Listening to: Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963)

Phir Wohi Dil Laya HoonI admit I am amazed! This film was a super hit? Whatever were audiences thinking of? Granted, the music is excellent. But if an insipid film like this with a lacklustre script, unlikeable characters and pedestrian performances became a hit, I can only shake my head in disbelief!

Like all masala films of the ‘60s, this Nasir Hussain film gives low importance to the very predictable script. But normally there are at least some characters one likes in masala films but not in this one. Here are the players – would you like them?

The Mother (Veena): After a marital separation, Mohan’s mother  abducts her son (!) and brings him up on her own in Kashmir. Even when the opportunity arises when he is a grown boy, she denies him the right (!) to make himself known to his father.

The Father (Krishan Dhawan): After losing his wife and son, he brings up the orphaned daughter of a friend. He arranges her marriage sight-unseen (!)  with an idiotic young man and is not deterred even on seeing his antics !! And this is the daughter he loves! He is also arrogant. When he is fooled into thinking that he has found his long lost son, he manipulates / emotionally blackmails (!) his daughter into agreeing to marry him – even though the said son is unstable and suicidal! All for what? ‘Mera Khoon’ which, let’s admit, is not looking that good now!

The Hero (Joy Mukherjee) : On discovering his father’s foster daughter’s engagement, he sets to breaking it up (with no facts other than a newspaper article) by romancing the heroine with lies (!). Joy Mukherjee has the acting ability and the personality of a well-kneeded lump of dough – actually the dough may come out looking better! When found out, he still doesn’t come clean with the lady, resorting to stalking (!) (a BAD thing, you young men out there). And she still falls for him!!

The Heroine (Asha Parekh) : When she is forced into an engagement with an idiotic young man, she joins her friend in playing very unkind pranks on him. Other than that, she is quite spineless (!), has questionable taste (she falls for Joy!) and gives in to dumping him for her foster father’s pretend-imbecilic son. She is much too often seen in pants, which doesn’t suit her one bit. She looks quite lovely in a plain white Salwar Kameez in a dance practice scene.

The Comedy Track (Rajendranath) : The comedy track is much too long and very very unkind. Not to my taste.

The Villain (Pran) : Normally an excellent actor, he disappoints in this film. His portrayal of a depressive and suicidal young man is accompanied by constant nail-biting and shifty eyes – makes him look like an imbecile!

When you hear the music though, you’ll know why this film was a hit. A wonderful album by O.P.Nayyar with lyrics by Majrooh Sultanpuri, it has a number of lovely songs.

  • Dekho Bijli Dole Bin Badal – Asha Bhonsle, Usha Mangeshkar. Lovely song, set to the beautiful raga Basant Mukhari. On screen, there is a good dance sequence – a competition between Asha and another dancer. They both perform very well. Open-mouthed smile
  • Lakhon Hai Nigah Mein – Mohammad Rafi. A quintessentially Rafi number, he is in very good voice.  A well loved song which linger’s in the memory of fans all these years. Its a pleasure also to see the pre-terrorism innocence of Kashmir. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Aji Kibla Mohatarma – Mohammad Rafi. A so-so melody but was a popular enough song in its time. I don't know smile
  • Aanchal Mein Saja Lena – Mohammad Rafi. Rafi is in fine form again in this lovely song. The lyrics are worth paying attention to.
    रस्ता जो मिले अंजान कोई, आ जाए अगर तूफ़ान कोई
    अपने को अकेला जान के तुम,  आँखों में न आंसू भर लेना
    ऐसे ही कभी जब शाम ढले,  तब याद हमें भी कर लेना Open-mouthed smile
  • Aankhon Se Jo Utri – Asha Bhonsle. A beautiful solo by Asha; O.P has given a sensational melody. Asha scales the octaves with amazing ease. Lyrics are pleasing as well. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Hamdam Mere – Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhonsle. The different parts of the song such as the refrain, the verse, the clapping-interlude etc though pleasing on their own, did not gel together well. It seemed as if they all belonged to different songs! Sad smile
  • Banda Parwar Tham Lo Jigar – Mohammad Rafi. This cheerful title song is very well sung by Rafi. I always have a weakness for ghoda-gadi songs with the nice clip-clop of hooves!! The lyrics are very good, especially the second stanza :
    मेरी निगाह-ए-शौक़ से यार कहाँ जाओगे
    पाँव जहाँ रख दोगे अदा से दिल को वहीं पाओगे
    रहूँ जुदा ये मजाल कहाँ, जाऊँ कहीं ये ख़याल कहाँ
    बन्दा दिलदार का, नज़राना प्यार का, फिर वही दिल लाया हूँ  SmileRed heart
  • Mujhe Pyar Mein – Asha Bhonsle. A sad song sung reasonably well but did not catch my attention, perhaps because I was out of patience with the characters! Sad smile

To listen to the whole album, click here.

My choice for today is Lakhon Hai Nigah Mein to listen to Rafi at his peak.

I also present Ankhon Se Jo Utri to enjoy Asha’s beautiful singing to O.P.Nayyar’s lovely little melody.

2 Comments

Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music, Mohammad Rafi

2 responses to “Listening to: Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon (1963)

  1. I saw it as a college student. I agree its a worst movie in terms of perfoemance and story telling. In those days Joy Mukerji was known as wooden face. But those were the days a film was decided a hit by means of music alone.

  2. You are right – it was the music and Rafi’s marvellous voice which made stars of Joy Mukerjee, Biswajit and the like. And one should not forget the great music directors of that era..

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