Introspective melodies Shankar Jaikishan

Sightless in a dark world

I saw this movie on DD Mumbai’s Sunday evening (usually Black and White) movie show. Amiya Chakravarti made a path breaking movie way ahead of the times with the debonair heartthrob of the era, Dev Anand and the beautiful Usha Kiran, who showed real guts in accepting to do a really difficult role that went against the grain for her established image as an actress at the time. Patita as the name indicated, was about an unwed mother attracting social ostracism and more for her being one. Lalita Pawar had a pivotal role as Dev Anand’s mother. Agha had an extremely wonderful role in the movie. This song I had actually first faced as a quiz question.

The question asked was: “Identify the music director”. The introduction itself is an instrument that’s truly a signature for the composer: I was on my feet when I first heard the accordion, barely few seconds into the clip, and in accordance with the rules of the quiz contest, I was now obliged to reply and would be at risk of losing half points if the answer was erroneous. My teammates were aghast at my apparent folly. But I was confident actually and my calculated hunch was right. It is a song composed by Shankar Jaikishan.

Shailendra wrote the amazing lyrics, as he usually did throughout his brilliant, albeit short, career. He wrote the lyrics for all but one songs in this movie. The amazing and noteworthy part is the wonderful song , sung by Talat Mahmood, is picturized on an actor known at the time as a comic actor. Agha, was born in Pune, in a family of Iranian descent, as Aghajan Baig and confessed to attending school for precisely 3 days. He wanted to become a jockey as he would spend much of his time at the Race Course in Pune. He landed in Mumbai, acted in his neighbourhood troupe but started his Bollywood career as a production assistant with Kanwal Movietone and also debuted in the same company’s Stree Dharma aka Painted Sin (it was common to have bilingual names for movies those days). The movie had Mehtab and Nazir in lead roles. He was noted for his comic acting (he was a great fan of Bob Hope, the Hollywood legend & had consciously tried to copy his style). His son Jalal Agha has been seen by my generation a lot more including in the Sholay song Mehbooba Mehbooba and also in Julie. Jalal Agha sadly passed away young short of his 50th birthday.

Agha’s character is called Mastram in Patita, a name apt for the role. Guessing Agha as the actor on whom the rather serious Talat Mahmood song is picturized would have been tough as the tone of the song is so different from his usual on-screen characters ( including this one) . But the song is truly wonderful and one of the very memorable Talat melodies in films. Shankar Jaikishan and Talat Mahmood did collaborate to give us nearly 20 songs in all, all truly unforgettable gems.

Stay safe, folks as the rain clouds gather and hopefully the tardy and truant monsoon gets resurgent.


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

8 replies on “Sightless in a dark world”

You have an amazing knack for digging out treasures and presenting it to us on a delightful platter with ur description as ornaments…💖💖

Liked by 1 person

You were so right in your calculated guess!!!!
Lovely song share👍Amiya chakrawarty should not have died prematurely. Great man🙏🏾

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