Mohammad Rafi Romantic Duets Suman Kalyanpur

Love at first sight

This is another of the movies I saw while in Mumbai, where an enthusiastic resident, who was a film distributor would tell our gang that he would organize a film show on a particular (usually a Saturday) evening. The kids would then swing into action, informing every resident about it. We must’ve watched at least 50 movies on a makeshift screen made of a tightly strung white bedsheet, strung on long nylon ropes tied on balconies of proximate buildings. Everyone would dispatch the kids who were designated the job of acquiring a parking spot for the dhurries so one would be close to the screen as well as the single box speaker, while the Filmy uncle (as we referred to him, his actual name was an unglamorous Bhatia) projected the reels from a precariously placed projector from cans of film rolls.

This movie was called Chhoti Si Mulaqaat and was actually produced by the Superstar of Bangla Cinema, Uttam Kumar. He was pitted opposite an ageing Vyjayanthimala and the movie had a lovely musical score by Shankar Jaikishan. Hasrat wrote these lyrics.

The movie was a remake of a Bangla movie Agni Pariksha made some 12-13 years earlier, based on a Bangla novel of the same name and written by Ashapurna Devi. The plot isn’t path breaking in any sense. Two kids are married off in a hurry to please a dying grandfather (literally!). The kids go back to their homes. The girl’s mom, enraged at her mother-in-law’s hastily agreeing to a preposterous wedding, erases every sign and memory of the wedding. As luck (& Bollywood plots would have it) the girl grows up to be a beautiful belle and falls in love with a young man (No Nobel prizes for guessing his real identity). This was my first interaction with Ashapurna Devi. I must say it wasn’t very impressive in the literary sense. While I was in Medical college, the Jnanpeeth was awarded to the lady. I researched about the lady after that to discover she came from an orthodox family where girl children were kept deprived of an education. So much so that she (with her sister) learnt the alphabet, basic reading and writing by eavesdropping on the tutor teaching her brother, secretly composing poetry and even having one published. The editor who was suitably impressed asked that these be kept flowing, and opening the floodgates.

In the beginning, Ashapurna Devi wrote only for children.

Later she first wrote a story for adults, “Patni O Preyoshi“, published in the Puja issue of Ananda Bazar Patrika in the pre-WWII era. Prem O Prayojan was her first novel for adults, published during WWII and the height of the brutal man-made famine. Her magnum opus, the trilogy Pratham Pratishruti cited in the Jnanpeeth award, and the later Subarnolata and Bakul Katha, symbolises an endless struggle for women to achieve equal rights. Ashapurna Devi wrote about women and men whose lives were restricted by social, economic and psychological conditions.

A wonderful, somewhat atypical SJ composition of a romantic duet with Rafisaab and Sumantai excelling that opened a chain of thoughts to more than 50 years ago.

Stay safe, we started with a heavy rain shower in the morning that’s brought the mercury down.


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

12 replies on “Love at first sight”

Great share 👍learned so much about famous writer APD…🙏🏾
Movie was a utter flop but music is phenomenal I must say
This song is immortal in its all sense!!👌

Liked by 1 person

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