Listening to: Kati Patang (1970)

Kati PatangSeeing my ironing pile increase to an Everest-like magnificence, I decided to get down to some movie-watching. What’s the connection you ask? Well, I can’t iron without entertainment! I checked my list of to-see films and chose Kati Patang.  Though I know the music intimately, I have never seen this film before.

A young-woman, Madhu (Asha Parekh), runs away to her beloved on the day of her arranged marriage to a man unseen (which era is this?!!). Her beloved does not deserve the title, for he is a cad, only after her money. She is shocked (but why? this is Prem Chopra, what can she expect?) only to find her uncle and guardian is dead. She leaves then (no funeral?), running to nowhere, when she meets a widowed friend travelling with her small child to meet her in-laws for the first time. The train crashes and her friend dies, demanding a death-bed promise that Madhu pretend to be her (but why?) and go to her in-laws with her baby. The taxi she catches turns out to have a dastardly driver and she is rescued by Kamal (Rajesh Khanna) who happens to be the groom she has run away from!

Do the coincidences befuddle your brain as much as they do mine?

Kamal and Madhu fall in love, but she is a pretending to be a widow and re-marriage is not easily accepted in society. Kailash the Cad (Prem Chopra) is alerted by his girl-friend Shabnam (Bindu) and comes to blackmail Madhu. She tries to resist but it is not easy. In the meanwhile, Madhu writes to Kamal confessing her story but the letter falls in the hands of her father-in-law Dinanath (Nasir Hussain). He is angry at first but then he accepts her and even talks to Kamal’s father, arranging Madhu’s marriage with Kamal.

Tragedy strikes when Kailash the Cad poisons Dinanath the FIL and Madhu is taken into custody by the police. Will her innocence be proven? Do Kamal and Madhu have a future together? Well, you’ll have to watch the film to find out!

I do hate it when script-writers pretend to give a social message but are in fact manipulating the audience. Is this film meant to encourage widow re-marriage in traditional families? But then Madhu is not really a widow, is she? Blast, I am not supposed to see through their ruse, am I? There were other instances of audience manipulation which I found distasteful but I admit, I am just being picky. This is Bollywood, its par for the course.

Rajesh Khanna proves why he was such a success. He has this certain intensity….hmmm, I am a woman after all, you must forgive me if I fall for a man’s charm now and then!  Asha is not my favourite but she does a reasonable job. Prem Chopra is as slimy as a badly cooked okra and Bindu is Ooooomph incorporated, especially in her next-to-nothing costume for her dance sequence. I imagine she caused a sensation in those more innocent times!  Overall, the film is watchable especially given the lovely songs.

The music by R.D.Burman is the highlight of this film and Anand Bakshi has done a superb job of the lyrics.

  • Yeh Jo Mohabbat Hai – Kishore Kumar. Charming. Truly. Is there anyone who can emote so beautifully with their voice like Kishore? Is there anyone who can emote to Kishore’s voice like Rajesh? A masterclass in Bollywood singing-lip synching. Open-mouthed smile
  • Pyar Diwana Hota Hai – Kishore Kumar. Its impressive how Kishore never over-does things, however capable he is. This is a simple melody and he has sung it simply without any flourishes. I like the simplicity of the lyrics too – सुनो किसी शायर ने यह कहा बहुत खूब, मना करे दुनिया लेकिन मेरे महबूब (Some poet has wisely said, the world may deny it, but my beloved is still my beloved). Well said!  Smile
  • Mera Naam Hai Shabnam – Asha Bhonsle. Hmmm. Not much to my taste but Bindu looks sensational! Disappointed smile
  • Jis Gali Mein – Mukesh. I love this song! I know there are many Mukesh detractors out there, but when he does a superb job, what’s there to say but वाह वाह ? Anand Bakshi has outdone himself with the romance of his lyrics.

    जिस चमन में तेरे पग में कांटे छुबे
    उस चमन से हमें फूल चुनना नहीं
    (In the garden where your feet are hurt by thorns,
    I don’t wish to pick flowers from that garden)

    Ah, I melt! Open-mouthed smileRed heart

  • Yeh Shaam Mastani – Kishore Kumar. A cheerful number with Kishore showing his yodelling skills. And his masterful rendition of  ऐसा लगे जैसे की तू हसके ज़हर कोई पिये जाय !  Oh! Smile

  • Na Koi Umang Hai – Lata Mangeshkar. Lata’s voice is flawless and the interludes lovely. The lyrics are excellent, if a bit depressing. Judge for yourself :
    आकाश से गिरी मैं इक बार कट के ऐसे
    दुनिया ने फिर न पूछो लूटा है मुझको कैसे
    ना किसी का साथ है ना किसी का संग है
    मेरी ज़िन्दगी है क्या इक कटी पतंग है
    (I have been cut (like a kite) and fallen from the skies
    don’t ask how the world has treated me hence
    I have no one by my side, I have no one to be with
    My life is but like a kite with its string cut
    )
    Beautifully written and sung. Open-mouthed smile

  • Aaj Na Chodenge – Kishore Kumar, Lata Mangeskhar. A popular enough Holi song, sung with enthusiasm by Kishore. See how different his voice sounds compared to Yeh Sham Mastani – he brings a roughness, an earthiness into his singing. Clever. And R.D has created an equally clever mix between the exuberance of Kishore’s singing and the sadness of Lata’s verses.Smile

My choice for today is Mukesh’s song. This in no way denies my worship of Kishore’s voice!

17 Comments

Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Mukesh

17 responses to “Listening to: Kati Patang (1970)

  1. The suspense is too much! Did you complete your ironing?
    With such a complicated story line I am sure you couldn’t have.

    • hehehe Linda, you guessed right, I abandoned my ironing by half-time🙂 The Everest’s shape has changed a bit, but it still remains a mountain😦
      BTW why are you reading my Bollywood music reviews?? Not your area of interest surely? Watch out for my travel blog within the next few days, will post on facebook. Lots of stories to tell about our trip to France🙂

  2. Ramesh

    I’ll never watch the film, but the songs I’ll probably listen to hundreds of times. What a classic in music.
    And oh yes, was there a woman of our generation who did not fall for Rajesh Khanna.

    • I know I was not complimentary about the film, but it was typical of those times I think. And yes, you are right, that certain twinkle in Rajesh’s eyes spoke to a lot of us burdened with XX chromosomes🙂

  3. JS

    Great Choice! It is such a sweetly romantic song. I reminded me of another similarly themed song (the gali where she lives bit), “On the street where you live” in My Fair Lady. Even I saw Kati Patang only recently for the first time. The movie is so lame but I could sit through it only because it is peppered with so many good songs that remind me of the joys of watching Chitrahaar on DD. I am not a fan of Na koi umang hai but otherwise a superb collection of songs.

    • Hi J, Oh you are clever to make the connection with the My Fair Lady song ! Indeed, I think the album is excellent but I wonder sometimes how much I am influenced by familiarity and associations with childhood? If I had never heard the songs before, would they appeal in the same way at first hearing? How much is that influenced by having listened to similar style of music all the time? The truth is that its all interconnected, one’s love of any piece of music is built on building blocks so complicated that it is hard to consider that piece of music in isolation.
      Cheers. Suja

  4. shoote

    Suja,

    i am a diehard Fan of kishore. I even quarreled with my sister as to who is great- kishore or TMS(Tamil singer). Yet u can not beliitle the glory of Mukesh. How can one forget his songs for Rajkapoor and Manoj Kumar. Mukesh has more hits when compared with no of songs he has produced. Both are great legends.

    • In our times when there were only limited star-singers, we all ended up taking camps, didn’t we? Now that singers abound in the industry, some with such minimal talent, that there are no camps to take. Mukesh’s nasality used to upset many people, I can still hear my mother complaining ‘enna mookkaala padaraan, idu paatta’ !! She was a Rafi fan. But Kishore was on the rise when I was growing up and I was much influenced by his music. Now looking back and re-listening to Mukesh, I feel that I did not do him justice in my youth. His song in Kati Patang is beautifully sung, kudos to him.

  5. shoote

    Suja, Mukesh nasality is due to his imitating K.L.Saigal. That is why Naushad never gave MUkesh in his films.

    • Oh….I suppose Saigal was much admired when Mukesh started singing. I have listened to really old Lata songs where she sounds a bit like Shamshad Begum!

  6. shoote

    Suja, Yes. you are correct. When Lata entered Samshad was already there. So she tried to follow the steps of Shamed.

  7. Banno

    Suja, ‘Kati Patang’ is an irritating watch a lot of the time, particularly because Asha Parekh’s character is so steeped in gloom, but the songs, you could never tire of listening to them. Each one is a gem. I love ‘Jis gali mein ..’ Very, very romantic.

    • Hi Banno, yes, Asha Parekh is a bit of downer, isn’t she? I know these songs from childhood and have seen a number of them on chitrahaar but it was still nice to see the songs in context of a story, however lame it was. ‘Jis Gali Mein’ is melt-me-to-my-toes romantic🙂

      • Banno

        She does look pretty though, but I wish she had more opportunity to wear her fantastic costumes, rather than widow’s weeds, for most of the film.🙂

  8. Filmbuff

    hey suja – yet another movie i like for the songs and Rajesh Khanna’s charisma. I am part of the xx club mate – Rajesh was really romantic in some of the scenes. I saw this movie about a couple of years ago. I think part of the reason mukesh’s jis gali mein melts you into a puddle is due to the romantic picturisation and Rajesh Khanna’s sincerity in wearing his heart on his sleeve! Asha Parekh took weepy Meena Kumari’s role in this movie. Your queries in brackets had me in splits!

    The plot is something that would definitely have moved you away from ironing. I tend to play movie songs on DVD while ironing. Good time pass and ironing seems less burdensome – cheers

    • Hi M, It’s odd isn’t it that Rajesh is not really conventionally handsome, lacks the inches that Hindi heroes command, cannot dance (a big negative in my mind!) and yet he manages to charm thoroughly! You have a point about Asha being a little Meena – somehow they seemed to love this weepy women in those times, no?

      I prefer movies for ironing and background music for cooking and general housework and some really solid carnatic music for walking and painting. How we fill our lives with sound! Where is the time for silence?

  9. Filmbuff

    Music is always in the background (CDs or MP3) for general house work. I tend to listen to carnatic music while cooking and also in the mornings when i am getting ready to work esp slokas. Yep good ques – time for silence is when we are fast asleep and dead to the world at night.

    Indeed Rajesh Khanna’s phenomenal popularity is really amazing despite his ordinary looks. He was indeed a very good actor esp if you have seen his earlier movies like Aradhna, Kati Patang, Amar Prem, Namak Haram, Anand (although a lot of people don’t like his loud talking character), The Train, Itefaq, Prem Kahani, Ajnabi etc. He was good in Kudrat too although i liked VK better who was really hot

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