MERE SAPNO KI RANI – ARADHANA – RAJESH KHANNA & SHARMILA TAGORE

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Mere sapnon ki Rani… is a beautiful song from the 1969 movie Aradhana (Worship).Though I am a Mohammad Rafi fan, I also like late Kishore Kumar’s voice and his songs. This is one of my favorite songs sung by this legend.

Movie: Produced and directed by late Shakti Samanta, this movie stars the first Indian superstar late Rajesh Khanna, Sharmila Tagore, late Sujit Kumar, Pahadi Sanyal, late Abhi Bhattacharya, late Madan Puri, late Asit Sen, Farida Jalal, etc. in pivotal roles. The movie is loosely based on Olivia de Haviland’s To Each His Own (1946), which fetched her Academy Award for Best Actress.

The song, Mere sapnon ki Rani… is placed in the beginning of the movie. During the titles, a murder case is being heard in a court and a white-sari-wearing Vandana (Sharmila Tagore) is the accused. Vandana is sentenced to life imprisonment and she is brought to the jail. When she enters her cell, she remembers how she met Indian Air Force Officer Arun Varma (Rajesh Khanna) for the first time and these remembrances flash back to her like the memories of a bygone era.

In a tranquil and heavenly setting of a mountainous region, Arun sings this song sitting in an open jeep with his co-pilot Madan (Sujit Kumar). Vandana is the daughter of a doctor, Gopal Tripathi and is traveling in a mini train. She keeps throwing stealthy glances at Arun demurely.

Song: Lyrics of the song have been written by late Anand Bakshi and music composed by late S D Burman.

The song goes thus, “O my Dream Girl, when will you come to me? The beautiful season (of romance) has come, when will you come? My life is getting over, when will you come? Come, do come. The lanes of love, the buds in the gardens, all the fun activities are asking when you will sing songs on the bank of river.”

The part about singing of songs on the bank of a river alludes to Lord Krishna’s ras leelas. Radha and the Gopis would go to the river Jamuna to fill water in their mud pots. At that time they would sing songs and Lord Krishna would watch and enjoy that. Often he would throw stones and break the mud pots filled with water so that the ladies would be drenched in the water.

The song continues, “Blossom like a flower and come close to my heart. I don’t feel contented by just looking at you from afar. Till when will you make me suffer? Who knows, there is no guarantee about my romantic heart? What if it falls for someone else? If this happens, you will regret much.”

Video: During the shooting of this song, Sharmila Tagore was busy with a Bengali movie, which was more important to her, so she could not be present for the shooting of the song. Therefore, Shakti Samanta took the shots with Rajesh Khanna and Sujit Kumar only at that time and shot Sharmila Tagore later and mixed the 2 parts together.

The cinematographer has picturized the song very beautifully in an idyllic natural setting. At the beginning of the song, the camera pans from the top of the hill focusing on the mini train. The train and the jeep moving through the mountain path look very beautiful. The camera focusing into the train where Sharmila is reading a book and then is distracted by the song looks good.

Rajesh Khanna moving his head with the cap in his own style is every entertaining. Sujit Kumar driving the jeep and at the same time playing the mouth organ also looks good. The responses that Sharmila gives to Rajesh’s song needs to be appreciated because these 2 sequences were recorded at 2 different times and added together while mixing. We appreciate the acting abilities of artists. But these 2 artists have taken acting itself to a different level.

The scenic beauty in which the song has been picturized is soothing to the eye. To sum up we feel like repeating the video 2-3 times and we feel like we are traveling with them.

Artists: Playback song is sung by Kishore Kumar. On-screen Rajesh Khanna sings the song, while Sujit Kumar and Sharmila Tagore look on.

Cultural Influence: This scene, where a boy meets girl while singing a song in an open jeep synchronized with the moving mini train, cannot happen in real life. But the song depicts the inner feelings and desires of a bachelor boy and a girl’s responses to the same. Of course, orthodox people will not accept this. Also the scantily filled train is a cinematic liberty Shakti Shamanta has taken. If it had really happened, there would have been as many comments as there would have been many people. Usually, elderly people talk a lot when they see young people flirting, while traveling in trains. They pass time gossiping about it till they reach their destination. When a song is thrown in, they will have a lot more to say about it.

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