The 50s saw a rash of films noirs. The alumni and great personal friends of the landmark Prabhat Films , Dharamdev Pishorimal Anand and Vasanthkumar Shivashankar Padukone (to use their given names) specialized in. The recurring theme in their movies of the time was a central character who is in a grey zone, caught in an evil warp which the love of his life will extricate him from. Bilingual nomenclature was also very common those days and movies frequently had titles in English as well as Hindi, a carry forward from colonial times.
This movie starred Dev Anand and the lady who would be his wife in real life, Kalpana Kartik. This was one of the handful of movies the two starred in, it was released the year after Taxi Driver, they had run away during the lunch break of that movie being shot and got married in a temple. The movie House No 44 ( Ghar No 44), was produced by Devsaab under his home production banner: Navketan. It was directed by M K Burman. It has a sublime musical score by Sachindev Dev Burman the man who should have been King. This song sung by the man with the most ethereal baritone, Hemanta Kumar Mukhopadhyaya, has given me goosebumps since 50 plus years of hearing it. Sahir Ludhiyanavi wrote the poetry made into songs and the monochrome photography is just magical. https://youtu.be/XHuSP_uvL4o
Devsaab is torn between the relatively cushy life of crime which pays him well, and his gangster friends and boss (K N Singh) who is referred to only as Captain throughout, and his love for Kalpana Kartik (Nimmo in the movie) who wants him to quit crime and go straight, an option that will force upon him privation, trials, tribulations and an existential threat. His gang of course doesn’t want him to do that. The last bit is predictable, given that this is Bollywood, after all. Films Noirs made an interesting genre to watch and were undoubtedly inspired by the greats of Hollywood who specialized in the type: Orson Welles, Billy Wilder and Fritz Lang.
The sublime song was recreated by my favourite singer of the genre, a good human being and the man who sold the maximum albums of all in India, film singers included, Jagjit Singh. Generally speaking I don’t like covers,but when Jagjit ji created this album “Close to my heart” it was so much better than Shraddhanjali by the great Latadidi, it was a must listen. https://youtu.be/tL3OoT1xbso
Two versions of a song, a half century away from one other, and yet so beautiful. So similar and yet so different.
Trust you like them both, folks. Enjoy the rains and the cool, green nature so pleasing to the eyes, the mind and the soul as well. Stay healthy and happy