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Distance makes the heart fonder

Aruna was reminded of this awesome song the other day. She just mentioned that there was a song with Uttam Kumar and Sharmila Tagore. As luck would have it, the next song that the FM channel played was this one. The movie, released in the late 70s, I remember was directed by Bhimsain and had Uttam Kumar, Sharmila Tagore and Sudha Chopra (who was an import from Doordarshan and had a rather prominent proboscis as a distinctive feature) as well as Shriram Lagoo, the ENT Surgeon who turned into a full time actor. 

A story made on an ambitious working couple’s marital discord and the impact on their child. I was rather shocked at the images of physical violence in the movie. I personally felt that the discord could have been shown equally effectively without the violence. But violence – physical and mental- against women is an unpleasant reality throughout the world in all strata of society.

Men (46 XY) have not evolved from their Neanderthal stage and have to resort to such abhorrent practices to assert and emphasise their physical “superiority”. A greater muscle mass makes the organ between the ears vestigial and there is a recidivism to brutish and boorish behaviour. 

My first exposure to Bhimsain was as the creator of  the many films division animated films that were so entertaining and educative despite being , by today’s standards , pretty simplistic in their animation techniques. What the films lacked by way of the sophistication of animation, they more than made up in their strong message. A sugar coated bitter pill, if you will. He entered into the world of film making with the unforgettable “Gharonda” which had wonderful acting by Zarina Wahab. She outshone Amol Palekar and Shreeram Lagoo with her muted and effective emoting. That movie had music by Jaidev, too, and as it was such a big hit, Bhimsain continued with Jaidev Verma, one of the most original and very creative composers that Bollywood has ever had. His compositions were very complex, never copied anyone else’s tune and were difficult to sing (much like Pandit Hridaynath Mangeshkar) due to the roller coaster ride up and down the octaves. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GicQ-9FICAE

The lyrics are written by an accomplished shear whose poetry I was introduced to by  Jagjit Singh, Sudarshan Faakir.

Once again, the story was by the same writer, Shankar Shesh that needed a filmmaker with a vision to deal with sensitive issues like marital discord in a mature way: Bhimsain. who definitely belongs to that elusive breed. Despite a very limited oeuvre in Bollywood, the man who earned his spurs as an animation pioneer man wove an intricate web of emotions in “Dooriyaan” that ensnared and captivated many a viewer.

His unmatched aptitude to deal with the “man-woman” relationship in a realistic and subtle way in a very urban setting is praiseworthy. After all his sensitivities being an urban dweller himself are predictable and his films are also urban centric. He captured the late 60s- early 70s trend of an increasing number of working women and their impact on workplaces as well as the (eternally) male dominated homes. In this setting he seems to share certain similarities with the work of Basu Bhattacharya trilogy (“Anubhav”,  “Avishkar”, ” Grihapravesh”), and plenty of similarities in narration exist and are apparent. This was the time there was a convergence of sorts between the parallel (“art”) cinema and the out and out masala cinema that Bollywood specialises in.

A very creative intro to the song using a guitar, keyboards and violin that is truly a Jaidev Speciality, starts this melody off to a wonderfully evocative tone with Anuradha Powdwal (one of the most under-utilised good singers in Bollywood) and then Bhupinder to step in. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K-E5abqXqrg

ज़िन्दगी में जब तुम्हारे ग़म नहीं थे
इतने तनहा थे के हम भी हम नहीं थे

वक्तपर जो लोग काम आए हैं अक्सर
अजनबी थे वो मेरे हमदम नहीं थे

बेसबब था तेरा मिलना रहगुज़र में
हादसे हर मोड़ पर कुछ कम नहीं थे

हमने ख़्वाबों में ख़ुदा बनकर भी देखा
आपकी बाहों में वो आलम नहीं थे

सामने दीवार थी खुद्दारियों की
वर्ना रस्तें प्यार के पुरख़म नहीं थे

A wonderful melody and a sublime duet that has stayed with me over half a century. Have a wonderful day ahead, folks, stay happy and healthy. Take care in the sweltering heat and don’t forget to leave water in the terraces and window sills for the birds. They depend on dwindling resources of water in this period and every little bit helps.

By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

8 replies on “Distance makes the heart fonder”

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