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!

Cheers!

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Ab tumhare havale watan saathiyon..

Kar chale hum fida jano tan saathiyon, ab tumhare hamare watan saathiyon..

Well it is Republic Day tomorrow, so it seemed only apt that I write about a film that celebrated the spirit of our Indian jawans at the border. A tribute, if you will.

Haqeeqat (1964) was a film based on the Indian-Sino war in 1962 and needless to say, stirred up a wave of patriotism in the country when it released two years later. It starred some major superstars (not necessarily of those times) like Dharmendra, Balraj Sahni, Priya Rajvansh (who is a relatively lesser known actor of old Hindi Cinema to many) and Sanjay Khan.

The film took home the National Film Award for the Second Best Feature Film.

Although the song Kar chale gives me goosebumps whenever I hear it, I have another favourite and it goes Zaraa si aahat. Anway, a song called Hoke Majboor Mujhe Usne Bhoolaayaa Hogaa, Zahar Chupke Se Dawaa Jaanke Khaayaa Hogaa was sung by four singers – Rafi saab, Talat Mehmood, Manna Dey and Bhupinder – together. Some say this was the only time such great luminaries shared a recording studio! According to this blog, Pyarelal of Laxmikant-Pyarelal played the violin in this song. 🙂

I don’t know if you noticed the name Sanjay Khan.

Remember him —->

He won our hearts episode-after-episode as the sword yielding, very handsome Tipu Sultan! This was his debut film! Bet you didn’t know THAT.

This film was also a starting point for Bhupinder’s career under the tutelage of Madan Mohan, the man who gave the music for the film.

Madan Mohan had quite a tough time giving music for films whenever he had to get Lata and Rafi together. It seems that the two had had a tiff and a cold war was on. So whenever poor Mr. Mohan just HAD to take Rafi, he would manage the song with other female playback singers like Suman Kalyanpurkar or Asha Bhonsle. And if he HAD to take Lata, he had to manage with Talat Mehmood or Manna Dey. Poor fella, I say.

Now a little bit of gossip (as always!)

This is Priya Rajvansh, the actress. During the filming, she and Chetan Anand, the director, started seeing each other, even though he had just separated from his wife. Eventually, she ended up acting only in his films, and he too, never made a film without her. 🙂

That’s about it. If you do feel like (and I think you really should) paying a little bit of respect to those who fought for India such a long time back, then listen to the song. It will mesmerize you. And transform you into a patriot too. Jai Hind!

P.S. A few more tidbits! Everyone knows who Samba is, right? The inimitable MacMohan, who played Gabbar’s sidekick in Sholay, was also a part of Haqeeqat’s cast – it was his debut film!

Bhupinder Singh, who sang in the film, was first noticed by the eminent music maestro Madan Mohan. MM gave him his first break after he heard him sing for AIR. He then asked Singh to come to Mumbai in 1964 and gave him a chance to sing Hoke majboor.