Rut jawaan jawaan, raat meherbaan…
…chedo koi dastaan… at the risk of sounding highly ignorant, it wasn’t until a few weeks back that I heard this absolutely delectable song. I stumbled upon it when I was researching Rajesh Khanna and his films and this was on a loop for three days straight. Before you continue to read this post, I suggest you listen to the song to know what I am talking about.
Not only is it unique in that the song is interspersed with dialogues (which somehow makes it all the more realistic) but when you listen to it, you just drown in the luscious voice that is Bhupinder Singh. Sigh. The film in question, Aakhri Khat (1966), is said to be Khanna’s debut. For me, this was such a treasure trove of trivia! *Absolutely delighted*
For starters, the song Rut Jawaan is sung by Bhupinder and features the singer himself on the guitar while Chic Chocolate is the band that accompanies him. Few might know that he was offered the lead but he said no, following which Sanjay Khan (of Tipu Sultan fame) was chosen but he too refused. Ultimately, Khanna was roped in for the part. I wonder if Bhupinder has ever acted? (I know he was in Haqeeqat but that wasn’t such a fleshy role now, was it?). If you’d like some more trivia on the song do give Atul’s wonderful blog post a read.
Let’s come to the shmooshy bundle of cuteness, shall we? Master Bunty (then some 14 months old) also debuted in the film and went on to become a child star who appeared in scores of films. It is believed that to lend authenticity to his role, director Chetan Anand let the little fella loose in the streets of Mumbai and followed him with a handheld camera. Ingenious? And would you believe Master Bunty still looks as cute (strictly in my opinion) though the wild curls have given way to a receding hairline. He is still called Master Bunty (real name: Bunty Bahl).
Moving on, Aakhri Khat was nominated to be sent to 1967 Oscars for the Best Foreign Film but sadly never made it (no idea why) but it’s easy to see why it was chosen – it starts with a story that might seem not so unusual (boy meets village girl, falls in love and has to leave for the city leaving the girl carrying his child) but it develops into something unexpected soon enough. What is particularly striking is the use of ambient sounds and Khanna’s character that has shades of grey. (He isn’t your typical Hindi film hero with a heart of gold). Chetan Anand’s son Ketan himself said that while Haqeeqat is hailed as his most popular work, he thinks Aakhri Khat was a greater feat. I am not sure I’d agree because I find it a little hard to compare the two.
Do read the fantastic review Greta has written here and you’ll understand a little more about why this is a great watch!