Listening to: Paying Guest (1957)

Paying GuestMy feelings after seeing this film is ranging between frustration and anger. The music was the draw when I sat down to see it, but surely I had the right to expect some entertainment from the story as well?

In the earlier part of the film there is a debate between Nutan and Shubha Khote, ‘Is love or money  more important in a relationship/marriage?’ I thought then that perhaps that was the theme of the film. Unfortunately the movie did not settle down to any sane theme.

We have Dev who is a lawyer but with no income who comes to live as a paying guest in Nutan’s home. I disliked the character immediately. A ‘hero’ in films of yesteryears got away with a multitude of sins – in this case, criminal fraud (he misrepresents himself, doesn’t pay his dues), molestation (he grabs Nutan’s hand, stalks her on the road), breaking and entering (he enters Nutan’s room without permission), cheating (he pretends to be grievously hurt to win Nutan’s hand), tackiness (his reaction to a cat fight), questionable judgement (goes out to clubs and gets drunk with a married woman) – just to name a few. Tell me again, why is he a ‘hero’ ? I do not like Dev Anand and this film didn’t make me change my mind. 

Nutan on the other hand is quietly brilliant. I am more and more in sympathy with fellow-blogger and Nutan worshipper Yves from Let’s Talk About Bollywood. The industry has more than its share of beauties but Nutan quietly outshines them all. I much prefer her style of warm beauty than the perfect but cold touch-me-not look of some beauty queens. When Nutan smiles, her eyes, her face, why even her hair light up! And what an actress! She makes even ridiculous lines seem good and in an effortless and natural manner. She lip-synchs better than any actress I have seen and carries herself with grace. And truly, she radiates a goodness of heart which permeates all the roles she plays. Even in this poor film, she delivers her part with élan.

The first part of the movie is about Dev ensnaring Nutan. They enjoy a bit of a romance. Maybe it was just the chase for him? For he soon gets distracted by Shubha Khote who, after having found a rich husband she wanted, is now realising that she wants romance after all. There is Nutan’s evil brother-in-law who gets mixed up in this business. Shobha’s rich husband is killed and then the evil brother-in-law for whose death Nutan goes to court. It is upto our hero, who we have so far thought to be a good-for-nothing lawyer suddenly develops brilliant court room tactics and rescues the damsel in distress. PSHAW!!

The music by S.D.Burman is  brilliant and Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics are excellent.

  • Mana Janab Ne Pukara Nahin – Kishore Kumar. Lovely ‘stalking’ song. Thank you S.D for a lovely melody – especially like the बंदगी तो दीजिये जनाब  part of the verse. Kishore sounds very good. Open-mouthed smile
  • Chod Do Aanchal – Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle. This is a superb example of the fun-conversational-duets that Hindi film music fans have enjoyed over the years. There is an inherent rhythm in the words which is very attractive. Kishore and Asha are outstanding! Asha emotes especially well and her voice is liquid gold…Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • O Nigahen Mastana – Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhonsle. Nice song but not very original. It reminds me of many other similar ones. Smile
  • Chupke Chupke – Lata Mangeshkar. Not very appealing.Disappointed smile
  • Hai Hai Yeh Nigahen – Kishore Kumar. The ubiquitous club song, for a change in a male voice. Kishore does a good enough version but I am not charmed. I don't know smile
  • Chand Phir Niklaa  – Lata Mangeshkar. Lata shows why she ruled the Hindi film music world for so long. Wonderful melody, lovely mood, great instrumentals and good lyrics.Open-mouthed smileRed heart

You can listen to the whole album here.

As I cannot decide between my two favourites, one a happy song and another a sad one, I present you both.

Chod do Aanchal

Chand Phir Niklaa

Lyrics : Chod Do Anchal

छोड़ दो आँचल ज़माना क्या कहेगा
इन अदाओं का ज़माना भी है दीवाना
दीवाना क्या कहेगा

मैं चली अब खूब छेड़ो प्यार के अफ़साने
कुछ मौसम है दीवाना कुछ तुम भी हो दीवाने
ज़रा सुनना जान-ए-तमन्ना
इतना तो सोचिये मौसम सुहाना क्या कहेगा

यूँ  न देखो जाग जाए प्यार की अंगडाई
ये रस्ता ये तन्हाई लो दिल ने ठोकर खाई
यहीं दिन हैं मस्ती के सिन  हैं
किसको ये होश है अपना बेगाना क्या कहेगा 

ये बहारें ये फुवारें ये बरसता सावन
थर थर काँपे हैं तन मन मेरी बैंयां धर लो साजन
अजी आना दिल में समाना
इक दिल इक जान हैं हम तुम ज़माना क्या कहेगा 

Lyrics: Chand Phir Niklaa (Raga Shuddha Kalyan)

चाँद फिर निकला मगर तुम न आये
जला फिर मेरा दिल करूँ क्या मैं हाय

ये रात कहती है कि वोह दिन गए तेरे
यह जानता है दिल कि तुम नहीं मेरे
खड़ी हूँ मैं फिर भी निगाहें बिछाये
मैं क्या करूँ हाय कि तुम याद आये

सुलगते सीने से धुंआ सा उठता है
लो अब चले आओ कि दम घुटता है
जला गए तन को बहारों के साए
मैं क्या करूँ हाय कि तुम याद आये


Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 50's Music, Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeshkar

10 responses to “Listening to: Paying Guest (1957)

  1. Thanks Suja for your fine appreciaion of this (very) 2nd class movie but in which you give a due tribute to Nutan, who as you say would probably deliver a great performance in any movie irrespective of the story. I’m not as severe as you are about Dev Anand, but I have to agree that “heroism” doesn’t suit him here.

  2. I haven’t seen the movie, so wont talk about it. The songs are really brilliant. Gone are the days when there was only Vividhbharti and these songs were played frequently: chhod do aanchal, manaa janab ne pukara nahi, and less often chand phir nikla… I hardly can get these songs these days.

    • So people dont have Vividhbharati on all day? Too bad! Is there a channel for golden-oldies? I am sure there would be many (like me) who much prefer the music of those times.. Oh well, thank God for the internet! I just listen to music online..

      • Vividhbharti is still there, on FM and also on satellite radio/DTH 24×7, but there are a lot many options and radio is just left behind in the race. I have FM radio in my cellphone, but I never plug it in for Vividhbharti. Strangely, I have it, still I miss it!

  3. Banno

    I love the first two songs on your list, and the last one. Lovely, lovely, eternal classics.

    I’m not sure about ‘Paying Guest’ as I haven’t seen it, but I often enjoy the grey shades in the ‘heroes’ of the older films. Dev Anand specially did a lot of roles with similar ambiguities. I wish however that heroines too were given more grey shades, more often.

    What I don’t get is the ‘stalking’ and the subsequent falling in love of the heroine. 🙂

    • Hi Banno, Dev Anand’s role here is not really in shades of grey – that I wouldn’t have minded. His role was just so objectionable! I must also confess to a natural antipathy against him which doesn’t help 🙂 The stalking is a strange phenomenon, no? I wonder, is that why the ‘roadside romeos’ make a nuisance of themselves? (At least, they used to, I dont know how it is now.) Do they really think that their misbehaviour will result in having a willing girl in their arms?

  4. Srinivas Bhogle

    You mentioned Nutan’s lip-sync. Lata Mangeshkar too has said that she enjoyed singing for Nutan because of her perfect lip-sync … apparently because Nutan was herself a pretty good singer.

  5. So I did notice correctly that her lip-synch seemed flawless!! Nowadays people dont even bother and voices sound as if they dont belong to the actors at all!

  6. Hi Suja. I’m very Dev Anand averse so I have been ignoring this DVD as it languishes on The Pile. And I think I may continue to do so 🙂 (well, except for the songs). Thanks for watching this so I don’t have to! Cheers, Temple

    • Ah Temple, so we share an antipathy for Dev 🙂 I’ve also got a small collection of Dev’s classics which are awaiting my attention – maybe there will be something which I can like despite him ! Cheers, Suja

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