Aaaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai – Lata Mangeshkar – S D Burman – Waheeda Rehman | Guide (1965)


Dance has been a part of my life since childhood and this song emphasizes the importance of it.

Movie: This song appears in the 1965 hit romantic drama Guide directed by late Vijay Anand and produced by late Dev Anand. The story of the movie takes generously from R K Narayan’s novel The Guide. The movie starred Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, late Leela Chitnis, late Kishore Sahu, late Gajanan Jagirdar, late Anwar Hussain, Rashid Khan, etc. Time magazine listed this movie as the number 4 on its list of Best Classics of Bollywood. A Tad Danielewski directed and produced 120-minute Ameican version was written by Pearl S Buck. The 2007 Cannes Film Festival screened the Hindi movie 42 years after its release.

Raju (Dev Anand) is released from jail. A flashback shows that Raju was a famous freelance guide, earning his living by taking tourists to historic places. One day, a rich aging archeologist Marco (Kishore Sahu) visits the city with his young and beautiful wife Rosie (Waheeda Rehman). Rosie is the daughter of a courtesan. Marco wants to research the caves outside the city and hires Raju as his guide. Marco devotes himself to the discovery of the cave.

In the meanwhile, Raju takes Rosie on a tour of the city, visiting a snake charmer’s community. Rosie dances there enthusiastically till she loses her consciousness. Raju appreciates her dancing ability and innocence. He also learns of her background. Though she has achieved respectability as Marco’s wife, she had to give up dancing for it.

Rosie tries to commit suicide by consuming sleeping pills. Raju takes care of her and she recovers. Marco learns about the incident and returns to the bungalow they have been staying in.

Seeing Rosie alive, Marco is furious and tells her that her act of committing suicide was a farce. If she would have been serious about it, she would have consumed more of those pills and died. Rosie again tries to commit suicide by jumping from the cliff, where the bungalow is located. Raju saves her again.

She gets a pair of heavy anklets from the bazaar to wear them right then. People make fun of her. Then, Rosie asks Raju to take her to Chittor Garh for a tour. The car is not available, so they hitch a ride on a truck filled with hay. It is during this time that she sings this song.

Song: The memorable music of this song was composed by S D Burman and the words with depth were woven together by Shailendra.

The girl sings, “I have pulled the edge of my sari away from thorns. I have broken bonds and tied to my feet light anklets. Don’t stop the flight of my heart. There it goes. Aaaaa. Today again, I desire to live. Today again, I want to die. I am not in control of myself. My heart is somewhere and I am somewhere else. Who knows what my life received and it said laughing, ‘ha ha ha’? I am a whirlwind or a storm. Someone tell me where I am. I fear I might get lost in the travel. The road is new. Aaaaa. Today again, I desire to live. Today again, I want to die. When I moved out of yesterday’s darkness, I looked ahead after rubbing my eyes. Flowers are everywhere. Life is spring. I have decided. Aaaaa. Today again, I desire to live. Today again, I want to die.”

The song, in short, tells us how the girl’s life has been transformed from a dark one. It is also a song of hope for the hapless.

Video: Cinematography is by Fali Mistry.

The video begins with the long shot of a truck containing hay moving on a road. The next shot is a close-up of the back side of the vehicle. Waheeda Rehman and Dev Anand are sitting in it. Waheeda Rehman is wearing a light blue sari, while Dev Anand is wearing a red simple shirt and black trousers.

Waheeda Rehman gestures moving the edge of her sari. Dev Anand is holding the mud pot that Waheeda Rehman picked up in the last scene from a woman, as the truck passed her. Soon, Waheeda Rehman takes the pot, to drop it on the road. It breaks into pieces. As the truck moves ahead, she risks her life to lie upside down on the hay, with her head toward the opening of the truck. She could have slid down to hit the road causing an accident.

As a group of Rajasthanis passes with their camels, she pays one of them a hundred rupee note to let her sit on one of the camels. Dev Anand is exasperated, but follows suit. Suddenly, Dev Anand’s camel is interested in feeding itself on leaves from roadside trees. The other camels have gone ahead. The next shot is a historical site, where Waheeda Rehman is seen dancing on a ledge.

I remember some time ago, I had heard an interview of this veteran actor on radio, where she had mentioned that this sequence was a little difficult for her to perform. This was because she was jumping, dancing and moving forward on a ledge, which had a sheer drop on the side of the camera. She had mentioned in the interview that she was frightened while doing this shot despite reassurances by all the crew. But, it does not show.

While dancing Waheeda Rehman has left her high-heeled shoes somewhere in the ruins. Dev Anand picks them up with a stick he has been carrying around. Dev Anand gestures to her that it is enough. But, she does not seem satisfied still. The video ends with Waheeda Rehman having decided what to do with her life from then on.

Artists: The playback of this song was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and the onscreen performances are by Waheeda Rehman and Dev Anand.

Cultural Influence: A woman frustrated in her marriage meets a guide and her life changes. As a result of that, she is able to overcome the frustration, release her inner feelings and sings happily. It is a must-see video. It can be watched for the lead pair several times.


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