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Thursday, 27 May 2010

Harmony from the heart (Ek Musafir Ek Hasina)

Bahut shukriya bari meherbani, meri zindagi mein huzoor aap aaye...
Seriously, what would I have done without OP Nayyar and his universe of melody? His compositions play with my senses, they rock my world and they sooth my nerves! And, when you have nine fantastic numbers played at close intervals, you are in for a jolly good musical treat. Here's introducing Raj Khosla's Ek Musafir Ek Hasina, a film that is a curtain raiser to this talented director's later thrillers.
Truely speaking (strictly my thought), this 1962 Sadhana-Joy Mukherjee starrer would be an absolute washout if not for Nayyar's work. Embellished with nine wonderful songs, the maestro shows us that his music is not just about hoof-beats. Romance, in all avatars, shine forth in the film's songs.
Okay, a bit about the film.
Quite watchable, mainly for the lead pair, this is basically a pleasing romance interspersed with thrill and suspense. A brave soldier saves a young girl from the clutches of ravaging Kabalis. The action takes place in Baramullah (Kashmir) where the soldier is wounded while figting. Asha (a lovely Sadhana), returns the favour by saving him from the bloodthirsty Kabalis. They take refuge in a dilapidated house and wait till the coast is clear. The two strangers are accompanied by Abdullah, a local boy, and Sher Khan, a mighty German Shephard.
Soon, the soldier gains consciousness but is under a bout of amnesia. Failing to recollect anything from his past life, he seeks solace in Asha's love and care. And, we embark on their trip of love, faith and bonding!!
While the first half concentrates on the maturity of the relationship between the hasina and the musafir, the second half meanders into a thrill saga. Thrilling yes, but with plenty of loopholes. For, I'm still in doubt as to how does Asha get an entry into the soldier's house in Mumbai so easily. What is the role of the soldier's brother and his mistress (who also happens to be a cabaret girl in the club!!!) The conjuror's sequence leading to Yaar zulfon wale is exceptionally tedious. And, then, you have the redundant bufoonery of Rajendranath and his crony!!!
But, if you are willing to oversee these niggling disturbances, you will like Ek Musafir Ek Hasina. For, Sadhana and Joy Mukherjee's pair is lovely. She is slender and pretty and he is tall, strapping and smart. In fact, here is a man who surrenders meakly to his sweetheart...and seeks refuge in her love!! A very unique portrayal this!!!
The best part then, the songs!!! Bahut shukriya opens with an interplay of the dholak and harmonium and Mohd Rafi's alaap!! Simply spectacular. Joy Mukherjee's Ajay gracefully woos Asha with his lyricism. He is grateful to her for sauntering into his directionless life. Asha is reluctant a moment, and then in the next, is enthralled with the adulation. A faint smile laces her lips and you know that her heart is melting!!!
Then you have the joyful and bouncy Aap yunhi agar humse miltey rahein. This frothy lyrical song celebrates innocent love and longing. Sadhana's nimble footed and Mukherjee is dashing. He is enamoured of this lady and minces no words on that.
Then comes the killer. The soft, slow Mujhey dekh kar aap ka muskurana. This is gooseflesh inducing. Mohd Rafi's silky voice sends sharp stabs to the heart. I close my eyes and soak in the warmth of the song. But, sometimes I feel, Mukerjee's expression spoil the romantic aura of this track. Instead of intensity and passion, his inebriated state come up with wierdly funny expressions that are mismatched with the superb poetry. I feel, he is better of with his yearning besotted look than depicting a man drunk in the elixir of love!! Wonder how Shammi Kapoor would have done this song...
Then you have the anthem-like Humko tumhare ishq ne. Mukherjee looks apt as the desolate lover looking for his lost love. And Sadhana is perfect as the sweetheart trying to sabotage her desires!!
I love listening to Tumhe mohabbat hain humse mana simply because of its teasing, tantalising quality. And Sadhana is so fabulously charming!! With her saree draped stylishly, this actor is the epitomy of graceful seduction (Asha Bhonsle's chirpy enthusiasm in this song is top notch)! She has mock distrust on her face for Mukherjee but knows in her heart that she is hitting the right key!! Mukherjee is great too. In fact, it's his build that adds to his charm (only if he did not use eye-liner on his lids!!!). I bow to the lyrical mastery of S.H. Bihari and Raja Mehdi Ali Khan. At one point Mukherjee goes Humein to saqi se vaasta hain, suraahi badley, ya jaam badley. Intoxicating!!!
Then there is Phir wohi dil dil laya hoon, a not so bad song. But pales in comparison to the others.
In the second half (which has the annoying wicked robber) the first track is Meri nasar haseen. A playful track, this one exploits Bhonsle's vocals very well. And of course, you have the languid movements of Sadhana.
The club song, Udhar woh chal chaltey hain, is sexy, seductive and catchy. Though slow, it makes up for the lack of speed with its lovely music. And, you have the big naughty eyes of the cabaret girl (don't know her name yet!)
The curtain comes down with Yaar zulfon wale, an ensemble song that borrows from Punjabi folksy tunes. Robust and musical, Nayyar exhibits his entire range with this song. The juxtaposition of slow and fast beats is dexterously handled.
Familiar with these songs from a young age, I recommend them to all those who crave mush and romance. For, there was a time when while listening to these songs, I used to travel to the seventh heaven of romanticism. Especially when Sadhana sang, Kahin yeh dil na, itni tareef sunke, tumhara baney aur mujhey bhul jayein..., I realised how love could play soccer with your senses!!!


  1. 'Love playing soccer with your senses!'
    Another gem from your highness!
    Though I've heard most of the songs, i am yet to see the film, which i will on the next to next to next Sunday.
    Intense post, again.

  2. Thankoooooo....and I'm hardly 'highness'. Only 33 posts old...still have a long way to go!!! But thankooooooooooooooooo again :)

  3. Sharmi, this is the first movie you have written about which I am not too fond of. The only redeeming feature is the songs. Ironically, much as I dislike the movie it has my favourite collection of Rafi songs! Bahut shukriya and aap youn he agar humse milte rahe are two of my all time favourites:) I have always felt that Joy Mukherji and Biswajeet were very lucky that they always got films that had great Rafi songs! Otherwise, I think both couldn't act to save their lives:)

  4. @Abhi: True you are. I too feel that Mukherjee and Biswajit were plain lucky (watch out what i write about the latter when i pen my thoughts on Mere Sanam...ha ha). This film is actually problematic. But, you can just lose yourself in the songs...thanks for the comment by the way :)

  5. Same here....I feel Joy Mukherjee and Biswajeet were very lucky...they got to feature in some of the best songs by Rafi. This movie has such lovely numbers and I love both Sadhna and Joy, but somehow I haven't been able to watch this one.

  6. Ah, similar to my feelings about this film (I reviewed it fairly recently). Eye candy, and the songs are fabulous, but otherwise a bit of a damp squib - too many plot holes and too much meandering. Very uncharacteristic of Raj Khosla, I thought.

  7. @sunheriyaadein: This film is a one-time watch, try it sometime. But the songs are just forever. And, Sadhana is lovely...

  8. @Dustedoff: I think Raj Khosla was just warming up in this film for his later thrillers (they were so great, except Anita)!!! I still like the first half because of the romance, but then suddenly the action shifts to Mumbai and hell breaks lose!! Ha ha, but fabulous songs!!! Thanks for the comment :)