This post is on the same lines like Dustedoff’s ‘Some thoughts on the songs of Pyaasa‘. Bandini is a classic film, about which much has been written and said. It is always a treat for the eyes and the soul to watch it. As I was returning from Germany last Sunday, I was humming O jaane wale ho sake to laut ke aanaa and the thought crossed my mind to write up on the songs of the film, since they are so much like companions for me.
The music is by S. D. Burman and the lyrics by Shailendra and Gulzar (Mora gora ang lai le) It is interesting, that of the seven songs only two are picturised on the main character of the film. The two male protagonists don’t get any songs. Of the remaining five, four songs are sung by junior artistes and one is a background song.
O pancchi pyaar
Singer: Asha Bhosle
Kalyani (Nutan), a convict, silent, introvert and beautiful, Deven (Dharmendra), a young doctor in the women’s jail, caring, competent, good-looking and in love with her. Kalyani, immersed in her own anguish and guilt can’t open her heart to him. The song though sung by a single person is built up like a duet. The mukhda is the question posed by Deven; the antaras are Kalyani’s answers. So, although the score doesn’t have any duets, this is sort of smuggled in.
Ab ke baras bhej bhaiya ko babul
Singer: Asha Bhosle
To whom really is Kalyani beseeching in this song to take her back remains unclear for me. Till this point in the story she has no relatives left, thus there is no question of her brother (who passes away, while rescuing a girl from the floods) coming to take her back to her parent’s house. Kalyani, who had started blossoming under the kind attention and care showed to her by Deven is crushed under the intrigue and mockery by fellow inmates and the lecherous jail official. Seeking relief from this web of entanglements, her song gets nearly a metaphysical level.
Also crushed under this intrigue, Deven resigns from his job and goes back to his mother. When the jailor, Maheshbabu (Tarun Bose), asks Kalyani, why she refused Deven’s proposal, she reasons that she wouldn’t like to cloud the future of a nice man like Deven. When he asks about her past, she breaks down. Mahesh asks her to write down her story, since she finds herself unable to narrate it to him.
Mat ro mata
Singer: Manna Dey
This patriotic song is picturised on a freedom activist, who is being taken to the gallows. He asks his mother not to cry, since he feels blessed as he had the good fortune to be able to serve his motherland. I feel it must be a small consolation for the mother. When my grandfather dies, who was also a freedom fighter, my grandmother was left alone to fend for herself and her five children. Thanks to her resourceful mother-in-law and grudging help of her relatives could she pull through. Maybe Bimal Roy wanted the song to give us a sort of foreboding of the misery of the other freedom fighter, who would become more important for the story.
Jogi jab se tu aayaa mere dwaare
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
One of my favourite Nutan songs. What intrigues me though is the reputation of jogis (mendicants) as seducers. They are often mentioned in many Hindi songs that way (the other song which comes to my mind is sona lai ja re from Mera Gaon Mera Desh). Maybe it is meant in a spiritual way that the jogi seduces you away from the material to the spiritual world. An indicator towards the former though would be the episode in young Shrikant’s life in the novel by Sharatchandra Chaterjee, which was filmed as a TV serial in the 80s.
Mora gora ang lai le
Singer: Lata Mangeshkar
Now isn’t that a sweet song! The song starts with Kalyani’s father reciting Vaishnav poetry with the theme how Radha clads herself in dark clothes while going to meet her beloved Krishna. Similarly, Kalyani sings of all the hurdles, which block her way on the way to meet Bikash. She would like to exchange her fairness for a dark colour so that she won’t be noticed in the moonlight night. There is this interesting story about how the song’s lyrics came into being.
While taking care of sick Bikash, who lands up at her doorstep one evening, Kalyani spends a night with him in the same room. When they are discovered by the police the next morning, when they come to pick him up for not returning, Bikash sees himself forced to pass her off as his fiancé. He asks for her hand from her father, who agrees. But after his tranfer to other prison and his subsequent release he doesn’t come back. To spare herself and her father the taunts of the villagers, she leaves the village, while the following song plays in the background.
O jaanewale ho sake to laut ke aanaa
This is one of the few songs sung by Mukesh for Dada Burman and also one of my favourite Mukesh songs. I would even go so far to say that this is my favourite Mukesh song. But it wasn’t always like that. For a long time I was of the opinion that ‘laut ke aanaa’ gave a discordant note to the whole song. It started growing up on me after I left India. It rings in my ear every time I leave India. Just watch the picturisation and Nutan’s facial expressions!
The jailor, Maheshbabu forwards Kalyani’s written story to Deven’s mother. She is impressed by her sincerity and honesty. She gives her consent to Deven’s and Kalyani’s marriage and writes her a letter saying so. Happy about this new development, Kalyani sets off, after her pardon, to Deven’s house with her chaperone. At a train junction she meets Bikash again, who is suffering from tuberculosis. She learns about the reason behind his disappearance. A wayside jogi starts singing…
O re maanjhi… mere sajan hai us paar
Singer: S. D. Burman
Well, what can I say about this song, which I haven’t already said. I don’t know of any other film in which a song, which builds, forms and carries the climax of a film. What a climax! And what a masterpiece!
By the way did you notice the Good Luck Tea House board? Good Luck like Kalyan, Kalyani? Kalyani, which means auspicious?
If you are a reader, who has not seen Bandini and wondering, why Kalyani landed in jail or whom she will choose? Then you will have to watch the film and believe me, you won’t regret it.