Love songs Shankar Jaikishan

Melody from a distant memory

I saw this movie as a kid growing up in suburban Mumbai. The colony I stayed in had a huge empty space between our building and the next, and the subsequent ones were closer together. This multifunctional space would be the open air theater whenever a few intrepid and enterprising guys felt like organising some activity for the local hoi polloi. Poles would be planted in the open ground and a white bedsheet strung tight between them to serve as a screen. A table would be pulled out of the ground floor flat and would serve as a base for the 16 mm projector. A single speaker would deliver sound and the guys far away from the speaker location would have to strain their ears to get an inkling of the proceedings. Too close and you would be left with temporary deafness and a headache (wonder if the famous “Not tonight, my dear, I have a splitting headache” line originates from such circumstances).

Some guy thought of this movie one evening and the kids spread the word. It happened to be a Sunday before the beginning of DD Mumbai (that started it’s telecast on 2nd October, 1972) & publicity was only by word of mouth. If the title and movie sounded attractive enough some kid was despatched with a dhurrie to stake claim to the spot where that family would sit. The movie Chhoti Si Mulaqaat was produced by the male lead Uttam Kumar, a huge name in Bangla films, but surprisingly one that didn’t quite taste the same modicum of success in Bollywood. In Bangla movies the pair of Suchitra Sen and Uttam Kumar ruled the roost, and had a huge number of acclaimed (& popular) films. That quantum of success didn’t come his way in Bollywood for no real reason. He was a far greater actor than many mannequins and wooden logs that were passed off in Bollywood those days as leading men. C’est la vie, I guess.

The movie was remade from a Bangla movie made in the mid 50s, Agni Pariksha, based on an Asha Purna Devi novel (with the same name). Uttam Kumar had Vyjayanthimala (who frankly looked way too old and more than a bit jaded for the role, despite being in her early 30s). The storyline was as corny as it possibly could get. A rushed Childhood marriage in a village to satisfy a dying grandfather, separation for decades, a mother who tries to erase all memory of the joke of a marriage, and the girl grows to be a sophisticated young lady who falls in love with a handsome guy, who then goes places with her (literally), she now recalls the earlier “marriage” is torn apart by guilt of the unspeakable immorality she is committing and the tough decision to “return” to her in-laws’ home only to discover that her paramour just happens to be the kid she had married as a smaller kid. The music was great, though and was truly the saving grace. Vintage Shankar Jaikishan, and this song is the one that sticks in the memory for more than half a century.

The romance is extremely restrained by today’s “standards” (an oxymoron there if you ask me) and the singing by both Rafisaab and Suman Kalyanpur is just amazing. A song that has lasted more than half a century without the veneer having worn off. The quality and durability is the difference. These guys are singers and this is music, melodious and eternal. What we have unleashed on us today is for the most part , NOISE and the chief suspects are drug peddlers with laryngitis of a severity that would make a hypothyroid toad proud. I suspect these guys are the bloodline of the (in)famous Gaul singer Cacofonix who the partying Gauls leave tied up and gagged while they feast on the pig roast, to save their appetite.

Stay safe, happy and healthy, folks as the Weekend draws near as it does , starting Monday morning.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

6 replies on “Melody from a distant memory”

Wonderful share SIRJI👌👌👌👌🙏🏾
My very favourite duet… Rafi saab at his best
Unfortunately better to listen to song than see it on screen 😅for the reasons you quoted so brilliantly above👌👆🏼🙏🏾

Liked by 1 person

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