya, Shamshad Begum and Geeta Dutt were fondly remembered by crooning their hit songs by the local artists and circle members, as well as by Smt Ruhi Khan, Founder of the Circle who conceived and executed the 3 hour audio visual event. Some of the other songs which cast a slow mesmerising spell on the audience are listed below : Awaaz De Kahan Hai – Noorjahan ( Anmol Ghadi ) Dil-e Nadaan Tujhe Huva Kya Hai – Suraiyya ( Mirza Ghalib) Milte Hi Ankhen Dil Huva – Shamshad Begum ( Babul ) Rim Jhim Ke Tarane Le Ke – Geeta Dutt ( Kala Bazar ) Sun Sun Sun Sun Zalima – Geeta Dutt ( Aar Paar ) Mehlon Mein Rehne Wale – Mubarak Begum ( Shabab ) Mujh Ko Apne Gale Laga Lo – Mubarak Begum ( Hamrahi ) When the singers begun the song Meri Neendon Mein Tum, Mere Khwabon Mein Tum… the hall was amused and enthralled. The Hamrahi song “Mujhko Apne Gala Laga Lo…” was the centre of all discussions even during personal talk. Members in audience used to humm this song several times as if it was the Signature song to remember Mubarak Begum. She fondly remembered this song and sang it on the stage. She also sang Bemurrawwat Bewafa, and Kabhi Tanhaiyon mein, Hamari Yaad Aayegi, which also got similar weightage and applause from the well attended concert. After tributes were paid to the Melody Queens of yesteryears, The Rafi Lovers Circle Founder President Ruhi Khan conferred the Mohd Rafi Memorial Award, along with a stream of gifts by the Executive Committee members, Circle members. Many of the Guests who were invited also came forward and presented her gifts. A documentary on Mubarak Begum produced by Film Division was also shown during the programme which went very well with the proceedings When asked to speak about her association with Rafi Saheb, Begum Saheba said that Rafi Saheb was a very pious and simple person, during song recordings his focus and committment was divine. he used to be self absorbed, oblivious of his surroundings and totally immersed and in command of the song. He performed Hajj multiple times including Hajj-e-Akbar. At the end of the concert, on behalf of the Circle, Begum Saheb presented to the entire orchestra, all the singers and technicians, a replica of the Mohamed Rafi Memorial Award 2009. Truely a vintage evening, and after Music Director Ravi Sb ( 2005 ), Music Director Omiji of the Sonik – Omi team ( 2006 ) Music Director & Playback Singer Shardaji ( 2007 ) and Mahendra Kapoor Sb, posthumously in ( 2008 ) another well deserved Mohamed Rafi Memorial Award given to an artist of Rafi Saheb’s era who had the good fortunate to rub shoulders with him. Subha Na Ayee, Shaam Na Ayee…. Jis Din Teri Yaad na Ayee………………..

Photos – Courtesy : Rafi Lovers Circle

Triumph of a Tramp! –‘ SHRI 420’  

 shree 420-1          shree 420-3        shree 420-5

The vagabond of ‘Awara’ is back – this time donning the hat of a tramp. Wearing a ragged old coat and ankle-deep trouser and a cloth bundle tied to a stick, he is on his way towards Bombay to try his luck at some gold-digging. He is rustic and naive. He stands at the high-way and tries for a lift. The cars whiz past him unmindful of his presence. He mutters, ‘Ek car—Do car—Teen car—Sab Bekaar!’. – With that little pot-shot at urban insensitivity, Writer K.A.Abbas kick-starts the tale of a tramp who is going to be caught in the web of a big city, that would soon force the ‘Shri’ in him turn into a ‘420’ (cheat!).

Raj, the tramp, as he stands on the high-way perhaps already has a whiff of the ‘chalu’ (street-smart) air blowing from Bombay. He feigns a faint and immediately is taken into a paunchy Seth’s car. But when the Seth is determined to take the ‘unconscious’ fellow to hospital, Raj panics and blurts out his ‘deceptive’ tactic! He is thrown out of the car by the Seth promptly! Raj gets his first lesson to go a bit easy on ‘truth’ in the city, if he has to survive! He looks wistfully at the mile-stone which says symbolically ‘Bombay- 420 miles’. He musters himself and starts merrily walking again on the convoluted road to prosperity.

—At this point, he picks up his little ‘baaja’ and sets off a little prelude tune that would instantly herald one of the most iconic songs of modern India:

‘Mera joota hai Japani, Yeh patloon Englisthani, Sar-pe lal topi Roosi, Phir bhi dil hai Hindustani!’.

With four simple lines, Shailendra stirs up the entire nation! The song even travels effortlessly to Russia and echoes all over the globe. It inspires ad jingles and movie titles. It also finds a mention in Salman Rushdie’s ‘Satanic verses’.

Shailendra-ji had this ‘bad’ habit of putting your head into a spin of complex thoughts with his clever configuration of few simple words!

One wonders often what exactly he implied by those legendary opening lines.

Was it an expression of post-independent nationalism, or was it plain self-righteous jingoism?

 Then— ‘Honge raaje raajkunvar, Hum bigade dil shahzade—Hum sinhaasan par ja baite jab jab karein iraade!’

Now was this brimming optimism at the Nehru brand of socialism prevailing at that time or was it sheer complacency setting in, after freedom from the British ‘Raj’ ?

‘Naadan hain jo bait kinaare poochhe raah vatan ki’!

We know Shailendra-ji’s communist slant, but was this a prophetical dig at rigid ideologists who would distance themselves from the main-stream path towards globalization?

Well, my brain is too small to fathom Shailendra-ji vast expanse of mind. So I choose not to dwell in complexities. Neither so does Raj Kapoor in his films! RK likes to keep things simple—and grand! So the film just targets your heart and the senses, and often hits the bull’s eye, like this opening song!

(Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysSS4RgP8TE&feature=related for the song-sequence) 

We watch Raj arriving at the big bad city. His first encounter, of all the persons, is with a beggar, who gives his wise counsel to the tramp to keep his bundle of ‘padhai-likhai’, ‘sachhai’, ‘imaandaari’ ‘’mehnat’ etc. etc.aside, if he really wants a job! With that little piece of advice, the beggar brushes him aside as he is a bit busy – It is ‘dhandhe-ka time’ even for a ‘bhikari’ in Bombay, you see! Poor Raj seems to be a bit weak on arithmetic as well. He bargains with the ‘Kele-wali’ (Lalita Pawar) for 2 bananas for 3 annas when she is offering 3 bananas for 2 annas! The old lady is charmed by his innocence and offers him the bananas free. It shows there are little pieces of ‘dil’ left, even in the metropolis! Raj takes the beggar’s advice seriously and pawns his gold-medal that he had got for his honesty and sincerity. Chalo, sachhai aur Imaandari kuch to kaam aaye!

Vidya (Nargis), the sad-eyed daughter of an impoverished school-master happens to be in the same shop to pawn her bangles. She looks at Raj and gets disgusted by his lack of morals. But at first sight of her, Raj loses the only possession that he has – ‘dil’.

Lekin pyar-vyar later, pehle accommodatation! 

Raj lands up at a ‘basti’, which is open-air under-the-sky. The inhabitants are hostile to him. They say it is not free. It is premium location and the rent is very costly. Why? Because the aroma of halwa-puri and the yummies from the adjacent mansion of the Seth drifts towards the basti! Anyway ‘Kele-wali’ who happens to stay in the ‘basti’ intervenes and secures a place for Raj. Once accepted inside the flock, Raj lifts a ‘dholak’ and regales the gathering.

Manna Dey’s opening call is like a war-cry to the Seths and the richie-richs.

Shailendra’s simple complex lines start flowing:

‘Dilka haal sune dilwala, Seedhisi baat na mirch masala,Kehta rahega kehnewala!’

The tramp gives his ‘parichay’ – ‘Chhote-se ghar-mein garib-ka beta, Main bhi hoon maa-ke naseeb-ka beta!’!

Now Shailendra can be tricky. He can start with tickling your ribs and pulling your ears, but he could suddenly jab at your chest with his clever set of four simple words –

‘Bhook-ne hai bade pyar-se paala!’. Lalita Pawar clucks sympathetically, but your conscience takes a prick as you there, settled on a plush seat and munching your pop-corn, suddenly choke at the thought of millions of children of India being brought up ‘lovingly’ by hunger! But even as Raj sings ‘Bin mausam malhaar na gaana!’, the ‘basti’-dwellers dance in gaiety and have a ball, much to the consternation of the Seth.

(Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6ExnLPexYLE’ for the song-sequence)

Raj bumps into Vidya again at the sea-shore. She can’t stand him. She tells him to go jump into the sea. So he goes and jumps into the sea. After the rescue mission, Raj follows her to her house, manages to impress her father and stays on to watch Vidya teach the school-children in the make-shift tree-shade school in the court-yard.

 It is quiz-time now – ‘Ichak dana beechak dana, daane upar dana, ichak dana—‘

The child in Hasrat Saab comes out wondering at a red chillie with cute charming lines ‘Chhoti-si chokri, Lalbai naam hai, Pehne woh ghagra, Ek paisa dam hai!’. Nargis is gentleness personified. Lata’s voice is tender – as if lovingly stroking the children. Raj amuses the kids and Mukesh butts in mischievously and cautions the kids not to get into the ‘chakkar’ of the world ! The composition is liltingly sweet! The song is so endearingly innocent, that it prompts the makers to give another quiz program as ‘Teetar-ke do aage teetar’ for MNJ.

(Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V2FBlZlC8C4 for the song-sequence)

 Romance strikes along with lightning at the way-side road-stall over some chana and ‘cutting’ tea. Sudden rain and the solitary umbrella help the lovers come together in a fleeting moment of proximity and passion and then,— a time-less duet is born!

 ‘Pyar hua ikraar hua hai, Pyar-se phir kyun darta hai dil!’ –  Manna Dey, Lata, Raj, Nargis, thunder-showers, misty fog, moon-lit rain-washed streets, glittering buildings in the back-drop—those neat flowery lines, those swinging flourishes, those expressions of first love – the heady mix is just hypnotizing! They show three kids in rain-coats (RK’s off-springs) trudging along the rain –   ‘Hum na rahenge, tum na rahoge, phir bhi rahengi nishhaniyan!’.

-That can be said more about the song itself and its creators!

( Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IyMHuNTJfbk for the song-sequence)

 Raj joins a laundry called ‘Jai Bharat’ and during one of his delivery visits catches the sharp evil eyes of a sharper-nosed Maya (Nadira) when he casually flits through a pack of cards, while waiting for her to settle the bill. She exploits his skill to make a quick buck at the casino and then discards him ruthlessly. But Raj is picked up by the Seth for more lucratively ‘shady’ ventures. Raj, now a dandy nattily dressed in a suit visits Vidya and takes her out to ‘temple’ for ‘Laxmi-pooja’ on the Diwali night. The ‘temple’ turns out to be the same Casino! A shocked and distraught Vidya flees from the opulent club of depravity and as Raj rushes to the door to cajole her back, Maya entices him back with ‘Mud mudke na dekh mudke—‘. A lovely rhythmic waltz envelops Asha Bhosle’s silky voice to perfection. Like us, Raj cannot resist the pull of the song and he retreats back announcing his ‘arrival’ at the ‘elite club’ with a trumpet in close-up. The song paces up seamlessly to Manna Dey’s rollickingly exuberant version and you see a transformed elegant Raj Kapoor swinging to the tune gracefully. You also spot in the crowd, another young luxuriously-haired handsome gentleman in suit (Jaikishen) joining the revelry and you feel a pang at the memory of a genius who gave so much to the world of Hindi music in such a short span of time, and then left the mortal world in such a hurry!

(Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5EBrkEyCJ5Q&feature=related for the song-sequence)

 A tipsy Raj visits his conscience-keeper Vidya  to show off the note-bundles he has started making out of his 420 formulae. Vidya scorns his waywardness but an adamant Raj totters back to his dark alley. A dignified Vidya watches impassively but her ghost image follows him pleading him to turn back –

‘O jaanewale mudke zara dekhke jaana’. ( a contrast to the earlier song ‘Mud mudke na dekh). The song is just touchingly beautiful, to put it mildly! Lata’s honey-voice and the exquisite fusion of piano and violins creates a dream-like aura making you drift into that old-world charm! Unfortunately truncated pre-maturely after first ‘antara’ and perhaps the most under-rated song of the film, it makes you wonder how many such gems of songs did not attain the popularity that they deserved, because of getting over-shadowed by other equally brilliant compositions from the same film!


Raj is promoted as a partner by Seth in his business of conning the rich. Seth then eyes the poor for his loot and floats a housing scheme. He involves Raj for marketing the 100 Rs. worth dream-home to the ‘basti-walas’. Meanwhile Maya has more grandiose plans to collaborate with Raj and cheat the Seth off all his money. Raj has attacks of conscience and he oscillates between the two worlds. Was it a symbolic portrayal of a ‘Raj’ (nation) being torn between two conflicting values – one of ‘Maya’ (materialistic delusion) and  ‘Vidya’ (spiritual enlightenment)?! Anyway I don’t let my small brain trouble itself with allegories and just wait for another masterpiece of a song. It begins as a haunting echo of Rafi following Raj to the ‘basti’ and then bursts into a folk-dance while Raj watches from a corner with a heavy heart. Rafi’s voice is a rare treat in an RK film and he enlivens the mood when he begins with gusto ‘Ramaiyya Vastavaiyya—‘. Words that could have inspired a comedy song caricaturing a southern language, become an inspiration for a  short but profoundly poetic  treatise on love! Lata fills in as the sweet creamy layer. The song is clearly a labour of love by some of the best talents and the sincerity in their work shows all over.

 ‘Us desh-mein tere pardes-mein sone chandi-ke badle-mein bhikte hain dil

Is gaon-mein dard-ki chaon-mein pyar-ke naam-pe hi tadapte hain dil!’

You lose yourself in the lovely repartee between Rafi and Lata , till  Mukesh makes a late entry into the song and gives you the goose-bumps! (He did the same later in ‘O mere sanam’ in ‘Sangam’!).

 ‘Rasta wohi musafir wohi, ek taara na jaane kahn chup gaya

Duniya wohi duniyawale wohi, koi kya jaane kiska jahan lut gaya’!

Shailendra, the wily wizard of words, squeezes the heart and conjures up a tear!

The chorus captures the soul and Rafi gives the reverie a consummate finish that lingers on in the ears even after the song stops. The song is beautifully structured like a tasty triple-decker dessert, flavoured by a ‘Sangam’ of three great voices!

(Visit http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8Y67ZkA9nf0 for the song-sequence)

Raj regains the pawned gold-medal and his conscience as well. Keeping his heart at the right place, he smartly turns the table on the Seth, Maya and also the greedy dishonest devil within himself. Finally he emerges triumphant in the trial of truth, puts on his tramp’s garb again and walks back the same way that he had come towards the horizon, only to be pulled back by Vidya’s love to a new world of  happy honest living.

‘Shri 420’ is undoubtedly a classic to remember, but it is not without its flaws. Raj Kapoor does the ‘Chaplinesque’ act a bit far in the first half indulging in slapstick stuff straight out of ‘Modern Times’ etc. Actually he is brilliant when he under-plays in the second half of the film! Then the characterizations are far too simplistic. All the characters are neatly divided into two groups- Good Poor and the Bad Rich!

  Ah! Now I remember something in the film that is both rich and good, which I missed to write about – that is S-J’s music! In fact, it is so good and so rich in content that it raises your ‘musichloresterol’ level and elevates your ‘blood pleasure’! What more can I say on it? I am an ‘Anari’ when it comes to ‘Raaga’s and other technicalities. So I cannot dive deep into the S-J Ocean to pick the pearls. I can just sit at the shore and enjoy the waves! BTW they say that the duo almost came to fist-cuffs over the ‘antara’ of a song in the film. I say, all the songs were worth such fights!


Mera Joota Hai Japani

Mera Joota Hai Japani

Epilogue :

The tramp in real life as well was indeed triumphant, but he could have very well lost his way to glory, had he not hitch-hiked on this fantastic Caravan that he himself had assembled by the name ‘Shankar-Jaikishen’! The tramp was hailed as ‘Show-Man’ and the Caravan too rode on merrily delighting the millions. But Times do change through ‘Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow’, and so do personal equations! So the show-man got off at one point terminating his ‘Scintillating Journey’ of the Caravan and chose to walk along the ‘Long Path’ and eventually crossed over at another ‘Road Junction’. But in spite of a ‘Bobbing’ start at the detour, the ‘Show-Man’ sadly missed the bus to greater glories! The path and the junction were by no means undistinguished, but the colour and chemistry that he could pull off when he was part of the Caravan, was grossly missing! As a result, Raj Kapoor’s travelogue beyond the mid-seventies was eminently forgettable! His sons also could not resurrect the man with violin on one arm and the bent lady on other, who had posed so awe-inspiringly with the golden sky glowing in the background and an accompanying grand piece of tune gifted by the Caravan! The time soon came when you still checked out an RK movie, but you no longer exactly waited with bated breath for the ‘show’ to start while Prithiviraj-ji was doing the ‘Shiv-Ling Pooja’! The RK banner had sadly lost its golden glow!

As for the Caravan, with all his soul-mates gone one after the other, Shankar-ji valiantly drove on alone towards the golden sunset, as magnificently as during the good old times.

Kaarwan gujar gaya, Ghubbaar dekhte rahe’!  – As you watched, the Caravan had slowly disappeared from sight in the distant horizon. But You, the die-hard S-J fan still re-visit daily the same spot and stand there engulfed by the golden dust of memories left by the Caravan’s spectacular trail, and as you return to your daily grind, you sigh deeply —‘Jaane kahan gaye woh din—–‘! 

Musically Yours,

S.V.Nathan (subramaniamviswanathan@yahoo.com)

caravan of RK

caravan of RK

Celebrate Diwali like me

Celebrate Diwali like me

Kathputli (1957)

Hitesh Mehta

shankarjaikishan@ yahoogroups. com

Directors: Amiya Charaborty, Nitin Bose; Producers: Amiya
Chakraborty, Ajit Kumar Chakraborty

Artistes: Vyjayanatimala, Balraj Shani, Kamala Laxman, Jawahar Kaul,
Sheela Kashmiri, C S Dube, Jagat Pal, Agha, Poonam, Jharna, Laxman
Rao, Shyam, Robert, Master Vijay, Shyam Kumar

This is 31st released film of Shankar Jaikishan and by the time it was released they were firmly in place of number one MD in industry in term of popularity and ‘sellability’. Films were started running in name of SJ more than story and screenplay. By this time they already had given hits in immediate previous year (1956) like Seema, Shree420, Chori Chori, Halaku and Basant Bahar- all musically super-duper hits and arguably among the top 10 or 15 SJ albums- so many gems in just one year- incredible! Obviously people must be expecting same quality of music in all their new films. All the above films were commercially hit as well but interestingly in same span of one year or so, there were few films which didn’t get so popular for some or another reason despite good music, they were Kismat ka Khel, Patrani, New Delhi, Begunah (before release of Kathputali) and Baghi Sipahi (just after release of Kathputli). But if we see after Baghi Sipahi- floodgates of musical and commercial superhits were opened, true in SJ’s image of bigger star than actors: I will just mention next 15 films serially after Kathputli- Yahudi, Anari, Chhoti Behan, Kanhaiya, Love Marriage, Main Nashe mein hoon, Shararat, Ujala, College girl, Dil apna aur preet parayi, Ek phool char kante, Jis desh me ganga behti hai, Singapore, Aas ka panchhi, Boy friend.. all within 2-3 years, and list will go on. As if law of average was not affecting them in terms of quality and quantity.

Coming back to Kathputli:

Lata dominated film but its exception in terms of popularity in comparision to other Lata dominated film. This was supposed to be produced and directed by Amiya Chakrabarty, who had made classics Dag, Patita, Badshah and Seema with SJ before this, all musically fabolous; but unfortunately Amiya could not complete Kathputli as he passed away while making movie and Ajit Chakrabarty and Nitin Bose completed the film. Like other mentioned previous movies of Amiya, this is also based on social theme and woman dominated (in this case Vaijyantimala) .

Main actors of this films were Balraj Sahni, Vaijyantimala and Jawahar kaul. The film story is on very predictable line and screenplay is also not great. Jawahar Kaul and Vaijyantimala are pair but chemistry between them is next to zero- there is no ‘spark’ visible although story demands romance between them culminated in marriage. Story looses the plot within an hour and would not able to hold watcher but for music. SJ music has really saved the film alongwith dance numbers by Vaijyantimala. 6 of the 8 songs were picturised on vaijyantimala- all dance numbers and one each on Balraj Sahni (on piano- aka seema’s tu pyar ka sagar hai) and Kamla lakshman (another dance number). The songs are really not carry forwarding story of film as we can see in Shree 420, Chori chori, Dil apna aur preet parayi and so many other SJ films but looked like as if just ‘put’ there to fill some gap. I thought songs’ wordings must have some relevance to story and must be supporting story to go forward but it was not the case.

Film has 8 songs, Each and every song is tremendous with exceptional orchastrisation. By this time SJ’s music became ‘matured’ in terms of style and music arrangement and their trade-mark big orchestra and rhythem can be seen in almost all the songs of this film. This is also Shailendra dominated (he penned 6 out of 8 songs) and as we must guess Shankar dominated as well as you must expect if 6 out of 8 songs are dance numbers.

Film starts with medley of instrumental pieces of songs, treat to ears. Below is the review of songs, format is first lyrics in english followed by lyrics in hindi and then comments.

(1) Bol ri Kathputli dori, kaun sang bandhi….singer- Lata, Lyrics: Shailendra

bol ri kathaputali dori kaun sang baandhi
sach batala tu naache kis ke lie
baavali kathaputali dori piya sang baandhi
main naachun apane piyaa ke lie
bol ri kathaputali. …..

jahaan jidhar saajan le jaae, sang chalun main chhaaya si
vo hain mere jaadugar main jaadugar ki maaya si
jaan-bujh kar chhed ke mujh se poochhe ye sansaar
bol ri kathaputali. …..

piya na hote, main na hoti, jivan raag sunaata kaun
pyaar thirakta kis ki dhun par, dil ka saaz bajaata kaun
door-door jis chaman se guzare, gaati jaae bahaar
bol ri kathaputali. …..

बोल री कठपुतली डोरी कौन संग बाँधी
सच बतला तू नाचे किसके लिए
बावली कठपुतली डोरी पिया संग बाँधी
मैं नाचूँ अपने पिया के लिए
बोल री कठपुतली …

जहाँ जिधर साजन ले जाए, संग चलूँ मैं छाया सी
वो हैं मेरे जादूगर मैं जादूगर की माया सी
जान\-बूझ कर छेड़ के मुझसे पूछे ये संसार
बोल री कठपुतली …

पिया न होते, मैं न होती, जीवन राग सुनाता कौन
प्यार थिरकता किसकी धुन पर, दिल का साज़ बजाता कौन
दूर\-दूर जिस चमन से ग़ुज़रे, गाती जाए बहार
बोल री कठपुतली …

This is the title song of film starts within 5-7 minutes of starting of movie, excellent dance song picturised on Vaijyantimala. Fast song based on Rag Bhairvi with big orchestra, fast rhythem and use of counter melody. Sebastian is said to be arranger of orchestra.

(2) Manzil wahi hai pyar ki rahi badal gaye…singer- Subir Sen, Lyrics- Shailendra
manzil vahi hai pyaar ki, raahi badal gaye
sapanon ki mahafil men, ham tum naye
manzil vahi hai pyaar ki………. ………

duniya ki nazaron se dur, jaate hain ham tum jahaan
us desh ki chaandani, gaayegi ye daastaan
mausam tha vo bahaar ka, dil khil machal gaye
sapanon ki mahafil men ham tum naye
manzil vahi hai pyaar ki………. ………

chhup na sake mere raaz, naghamon men dhalane lage
roka tha dil ne magar, pahalu badalane lage
vo din hi kuchh ajib the, jo aa ke kal gaye
sapanon ki mahafil men ham tum naye
manzil vahi hai pyaar ki……..

SJ gave chance to new singer Subir Sen. He sounds very much like Hemant Kumar. It is said that he was not first choice for singing this but somehow got the chance and could record the song after tremendous difficulty and 18 retakes. I don’t know who was there in mind of SJ and how Subir sen came into contact- may be Bengali connection of producer/director worked- but it has become big break for subir sen, a song under superstars SJ and picturised on actor like Balraj Sahni. As usual, good soulful lyrics by Shailendra but not much relevance to film’s story 😦 Balraj sahni is singing on piano while Vaijyantimala looks on.

(3) Itne bade jahan me ae dil, tujko tanha chhodu kaise….Singer- Lata and chorus, Lyrics- Shailendra

itane bade jahaan men ai dil,
tujh ko,
tujh ko akelaa chhodun kaise
tujh ko,
tu naadaan, log begaane,
in sang
in sang, naata jodun kaise

mat ja re mat ja in anajaani galiyon men
bachiyo re duniya vaale chhaliyon se
tu ek jaan, shikaari laakhon
in ka
in ka nishaanaa todun kaise
in sang naata jodun kaise
itane bade jahaan men………

mat lalacha gar kaanton men phool bhi hai
poochh kisi se dil ka lagaana bhool bhi hai
dhal jaae raat bikhar jaaen sapane,
phir se,
phir se inhen main jodun kaise
in sang naata jodun kaise
itane bade jahaan men………

haay na maana, ghair ka zaalim ho hi gaya
jaata hai to ja divaane,
ab main,
ab main, tera ji jodun kaise
in sang naata jodun kaise
itane bade jahaan men………

इतने बड़े जहां में ऐ दिल तुझको अकेला छोड़ूँ कैसे
तू नादान लोग बेगाने इन संग नाता जोड़ूँ कैसे

मत जा रे मत जा इन अनजानी गलियों में
बचियो रे दुनिया वाले छलियों से
तू एक जान शिकारी लाखों इनका निशाना तोड़ूँ कैसे
इतने बड़े जहां में …

मत ललचा गर काँटों में फूल भी है
पूछ किसी से दिल का लगाना भूल भी है
ढल जाए रात बिखर जाएँ सपने फिर से इन्हें मैं जोड़ूँ कैसे
इतने बड़े जहां में …

हाय न माना ग़ैर का ज़ालिम हो ही गया
जाता है तो जा दीवाने अब मैं तेरा जी जोड़ूँ कैसे
इतने बड़े जहां में …

Dance number, Vaijyantimala is singing as stage performance in theatre. Tremendous orchastrisation complementing to Lata’s voice. Also excellent long prelude( about 1.5 minutes) and good pieces of interludes.. .between each antara, when lata sings hun..followed by one line and then piece of orchestra and chorus, it takes listner to new world.

(4) Mini mini chiki, Mini mini chiki…dunia me chand tare hai kitne hansi…singer- Lata, Mukesh , Lyrics- Shailendra
Mukesh: miini-miini chi-chi -2
duniya men chaand-suraj hain
( kitane hasin ) -2
utana hi sun mere bhaiya dil ko lubhaae rupaiya

Lata: duniyaa men chaad-suraj. …..

Mukesh: rupayon ka chashma chadhaao ye duniya dikhegi rangili

Lata: duniya men chaand-suraj. …..

Mukesh: rupayon ka chashma chadhaao ye duniya dikhegi rangili

Lata: saare nashe is ke naukar ye hai cheez aisi nashili

Mukesh: ye cham-cham isi ki, chham-chham isi ko gaae isi ko gavaiya

Lata: ye cham-cham isi ki, chham-chham isi ko gaae isi ko gavaiya

Mulesh: mini-mini chi-chi

Lata: chi-chi

Both: duniya men chaand-suraj. …..

Mukesh: sapanon ki rangin raat.n jaise ki aai divaali

Lata: kal ka bhala kya bharosa rahenge maalik ya maali

Mukesh: hans ke rulaae, rula ke hansaae yahi zindagi ka ravaiya

Lata: hans ke rulaae ,rula ke hansaae yahi zindagi ka ravaiya

Mukesh: mini-mini chi-chi
Lata: chi-chi

Both: duniya men chaand-suraj. …..

मु \: मीनी मीनी चीची \-२
दुनिया में चाँद\-सूरज हैं ( कितने हसीं ) \-२
उतना ही सुन मेरे भैया दिल को लुभाए रुपैया
ल \: दुनिया में चाँद\-सूरज …

मु \: रुपयों का चश्मा चढ़ाओ ये दुनिया दिखेगी रंगीली
ल \: दुनिया में चाँद\-सूरज …

मु \: रुपयों का चश्मा चढ़ाओ ये दुनिया दिखेगी रंगीली
ल \: सारे नशे इसके नौकर ये है चीज़ ऐसी नशीली
मु \: ये चम\-चम इसी की छम\-छम इसी को गाए इसी को गवैया
ल \: ये चम\-चम इसी की छम\-छम इसी को गाए इसी को गवैया
मु \: मीनी मीनी चीची
ल \: चीची
दो \: दुनिया में चाँद\-सूरज …

मु \: सपनों की रंगीन रातें जैसे कि आई दीवाली
ल \: कल का भला क्या भरोसा रहेंगे मालिक या माली
मु \: हँस के रुलाए रुला के हँसाए यही ज़िन्दगी का रवैया
ल \: हँस के रुलाए रुला के हँसाए यही ज़िन्दगी का रवैया
मु \: मीनी मीनी चीची
ल \: चीची
दो \: दुनिया में चाँद\-सूरज …

Again a dance number with good but unusual lyrics by Shailendra. He is not known to use words like mini mini chiki chiki- its more like Hasrat Jaipuri’s forte, I think with working with Hasrat so closely, he must have ‘inspired’ to try something like this. But except this intitial lines, song again is having simple but powerful poetry, describing might of moeny. I can say this song has some relevance to film’s story because story is based on theme of poverty and women’s social problems. Sung by Mukesh and Lata. Mukesh is the only other male voice apart from Subir sen. This is one of the many SJ movies in Mukesh appeared only in one song but made his presence felt powerfully- other examples are Yahudi, Begunah, Chhoti Behan, Rajhath, Singapore, Rangoli, Raat aur din, Jwala etc. Song has soft melodious music with silky voice of Mukesh and Lata but interludes having very fast and loud pieces of somewhat ‘western’ orchastra which is for picturisation of stage show kind of situation. For picturisation purpose its ok, but if you are listening only song, it seems obstructing melodious feel (IMO).

(5) So ja re so ja mere raj dulare so ja…Singer- Lata, Lyrics- Hasrat

so ja re so ja mere raajdulaare so ja
taare bhi so gaye dharati ke sitaare so ja
so ja re so ja……

aai sapanon ki pari tujh ko bulaane ke liye2
lai chanda ka hinndola vo sulaane ke liye2
aasmaanon se kare neend ishaare so ja
taare bhi so gaye dharati ke sitaare so ja
so ja re so ja……

god men lengi tujhe roop nagar ki raahen2
aankh khulate hi milengi tujhe maan ki baahen2
meri aankhon ke mere dil ke sahaare so ja
taare bhi so gaye dharati ke sitaare so ja
so ja re so ja……

सो जा रे सो जा मेरे राज दुलारे सो जा
तारे भी सो गये धरती के सितारे सो जा
सो जा रे सो जा…

आई सपनों की परी तुझको बुलाने के लिये
लाई चँदा का हिंडोला वो सुलाने के लिये
आसमानों से करे नींद इशारे सो जा
तारे भी सो गये धरती के सितारे सो जा
सो जा रे सो जा…

गोद में लेंगी तुझे रूप नगर की राहें
आँख खुलते ही मिलेंगी तुझे माँ की बाहें
मेरी आँखों के मेरे दिल के सहारे सो जा
तारे भी सो गये धरती के सितारे सो जा
सो जा रे…

Absolute melodious ‘Lori’ by Lata, one of the two songs written by Hasrat. It is strange that why this lori seldomly appears in any Lori albums or got even mentioned. I don’t think even many of our group members heared this lori song. I recommend them to hear this once and feel the melody as well as counter melody. This song definitely has classical base, but I am not able to identify raag.

(6) Bakad bam, bakad bam baje ghunghru, nach re mayur chhan chhanake ghunghru…. Lata and chorus, lyrics- Hasrat.
baagad bam-bam, bam baaje damaru
baaje damaru
naach re mayur jhanajhana ke ghungharu
baagad bam-bam….. .

aasamaan pe aaj dekho saat rang chhaae
apane dil men aag le ke baadal kaare aae
baadal garaje megh barase charon aur saavan laharaae
naach re mayur jhanajhana ke ghungharu
baagad bam-bam….. .

mach raha hai daal-daal panchhiyon ka shor
aa gai hai pyaar le ke ab suhaani bhor
bhanvara jhume-jhume, jhume baandh preet ki dor
naach re mayur jhanajhana ke ghungharu
baagad bam-bam….. .

बागड़ बम बम बम बाजे डमरू
नाच रे मयूर झनझना के घुँघरू
बागड़ बम बम …

आसमाँ पे आज देखो सात रंग छाए
अपने दिल में आग ले के बादल कारे आए
बादल गरजे मेघ बरसे चहुँ ओर सावन लहराए
नाच रे मयूर …

मच रहा है डार\-डार पंछियों का शोर
आ गई है प्यार ले के अब सुहानी भोर
भँवरा झूमे\-झूमे\-झूमे बाँध प्रीत की डोर
नाच रे मयूर …

I am sure people must have gone crazy in those days (1957) to see Vaijyantimala dancing in bold dress cladded with “Mayurpankh (Peacock feathers)”. Fast dance number, another one written by Hasrat and treat for dance loving people. Another stage dance with no relevance to story whatsoever but great for ears and eyes. The tune inspired LP after many years for making title song of “Nache Mayuri”. Although Nache mayuri song has no connection with ‘Mayur (peacock)’ except heroine’s name was Mayuri in movie.

(7) Haye tu hi gaya mohe bhul re…Singer- Lata, lyrics- Shailendra

haae tu hi gaya mohe bhul re
main hun tere jivan ki raagini
main hun tere jivan ki raagini
haae tu hi gaya……

tere naghame taare ban kar,
taare ban kar,
tere naghame taare ban kar taare ban kar
chamaken sab ke pyaare ban kar,
pyaare ban kar,
chamaken sab ke pyaare ban kar,
haae tu hi gya……

phir se aisa raag suna re,
raag suna re,
phir se aisa raag suna re, raag sunaa re
jhoom uthen ye gham ke maare
jhoom uthen ye gham ke maare
haae tu hi gaya……

हाए तू ही गया मोहे भूल रे
मैं हूं तेरे जीवन की रागिनी
मैं हूं तेरे जीवन की रागिनी
हाए तू ही गया…

तेरे नग़मे तारे बन कर तारे बन कर
तेरे नग़मे तारे बन कर तारे बन कर
चमकें सब के प्यारे बन कर प्यारे बन कर
चमकें सब के प्यारे बन कर
हाए तू ही ग्या…

फिर से ऐसा राग सुना रे राग सुना रे
फिर से ऐसा राग सुना रे राग सुना रे
झूम उठें ये ग़म के मारे
झूम उठें ये ग़म के मारे
हाए तू ही गया…

Dance song picturised on Kamla Lakshaman, supporting actress and for many, her dance was simply superb, even better than Vaijyantimala’s dances in film- although it is subjective argument. Another less known song, strange enough, but marvellous melody, lyrics and rendereation by Lata with equally good orchestra. May be it did not get prominance because it was picturiesed on supporting actress rather than heroine.

(8) Bol ri kathputli… sad version, singer- lata , lyrics- Shailendra
nae naam nit nae roop dhar main aai, main chali gai
lekin maine dhoom macha di jis nagari, jis gali gai
chhod ke jag, taaron men jaa pahunchi, vahaan bhi yahi pukaar
bol ri kathaputali. …..

mithi yaaden sundar sapane kho baithe ye log jinhen
man ka yah meet bana kar mere dil ne diya tumhen
kathaputali ka khel ye duniya saanvariya us paar
bol ri kathaputali. …..

नए नाम नित नए रूप धर मैं आई मैं चली गई
लेकिन मैने धूम मचा दी जिस नगरी जिस गली गई
छोड़ के जग तारों में जा पहुँची वहाँ भी यही पुकार
बोल री कठपुतली …

मीठी यादें सुन्दर सपने खो बैठे ये लोग जिन्हें
मन का यह मीत बनाकर मेरे दिल ने दिया तुम्हें
कठपुतली का खेल ये दुनिया साँवरिया उस पार
बोल री कठपुतली …

Actually this is slow and sad version of title song with different lyrics, so truly speaking, movie has only seven songs. This song comes towards the end of movie and for a change, supports story with help of beautifully written lines by Shailendra.


Happy Diwali to all….

Lyrics courtsey:

http://www.apunkach oice.com/ music/lyrics/

http://lyricsindia. net


Views of DVS (one of the members of  shankarjaikishan@ yahoogroups. com

Very good review. Please permit me to add my two cents for the songs.   

(1) Bol ri Kathputli dori, kaun sang bandhi (Happy version)
Brilliant accordion & violin work! The tune and flow of bongo rhythm makes you dance at least mentally. In the middle of first interlude, continuous accordion and intermittent violins create altogether different effect.

(2) Manzil wahi hai pyar ki rahi badal gaye…

The initial part prelude is so different; the use of piano, a string instrument (???) and violins is mind blowing. In the final part of the prelude, just after mandolin and before Subir Sen takes over, there are two strokes of piano(??) to fill the gap – amazing amount of hard work and imagination by the team!  To some extent the prelude was inspired by one of Beethoven’s symphonies but in any case SJ improvised brilliantly. The tune is very different from any of SJ’s other tunes. And to end the song (I don’t know what it is called technically in music terminology) yet again accordion, piano, the string instrument and violins create mind blowing effect. One must carefully listen to it to feel the magic.

(3) Itne bade jahan me ae dil, tujko tanha chhodu kaise…. 

The prelude has only some similarity to the prelude of Halaku song – Bol Mere Maalik. The main percussion instruments are dholak and dholki but as per the need another normally not used percussion instrument is also used, probably damru.

(4)  Mini mini chiki, Mini mini chiki…dunia me chand tare hai kitne hansi…

Lovely tune and source of inspiration for many songs later on by other MDs!

(5) So ja re so ja mere raj dulare so ja…

Absolute gem of a lori! I think the raag is ‘Jogkauns’. What a use of violins with pianos in the background and flutes, sitar in the interlude! The overall orchestration is very-very different and of the type on which instrumental pieces were composed for akashwani by various composers!


(6) Bakad bam, bakad bam baje ghunghru, nach re mayur chhan chhanake ghunghru
It seems SJ decided to do lot of experimentations and innovations. Tabla tarang and jal tarang were used in the prelude! Outstanding dholak work throughout the song together with dholki and other percussion instruments.

(7) Haye tu hi gaya mohe bhul re…

Very sweet tune. Excellent dholak work and equally good tabla work in the interlude.

(8) Bol ri kathputli… (Sad version) 

Tremendous amount of hard work put in by the team! Everything is there in the song – lead singer, chorus and use of so many instruments that it would be mammoth task for even an expert to recognize and make their list! Those who have not got to listen to this gem are really unfortunate!


SJ did not follow the strategy of giving just 2-3 outstanding songs in a movie and reserving other outstanding songs for other movies. All in all – even more than full ‘paisa vasool’ if one wishes to buy the ‘Kathputli’ album.