MACHALTI AARZOO KHADI BAHEN PASARE – LATA – SALIL CHAUDHURY – NANDA | USNE KAHA THA (1960)

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Movie: This song appears in the 1960 drama Usne Kaha Tha (She told me) directed by Moni Bhattacharjee (debut) and produced by Bimal Roy. The movie starred late Sunil Dutt, late Nanda, Indrani Mukherjee (debut), late Tarun Bose, late Durga Khote, etc. The plot of the movie was based on the short story of the same name by Chandradhar Sharma, published in 1915 in Saraswati magazine.
Nandu stays with his widowed mother in a small town. He behaves in a friendly way with a girl living nearby called Kamli. One day, Kamli’s father falls ill and her family relocates to a larger town, Ambala. Some years later Kamli’s father expires and the mother-daughter return to this town. Nandu (Sunil Dutt) is a young man now. And Kamli (Nanda) is a beautiful young girl. They fall in love with each other. It is around this time that Kamli sings this song.
Song: The lyrics of this song were penned by Shailendra and the music was composed by Salil Chaudhury.
The girl says, “Playful desires are standing with open arms. O Beloved, my heart beats call you. Please come. My heart holds my dupatta and says let’s meet hidden from the prying eyes of the world. It is here in solitude that our hearts will blossom. I think of the times we will meet and wait for you, O beloved. It is like garden waits for the spring.”
She describes her waiting for her beloved in so many words.
Video: The cinematographer was Dilip Gupta.
In the first shot of the video, clouds are shown. Nanda is seen climbing the steps on the bank of a river in the rhythm of the song. She is wearing a very simple Salwar Kameez. She is also wearing some simple jewelry. She looks like the image of simplicity. With the slight breeze blowing, she runs holding her dupatta in her hand in tune with the song.
Nanda, being a versatile artist, is enjoying the opportunity given to her in the form of this song. She then dances in between 2 hay-stalks. Soon she is seen on a swing tied to a tree branch. Then she gets off the swing and stands near a large tree. Thus ends the video.
Artists: The playback was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and onscreen performance is by Nanda.
Cultural Influence: During those times, when this movie was released, at least in 30% of the movies showed one song or a few scenes with someone or the other on a swing tied to a large tree. Actually in India, the swing used to have a lot of cultural significance particularly in the North, in the month of Shravan (July-August). There is a festival called Teej, which occurs on the 3rd day after the New Moon. On that day, ladies wear henna on their hands and feet. They dress up well and perform Shiv pooja in the morning. In the afternoon, ladies get together and play on the swing while singing different songs.

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