SABSE BADA TERA NAAM – SUHAAG (1979) – ARUNKUMARPHULWARIA

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My Mom has inculcated in us devotion towards the Mother Goddress Durga through the typically South Indian way of celebrating Navaratri festival every year. This song is an obeisance to the Goddess. I love the song and the way it has been picturized.

Movie: The song is placed in the 1979 movie Suhag, produced by Rajinder Kumar Sharma, Ramesh Sharma, Shakti Subhash Sharma and Prakash Trehan and directed by Manmohan Desai. The cast is led by Amitabh Bachchan, Shashi Kapoor, Rekha, late Parveen Babi, late Nirupa Roy and late Amjad Khan. The movie is one of Manmohan Desai’s movies with the typical lost and found formula.

Durga (Nirupa Roy) and Vikram Kapoor (Amjad Khan), having been married for many years, the man is a big criminal and has picked up enmity with a rival gangster Jaggi. When Durga gives birth to twins, Jaggi picks up one of the infants without the knowledge of their parents and sells him to Pascal, who deals with illegal goods. The mother is upset and is devastated as the father abandons her.

Overcoming a lot of difficulties she brings up her son Kishan (Shashi kapoor), who becomes an honest and dedicated police officer. Durga has all but given up finding the other child. In the meantime, Pascal has oppressed and demoralized the other boy, Amit (Amitabh Bachchan). Pascal has made Amit remain illiterate and made him a petty criminal and alcoholic. During the course of his work, Kishan meets Amit, as a criminal, they confront each other but eventually settle their differences. They actually become good friends. Vikram does not know that his 2 sons and wife are alive.

Amit builds a Durga temple and most of the money required is given by Vikram in return for Amit killing Kishan during Navaratri festival at his Maa Sherawali temple. Amit is in jeopardy but informs Kishan about it. So Kishan keeps a lookout for Vikram with other police officers.

The song, which is placed at this juncture in the movie, depicts Amit’s difficulty.

Song: Music is by Lakshmikant-Pyarelal and the lyrics written by Anand Bakshi. The song is dance-worthy and we can’t stop ourselves from shaking a leg.

The song requests the Mother, “Please save us from the jaws of death, O Mother Bhavani. Hey, Your name is the biggest one in the whole cosmos. O One with Tigers, One with temples in high mountains. Please make our work successful, which is a failure right now. Hard times are upon us and we are facing a calamity. Please show us the right path. Our enemies are blocking our path. My life has become a battle.”

The song continues, “You save Your devotees from bad people and ensure that the flame of the lamp, which is going to die, remains alive. You become the near and dear one of those, who have no one in their life. All the 3 worlds offer obeisance to you.”

Here the 3 worlds mean the heaven, the earth and the netherworld. Amitabh Bachchan then prays to the Mother, “You are the one who takes and gives lives. I sing your praises, please give me this gift. My intension should be fulfilled, bless me. Your strength is such that even the weak will attain power. My boat is within a whirlpool in the river, please take it to the bank. Whom should I sacrifice, so that You are pleased. The enemies shake with fear when You get angry.”

Video: The cinematographer is V Durga Prasad and he has done a good job of it.

The temple is of typically North Indian of Amba Mata. Temple set is amazingly beautiful. The extra male dancers enter the temple playing the cymbals. The girls also enter with dandia (sticks). Then Amitabh Bachchan typically dressed in Gujarati Garba dress enters the temple. He offers obeisance to the Devi, whose close-up is shown immediately. The traditionally decked up Devi is very attractive. Staunch devotees will surely look at Her without blinking.

Given the tall and lean figure of the actor, the dance steps where he moves on his knees looks very good. Suddenly Rekha appears in a typically Gujarati Chania choli (dress) and offers obeisance to the Devi. The traditional dance with jumps and stick hitting movements are good. At this moment, Amjad Khan with his henchmen enters wearing a mendicant’s dress. Then Amitabh Bachchan makes a garland of the dandia sticks, placing them around his neck and plays the shehnai (a wind instrument) and Shashi Kapoor with his group of police officials come to the temple.

Choreography is very good. The artists’ synchronization is also good. The extra dancers make different types of formations like one circle in the beginning, then 2 circles and then they perform in 2 separate lines on the borders of the area in the focus of the camera. The hero and heroine playing Garba together, gives a good effect of togetherness. The camera angles with the dandia sticks and the back side of the villains gives a different look to the moment in the song. Cinematographer and the choreographer’s talent are seen very well in this. I love the way Rekha depicts, “Bujhti jyot jagaye.”

At this point in the song, Amitabh Bachchan receives a letter from Amjad Khan asking him to make a sacrifice of Shashi Kapoor’s life to the Goddess and he asks the Goddess, “Whose sacrifice should he make to please Her?” At the end of the song, Rekha feels giddy and falls down. Amitabh Bachchan runs to take care of her.

Artists: Singers are Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle. The actors dancing to the tune are Amitabh Bachchan and Rekha with extra dancers as Shashi Kapoor, Amjad Khan and others look on.

Cultural Influence: This song has been made in the form of the Gujarati Garba, which is danced during Navaratri festival in India. The song is filled with devotion to the Mother Goddess. The dress and the whole ambiance depict the rich culture of India.

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