Tribute to Shashikala – Maangne Se Jo Maut Mil Jaati – Sunehre Kadam
Recently, on the 4th April, 2021, Hindi film industry lost a veteran actress, Shashikala, who was extremely beautiful with sharp eyes and sharper features. She had risen from the ranks to be recognized and being acknowledged as one of the finest actresses, eventhough she shone more so as a supporting actress in later years. She belonged to Solapur, Maharashtra. Born as Shashikala Jawalkar in a middle class Maharashtrian family, she along with her family moved to Mumbai when she was 8 years old and after a wait of about 4 years, she got he first role in the film, Zeenat released in the year 1945, when she was spotted by famous singer, Noorjehan and her husband, Shaukat Rizvi. She featured in the qawwali sung by all female singers, Noorjehan, Joharabai Ambalawali and Kalyani – Aahe na bhari, shikwe na kiye, and it was picturized on Shashikala, Shyama and Suraiya Chaudhary. Incidentally, this was the first qawwali sung only by female singers and picturized on female artistes.
She went to act in over 100 films. Initially, she did get lead roles i.e. in Sunehre Kadam (1966) opposite Rehman, in Daku (1955) opposite Shammi Kapoor, Krorepati (1961) opposite Kishore Kumar. However, she was most successful in supporting roles and was nominated for Filmfare awards for her wonderful roles in, Sujata, Aarti, Gumrah, Aayee Milan ki Bela, Himalayan ki God mein, Phool Aur Pathar, Anupama and Neel Kamal, out of which she was awarded twice for her roles in Aarti and Gumrah and both the roles had a negative shade to them. She was honoured with Padmashree in 2007 by Govt of India and also bestowed with V Shantaram Lifetime Achievement Award in 2009.
Another important purpose of writing this piece is that, I would like to talk about one of my most favourite songs picturized on Shashikala from one of her early films, Sunehre Kadam, released in 1966. It is sung by the singer par excellence, Lata Mangeshkar. Music is composed by Bulo C. Rani and wonderful and heart wrenching lyrics are written by little known lyricist, Mahendra Pran. The song is Maangne se jo maut mil jati, kaun jeeta is zamane me. It may sound paradoxical but the lyrics are so meaningful and powerful that, one actually struggles for words to describe the meanings, which the poet had in mind.
Maangane se jo maut mil jaati, kaun jeeta is zamaane mein
Dard hota na bekali (fear) hoti, dum na ghutata yu virane (solitude) mein
Maangne se jo maut mil jati, kaun jeeta is zamane mein
Aansuon ki shama (flame, candle) se agar gam ki taarikiyan (darkness) mitati
Kuch toh khushiyon ki roshni hoti zindagi ke ek fasane (story) mein
Aansuon ki shama se gam ki taarikiya mitati…..what a superb example of oxymoron.
Aarzuon (desires) ke janaze ko leke kaandhe pe hum ghumein
Chalke manzil (destination, goal) jo aayi milne ko, hum hee na rahe iss zamaane mein
Aarzuon ke janaze – Desires had died long ago but when the destination came in front me on its own, ironically, I will be gone from this world.