Song Sketch

Kaun Disa Mein Leke Chala Re – Nadiya Ke Paar – Heart to Heart with the Traveller

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Rajshri Production, Ravindra Jain, Hemlata, Jaspal Singh….what image do these names bring in front of your eyes? Rural subject, simple, naive,true to the heart, rural (mostly) characters, simple but meaningful songs with equally simple and catchy tunes. Geet Gata Chal, Chitchor, Paheli, Dulhan Wahi Jo Piya Mann Bhaye, Ankhiyon Ke Jharokhon Se, Sawan Ko Aane Do, Sunayana etc are some of the films which come under the above category. The audience loved these films for the music and for the simple, neighbourhood stories they brought out on screen. No villains, no vamps, no over the top dialogues, no larger than life images, no posh, magnificent sets. The audience came to watch these films with family and each one took a piece of these movies in their heart while going back home. Adding one more name to such movies is Nadiya Ke Paar (1982). Based on the Hindi novel (only first part of the novel was adapted) Kohbar ki Shart by Keshav Prasad Mishra, Nadiya Ke Paar is now counted as one of the best movies depicting rural, village life in India. Love story of 2 young hearts living in villages divided by a river. It captures the spirit of North Indian villages, specially of UP. The film ran full houses and the lead pair of Gunja (Sadhana Singh) and Chandan (Sachin Pilgaonkar) became a household name. Not only that, the songs of this film were superhit and on everyone’s lips, they still are! If you think about songs picturised in a village on a bullock cart, which songs come to your mind amongst top 5?
Kaun disa mein leke
Chala re batohiya……

An adorable song picturised on the adorable couple – Sadhana and Sachin. They complement each other on screen so well throughout the film. They look as if they belong there. They are teasing each other yet they are very much in love. Music by Ravindra Jain for this particular song is exceptional. He has used various instruments which bring in the rustic ambience in the song. Flute, ghungroos, ravanhatta, dholak, shehnai etc. The singers – Hemlata and Jaspal Singh are marvellous and their voices sound fresh. Lyrics also by Ravindra Jain have the needed rustic treatment and are in conversational pattern.

Kaun disa mein leke
Chala re batohiya
Hey thehar thehar
Ye suhani si dagar
Jara dekhan de, dekhan de
Mann bharmaye
Naina bandhe ye dagariya
Kahin gaye jo theher
Din jaayega guzar
Gaadi haakan de, haakan de…

Batohiya means a traveller, as Baat in Hindi (UP side) is a road. Gunja is having a heart to heart conversation with her beloved Chandan while they’re travelling towards his village on a bullock cart. Very sweetly picturised, this song was also the first shot of the movie. Talking to TheSongpedia, Sadhana Singh (Gunja) shared some memories of this movie with us. She said she had never intended on making it in the movies. Nadiya Ke Paar fell in her lap by sheer chance. It so happened that Rajshri Productions was searching for a second female lead for their film Payal Ki Jhankar (1980) and they saw Sadhana Singh’s elder sister, Surinder Kaur, a kathak dancer, performing in Delhi and they selected her for Payal Ki Jhankar. As the shooting began, Surinder Kaur, being a novice and not accustomed to the film atmosphere, started missing her family. She then called the younger sister Sadhana to keep her company. Payal Ki Jhankar was directed by Satyen Bose who was assisted by Govind Moonis. As luck would have it, Rajshri Productions gave their next film Nadiya Ke Paar to Govind Moonis (his first film as a director. He had earlier made a name as a writer and dialogue writer) and Sadhana Singh got to play Gunja. Govind Moonis had seen her on the sets of Payal KiJhankar and Sadhana ji was picture perfect for Gunja’s role since in her real life too she was like Gunja – frank, tom boyish, naughty and also a rebel. The film was being shot at a small village called Vijayipur near Jaunpur. To get her accustomed with village life, Govind Moonis made Sadhana ji walk/run bare feet on the sets, made her use daatun (neem twig) to brush her teeth, made her sit on the floor to eat food etc and she thoroughly enjoyed that. She not only enjoyed the village life but also made friends with the villagers there. If the food on the sets wasn’t good, she used to visit one of the houses nearby and share their lunch even if it was as simple roti and chutney. They became like family to her. Sharing some memories about this song, she said it was her first day and she was quite nervous. As the film was about village life, she was wearing bare minimum make up. But the cameraman thought she had put on false eyelashes. He was somehow not in her favour since day 1. He started complaining about her heavy eyelashes (which are real) and asked her to take them off. He turned deaf ear to everyone who was telling him that they were real. So finally, he went to her and started pulling off her eyelashes. An aghast Sadhana ji started crying. Govind Moonis handled the situation (being his first film as a director, he too was anxious about the whole situation) and the shooting commenced.The cameraman later apologised to her.

Kitni door abhi kitni door hai
Aye Chandan tora gaanv ho
Kitna apna lagne lage jab
Koi bulaye leke naam ho
Naam na lein to kya keh ke bulayein
Kaise chalayein kaam ho
Saathi, mitwa ya anadi kaho goriya
Kahin gaye jo thehar din jaayega guzar
Gaadi haankan de, haankan de

Aye Gunja uss din tori sakhiyan
Karti thi kya baat ho
Kehti thi tore saath chalan ko
So aa gaye hum tore saath ho
Saath adhoora tab tak jab tak
Poore na ho phere saat ho
Abahi to hamari hai baali re umariya
Hey thehar thehar yeh suhani si dagar
Jara dekhan de, dekhan de…..

Gunja and Chandan look made for each other throughout the film. Sadhana Singh shared this wonderful, sweet chemistry with Sachin. She also told us that it was Sachin who made her feel comfortable on the sets. Taking care of her, guiding her with the scenes. While this song acquired the cult status, other songs of the film were also well known. One of them is the Holi song – Jogi ji waah Jogi ji. While sharing a few more memories, Sadhana ji also told that her part of the song (not the dream sequence) Jogi ji was shot separately in the Chandivali Studios, while Sachin’s part was shot in the village itself. Sadhana Singh looks beautiful throughout the film and she is as gorgeous in real life too. Specially her eyes. She was named Sadhana after the yesteryear actress Sadhana Shivdasani.
Sadhana Singh’s portrayal of Gunja stays with us. Her bright eyes, her shy smile all make a place in the heart and remain there. But it is her innocence which first strikes a chord with us. Check her singing these lines in the first stanza of the song and you will agree that Sadhana Singh is indeed the innocent Gunja forever.
Pehli baar hum nikle hain ghar se
Kisi anjane ke sang ho
Anjane se pehchan badhegi to
Mehak uthega tora ang ho
Mehak se tu kahin behak na jaana
Na karna mohe tang ho
Tang karne ka tose naata hai gujariya
Hey thehar thehar yeh suhani si dagar
Jara dekhan de, dekhan de….

Avid music lover and Dev Anand fan

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