Seeing 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.
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!
Mera Naam Hai Shabnam – Asha Bhonsle. Hmmm. Not much to my taste but Bindu looks sensational!
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!
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!
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.
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.
My choice for today is Mukesh’s song. This in no way denies my worship of Kishore’s voice!