Meri jaan balle balle – Rafi/Asha – O P Nayyar – Shammi Kapoor/Sharmila Tagore | Kashmir ki Kali (1964)

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This song is the combined effort from my beloved singers late Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle. Besides, it is a typical Bhangra from the house of one of my other favorites late O P Nayyar. Thus it has the pride of place in the list of my favorite songs.

Movie: This song occurs in the hit 1964 movie Kashmir Ki Kali (Bud of Kashmir) directed and produced by Shakti Samanta under the banner of Shakti Films. The movie starred late Shammi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, late Anoop Kumar, late Nazir Hussain, late Pran, late Dhumal, etc.

Rich, pampered brat Rajiv Lal (Shammi Kapoor), the only son of Rani Maa, leaves home to avoid being shown girls for marriage. He goes straight to their bungalow in Kashmir since his mother does not go there at all. When he reaches Kashmir, he realizes that his estate manager Bholaram (Dhumal) has made their bungalow into a hotel. He has also rented out some rooms for the season. Though Rani Maa has told Bholaram not to let Rajiv stay there, Rajiv convinces him to tell his mother that he is not in the bungalow. Bholaram tells the guests that Rajiv is mad and is under the impression that he is the actual owner of the estate.

Next day, Rajiv meets Champa (Sharmila Tagore), a flower girl. This is their second meeting. He buys her Rs.5 worth of flowers at Rs.20 and tells her that he is the driver and not the owner. A few misadventures later, they fall in love and decide to marry. However, they do not know that there are some obstacles. The first obstacle is the wood contractor Mohan (Pran), who had loaned some money to Champa’s father, Dinu (Nazir Hussain) and wants to marry Champa, in the eventuality of Dinu not paying back the loan. One day, Mohan escorts Champa and her friends to a fair. Rajiv and his friend Chander (Anoop Kumar) join the group disguised as a Pathan couple. At the fair, Rajiv changes his dress and sings this song to dance with Champa.

Song: The music of this song was composed by O P Nayyar and the lyrics were penned by S H Bihari.

The Bhangra song glorifies love. These feelings are new for the man and the girl at this moment.

Video: Cinematography is by V N Reddy. Dance choreography is by Surya Kumar.

The video opens with a man playing a large drum. The music proper begins. Some dancers also begin to dance. The men are wearing the typical Punjabi folk dresses while the girls are wearing Kashmiri dresses. I wonder how a Punjabi folk dance is being performed in a Kashmiri setting. Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore are running toward the dancing area of the fair. Shammi Kapoor is wearing a burkha.

They spy Punjabi folk dresses being sold in the fair. Shammi Kapoor has on him a typically Punjabi folk dress now. He is wearing mustache and beard so that he cannot be recognized. He and Sharmila Tagore run into the dance area and begin to dance. Shammi Kapoor has already begun singing the song. He performs even Bhangra in his patent style.

As the dancers clap, the song is propelled forward. Pran enters the dancing area looking for Sharmila Tagore. Shammi Kapoor pulls Pran into the dance treating him like his beloved. Pran leaves the dancing area a trifle irritated. But, somehow, he does not see Sharmila Tagore. I wonder how. The song reaches a crescendo with the dancers clapping hands continuously.

The lead pair sings the alaap and the typical sounds of the Bhangra dance are heard. The video ends with the sound of the drum like it began.

Artists: The playback singers are Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle. Onscreen performances are by Shammi Kapoor and Sharmila Tagore.

Cultural Influence: This song is composed by O P Nayyar Sahab in a typical Bhangra tune. Bhangra is a Punjabi folk dance. The song and the artists are good. The video is watchable several times.

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