Aaiye Meherbaan – Classic, Evergreen, Sensuous – Howrah Bridge
One of the most sensuous songs of Bollywood, it has won the hearts of millions till date. The music, the lyrics and the oh-so-gorgeous Madhubala! This one has all the elements of actually striking us like a bolt of lightning.
It is from the film Howrah Bridge (1958) which was directed by Shakti Samanta. He once said that this particular number was one of his favourites from the film; it is ours too!
The song begins with the musicians playing the instruments, the cello, the violin, the piano, the banjo and so on. In the audio too we listen to some of these instruments clearly, but the one that makes impact on us are the castanets, it plays on in our minds and makes us feel like dancing to the little rhythm they create on their own.
Then comes the humming of the evergreen Asha Bhosle and enters Madhubala through the stairs. She sways onto the stage like a swan just out of the water, sensuous yet gracious. So is the voice which is so classy and inviting at the same time. What a combination of two ladies; one onscreen and one off the screen coming together to create magic.
Aaiye meherbaan, baithiye jaan-e-jaa
Shauk se leejiye ji ishq ke imtehaan
Welcome my dear, the kind hearted
Have a seat my darling, be comfortable
I know you are here to test my love for you
I am ready for it; let the quest come my way
Kaise ho tum naujawaan itne haseen mehmaan
Kaise karu main bayaan, dil ki nahin hai zubaan
You have entered the garden of my love
Oh you are so young, so handsome, just like the Adonis
But how can I express my feelings to you?
My heart does not understand the world of words (it understands the language of love)
Composed by O.P. Nayyar and written by Qamar Jalalabadi, it has a typical feel of the 50’s in terms of arrangement of the song. But the lyrics and the tune are quite different to what the typical club songs of that era were.
This number is a club song wherein Madhubala is singing it for Ashok Kumar and actually making K. N. Singh jealous by doing so. Look at the moment where she goes towards K.N.Singh and then suddenly turns towards Ashok Kumar. Then taking a cigarette from him she douses it completely while looking at K.N. Singh clearly saying what is in her heart.
Dekha machal ke jidhar, bijlee gira di udhar
Kiska jala aashiyaan, bijlee ko yeh kya khabar
Your gaze strikes like a lightening, dangerous and carefree
It doesn’t care of the consequences
It doesn’t care if it has burned someone else’s intentions, their dreams
No, it just strikes with its full power, unknown of the surroundings
This song can be called as the item song of that era; with its setting, style and placement in the movie. What makes it classy is that there is no skin show, no disturbing dance steps or expressions, no double meaning lyrics and yet it is one of the most sensuous songs of the industry. I know it has already been said in the very beginning, but what can we do! It is what it is.. Pure magic! So watch it and be enchanted…