Posts Tagged ‘Talat Mehmood’

My Tribute to Raj Kapoor

June 1, 2010

Raj Kapoor, also known as the show-man of the millenium, was a legendary Indian film actor, producer and director of Hindi films. As 2nd June marks his death anniversary, this is a small tribute to this great man from my side. May his soul rest in peace!

Raj Kapoor was a canny judge of filmi music and lyrics. Many of the songs he commissioned are evergreen hits.  I had heard somewhere that Raj Kapoor still remains an Institution for Directors, an Inspiration for Music Directors and an Idol for all the actors.

I have mixed feelings about his portrayal of a tramp-like figure in many of his movies, who, despite adversity, was usually cheerful and honest (I adore his character in Anari, but then it gets on to my nerves as well at times coz it’s so out-of-this-world and I find it pretty repetitive too). I love him better in other roles like Chori Chori, Bewafa, Sharda etc.

With all due respect, and like I always keep saying, no matter how much I like and respect Raj Kapoor as an Actor and a film-maker, I avoid re-watching his movies. They hit me too hard emotionally, morally and socially.

But he really had a taste in music. All his movies had fantastic songs. And without getting into further details, let me list some of his songs that I like the most – there are many but these are the first ten that came to my mind :

1. Mera joota hai japani (Shree 420, 1955) : Raj Kapoor produced, directed and acted in this blockbuster. All the songs from this film were big hits  esp. Dil ka haal sune dilwala, Ichak dana beechak dana, Mud mud ke na dekh, Pyar hua ikraar hua, Ramaiya vastavaiya. Raj Kapoor’s display about the corruption in society with the adaptation of mannerism of Charlie Chaplin amused the viewers. And this is one of his signature songs.

2.  Aawara hoon (Awara, 1951) : This movie was based on the theme that human being is a victim of circumstances. It’s not necessary that a barriseter’s son grows up to become a barrister and a theif’s son a theif. I like the Dum bhar jo udhar as well, but this is another signature songs of his.

3. Woh chaand khila woh taare hanse (Anari, 1959) : All the songs in this movie are amazing. Kisi ki muskurahaton pe and Sab kuchh sikha humne are more of typical Raj Kapoor songs, but I somehow like this one better. The way he stands with the flower in his hand, trying to put it on Nutan’s hair, the innocence on his face and dont know what to do next expression. – simply superb!!!Only the opening verse has Raj singing just one line, the rest of the song is Nutan’s but he’s still so dominantly present throughout the song.

4. Ae sanam jisne tujhe (Diwana, 1967) : One of my favourite songs…there’s something very innocently true and cute about this song. The lyrics, music and perfect rendition  go hand in hand so well.

5. Jaane kahan gaye woh din (Mera Naam Joker, 1970) : Though Jeena yahan marna yahan and Aye bhai zara dekh ke chalo were more popular, it’s this song that gives me goose-bumps everytime I listen to it. What a great composition this was! It more or less summarizes the story of the movie. I usually end up with tears in my eyes when this song ends.

6. Aaja sanam madhur chandani mein hum (Chori Chori, 1956) : My all time favourite movie of Raj Kapoor and the only movie of his that I love watching again and again. This was another musical blockbuster – all the songs were superb.

7. Dil matwala lakh sambhala (Bewafa, 1952) : This movie is one of my recent discoveries and I have fallen in love with this love-triangle. I am usually not very fond of movies with tragic endings…I prefer light-hearted, romantic,  timepass movies, but this one’s an exception. Serious as it is, it’s a very beautifully handled story laced with pretty songs – and it feels rather good to hear somebody other than Mukesh and Manna Dey singing for Raj Kapoor. Talat Mehmood was amazing in this one.

8. Sajan re jhooth mat bolo (Teesri Kasam, 1977) : This is a gem of a song from the awesome fivesome – Raj Kapoor, Mukesh, Shailendra, Shankar and Jaikishen. These five have given us so many unforgettable numbers,  this being one of them – with a spiritual touch.

9. Jap re preet ki mala (Sharada, 1957) : This movie had a power-packed performance and I liked most of the songs – O chaand jahan woh jaye (which I had mentioned about in Meena Kumari special post), then this one where Raj Kapoor tries to woo lovely Meena Kumari and there’s one more cute song in this film – Lehraye jiya, picturised on gorgeous Shyama. But guess I’ll keep that for Shyama special post. But storywise, I actually didn’t know how to react to this movie, I have been in a state of shock ever since I have seen this film. Had wanted to do a post on it for Meena Kumari’s death anniversary but couldn’t. Let me see if I can review this film some time soon.

10. Masti bhara hai samaan (Parvarish, 1958) : This is such a care-free romantic duet. I love everything about this song – Raj Kapoor, Mala Sinha, Lata and Manna Dey’s rendition, Hasrat Jaipuri’s lyrics, Dattaram’s composition and it’s picturisation.

I have this thing for the Kapoor men, no matter how much I try (not that I want to) but I just can’t dislike them. I simply love all of them – right from Prithvi Raj Kapoor to Ranbir Kapoor!
It happens to be Khwaja Ahmad Abbas’s death anniversary today. Thanks to Vividh Bharati and Yunus Khan  for bringing it to my notice. I was tuned into Vividh Bharathi on my way back home and when Awara hoon played on Aaj Ke Funkaar (@ 9:30), I was wondering why they were doing a Raj Kapoor special program today itself. And then Yunus said that this episode was dedicated to a writer, this made me think it was probably dedicated to  Shailendra and then he finally revealed that it was Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, who he was talking about. Though unknowingly, I had already included songs from some of his films (films that he has written) in my list – Awaara, Shri 420, Mera Naam Joker. And I am glad I had done that.
And it was Prithviraj Kapoor’s death anniversary on 29th May but I couldn’t do a post on him  😦 That’s on my to-do-list for this weekend.

Bara-Dari (1955)

March 1, 2010

Tasveer banata hoon marks my introduction to  Talat Mehmood and post dustedoff’s Talat Mehmood special, I made up my mind to review this film. All these years I had heard the song only on radio and had fallen in love with it. When I watched it on youtube how I wished that it was picturized on someone else.

On the whole it was a pretty entertaining film, nothing like what I had imagined. Though I end up watching most of the movies because of the songs, of late I have learnt not to set too high an expectation. And maybe it’s because of that that I actually enjoyed this one, inspite of it being pretty vague at times. Once the movie started, I also realized that this was my first Geeta Bali movie *so ashamed of myself*.

Ranvir Singh (Ramayan Tiwari), Thakur of Ajaygarh, is arrested for fighting against the land-tax (lagaan) being imposed everywhere.

He rebels against the rules laid by the King, Maharaja Rana (Murad).

His wife, Shakti Devi (Amir Banu), scared of losing her husband, pleads with him to reconcile with Maharaja.

But the typical Thakur ego (sar kata sakte hai lekin jhuka nahin sakte) and the fact that he’s representing a common man’s plight doesn’t let him do so and is stabbed in the King’s court by fellow Thakurs right infront of Maharaja. Maharaja is not totally against Ranvir because he believes that he’s a very brave man (there’s a little reference to their friendship as well, so guess, at some point of time, they were friends) but gets carried away a little by what the other Thakur’s say. And before he can think of punishing Ranvir, he is killed.

Soon afterward, the queen delivers a baby boy and when the entire kingdom is rejoicing, the royal astrologer predicts that some bad omen would befall. The only way to prevent it is to ensure that the prince is not fed his mother’s milk and is kept out of Maharaja’s sight till he’s 8 years old (strange way of preventing bad omen, but let the superstitions be….we wouldn’t have had this movie without it).
After lots of discussion, Maharaja and his Mahamantri (Minister) reach a conclusion that they should give the prince to Shakti Devi,who has also delivered a son (reason being – Kunwar kisi sherni ka doodh peeke bada hoga).

Initially she refuses to feed and look after the prince, as she thinks the King is responsible for Ranvir’s death. But when she hears the little boy crying of hunger, the mother in her wins over her hatred for the King and she takes the prince into her arms and feeds him.
She raises both the boys as her own children. Mahamantri comes and takes the Prince, Vijay back to the palace after 8 years (and no, she doesn’t even cheat, she returns the original prince).

In return, Maharaja sends her the papers relieving Ajaygarh of the land-tax (the very thing that Ranbir Singh had given his life for), duly signed. But she tears them into pieces infront of Mahamantri and lectures him on mother’s love – in a truly filmy ishtyle that she had looked after Vijay as her own son, and her love for him was not something she would sell in favour of those papers (meri mamta bikau nahin hai).

Ajit, Shakti Devi’s own son, is sad that Vijay is gone. And Gauri, his neighbour, tries to cheer him up.

They grow up to into dashing Ajit and bubbly Geeta Bali  singing  Bhoola nahin dena. Latu Singh (Gope) hides and listens to their song,and when caught admits that he himself is in love with Taani but doesn’t know how to express his feelings. So, he follows Ajit and Gauri and learns his part of the conversation from what he overhears of Ajit and Gauri’s conversation or songs.

When Ajit learns that sarkari khazana (government wealth) is being taken via Ajaygarh to Karan Singh (Pran), he attacks them and robs the entire thing. I didn’t understand who Karana Singh actually is and why he was supposed to get the sarkari khazana (he’s some Thakur himself, lives near Ajaygarh and I think he was smugling the wealth).

Karan Singh is in a mehfil listening to Jin ko ho jaan pyaari when he’s informed of the loot.

There’s some old enemity between Thakur Sangram, Latu Singh’s  father and Taani’s father who is ill. The former comes to visit the latter everyday to ensure that he’s alive – he even promises to sell his haveli for his treatment, so that he can kill him once he gets well (wierd logic, he wants to save a dying man to kill him – Thakur theory?).

As Gauri sings Chhayi re badariya, Karan Singh happens to pass by and at the end of the song when she throws a stone, it hits him. He chases her and she bumps into Ajit, who saves her from Karan Singh by defeating him in a sword-fight.

It’s Vijay’s (Chandra Shekhar) birthday and the King decides to give over the responsibility of ruling the kingdom to him.

Karan Singh, who’s also present there (he sounded like one of the royal advisors),  says it maynot be safe to handover such a risky responsibility to Vijay knowing that there are so many enemies around.  It’s pretty clear that he wants to create misunderstandings between Ajit and the royal family. When Karan Singh complains of  Ajit and his friends robbing his wealth in Ajaygarh to justify his point, Vijay doesn’t believe him. He decides to go there himself to find out what’s happening and who’s responsible for it.

Gauri’s mother (Mumtaz Begum) and Shakti Devi decide to get Gauri and Ajit married. Just then, someone comes and informs Ajit that the royal army has camped just outside Ajaygarh. As this he sets out to find the purpose behind their visit, Shakti Devi, after having lost her husband, is scared of losing her son too and wants to keep him away from getting into unnecessary mess. So she emotionally blackmails him and convinces him into going out of Ajaygarh for a few days. Gauri sees them leaving and when she asks him, he promises to come and meet her at Baradari every night.

Vijay, along with Hira Singh (appears to be a Senapati, though he doesn’t look like one) comes to Shakti Devi’s house, only to see the door locked. On asking a neighbour he finds out that they have gone out and nonone knows when they’ll be back.

On his way back, he sees Gauri and her friends filling water by the well, singing and swinging to Piya ho piya ho. The cd got stuck here and I was so worried thinking that I might miss the main reason for which I was watching the movie.

But luckily I didn’t. I guess, the rest of cd-1 had some Latu Sing-Taani scenes. Taani’s father tells Ajit (in the second cd, of course) that Thakur Sangram has asked for Rs. 10,000 from him as a price of getting his son married to his enemy’s daughter.

Ajit promises to get the amount and the wedding is in progress.

Girls (Cuckoo and Minoo Mumtaz) sing and dance to  Chhodo chhodi baiyyan mori . But before the ceremony gets over, Gauri is kidnapped by Karan Singh’s men. Ajit leaves immediately to rescue her, Thakur Sangram and Latu Singh also join him in the mission. After passing through some secret tunnels and rotating doors (courtesy – Thakur Sangram Singh who claims to be fully aware of the area), they directly land inside  Karan Singh’s haveli and rescue Gauri.

Karan Singh manages to convince Maharaja that Ajit is conspiring against them because he wants to take revenge for his father’s death and that’s the reason why he fled when Vijay went to see him (fleeing part sounded illogical to me but Maharaja sees some light in it) and sensing danger for Vijay, he summons him back to the palace. Vijay is smitten by Gauri – at first sight.

He’s gets into a total depression at being called back to the palace. He doesn’t talk to anybody, neither eats nor sleeps – just attempts making a portrait of Gauri and unable to do so he sings Tasveer banata hoon. The Queen is worried for him and begs Maharaja that she doesn’t want anything other than her son’s happiness – she wants her son to be wed to the girl who he has fallen for. Maharaja argues to it saying he can’t give in until he finds out who the girl is and what kind of a family she belongs to.

So he sends for Hira Singh and asks him about the girl. Now, Hira doesn’t know the name of the girl but says Ajit might be able to help as she’s also from Ajaygarh. So, Maharaja sends Hira Singh to Ajit with a message that Vijay is ill and wants to meet his brother.

Back in Ajaygarh, both Ajit and Gauri are putting mehendi on their hands and getting ready for their marriage which is to take place shortly but when Ajit hears of Vijay’s condition he immediately leaves for the palace.

After hearing Vijay’s story, Ajit promises him to get him married to the girl he likes.

So he takes Vijay and Hira along and goes back to Ajaygarh – three of them set out looking for the girl who has taken Vijay’s heart away. Ajit’s heart-broken when Vijay points out to Gauri but he still gives him a word that Gauri will be his.

He sends Vijay back to the palace to get the wedding preparations rolling and convinces Gauri to go and get married to Vijay (it’s actually more of blackmailing than convincing). She sings Kho diya maine paakar kisiko in anguish.

As Ajit hands Gauri over to Hira Singh  to be taken to the palace to get married to Vijay, Chali naseeb ki aandhiya plays in the background. When Maharaja learns that Gauri is also from a Thakur family, his happiness knows no boundaries. Maharaja, Maharani and Vijay all are delighted by Gauri’s arrival.

But Gauri herself is not happy and she sings Dard bhara dil. She even tries to kill herself.

What happens to Gauri? Will the royal family ever come to know the real story or will Ajit also meet the same fate as his father? What is Karan Singh actually upto and will he succeed in his plan?

There’s one more song – Kahaan hai chaand mera.

This film had all the components – action (quite a lot of it), comedy, conspiracy, emotion, family drama, murder, politics, romance, sacrifice,  sword-fights and tragedy. Not to forget the lovely soundtracks, chirpy Geeta Bali, handsome Ajit and the bad boy Pran! I really liked Murad’s performance. I didn’t find Chandrashekher all that impressive….his face was blank – expressionless most of the time. And I really felt it was unfair to cast him such a lovely song :-(. But that’s my personal opinion. I can see in imdb that he’s worked in more thant 140 movies, so I don’t think I should be judging his acting abilities. The only other movie of his as a main lead that I’ve seen and remember is Cha Cha Cha but I had seen it too long ago to remember his performance in it.

A typical masala film – It was a fun watch on the whole. Had it been made in the 70’s I’m sure Shakti Devi would have kept the real prince and given her son back to the king ;-).

Just that some characters were not introduced properly and some plots left incomplete – like there’s no mention of who Hira Singh actually is, same is the case with Karan Singh. The underlying enemity between Latu’s and Taani’s fathers and also Latu-Taani’s incomplete wedding – there’s no mention of it again after Latu leaves the wedding in between to join Ajit in rescuing Gauri. Also few things were more strange than usual (needed suspension of everything), esp – Gauri’s mother giving her a dagger to kill herself,  rather than getting married to someone else. Pran’s favourite dialogues in the movie are: “Auraton aur talwar Thakuron ki ardhangani hoti hai”; “Jawani mein sochna gunah hai” (this one was rather funny, wonder what would happen if everbody would second his thought).

Trivia : imdb lists that Bara-Dari’s Original Music is by Naushad as Nashad. But Naushad and Nashad are two different people (though most of us tend to think it’s a typo).

Nashad was born in India who later on migrated to Pakistan. He was a famous Music Composer out there. He’s composed music for few Hindi films as well (out of which Bara-Dari is one) sometimes as Nashad,  sometimes as Shaukat Ali and sometimes as Shaukat Dehelvi. Where as Naushad is the MD of Mughal-E-Azam, Mother India, Amar etc.

Bewafa 1952

December 28, 2009

This post has been pending for a long time!!! I’m so glad that I’m finally writing it.  It was Raj Kapoor’s birth anniversary on the 14th and  I somehow managed to watch this movie but didnt have time to review it.

Raj Kapoor’s films dealt with diversified subjects which sometimes involved teenage romance , sometimes oppression of women and sometimes (or most of the times) corruption in the society. And no doubt  that all the movies of his (at least the ones that I have watched so far) were superb (Anari, Awara, Shree 420, Jaagte Raho, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Chhalia, Diwana to name a few). They had amazing actors, great story line, faboulous music and these are movies made to perfection (almost).  I like and respect Raj Kapoor as an actor and as a film-maker. But most of his movies are so socially awakening that they usually leave me morally (or should that be socially) depressed for days. Except for Chori Chori, I cant think of re-watching any of his other movies. And I usually have to prepare myself to bring myself to watch his movies.

After mentally preparing myself for more than a week I eventually watched this.

Roopa (Nargis) lives in a chawl with an alcoholic uncle (is that Siddiqui in the second screencap?).

He’s unemployed himself, sits at home and drinks the whole day. But he forces her to go out to work and earn money so that he can buy alcohol with it.

He mistreats her and literally beats her when she fails to get money. Everybody in the chawl is aware of Roopa’s fate. The children in the chawl enact the scene of Roopa’s uncle scolding her and punishing her on the streets where one becomes Roopa and another Roopa’s uncle. But it’s only Raj (Raj Kapoor), her neighbour who offers to help her. He even lends her some money when her uncle beats her and throws her out of the house saying she cant come back till she gets some money to buy alcohol for him.

Reluctantly she takes the money from him, unsure how and when she’ll be able to repay him. But he says he feels sorry for her for all that she has to go through and especially when he sees her dressed in rags. Also tells her that she doesn’t have to repay him. On a second thought he adds that she could come to his room and clean it up for him if she really wants to do something in return.

She feels so indebted that she lands up in his room the following morning to clean it. He is awed by her innocence and playfully sings Kaam haathon ka.

Her uncle keeps illtreating her so much that on one occasion when he throws her out of the house, she vows never to come back again and goes to kill herself.

But she realizes that she has never lived her life so she doesnt have the right to take it either (thankfully she realizes it on time and saves all the effort and trouble that hero would have had to go through otherwise to save her;-))

Innocent and unexposed to the outside world, she doesn’t know what to do or where to go. All that she knows is that she has to live and that she’s not returning back to the chawl. She just keeps walking aimlessly. Exhausted she sits under a street light, leans on the post and falls fast asleep.

She wakes up to find an artist’s easel infront of her.  And from behind the easel appears Ashok (Ashok Kumar), a painter who’s been making a portrait of her.

She’s scared first, then angry that he made her portrait without her consent. But when she sees the artist’s work and he promises to pay her Rs. 5 if she lets him complete it, she gives in. She agrees to be his model and accompanies him to his studio. He tries to make her sit in the same position and completes his painting.

And she…she’s more than happy to earn Rs. 5 for posing 🙂

Ashok is not a very successful artist himself.  He’s been painting for a long time but nobody ever cares to buy any of his work. And very predictably she becomes his lucky mascot. Once he starts making her portraits he gets his recognition as an artist, his work becomes popular and people start buying his paintings for thousands.

In the meantime he also teaches her how to read and write.

To celebrate his success Ashok throws a big party and Roopa (who’s been living in his house all this while and quite rich and popular herself now through his paintings) is his co-host. She looks gorgeous as she accompanies him all dressed up for her first public appearance.

Ashok’s looking so good here that I couldn’t resist myself from putting up this one!

Party without a song sounds so incomplete….so here comes the song, and that too quite a catchy one O tana derna tana mere dil mein aa jana. I wonder who this pretty lady (the one singing the song) is. Since she was dancing the whole time, I couldn’t get a clearer screencap, will have to check memsaab’s gallery for her name.

It’s so obvious that Ashok is in love with Roopa that everybody at the party keeps asking Ashok when he’s getting married. After the party when everybody leaves Ashok tells Roopa about it.

Ashok : Everyone was asking me when I am getting married.

Roopa : You are getting married?

Ashok : Yeah, I think I should. What do you say?

Roopa : I think so too. (After a pause) So when’s the wedding?

Ashok : You should be the one deciding the date.

Roopa : Me? You could have done it yourself and just informed me.

Poor Ashok, Roopa doesnt figure out that he’s asking her to marry him!

All’s well till now, but that’s just the first 40 minutes of the movie. Now comes the twist in the story. Raj re-enters Roopa’s life. He sits outside the wall (of Roopa’s  house), under a tree singing Tumko fursat ho expecting her to come out after she hears his voice while Roopa is swimming inside. But she doesn’t. So he jumps the wall and gets in.

She’s delighted to see him. She gets him introduced to Ashok and also asks Raj to stay back for dinner.

After dinner he sings Dil matwala and I fell in love with this song instantly. And I guess so did Roopa because she gets up the following morning singing it herself  Dil matwala (It’s the same song but tunes are different. Lata’s version is different from Talat’s).

The first time they meet Ashok senses that something’s wrong and doubts Raj’s intention. When he sees Raj trying to woo Roopa, followed by Roopa’s inclination towards him, Ashok warns Roopa to stay away from Raj. But all his efforts to do so prove in vain. Roopa is no longer interested in sitting still and posing for Ashok’s paintings. Half the time she waits for Raj to come and when he shows up, she leaves Ashok and his incomplete painting and leaves with Raj.

He takes her to a club one night. And oh god Roopa looks so beautiful and innocent.

Here we are treated to this lovely number Aa jao mere dilruba by another lovely lady (whose name I am yet to figure out).

By the way, I kind of like her outfit!

Coming back to the story, Roopa and Raj get pretty late that night. And Ashok scolds Roopa for coming home so late. He also points out that Raj is interested in her wealth and not in her. At this she promises Ashok that she will never see Raj again. So when Raj comes to meet her the following day she sends a word through her maid, Neeli (Neelam) saying she’s not at home. However, Raj sees her standing by the window seeing him leave. To convince her that his feelings for her are true, he sits almost all night singing Tu aaye na aaye teri khushi in the rain. This melts Roopa’s heart and she forgets all about her promise to Ashok.  She goes running to Raj and asks him to take her away with him.

He agrees to it and they fix a time. Raj is to come the following night at 10 and take her with him and go. Excited, she packs her things the whole day and is all set to leave. Ashok tries to convince her but she doesnt listen to him.  She goes outside the gate, sits on a bench and waits for Raj the whole night.

But unfortunately he doesnt turn up and she returns back home. Heart-broken and depressed she sings Ek baar jhalak dikhla ke hume . After a couple of days Raj turns up to apologize saying he’s extremely sorry that he couldn’t come that night to take her and begs her for one more chance. After a little bit of convincing she agrees. There’s nothing left for Ashok to say now. But Neeli, tells her that she’s making a mistake by trusting Raj again and pleads her not to go with him.

But Roopa has already made up her mind and this time Raj does come to take her. And she goes away with him.

She comes back home later on to find this painting.

Now, why does Roopa come back home again? What happens to Raj? Why is Raj’s character so mysterious? Is he really after Roopa’s wealth or is it just Ashok’s jealousy trying to create misunderstandings between them? What stopped Raj from coming that night, the first time they decide to leave Ashok’s house? Is Ashok really as good as he appears to be? And finally the million dollar question – who’s bewafa? Who betrays who?

Here, I take back my word – “Except for Chori Chori, I cant think of re-watching any of his other movies.” I wouldnt mind watching this movie again! What a power-packed performance, great songs (though I had never heard some of them before, I liked them a lot), and a good story with an apt title!

M.L. Anand’s direction, Akhtar Hussain’s story and  Sarshar Sailani’s dialogues were neither below the mark nor over the board. Music by A.R. Qureshi was pleasant and melodious, songs perfectly rendered by Talat, Lata, Shamshad Begum and Geeta Dutt and in situations and places where you expect them the most, pretty predictable.

I actually enjoyed watching this movie and wasn’t even depressed at the end of it (at least not as much as I had expected to)! May be that’s because it’s more of an emotional drama than a social. It has its own share of fun moments, romance, jealousy, competition, poverty, failure, innocence and betrayal. I would call it a complete package. And to top it all, it’s just 1 hour 46 mins long or should I say it’s just 1 hour 46 mins short? 😉