Vijay Anand, a fascinating filmmaker. Throughout his films, he maintained and balanced its pace. The cadence of story he weaved, always matched with the pulse of the audience. He brought out the best in his actors, cinematographers, composers, lyricists and choreographers. He delivered a masterstroke, embellished with magnificent show of songs which decorated his stylish, flawless entertainers. If you see movies like Guide, Jewel Thief, Tere Mere Sapne and Kala Bazaar, you come to know that Dev Anand is not just about vanilla romance on screen. He’s much more than that. Also to say that Dev Anand was a winner only because of his songs would be fallacious!! And the credit goes to Vijay Anand for bringing out the best in Dev. One can very well imagine Dev saying childishly – Oh no no I won’t do this Goldie, I’m Dev Anand. This character doesn’t fit my image. And Vijay Anand coolly answering – Pape, you have got to do this, you can do this!!
Kala Bazaar (1960), his character has got grey shades and he does it with finesse. An unemployed young man, Raghuvir (Dev Anand) trying to shoulder the financial responsibilities of the house finds himself in clutches of foul business of black marketing. Kala Bazaar is a bold statement of Vijay Anand against the black marketing. The lure of money takes the young man on the wrong side of the law. With an old, ailing mother and a young sister to look after, Dev Anand, takes to black marketing, forgetting about his humble background. The quicksand of evil engulfs him completely. On one such day, he is bringing home all his loot (some jewellry and cash) only to find his mother and sister singing a bhajan.
Beginning with the strums of ektara, dholak and of course the flute (SD Burman’s stamp).
Na main dhan chaahun
Na ratan chaahun
Tere charnon ki dhool mil jaaye
Toh main tar jaaun haan main tar jaaun
Shyam tar jaaun, hey Raam tar jaaun….
And Dev Anand trips over spilling all the loot on the stairs. Vijay Anand at his best. This is like Dev getting the first warning. Take control of the situation right now. It is a bad world out there.
The interlude continue with a Jaidev touch. The voice chemistry of both the singers, Geeta Dutt and Sudha Malhotra is just fabulous. You can’t make out easily where one ends and the other picks up.
Moh mann mohe, lobh lalchaaye
Kaise kaise ye naag lehraaye?
Isase pehle ki dil udhar jaaye
Main toh marr jaaun, haan main marr jaaun…..
Shailendra!! Moh mann mohe – 2 similar sounding words with different meaning and he puts it together so beautifully.
A neck piece is seen dangling on the steps. It is swinging. Just like Dev’s mind. This avarice is like a venomous cobra. That’s what the lyrics hint. Kaise kaise naag lehraaye? And his mother says – instead of getting entangled in this venom, I better die. That’s the 2nd warning for Dev.
There’s a kind of soft sincerity on Nanda’s face as well as Leela Chitnis. They are living those words while Dev is still brooding. Flute helping the level of thoughts to go higher.
Laaye kya the, jo leke jaana hai?
Nek dil hi tera khazana hai
Shaam hote hi panchhi aa jaaye
Ab toh ghar jaaun, apne ghar jaaun….
The first line sounds straight from the Bhagwad Geeta!! But it is philosophy in a Shailendra way. Simple. Hinting towards going back home, just like the birds return in the evening. Correcting your mistakes. It is never too late. The small aalaps before the lines are worth hearing on the loop. So much of ease in their voice (sahajta). And Dev’s body language now shows that he’s exhausted. With his mind still flickering.
Tham gaya paani, jam gayi kaai
Behti nadiya hi saaf kehlaayi
Mere dil ne hi jaal phailaaye
Ab kidhar jaaun, main kidhar jaaun?
To move on is the way of life. If saturated, one would only invite fungus to grow abundantly. Coming out of the vile mesh is the answer. So only correcting the mistake is not enough.
Dev’s face is showing all agony. His duel is killing him inside. The tussle reaches its zenith with the repeated question – Ab kidhar jaun, main kidhar jaun? He’s holding tight to the lampost. Lest he is swept in the lethal currents. Thought provoking and profound. Shailendra and Vijay Anand both. The irony so well picturised, rendered and composed. Questions can be blissful and heart wrenching at the same time, essence of this bhajan proves it so.