When someone you love is dead and gone, your memory becomes your worst enemy. But that memory is also your only treasure. Those memories of times you have spent with him/her hit you like big waves and you easily get drowned in them. You are used to talk to someone everyday and he/she suddenly disappears behind the curtains of time. To think that person no longer is a part of your life doesn’t look sane any longer.
Thakur Rakesh Singh (Sunil Dutt) is going through somewhat similar phase. The death of his beautiful wife Geeta (Sadhana) results in him going into a state of depression. He is not able to come to terms with the reality, that Geeta is no longer alive. To add to his distress, he has a girl named Raina (Sadhana again) who not only looks exactly like his wife but also claims to be his wife. Not to forget that she is a dacoit’s accomplice too. A gripping thriller, with no boring moment, Mera Saaya (1966) was one of the suspense trilogy by Raj Khosla, Woh Kaun Thi (1964) and Anita (1967) being the other 2.
Mera Saaya is a remake of a Marathi film Paathlaag (1964) starring Bhavna and Dr. Kashinath Ghanekar. While we have the haunting title song in Hindi – Mera saaya saath hoga by Lata Mangeshkar, the Marathi counter song Hya dolyanchi don paakhre which is equally haunting (music by Datta Davjekar) is rendered beautifully by Asha Bhonsle.
Thakur Rakesh Singh who is missing his wife, lying still on a settee on the terrace of his house (Lake Palace, Udaipur). Starts reminiscing about the time he had spent with his wife there. All the memories come alive in front of him with a delicate prelude making its way to an echoing song by Lata Mangeshkar. The prelude has a beautiful santoor piece as we take in the gorgeous palace surroundings, joined by sitar and tabla as Sunil Dutt gets a smile on his face, reliving those moments. With a true Madan Mohan touch, the overlapping santoor gives the feeling of bliss. At a distance Lata’s sounds echoes and we see the beautiful Sadhana with Sunil Dutt under the canopy, singing.
Nainon mein badra chhaye
Bijli se chamke haaye
Aise mein balam mohe
Garwa lagaa le
Nainon mein badra chhaye
When your eyes are filled with clouds of love and memories flash like a lightening, at that moment embrace me in your loving arms.
Singing to Raja Mehdi Ali Khan’s rich lyrics, Lata’s voice is golden and sweet like the maple syrup. Feel her voice modulation from Aise mein balam mohe to Garwa lagaa le….she’s awesome!!
The first interludes have the santoor again supported by tabla and violins.
Madira mein doobi akhiyan
Chanchal hain donon sakhiyan
Jhalti rahegi tohe
Palkon ki pyaari pakhiyan
Sharma ke degi tohe
Madira ke pyaale
My eyes are heavily intoxicated with your love, hence they are restless and heavy. Even though I shy away from you, every flutter of my eyelids will be fanning love for you. Same intoxicated love that you have for me.
The santoor effects sends ripples through us just as shown on water on screen. Ferrying along the serenity with Lata’s humming and violins rowing along the lake. The sitar strums provide the divinity and make us aware of the temple vicinity.
Prem deewani hun main
Sapnon ki rani hun main
Pichhle janam se teri
Prem kahani hun main
Aa iss janam mein bhi tu
Apna banaa le
Though I’m the lady of your dreams, I still desire for your love. And this has been in continuation since our last birth. I hope our love is complete and comes full circle in this birth too.
Madan Mohan was strict about discipline with his musicians. He would cancel their piece if they reported late for a recording. During the recording of this particular song when the musicians were making many errors resulting in continuous retakes with Lataji having to sing repeatedly, he lost his temper and banged his hand against the studio control room glass. He was bleeding profusely, but refused any medical attention till the song was perfectly recorded.
An amazing example of Raag Bhimpalasi, an afternoon or an early evening raag. This raag has a tonal harmony and hence has melodious effect on its listeners. Moreover with Lata at her best with Madan Mohan, the song has Pandit Shiv Kumar Sharma playing the santoor and Ustad Rais Khan at the sitar. Add to it Raja Mehdi Ali Khan and the song becomes an ultra fine example of rich music culture which was at its peak in the 60s era.
By the time the song ends, the violins are at a full go and Lata’s humming goes into a sadder tones. Sunil Dutt realises that it was just a reminiscent and the love for his wife which was remaining now. Everything else around him was an illusion. But those of you were gripped by the song throughout need not be sad, you can rewind and watch/listen again just as I’m going to hear it yet again!!!