Listening to : Aan (1952)

Aan 1952

Naive village belle, this I understand. Proud princess, this too I understand. Why don’t the script writers or directors? Don’t they know the difference between naive and stupid? And between pride and arrogance? Both Nimmi and Nadira had such unappealing characters that I found the movie hard to watch.  Dilip Kumar’s character wasn’t much better. But his smile is so charming that I forgive him!  The supporting characters come across in a more sympathetic light; Mukhri and the queen’s attendant in particular. It can be seen as a kind of ‘taming of the shrew’ I guess. 

Consequently, I really don’t understand why it was such a hit at that time. Was it just because it was the first Indian technicolour film? Or am I missing something? Was this important, this breaking of the pride of the whip-swinging jodhpur-clad princess to the newly independent India? Did this reflect the real mood of those times against the rule of the princely states and of the British lords? So many questions, so few answers.

I must note that I simply loved the dungeon entrance through the perfectly fitted teeth of a monster!! And then there is the den door with red teeth! And real live lions for the heroine to escape from!! And the princess in the pool has a gigantic lotus to cover her modesty! So I did find things to amuse me after all..

As to the songs, I was in a rather strange place compared to the normal songs I write about becaause I knew only a couple of them. Knowing the composer to be Naushad (1919-2006) whom I admire tremendously, I went in expecting a real treat. It wasn’t quite that but very enjoyable all the same. The lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni (1916-1970) are poetic in the old fashioned way, which I enjoy.

  • Aaj Mere Man Mein Sakhi – Lata Mangeshkar. It sounds as if Lata was trying to be Shamshad! This sounds like a ‘formula’ type of song used for village girls..I don't know smile
  • Main Rani Hoon Raja Ki – Shamshad Begum. I have always thought Shamshad to be very talented and here she proves her talent yet again. Very well sung. Open-mouthed smile Red heart
  • Muhabbat Choome Jinke Haath – Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum. A young Rafi with very few instruments to back him up  sounds wonderfully clear and crisp. Smile
  • Aag Lagi Tanman Mein – Shamshad Begum. One of the songs which I remembered from my childhood. I like it except for the ‘oh’ , ‘hmm’ and other ‘enhancements’. Nice phrasing like तन का सिंगार मेरे मन को न भाए देखो नैना भर आये   Smile
  • Khelo Rang Hamare Sang – Shamshad Begum, Lata Mangeshkar. A lovely holi song which I enjoyed very much, especially the contrast between Lata and Shamshad’s voice.  Open-mouthed smile Red heart
  • Dil Mein Chupa Ke – Mohammad Rafi. A familiar beat for old Bollywood-music lovers to the clip-clop of horses’ hooves. A song I remember well, it still has a nice appeal. Rafi’s voice is lovely. Open-mouthed smile
  • Takra Gaya Tumse – Mohammad Rafi. A sad and contemplative song which I would have liked much better if I didn’t know the scenario. Rafi does this kind of song very well indeed. Smile
  • Man Mera Ehsaan – Mohammad Rafi. Was this the most famous of songs from this film? This is the one I remember best.  Open-mouthed smile
  • Tujhe kho diya – Lata Mangeshkar. A song of loneliness, it reminds me of other songs of the same genre from the fifties. Doesn’t stand out. Disappointed smile
  • Gao Tarane Man Ke – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum. A very bice catchy song, especially the ‘cham cham’ bit! I also enjoyed hearing Rafi, Lata and Shamshad sing together. Open-mouthed smile

I present you this song, not just because its lovely and lively, but also because there is a lot of on-screen colour and drama ! Enjoy! If you want to hear the whole album, click here.

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Filed under Bollywood 50's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi, Shamshad Begum

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