As youngsters we were always attracted by the romantic, poetic and meaningful titles of films released those days. The titles used to be so catchy and thought-provoking that we marked it as a ‘must see’ film the moment the news of the launch of the film reached us. During those days the launch of films used to be widely published in the print media like THE SCREEN and CINE ADVANCE and so on with full page advertisements, news and photos including that of well attended ‘muhurat’ ceremonies. Follow-up reports indicating progress of production, delays, recordings and so on also used to be there giving us a lot of topics for discussion and to be prepared for the release of the films.
One of the earliest of such films whose title fascinated us was AB DILLI DOOR NAHIN(1957) produced by Raj Kapur with Motilal, Yakub, Anwar Hussain and Sulochana in lead roles. There is nothing in my memory about our seeing the film but the songs composed by the talented music director Duttaram had lingered in memory. The song ‘Yeh chaman hamara’ by Asha Bhosle and the children’s song ‘Chhun chhun karti’ by Rafi are still fresh in memory.That also reminds me of an earlier film of Raj Kapur, AAG (1948) with Raj Kapur, Nargis and Kamini Kausal in the lead which had music by Ram Ganguly. The voice of Shamshad Begum was at its powerful best in the song, ‘Kahe koyal shor machaye re’ sometimes heard on the radio even now. While titles with lengthy names were more attractive to us, short names like AAG and PYASA caught our imagination, may be for the depth of meaning/sentiments they conveyed. A few of the outstanding songs of all time in Hindi films are from film PYASA. Geeta Dutt’s ‘Jane kya tune kahi’, Hemant’s kumar’s ‘Jane woh kaise log they’ and Rafi’s ‘Jinhen naaz hai Hind par’ and ‘Yey duniya agar milbhi jaye to’ are immortal compositions of S.D.Burman.
Apart from the beauty of the titles, the expectations about the music score of the films also had caught our imagination for earmarking the films as ‘must see’. The advertisements about the launch of films usually gave equal prominence to music directors just like directors and lead stars. Names like Shankar Jaikishen, O.P.Nayyar, S.D.Burman, Naushad, Madan Mohan,C.Ramachandra and so on were ‘guarantees’ to the film goers for outstanding songs. Three films with nostalgic titles and Shankar Jaikishen’s music come immediately to mind. One is R.K.Films’ JIS DESH MEIN GANGA BAHTI HAI with Raj kapur and Padmini in the lead.The sizzling romantic number ‘Ho maine pyar kiya’ and the melodious ‘O basanti pavan’, both by Lata , were hugely popular even before the film was released. There is also an enchanting chorus led by Lata, Geeta Dutt, Mukesh, Manna Dey and Mahendra Kapur, ‘Hum bhi hain tum bhi ho’ beautifully filmed on the lead actors. Probably this is the only song in which these five great singers had joined together. The song is also unique in that a few lines were picturised on Pran, a rare event for a ‘villain’to sing a song. Pran as villain Raka had given a stellar performance.The music of the film also bagged the Filmfare Award for best music of the year 1960.
The film DIL APNA AUR PREET PARAI (1961), a familiar romantic story with Raj Kumar and Meena Kumari in the lead was another much awaited film with music by Shankar Jaikishen. In fact the scintillating songs of Lata like ‘the title song and ‘Ajib daastan’ and the rhythmic ‘Mera dil ab tera o saajana’, were the mainstay of the film. No wonder that the music of this film won the Filmfare Award for best music in 1961.There are also a few other romantic titles with Shankar Jaikishens’ music like Jab pyar kisee se hota hai, Ek dil sow afsane, Roop ki rani choron ka raja, Aas ka panchi, Aayi Milan ki bela and so on. The main feature is that each title formed part of the lyric of a song in the film, a speciality of Shankar Jaikishen. A rare song,’Dil mera ek aas ka panchi’, by the talented Subir Sen made the film Aas ka panchi memorable.
Music director O.P. Nayyar was also associated with a few films with imaginative titles with his famous mastery over rhythm. The names readily coming to mind are the Joy Mukherjee-Asha Parekh film PHIR WOHI DIL LAAYA HOON (1963), the Biswajeet-Sharmila Tagore film YEH RAAT PHIR NA AAYEGI and the Dhrmendra-MalaSinha starrer BAHAREN PHIR BHI AAYEGI (1966). In Phir wohi dil laaya hoon O.P. Nayyar was in his elements exploiting to the hilt the vocal talent of Rafi and Asha to create rhythmic, foot-tapping songs with his typical ‘horse trots’ in the background. The title song as well as ‘ ‘Lakhon mein nigahon men’ are songs so typical of Rafi that one cannot think of hearing them in any other voice. Similarly the semi-classical song ‘Dekho bijli dole bin baadal ki’ and the melodious ‘Ankhon se jo uthri hai dil men’ are typical Asha numbers for O.P. Nayyar. Films Baharen Phir....’ and ‘Yeh raat phir...’have many of the top Asha numbers for O.P.Nayyar with ‘Koi kahde kahde’, ‘Woh hanske mile hum se’,’Yeh wohi jaga hai’ and the highly rhythmic ‘Mohabet cheese hai kya’ are a few of them. Who can forget the popular hit ‘Huzure wala’ powerfully rendered by Asha and Minoo Purushottam in Yeh raat ? Mahendra Kapur owed his success to a large extent to his songs ‘Badal jaaye agar mali’ (Baharen phir) and ‘Mere pyar woh hai’(Yeh Raat) along with his songs for OP in Sawan ki Ghata and Kismat. The word ‘phir’ also reminds me of another two romantic film titles,one “Dil ne phir yaad kiya’(1966) with beautiful music score by Sonic Omi. The pleasant Rafi numbers ‘Lo chehra surkh sharaab’ and ‘Khaliyon ne gunghat khola’along with the title song ‘Dil ne phir yaad..’ by Rafi,Suman Kalyanpur and Mukesh come readily to mind. The second is the Raj Kapur- Mala Sinha film, PHIR SUBHA HOGI (1958), based on Feodor Dostoyevsky’s famous novel Crime and Punishment. Two songs composed by the great Khayyam, ‘Phir subah kabhi to aayegi’(a solo by Mukesh and as a duet by Mukesh and Asha) and ‘Chino Arab hamara Hindustan hamara’ (Mukesh) contributed for the success of the film to a large extent.
There are two romantic musical films of the 50s whose title and music made them a hot topic of discussion among us. One is the hilarious romantic film KALI TOPI LAL RUMAL(1959) with Chandrasekhar and Shakila in the lead. The film’s music was by Chitragupta, a highly underrated music director who had tuned beautiful songs for films like Tower house, Apalam chapalam and several films from AVM of the south like Mein chup rahoongi and Mein bhi ladki hoon etc. Two songs of Kali Topi deserves special mention,viz.,Lata’s ‘Daga daga vai vai vai’ and the pathos filled duet with Rafi ‘Laagi chhoote na’. The other is DEKH KABIRA ROYA(1957) with Anup Kumar, Ameeta and Anita Guha in the lead. Music lovers are ever grateful to music director Madan Mohan for the wonderful music of the film. The most popular two of the ten songs are Manna Dey’s ‘Kaun aaya mere man ki dware’ and Talat Mahmood’s ‘Humse aaya na gaya tumse’. The captivating way Manna Dey was singing the first word ‘kaun’ and the remaining lyrics is a treat to the years. One can’t think of Talat without remembering the song ‘Humse aaya’.Lata’s light classical number ‘Meri veena tum bin roye’ and ‘Tu pyar kare ya thukraye’ are a few of Lata’s best for Madan Mohan.
Yes, there are many more such attractively titled films like Barsat ki raat, Meri surat teri ankhen, Baharon ke sapne, Chaudwin ka chaand, Yadon ki baraat, Hum kise se kam nahin, Do ankhen barah hath,Tere ghar ke samne, Aaye din bahar ke, Door gagan ki chaon mein, Usne kaha tha, Bedard zamana kya jane and so on. But let me conclude this post with a few lines on the last named three films.
Film DOOR GAGAN KI CHHAON MEIN(1964) was a much awaited film for us as it was, in every respect, an exclusive Kishore Kumar film, a monument for his genius. The film was written,produced, directed and acted in by him with Supriya Chatterji in the lead. The music was composed by Kishore Kumar and a few songs were sung by him. In ‘Ah chal ke tujhe’ and ‘Koy lauta de mere’ Kishore’s voice was at its soft melodious best. Title song Door gagan ki chhaon men and Rahi tu ruk mat jaana are typical Hemant Kumar songs in his characteristic voice.
|76rpm DISC USNE KAHA THA|
Film USNE KAHA THA (1960), a typical love story partly against the back ground of war with Sunil Dutt and Nanda in the lead,was a much discussed film on the campus, probably for the story in which the hero sacrifices his life on the battle ground for saving the life of his former lover’s husband because she had told him to protect her husband!(Usne kaha tha). Two songs composed by Salil Choudhury are fresh in memory. Talat Mahmood’s ‘Ah ha rim jim kar ke pyare pyare’ and ‘Janewale sipahi se poochho’, by Manna Dey, Sabitha Bannerji and chorus.
The film and the title BEDARD ZAMANA KYA JANE (1959) with Asok Kumar, Nirupa Roy and Pran with a contrived story lingers in my mind probably for the songs ‘Naina hain jadu bhare’ by Mukesh and ‘Door kahi tu’, a duet by Lata and Rafi both songs composed by Kalyanji Virji Shah.76
It is a pity that many of the beautiful songs of lesser known films are not heard nowadays except to a limited extent on AIR and that lovers of old Hindi film songs, especially from the young generation, are fed with only popular songs of a few successful films over and over again.
Tail piece: While typing this post, a popular song by Jagjit Singh was repeatedly passing through my mind. “....magar mujhko lauta do bachpan ka sawan, Woh kagaz ki kashti woh baarish ka paani ..............Badi khoobsurat tha woh zindagani”.Take away everything but give me back my childhood days.