At the stroke of midnight going into 2010, I was deeply absorbed in an Indian film from 1952 (which should be no surprise to readers here), V. Shantaram’s Parchhaiyan.  This was another very well done, sweet and tragic Shantaram film, but this time around, I would like to talk more about the soundtrack, because it is stunning.  The music director for this film was C. Ramchandra, who is becoming one of my favorites…

I think everyone has to be stunned by this first song, which actually accompanies the scene of someone coming back to consciousness:  The heroine, Saloni (Jayashree), is coming out of a coma of sorts that was brought on by a nervous breakdown she suffered when her mother (Lalita Pawar) tricked her beloved, Deepak (V. Shantaram), into leaving town without her.  (Deepak had to leave town to undergo a special medical treatment to cure his vision, and Saloni’s mother has been trying to break up the love affair because she is afraid that it will tarnish the family’s name – ah, yes, a classic old Hindi film!)

In my opinion, Lata Mangeshkar’s voice is as beautiful in this song as in almost any other from the early Golden Age; it’s right up there in my top ten or so with her best songs Mahal, Baiju Bawra, Barsaat, and Madhosh.

By the way, I was delighted to see a blog post by Gulab (who recently commented here) in which this song was paired up with one of my favorite Noor Jehan songs, “Dil Ka Diya Jalaiya,” from Koel (1959), with music by Khurshid Anwar.  Unfortunately, the copy of that song in Gulab’s blog was removed, but there’s a great copy that I’ve referred to myself a couple of times, over here.

But getting back to the story now… Deepak was tricked into going for the eye surgery without Saloni when a former maid’s daughter, Kishori (Sandhya), was persuaded to go with him instead. (Actually, from what I understand, Kishori’s mother was closer to Saloni than just a maid, because she was sort of her guardian – I think it’s one of those strange relationships that happen in rich households.) Since Kishori’s voice sounds just like Saloni’s, Saloni’s mother and her advisers are counting on the idea that Deepak will be fooled into thinking that Kishori is Saloni (which does work for a while).  Kishori promised Saloni that she’d tell Deepak the truth after his eyesight is restored – i.e., that she is not Saloni – but now she’s in love with him too, so she leads him on for a while longer.  His dil tells him that something’s not right, but she tries to persuade him for some time with some song and dance. When Deepak sings too, this means one of a couple of beautiful duets between Lata Mangeshkar and Talat Mahmood.

But Deepak eventually sees the truth in a dream, which means another very nice duet between Lata and Talat.  (And as you can hear yourself, Saloni and Kishori’s voices both do sound the same!)

Now, that song may seem very sweet and blissful, but in the film, the dream sequence turns out to be tragically prophetic because of what Deepak eventually discovers when he stumbles upon this setting later on, after some very bad things have happened.  (Not to spoil anything, but what does it tell you when a woman descends from the sky and she’s looking very ethereal and is dressed all in white?)

But I’m going to make this post a little different from the film and end it on an upbeat note – with this great dance (by an actress-dancer whom I don’t think I know – it’s not Sandhya…) and more great vocals by Lata.

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