Rebirth, reborn…..

The theme of reincarnation has been done to death (& has seen rebirth) in Bollywood ever since it started with the unforgettable Mahal (Ashok Kumar, Madhubala , Khemchand Prakash) started using the theme and Madhumati took it across 3 generations (Bimal Roy, Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Salil Chowdhury) created musical magic and rewrote Bollywood history. Every other wannabe filmmaker tried to encash on the idea. Some of the projects died unborn, others did see the light of the day with varying degree of success.

Ye raat phir na aayegi was made by Brij Sadanah who probably for me is most famous for making Victoria 203 (with Pran & Ashok Kumar in truly unforgettable roles) . It had a great musical score by O P Nayyar .

The theme about a woman’s two thousand year old skeleton mysteriously coming to life as Sharmila Tagore, after it has been excavated by Mumtaz and her assistant Shailesh Kumar from an archaeological site. Amid the passage of these surreal events, Mumtaz and her widower father come to know that Sharmila Tagore has resurfaced after two thousand years to claim Biswajeet her lover from the past life, who is presently engaged to Mumtaz as her fiancé. Such a plot means Sharmila Tagore can be made to roam around in unreal costumes ( which in Bollywood go for any chronological period) .

It is also interesting to see excellent use of Indian locales for the movie, as well as wonderful monochrome photography. I personally feel photography in black and white was more demanding and provided a better opportunity to show one’s skills with lensmanship.

The movie had this amazing duet sung by Asha Bhosle (who unsurprisingly sang all the songs of the movie bar a solo by Mahendra Kapoor) & Minoo Purushottam. Ashatai also has two duets with Rafisaab. Huzurewala, jo ho ijaajat has Helen, Madhumati and Suresh (all three in guest appearances) perform a faux Spanish dance that’s neither a Flamenco nor a Bolero. An Indianised version of dance in costumes that look like Basque/Mexican dresses and Suresh in an impossibly gelled down hairpiece carrying a Weapon of Mass Destruction that he seems to strum intermittently (to make us believe it is meant to be A guitar). Joy Mukherjee and even Biswajeet later perfected the art of carrying a guitar as a kind of phallic symbol. Biswajeet would gyrate with the guitar, while Joy would sling it on his shoulder looking clueless about what he was supposed to do with it. The guys never got to learn the idea that this was meant to be a musical instrument. That’s quintessentially Bollywood, and also a sign of the indignities that Indian audiences had to put up with while watching movies of the era.

Enjoy the Sunday folks, have a wonderful time as I come face to face with the necessity and unpleasant reality of having to go back to what constitutes normal urban life.. Stay safe, healthy and happy.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

2 replies on “Rebirth, reborn…..”

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