Uden jab jab zulfein teri!

kavariyon ka dil machle(2), ho jind meriye! I absolutely ADORE this song and cannot resist the impulse to dance along if I hear it 🙂

It’s from the film Naya Daur (1957) that painted a picture of India post independence and the imminent industrialization that came along with it.

Dilip Kumar plays a tongawala whose livelihood is threatened by a man (Jeevan) who wants to introduce buses in the village for people to travel in instead of the horse drawn carts.

This film has beautiful songs and my favourite is the one I mentioned right at the top. The other songs (like Maang ke saath tumhara) are timeless too. The songs are said to be inspired by the folk music of a Punjabi dance troupe that had also performed at the 25th week celebration of another BR Chopra film.

Because the subject of the film isn’t your run-of-the-mill hero-meets-heroin, falls-in-love, sing-songs-around-trees, villain-interrupts, hero-fights-and-wins story, many titans of that time refused the idea outright. Luminaries like Subodh Mukherjee, Mehboob Khan and even Raj Kapoor said a vehement no to the script.

However, when BR Chopra heard the story line, he went straight for it and how! I read somewhere that Chopra went to Ashok Kumar first, who declined because he didn’t think he would fit the role well (personally I think he would have looked too old for it).

So Chopra went to Dilip Kumar who wasn’t even ready to listen to the script! But after he did, Kumar was so excitedthat he wouldn’t leave Chopra’s house till he signed the contract and got a cheque.

This was also Yash Chopra’s first film under the tutelage of BR Chopra for whom he acted as the guiding assistant.

Moving on, Chopra began the shooting with Madhubala as the lead actress but 10 days later, when the crew had to move out of Mumbai and shoot in a village in Bhopal, her father refused to let her go!

Of course, the rumours of Madhubala and Dilip Kumar’s apparent fondness for each other must have made him livid and so he didn’t give her permission for the out-of-town shoot. A deadlock ensued, making matters so bad that Madhubala ended up in court accused of taking advance payment for the film and not completing it! Chopra eventually let her off the hook and asked Vyjayanthi Mala to perform as the heroine. Tough luck!

When VM stepped in, the posters of the film (which still read Madhubala) weren’t changed – instead a black cross was cut across her name to let everyone know that she was sacked. Poor Madhubala – so much humiliation for no fault of hers!

50 years later, Naya Daur was colourized ( I don’t think there’s any such word though, so please consider this my writer’s licence). So while the old film looked like –>

the new one looked like this!

If you ask me, it looks unnaturally colourful. It’s as if the bosses got so excited about  making a coloured film, they just got the palette and flung whatever colour they could find  onto the film. The sense of romance of the black and white is missing! I do not like. :X

Anyway, the process of colourization took more than 2 years and around 30 million! Phew.

Say whatever you will, Naya Daur definitely struck a chord with its audience back then and  was a superhit. In fact, it was the first film ever to celebrate a silver jubilee at more than one  theatre in Mumbai.

P.S: The little kid in the picture is Daisy Irani – isn’t she cute?! Most of you might remember her from that popular serial called Dekh Bhai Dekh. CUTENESS PERSONIFIED.

Jidhar dekhoon teri tasveer nazar aati hai…

Ok, so the song has nothing to do with what I am going to tell you, but it fits in to the anecdote I am going to write about perfectly!

She ruled every man’s heart once – a lopsided smile that could make you laugh,twinkling eyes that made heartbeats skipMumtaz when they fluttered and a face so innocent and devoid of pretense, it could melt your heart – it could only be Madhubala. (sigh)

Born Mumtaz and named Madhubala later by Devika Rani, she went on to be one of Hindi film’s most loved actresses, and why wouldn’t she have?

Despite any formal training or education, she had the uncanny knack of sensing the audience’s pulse – she knew what they wanted to see, what made them cry and laugh – and she could glide from one to another with an ease befitting a veteran actress.

There is, however, one interesting occasion on which she couldn’t quite get her lines right, no matter how hard she tried.

Madhu

It was a time when her torrid love affair with Dilip Kumar was at its zenith. She was shooting a scene for the film Mr. & Mrs. 55. In the scene, Lalita Pawar (THE most popular “vamp” of those times) is supposed to show Madhubala a photograph of her husband in a compromising position with another woman, seeing which, the heroine was expected to leave him.

As it turned out, no one on the set had a photo of the kind, so someone borrowed one from Mehboob Khan’s (owner of Mehboob Studios, I presume) office.

No prizes for guessing whose picture it was!

Abrar Alvi, the film’s screenwriter revealed that Madhubala refused to shoot the scene when she saw the picture!

She said she couldn’t concentrate, Alvi explained. And no amount of persuasion helped, she would just not budge! In the end, they had to bow down.

I think that’s rather sweet – not being able to focus because of his photo! Did you know that Madhubala was born on Valentine’s Day? It’s no wonder that love had this much effect on her. I, for one, can’t imagine how dashing Dilip Kumar must have been to make a beauty like her lose her cool!

Madhubala instead of Waheeda

Remember Pyaasa, the story of a writer and Gulabo which was played by Guru Dutt and Waheeda? Well, turns out that it could have turned out quite differently had Guru Dutt abandoned the lead role.

Dutt wanted someone else to take the role for two reasons. One, he thought himself not to be good enough, simply put. And two, he wanted to focus all his attention on directing the film. He was very keen on taking Dilip Kumar, who was at the top of the industry at the time and would have played out the character beautifully, without a doubt. This despite the fact that a considerable length of the film had already been shot with him in the lead.

Such a perfectionist was he, that he made no compromises on the quality of his films. The story as narrated to Dilip Saab who argued that Gulabo’s role shouldn’t be so important, the heroine’s should be. Of course, he wanted Madhubala to play the heroine instead of Mala Sinha, who eventually played the role.

Dilip Kumar argued quite a bit with Abrar Alvi, the scriptwriter, but Alvi wouldn’t hear of it, and Kumar had to give in.

So it was Waheeda, afterall who played Gulabo and not Madhubala.

Although Dilip Kumar agreed to play the hero, he never turned up on the sets on the day the shoot was to begin. No one knows why, till date.

More trivia: While Waheeda replaced Madhubala, the role of Mala Sinha was originally offered to Nargis. Because the two actress couldn’t arrange the dates, they were eventually given to these two.

Pyaasa was also the last time the famous duo S.D Burman and Sahir Ludhianvi worked together.