O BABUL PYARE – LATA – KALYANJI-ANANDJI – HEMA MALINI | JOHNY MERA NAAM (1970)

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This song represents girl’s longing for her long-lost father.

Movie: This song is featured in the 1970 hit crime thriller Johny Mera Naam (My Name is Johny), produced by Gulshan Rai and directed by Vijay Anand. The movie starred late Dev Anand, Hema Malini, late Pran, late Jeevan, late Premnath, late I S Johar, late Sajjan and late Iftekar. The movie is considered to be one of the most important movies in Dev Anand’s career.

Vijay Anand bagged the Best Screenplay Award at the 18th Filmfare Awards and I S Johar won his first award for the Best Performance in a Comic Role. He played the triple role of a steward on a place, a gangster and a police officer in the movie.

The movie was remade in Tamil as Raja with Sivaji Ganesan, as Eduruleni Manishi with N T Rama Rao in Telugu and Apoorva Sangama with Dr. Rajkumar in Kannada.

Infamous smuggler and gangster Heeralal (Jeevan), arrested by the Bombay (Mumbai now) Police, is held in a cell. In the next cell, there is another gangster Johny (Dev Anand). Heeralal confides in Johny and asks him to contact a woman called Rekha (Hema Malini), who is in receipt of some smuggled diamonds. Johny meets Rekha and a man called Moti (Pran) to successfully elude the police and take the diamonds to Kathmandu, Nepal. By now, Johny and Rekha are in love with each other.

Johny comes to know of the fact that Rekha’s long lost father Rai Sahab Bhupinder Singh (Sajjan) is missing and might still be alive. Heera finally comes out of jail and informs Moti and their boss Bhupinder Singh (Premnath) that Johny is actually a CBI officer and he knows about their nefarious activities. It is during this time that Rekha finds out where her father lives and arrives to see him.

It is at this time that this song appears in the movie.

Song: The music composer of this song was Kalyanji-Anandji and the lyrics were penned by Indeewar.

The girl addresses her father and says, “O my father, my anklets are crying for you. I sob often while longing for you. My heart calls you every day. My childhood was spent in your arms and I bloomed. Then a storm broke the bud from the branch of the tree. The garden also got destroyed without the gardener. How will this unfortunate girl become a married woman? Who will get her married to her would-be husband? How will your daughter become the bride? How did Janak reject his own daughter Sita? The daughter is wandering in the streets and the mother is deep in sorrow. We are longing to see you once.”

When the girl says that her anklets are crying, it means that she herself is crying and longing for her father. Then the father is symbolically considered as the gardener and their family as a garden. In India, there are several rituals during a traditional Hindu marriage that needs to be done by the bride’s father. One of them is taking her to the doli or palanquin.

Janak is the father of Sita in the Hindu epic Ramayan. Here the reference is made to that relationship. Also, the reference to the daughter wandering is that the girl is wandering about in different places looking for her father and her mother can only cry in her sorrow.

Video: Cinematography is by Fali Mistry.

The video opens on a clearing in the forest. Hema Malini begins to dance with extra artists on a muddy ground. There is a mansion also nearby. Sajjan suddenly hears this song. He realizes that it is his daughter, who has come looking for him. He tries to look at her from available outlets. But he cannot find anything because he is a prisoner.

She remembers her childhood and sings about it. He remembers everything. But both cannot do anything because both are powerless. The video ends with her lamenting for her father and he is also in a helpless condition. Premnath is agitated that Hema Malini has found his den. Padma Khanna looks on.

Artists: The playback singer is Lata Mangeshkar and the onscreen performance is by Hema Malini. Premnath and Padma Khanna look on while Sajjan tries to take a peek.

Cultural Influence: The video can be watched for Hema Malini’s beauty, her tribal dress and the melody of the song.

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