“O HASEENA ZULFONWALI”BY MOHD.RAFI & ASHA,M:R.D BURMAN-“TEESRI MANZIL 1966”

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This is one of late Mohammad Rafi’s songs that makes me just go crazy! This song also features singer Asha Bhonsle. Among female singers I love Ashaji. Since she has sung this song with Rafi Sahab, it becomes an added incentive for me. Not only that the content of the movie is appealing for me since it is a musical thriller. I love thrillers in novel form and movies. This movie is an all-time favorite of mine. And I happen to personally know and have interviewed that Anglo-Indian girl Edwina Violette, whose zulfen (hair) were shown in the beginning of the song. She is almost my Mom’s age now.

Movie: This song is featured in the 1966 movie Teesri Manzil (Third Floor). This late Nasir Hussain produced musical thriller has been directed by late Vijay Anand (late Dev Anand’s brother). This hit movie had as its cast late Shammi Kapoor, Asha Parekh,Helen, Laxmi Chhaya, late Premnath, Prem Chopra, late K. N. Singh, late Iftekharand Salim Khan.

Sunita (Asha Parekh) lives with her father in a posh neighborhood in Delhi. She lost her mother quite some time back. One year back her older sister, Roopa had committed suicide in Dehradun and Sunita wants to avenge it. She thinks that a drummer Rocky is responsible for her sister’s death. En route to Dehradun, she meets an appealing but playful young man Anil (Shammi Kapoor). Anil is attracted by Sunita’s beauty and character and decides to follow her.

Anil is actually Rocky. By now Anil has got to know that Sunita has come to avenge her sister’s death. He wants to tell her that he is innocent, but keeps postponing. This song is Anil’s incessant wooing strategy toward Sunita. Salim Khan, who plays Shammi Kapoor’s friend in the movie, pretends to be Rocky in the song and plays the drum.

Song: Music by late R D Burman, lyrics by late Majrooh Sultanpuri are thrilling. This fun-filled song describes the beauty of the hero’s beloved. The drum beats in the beginning helps the song take off to a higher tempo.

The song goes thus: the hero says, “O my beloved, who has such beautiful hair. Your cold piercing eyes are looking for someone’s insignia. Where are you, the light of my life, roaming in the crowd?”

This is the lady’s reply, “I look for that stranger, who is a crazy lover. He is the one who has burned me. I am looking for that moth.”

The moth and the flame are considered lovers in Hindi literature. The moth flies into the flame and dies. But here the lady, who considers herself the flame, has been burnt instead by the moth or her strange beloved.

The lady continues, “My glances are hot and fiery.”

The guy replies, “You might get some relief from my cooling sighs.”

The lady asks, “We might meet on some day at some place along some path.”

The Guy answers, “I am love and I am free of all bonds. I don’t stay at one place.”

The lady asserts, “Even I am the shadows of alleys, sometime here sometime there. By evening my magic takes over and it becomes powerful.”

Video: Cinematography is by N Srinivas and Choreography is by late Herman Benjamin (The video has wrong info that the choreographer is PL Raj).

Shammi Kapoor used to be called the Elvis Presley of India. Mostly he would not follow the choreographer, but dance in a way that would come naturally to him. In the song props or property was used in a very fascinating way. Shammi Kapoor’s entry through the 4-piece rotating glass door below the entrance, which is in the form of an arch, gives a proper boost to the beginning of the song. While he walks towards the camera, the door is still rotating. And when Edwina shakes her head with her back to the camera, her silky hair waves to the rhythm of the song, it looks good.

Large formation of the name Rocky is seen on the stage in front of the people, who are sitting as audience in the hotel. The camera peeps from the gaps in the alphabets of the name and Helen is seen climbing down some steps. One of the extras lying on the word ‘C’ is also attractive. Then Shammi Kapoor rhythmically clicks a spoon on the inner side of a glass tumbler. The word Rocky is soon removed out of the focus of the camera in 2 parts. The dancing chemistry between Helen and Shammi Kapoor is very good. Helen has been dressed up like a Barbie doll and she dances like one.

Helen moving in and out of curtains looks very good. Then the prop in the shape of an eye appears, which looks good with almost real eye-lashes. Shammi Kapoor dances in front of the eye, extra girls shake to the tune of the song while standing on the upper eye-lid and Helen suddenly appears right behind the pupil; these steal the heart. We feel like rewinding the song to watch it again. The choreographer and cinematographer as well as the director have done a good job.

Artists: Singers are late Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle. On screen are late Shammi Kapoor and Helen, with extra artists like Edwina Violette, are dancing to the tune of the song, while Asha Parekh looks on.

Cultural Influence: The shakes and twists in the song are very infectious and addictive. It will make anyone dance to its tune may they be 1960s born or millennium children.

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