MERE DESH PREMIYON AAPAS MEIN – RAFI – LAKSHMIKANT-PYARELAL – AMITABH BACHCHAN | DESH PREMEE (1982)

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Mohammad Rafi was a great Muslim, but sang many Bhajans, typically Hindu renditions. He has sung not only this patriotic song but also many others very convincingly. He was a truly secular Indian. This was the last song he sang for Manmohan Desai, before he expired. 🙁
Movie: This song appears in the 1982 movie Desh Premee (The Patriot) produced by Subhash Desai and directed by late Manmohan Desai. The movie is dedicated to actor Uttam Kumar and singer Mohammad Rafi, both expired 2 years before the movie was released. Uttam Kumar was among the star-cast of the movie and Rafi Sahab sang this song, which is the title song. The star-cast included Amitabh Bachchan, Hema Malini, Sharmila Tagore, late Parveen Babi, late Navin Nischol, late Amjad Khan, late Shammi Kapoor, late Premnath, late Uttam Kumar and Parikshit Sahni.
Master Dinanath (Amitabh Bachchan), a freedom fighter, had participated in the struggle against the British in 1942. After the independence was won in 1947, people’s love for the country diminished and they were busy betraying it. One example was the former British landlord Thakur Pratap Singh (Amjad Khan). Master Dinanath, having found out about Thakur Pratap Singh’s nefarious activities like smuggling of weapons and ammunition, gets him arrested.
As a revenge for putting him into prison, Thakur Pratap Singh asks his partner Sher Singh (Kader Khan) to kidnap Master Dinanath’s wife Bharti (Sharmila Tagore) and young daughter Priti, so that Master Dinanath begins to support them. But that does not happen. Thakur also convinces the villagers against Master Dinanath that he was betraying the country. Provoked villagers attack his home and Master Dinanath and his young son Raju are compelled to flee the place.
His wife contracts leprosy and escapes Sher Singh after leaving Priti with a reliable friend. Master Dinanath is told that his wife and daughter are perhaps dead when they find her necklace near the train tracks. Though devastated by the loss of his wife and daughter, Master Dinanath and his son move on with their lives. They try to settle in a shanty town called Bharat Nagar, divided into 4 sections having a don ruling each one from different backgrounds – Muslim (Parikshit Sahni), South Indian (Premnath), Bengali (Uttam Kumar) and Punjabi (Shammi Kapoor). Everybody loves their own section. Only Master Dinanath thinks himself as an Indian. One day, all the 4 dons are about to fight with each other. Master Dinanath tries to intervene and gets hurt in the process. That is when he sings this song.
Song: The music of this song was composed by Lakshmikant-Pyarelal and the lyrics were penned by Anand Bakshi.
The man says, “Break the sticks of hatred. Drop the knife of greed. Don’t run behind stubbornness. You are the birds of love. Patriots, love each other. Don’t poison this sweet water. Whenever you say something, you think about it and then say. The wounds from bullets heal. But wounds from spiteful words don’t heal so well. Utter some sweet words. Look, this earth is our mother. Think how we are related then. If we fight with each other, who will take care of our country? An outsider will come and throw us out of our home. Crazy people, just try to understand. Break the walls of the 4 directions. Don’t obstruct the flow of this fragrant air. East-West-North-South people, I mean, ask this soil; what is its language or religion. Then talk to me.”
Video: Cinematography is by Peter Pereira.
The video begins with Amitabh Bachchan fallen on the ground with broken eyeglasses. The place is the water-collecting area, common for all the 4 communities living there. Shammi Kapoor, Uttam Kumar, Premnath and Parikshit Sahni are fighting with each other with the help of long sticks.
Amitabh Bachchan sings to convince people while playing a tin container, which propels the song further. There is a large crowd watching them. While Shammi Kapoor and Uttam Kumar are fighting, Amitabh Bachchan tries to stop them. He holds the sticks in such a way that the 2 fighters cannot hit each other. But both of them push Amitabh Bachchan towards the water taps so that he hits his head on the concrete. He is hurt on his head.
Children are first prompted to sing the song. Women from the crowd come forward to dance in the interim music. 4 women representing the 4 divisions of India – North, South, East and West are brought together by Amitabh Bachchan. Uttam Kumar pulls his wife away from the place. Amitabh Bachchan stops him. Then Amitabh Bachchan picks up the mud and sings about the religion/language of the mud. He takes away the sticks from the 4 men and the 4 ladies begin to dance with each other. The 4 men hug each other. Thus ends the video.
Artists: The playback singer is Mohammad Rafi with chorus and Amitabh Bachchan has lip-synced to the song, while Shammi Kapoor, Uttam Kumar, Premnath and Parikshit Sahni look on.
Cultural Influence: There are many religions in India. This song aims at their unification. This may pertain to any country for that matter, in these cosmopolitan times. The song is worth seeing several times.

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