26th September happens to be the birth anniversary of the evergreen romantic hero Dev Anand. It is also the day when the legendary singer Hemant Kumar passed away, years ago in 1989.
I was thinking first of separate posts for the two legends – both of whom I had watched / heard back in those growing up days when I was crazy about old Hindi films/ music. Then thanks to time constraints partially (a convenient excuse always!) and more sheer laziness, decided to club it into one post!..
As a tribute, here are two songs sung by Hemant da and picturised on Dev Anand that I am very fond of. Most of these songs are pre- 1970 by which time Kishore Kumar had become the sole and only voice of Dev Anand. Most young people of today, unfortunately, would remember Dev Anand – as that old man who made those unwatchable joke of films – Censor, Chargesheet and the like – that is if they know him at all. I was reminded of a superb piece by Gautam Chintamani some years back – a tribute to Dev Anand where he points out that for most fans, Dev Anand had stopped being Dev Anand for a long time (He may have died in 2011; it felt longer for us fans! How aptly put! ) You can access that tribute here.
The two songs listed here that Hemant da for Dev saab are also from that period when Dev Anand was that swashbuckling, charming hero – That swagger, the forelocks! ummm…
Hemant Kumar Mukherjee never made it as big as the trio of Rafi Kishore and Mukesh in the Hindi film music scene but made his mark as a star singer thanks to his sonorous baritone and a composer of much repute for films like Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam, Kohra, Bees Saal Baad, Khamoshi to name a few.
1) Back in the 1980s and early 90s as kids, we used to play Antakshari all the time and one song (irrespective whether you knew and liked Hindi music or not) that everyone sang (or mouthed) was “Hai Apna Dil toh Awara Na Jaane kispe aayega!” It is from a sweet film called Solva Saal and was made in 1958. Waheeda Rehman looks very very alluring in this as she plays a rich girl who gets duped by her boyfriend- he convinces her to run away from home with all her jewels and once he gets those, he dumps the girl. I was reminded of this movie recently as I watched a show from across the border where a girl faced exactly the same situation. Unfortunately being a story based on real-life, there is no Dev Anand to save her. This song is one of those early chhed-chhaad wala gaana but with much of the simplicity and innocence of those days. Waheeda Rehman is running away with her boyfriend (the creepy guy next to her) and Dev Anand (who I think plays a reporter) is watching this young girl and her boyfriend with much amusement.
Shortly after this song, Creepy guy dumps Waheeda and our Dev comes to the damsel’s rescue. Film lore has it that R.D. Burman played the mouth organ during the recording of the song. On screen Dev Anand’s pesky friend plays the mouth organ (Agha is the actor, if I am not mistaken!). Waheeda and Creepy Guy do walk out at the end of this chhed-chhaad session leaving a very amused Dev Anand and Agha behind.
2) My favourite Hemant da song (okay make that one of my favourite songs – Chupa lo dil mein from Mamta and Tum Pukar Lo from Khamoshi are very strong contenders too) has been filmed on Dev Anand too. Hemant da’s silken voice croons “Yeh Raat Yeh Chaand Phir Kahan” in Jaal (1952). A very young Dev Anand is in a shack surrounded by coconut trees on a windy day – and strumming the guitar extremely unconvincingly. He is singing (perhaps – I havent watched this movie – to his roothi huyi premika and convincing her with his melody to listen to his heart’s tale. A tormented Geeta Bali is seen in her house – the balcony door opens through the sheer force of the wind (and the call of his heart). She comes out, knows that the song is for her and the torment begins. She wrings her hands, crumples oh -so-delicately to the ground, leans against the door and is very troubled. Dev continues playing or just holding the guitar through the song pleading with her come and listen to his dil ki dastaan! She even tries shutting him out by going inside but once again the combined power of love and the winds is too strong to let that happen. Geeta Bali looks lovely as she stands behind the door – not willing to listen….
Had she only seen him! tell me who can be so hard hearted in front of this look?
“Jaati Baharein Hain, Jaati Baharein hain uthti jawaniyan
Taaron ki chaon mein kah le kahaniyan
ek baar chal diye gar tujhe pukar ke laut kar na aayenge kaafile bahar ke….
The ultimatum is issued and the lass’s mind is made up and she is ready to leave!
The conflict continues but she is in no position to fight it and gets pulled towards him.
Geeta Bali in my opinion hasnt looked this lovely in any other song (maybe in Tadbeer se Bigdi hui now that I think about it.. or in Chaandni Raatein Pyar Ki Baatein version of the same.)
Beside the Hemant-Dev-S.D.Burman team creating magic over here, the director of this film was a young Guru Dutt. Is V.K.Murthy then the cinematographer, I wonder.
For the sheer beauty of the lyrics, music, singing and the visuals, this is actually the first song that comes to my mind when I think of Hemant Kumar.
Even though this is out-of -syllabus for the post and deserves a separate mention, do check out the female version (albeit sad) of the same song!
While I zeroed in on the two above mentioned songs, there have been other songs too and very poignant “Teri Duniya mein Jeene Se toh Behtar Hai ki Mar Jaaiyen” (House No 44) and “Na Tum Hamein Jaano Na Hum Tum Jaanein (Baat Ek Raat Ki, 1962) do deserve a mention.
The legends may have passed on to the other world but their work lives on!