Listening to: Mere Mehboob (1963)

Mere MehboobFor those of my regular readers who are wondering where I had disappeared to, I was blogged-out (new adverb: to be blogged-out, to be exhausted from blogging too much) after a marathon effort in organising my photos and writing up my recent trip to Spain. If you enjoy travelling and would like to read my photo-journal, click here.

In need of old, familiar and well-loved music, I picked up Mere Mehboob to watch for my post today. No self-respecting blog on Indian Film Music can ever ignore such an iconic album. Fifty years have passed but the charm of this music has not faded. How Naushad has waved his magic wand!

Muslim socials are a genre which were quite popular in the sixties. The settings talk of another place and time – women in purdah, the lives of nawabs, the splendour of their homes and most of all the beauty of Urdu.

Anwar is a young man at university, a poet. He falls in love with a glimpse of a fellow student behind her burqa. This is love at first sight at its minimalist best! As I watch the lead pair in their throes of love, I say to myself ‘Ah yes, a glimpse of pretty eyes, a touch of a hand are enough to decide who your mate is for life, the father/mother of your children. HA! Fools!!’ and then scold myself for getting old and losing the romance in my soul. Husna at least knows more of her man; she not only sees him but also has read his poetry. His poetry being that of Shakeel Badayuni, I can sympathise with her for falling in love, for who can resist such words? When they go back to their respective homes from university, they are resigned to not meeting each other again.

Chance or fate brings them into each other’s lives again. Anwar is asked by Husna’s brother, the Nawab, to help her with her poetry. The pair finally get to know each other and their love is strengthened.

But there are secrets and undercurrents which will bring disaster upon their lives. Anwar’s sister Najma had had to take up a life of public singing and dancing to support her brother; as a Muslim woman she is forever disgraced in decent company. The Nawab  happens to love her but can never marry her because she is a fallen woman.  And as to the Nawab’s respectability, even that may come crashing down for he has inherited huge debts which, if called, will break him. Naseemara, Husna’s friend, is also in love with Anwar – another love at first sight! The evil Munne Raja, catches a glimpse of Najma and wants to immediately marry her – and is prepared to use any means to achieve it. It all comes to a head about 2 hrs into the film and with some drama and some melodrama, our loving pair come together.

On the whole a simple enough story from more innocent times when the height of romance was holding hands and gazing into each other’s eyes and the height of villainy was when an evil man wants to wed the heroine. These stories of those gentler times suit me much better than the cynicism and blatant sexuality of today’s films.

The mark of a good film is that all actors, small and big, do their parts well and add to the strength of the film. I am not a fan of Sadhna or Rajendra Kumar but both of them are very convincing in the lead; in fact, I am wondering if I have been unfairly biased so far. Ashok Kumar as the Nawab is impeccable, and Pran as Munne Raja is nicely slimy. Nimmi as Najma I found quite annoying but then Nimmi always annoys me! Ameeta as Naseemara is fine at the start but rather artificial in a crucial scene in the climax. She gets to say some really good lines – फिर तो अपने मोहब्बत को अरमानों के कफ़न में लपेट कर यहीं दफ़न कर दो | and towards the end मोहब्बत इबादत है | इबादत की जाती है, न बेची जाती है न खरीदी जाती है | Johnny Walker as Binda Din Ghayal has a lot of screen time in the first half of the film; sometimes the comedy is too farcical but it is not too bad.

The music is the true winner in this film. This is a gem of an album from the genius of Naushad with Shakeel Badayuni weaving incredibly beautiful words to match.

  • Mere Mehboob Tujhe – Mohammad Rafi. An unforgettable song. The lyrics are the epitome of romantic poetry (see footnote), the melody has the grace typical of Naushad’s music and it is performed by Rafi with an effortlessness that comes with mastery. Very rarely do we hear music of this calibre. To be savoured forever.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Tere Pyar Mein Dildar – Lata Mangeshkar.  A lovely solo, with an innocent love expressed in beautiful poetry.  तेरा मेरा साथ हो कुछ दिल से दिल की बात हो जी भर से मुलाकात हो | ‘That we should be together, that we should talk heart-to-heart, that we should meet to heart’s content’. What more could be simpler? What could be more romantic? Open-mouthed smileRed heart 
  • Allah Bachaye – Lata Mangeshkar. Brings a smile to one’s lips. Smile
  • Mere Mehboob Tujhe– Lata Mangeshkar. I do like Rafi’s version better but it doesn’t take away the credit from Lata’s beautiful singing. Open-mouthed smile
  • Ae Husn Zara Jaag – Mohammad Rafi. I do object to actors pretending to play the piano without making the slightest effort to get it right! The song however is quite lovely, slow and seductive. Open-mouthed smile
  • Tum Se izhare-haal Kar Baithe – Mohammad Rafi. Aaah. Romance melted and infused into a song!! There is such happiness in this song, a joy from a romance fulfilled. And how clever are the lyrics! सोचे समझे बगैर कातिल से ज़िन्दगी का सवाल कर बैठे says the poet beautifully expressing the conundrum of love, where you give your heart in the safekeeping of the one against whom you are most vulnerable.  Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Mere Mehboob Mein Kya Nahin – Lata Mangeshkar and Asha Bhonsle. A lovely duet by the Mangeshkar sisters, both in fine form. The teasingly competitive lyrics and exceptional music by Naushad, this is a true gem. Sadhna and Ameeta are pretty dancing. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Jane Man Ik Nazar Dekh Le  – Lata Mangeshkar, Asha Bhonsle. A lovely little marriage song. Smile
  • Yaad Mein Teri Jaag Jaag Ke Hum – Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar. This fantastic sad-duet suffers from bad placement in the movie; it is too near to the climax and feels abrupt. Otherwise the song is exceptionally beautiful and very well sung.  Open-mouthed smile 

This album is an all-time great; click here to listen.

I have no choice but to present the timeless title song for nothing can match the beauty of the poetry. 50 years old and still the song has the power to melt hearts.

And for the glorious singing by the Mangeshkar sisters, the exuberance of the melody, the exaggeration of the lyrics and the qawwali like clapping rhythms, listen to Mere Mehboob Mein Kya Nahin. 

 



Lyrics :

mere mehboob tujhe meri muhabbat ki kasam
phir mujhe nargisee aankhon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

aye mere khwaab ki taabeer meri jaan-e-ghazal
zindagi meri tujhe yaad kiye jaati hai
raat din mujhko sataata hai tassawwur tera
dil ki dhadkan tujhe awaaz diye jaati hai
aa mujhe apni sadaaon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

bhool sakti nahin aankhen woh suhaana manzar
jab tera husn mere ishq se takraaya thha
aur phir raah mein bikhre thhey hazaaron naghme
main woh naghme teri aawaaz ko de aaya thha
saaz e dil ko unhee geeton ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

yaad hai mujh ko meri umr ki pehli woh ghadi
teri aankhon se koi jaam piya thha maine
meri rag rag mein koi barq si lehraayee thhi
jab tere marmari haathon ko chhuaa thha maine
aa mujhe phir unhi haathon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

maine ik baar teri ek jhalak dekhi hai
meri hasrat hai ke main phir tera deedaar karoon
tere saaye ko samajhkar main haseen taj mahal
chaandni raat mein nazron se tujhe pyaar karoon
apni mehki huyi zulphon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

dhoondhta hoon tujhe har raah mein har mehfil mein
thhak gaye hain meri majboor tamanna ke kadam
aaj ka din meri ummeed ka hai aakhri din
kal na jaane main kahaan aur kahaan tu ho sanam
do ghadi apni nigaahon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

saamne aake zara parda uthha de rukh se
ek yahi mera ilaaj e gham e tanhaayee hai
teri furkat ne pareshaan kiya hai mujh ko
ab to mil ja ke meri jaan pe ban aayee hai
dil ko bhooli hui yaadon ka sahaara de de
mera khoya huaa rangeen nazaara de de (mere mehboob tujhe)

10 Comments

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

10 responses to “Listening to: Mere Mehboob (1963)

  1. Ramesh

    Soulful Music. Timeless as well. Songs from movies of this vintage have to be heard, but not seen though🙂

  2. Srinivas Bhogle

    It is always a pleasure to read you, but when it happens after a gap of many weeks, it is a far greater pleasure!

    I can sympathise with her for falling in love, for who can resist such words?

    Reminds me of what Shabana Azmi said recently on a TV show talking of her parents. Her mother Shaukat fell hook, line, and sinker in love with Kaifi for precisely this reason. And perhaps Shabana too with Javed.

    Nimmi as Najma I found quite annoying but then Nimmi always annoys me!

    But why, Suja?

    • And it is always a pleasure to read your comments Srinivas, always something new for me to learn🙂 As to Nimmi, oh! I always imagined that the moment her face came up on the telly, families all over India are saying ‘Oh no! That annoying Nimmi is there again!’. Dont tell me thats not so?🙂 A look of perpetual tragedy (even when smiling) and a voice which drips unshed tears are my two major complains against her. A minor one is that her two eyes dont behave similarly, one closes three-quarters of the way while another doesn’t when she smiles or cries…or something strange like that… Its all very disturbing!!

      • Srinivas Bhogle

        Now these are all excellent reasons! I have another one: in many Nimmi films I kind of expect Madhubala to show up. And when one sees Nimmi instead of Madhubala the change is brutal and gut-wrenching.

      • hehehe that would be gut-wrenching🙂 Madhubala lights up the screen by her mere presence, and Nimmi is quite the opposite, she brings the spirit down. I remember especially in Aan where she was quite horrific…now I wonder why she became such a famous actress? Very mysterious..

  3. shoote

    Suja, i just don’t know how many time i saw the movie. Every time i saw it i just bowled over by Sadhana’s beauty.It is really sad that Asha and Sadhana did not get along well. I think Mere mehboob song is based in jinjotti raag. This song and Teri Aankhon from Chirag are all my fav of Rafi songs.

    • It is a very nice film, made nicer by the incomparable music. You are right, I too read that the title song is based on raga Jhinjhoti. For me, it is the poetry which makes it very special.

  4. Moomtaz

    Can you give me the text of the lyrics in urdu

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