Of a long-forgotten melody – Mohe Bhool Gaye Sawariya

This morning, I heard a song from a to-be-released movie (Khoobsurat). Instead of just changing the channel, I actually listened to this song…with a smile on my lips as it brought back many memories. Memories of another song and another time.

It was after all a recap to that achingly lovely Lata Mangeshkar classic – Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya from Baiju Bawra (1953). Penned by Shakeel Badayuni and composed by Naushad Ali, this song has a very young and a pretty Meena Kumari ruing that her lover has abandoned and forgotten her and hasnt come back to her as promised. She is walking distraught remembering happier days with her loved one (played by Bharat Bhushan) in the same place. Clearly one of her earlier films, before she got the tag of being the Tragedy Queen, it however is evident why she landed such roles and got the tag. She portrays the heartbreak with much conviction and less melodrama as possible within the confines of the established theatricality of moviemaking those days.

What struck me on viewing this song today was the beauty of the picturisation. Certain shots of the song linger on even after the song is over. As Lata sings, “Dil ko diya kyun Dukh birha ke tod diya kyun mahal Banake…Aas dilake O bedardi” Meena Kumari leans back on the bedecked swing much akin to a damsel in a Raja Ravi Verma painting.

Screen Shot 2014-09-03 at 21.08.50 The song continues with the dejected and defeated heroine denounce love, her loved one and the entire world as she sinks into the ground (in a very artistic way, I must say) amidst those once-upon-a-time happy memories.

Personally this song invokes some very happy childhood memories. I associate it most with my mother. She has an amazing voice and would sing this song to utmost perfection. So I cannot help smiling each time I listen to it; despite it being such a pathos filled song.

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