12 comments on “A Superbly Acted, Beautifully Filmed, and Gorgeously Scored Ten-Hanky Weep Fest

  1. Interesting, I didn’t realize Chhode Babul Ka Ghar was truncated in the movie version I had. It goes on for another full minute. Thanks for pointing it out. I’m afraid I have no real excuse for not uploading the sad version other than after chopping up the movie into pieces for upload and preparing 10 songs from the movie (11, counting 2 songs performed consecutively, as in the movie), I was tired of all the work. That and I generally prefer the upbeat songs. Thanks also for the review of this fine film.

  2. According to the bhakti poets, who lean towards sufism, the real Babul (parent/parent’s home) is God. So in a way, Nargis really goes off to her Babul’s home at the end.

    I saw this movie years ago, am remember parts of it, the end was unforgettable.

    I like the songs of Uran Khatola much much more, but as you say, Nargis-Dilip-Munnawar combo is better, acting wise.

    Tommydan333 – Nice!

  3. You’re welcome, Tom. The version I have on the soundtrack is more than three minutes long (and is limited to the “happy” version), so I also wondered if the song was truncated in that particular copy of the movie. I also considered that the album soundtrack version combined the different instances of the “happy” version, or that the song itself was split in the film but sort of put back together in the soundtrack. :)

    And you’re welcome re. my reviewing it, too – actually, after I saw this film, I had to review it, as a favor to myself!

    Ava, thanks for the information about the bhakti poets – their ideas and the sufis’ are so interesting! And you are very right about the end being unforgettable.

    It’s interesting that you prefer the Uran Khatola soundtrack so much. I don’t have an independent copy of the Uran Khatola soundtrack to listen to, so I haven’t had as much exposure to it yet. Maybe I would feel the same if it grew on me the way the Babul soundtrack had a chance to grow.

    I am trying to think of what the main differences between the soundtracks are… Maybe I’ll go listen to the Uran Khatola soundtrack a little more. The biggest difference I can think of right now is that the Uran Khatola soundtrack has a lot more Lata and Rafi and the Babul soundtrack has more Shamshad Begum and Talat Mehmood. Of course, Uran Khatola came out five years later; that’s probably the main reason for that.

  4. I find the Uran Khatola songs much more passionate and lyrical.

    As singers, I prefer Talat/Shamshad to Rafi/Lata, but I am looking at the songs in its entirety, music, lyrics and singing.

    Na Toofan se khelo, na sahil se khelo
    mere pass aao, mere dil se khelo

    Don’t play with the storm (the mid-ocean), don’t play with the river banks,

    Come close to me, play with my heart.

    Sitaron ki mehfil saji tum na aaye,
    tumhe hamne aawaz di, sajna
    magar tum na aaye

    The stars decorate the sky, but you did not come,
    I called out to you my beloved
    But you did not come.

    Very poetic!

  5. Babul! The very name sounds so tragic! I have seen this as a kid, but can’t remember anything about it except for its splendid music by Naushad.
    It is on songs of Babul that I grew up on. I was born twenty years afterwards, but somehow these were the songs that really formed those years than the contemporary ones.
    Moreover it is always funny to watch Nargis dance. Poor thing, she didn’t inherit those dancing genes from her mother (or did she only sing?).
    I don’t really have a great wish to watch this movie, but your write-up is highly seductive!

  6. My favorite song, at least the one I listen to often, is ‘milte hu ankhen…’. I have this impression that some of the women singers’ voices were metallic those days. Then they changed to more smooth ones and for a time to somewhat shrill ones. Was there some change in fashions, attitudes etc or is it just my impression?

  7. Ha! Richard, one swipe at me and my continued belief that Awara had the first ‘song’ dream sequence. :) I remember seeing Babul a long time ago, and wanting to smack Nargis. (Much like I always want to smack poor Nimmi for gloaming around after men who haven’t shown the slightest interest in her!) I agree with you, both about the songs, and about Dilip – he was so intense in this film.

    But like Ava, I must admit to preferring some of the songs in Udan Khatola to some of the songs in Babul.

    I laughed so much at ‘the ten-hanky weep fest’. It’s such an apt description of this film.

    @harvey – LOL at Nargis not inheriting dancing genes – but then, I don’t think she had any dancing genes to inherit.

  8. So, I see Ava and Anu agreeing that the Uran Khatola songs are better at least sometimes and Harvey talking about how significant the Babul songs were to him. Well, I’ll have to spend more time on this comparison to make any decision myself. Maybe I should find some place where I can get the Uran Khatola soundtrack to listen to on the portable player too.

    Ava, some of the Babul song lines seemed pretty poetic to me too, but being that I am very Hindi challenged, I don’t know if I can even make those comparisons the way you can, because I have to depend on subtitles. Your translations do make the songs look good… I like “The stars decorate the sky, but you did not come.” Meanwhile, my DVD subs read, “The stars are shining bright and you haven’t turned up.” I am going to have to keep making time to study my “Learn Hindi” books, no matter busy I am, so that I don’t always have to depend on these things. :)

    Harvey, thanks for the comment about my writing being “seductive.” :) Regarding Nargis and her dancing – or non-dancing, yes, indeed. But I think her mother, Jaddan Bai, was just famous for her singing; I haven’t seen any comment anywhere about her dancing, though I guess that was supposed to be part of her trade.

    Anu, I wasn’t just “taking a swipe” at you for the idea that Awara had the first dream sequence (song) and, actually, I’d forgotten that it was you who’d said that in a conversation somewhere sometime back. I just happened to pick up the Shemaroo DVD of Awara (somebody in Jackson Heights sold it to me for one dollar!), and it says in the copy on the back of the case, “The first dream sequence in Hindi cinema…” Of course, I’ve also already pointed out a dream sequence from the mid ’40s, from a song in the 1945 or ’47 version of Meera :) … So anyway, I don’t blame you for this myth. I think Harvey’s right and it’s the fault of RK’s publicists for spreading this false information (which would eventually be picked up by Shemaroo, etc.).

    Moving along, I am very happy to see that you liked my description, the “ten-hanky weep fest.” And agreed about Dilip’s intensity… However, I had no desire to smack Nargis in this film or Nimmi in Uran Khatola. From a male perspective, there were moments when I wanted to smack Dilip out of jealousy (the Jeevan Reaction), but not really, because I knew he would be very miserable at the end. Though for some reason, I would prefer to be pined after by Nimmi in any of these Golden Age films than by Nargis. (Actually, I know the reason – it’s all about their looks, sorry if that’s a bit shallow.)

  9. Swarup, yes, “Milte Hi Ankhen Dil” was good too. Since I left it out of the post, here it is:

    By the way, the female singer in most of the songs here is Shamshad Begum. Do you think she sounds “metallic”? That’s interesting; I haven’t heard that before. I consider the ’40s and early ’50s to be a time when the female singers were very diverse. Then Lata took over… I think that’s where a fashion for “shrillness” might have started. Though that’s not to slight Lata, who was really great when she was at her best, back in the day.

  10. Richard,
    Thanks. Bhanumati also sounds metallic to me. For me, the sweet voices are those of Rao Balasaraswati Devi and Geeta Roy. I did not mean that others are not attractive voices, I just used metallic for lack of a suitable word.
    I think Jaddanbai must have danced some since it was part of the traditional baijee’s profession. There is one reference of her refusal to dance

    http://writtenencounters.blogspot.com.au/2006/02/memories-of-old-bollywood.html
    Thanks again.
    Swarup

  11. LOL When I first read the title of the post I thought you had listed 10 very sad songs and called it a ’10 hanky weep fest’.

    It turned out to be Babul and yes, the review, all about Dilip’s excellent acting, the music and the cinematography has been so compelling as to make me want to watch it as soon as possible.

    As for the songs, well I love ‘mera salaam leja’ so much that my vote would naturally go to Uran khatola songs though these are equally good. Lets say they belong to a different category.

    Thanks for the review.

  12. Swarup, thanks for the link. Yes, dancing was part of Jaddan Bai’s profession, but I gather that it was not the source of her fame, as only her singing was. In the article you referred to at Moments of Tranquility (which I should visit more often, via the link in my side bar :) ), it said that she refused to dance on a moving platform. I am not sure if that indicated a refusal to dance altogether. I imagine, though, that once she became so famous for her singing, she didn’t really have to dance at all if she didn’t want to.

    Pacifist, you are welcome, and thank you for the nice words about this review. The song that might make me consider that maybe the soundtrack to Uran Khatola is better is the one I posted before, “O Door Ke Musafir.” I admit, I wouldn’t have thought of “Mera Salam Leja,” but, yes, that certainly is a nice one, and a fun scene.

    I like the idea of ultimately putting these soundtracks in different categories.

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