Dekhi Hazaron mehfilen – Rafi/Asha – R D Burman | Nauker (1979)

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Movie: This song appeared in 1979 comic family flick Nauker (Servant) produced by Ismail Memon and Govindram Ahuja and directed by Ismail Memon under the banner of Ismail Films. The movie starred late Sanjeev Kumar, Jaya Bhaduri, late Mahmood, late Lalita Pawar, Yogita Bali, late Manmohan Krishna, Meena T, Madhu Malini, Baby Nishat, Jalal Agha, etc.

Amar (Sanjeev Kumar), a rich widower with a young daughter (Baby Nishat), lives with his servant Dayal (Mahmood), in Bhopal. Fed up of being pestered by his sister and brother-in-law (Anwar Hussain), at least for the sake of his daughter, who needed the love of a mother, Amar reluctantly agrees to marry. They decide to select between the Bombay-based (Mumbai now) sisters Shobha (Madhu Malini) and Sheela (Meena T).

They are unknown to Amar, so he is not sure if they were the right choice. Thus, they decide to visit them in Bombay, but he decides to test them. Amar visits them as Dayal and Dayal as Amar. Disguise? Yes. When they reach the home of the prospective brides, Durga (Lalita Pawar), the arrogant and abusive mother of the 2 girls shows a biased attitude toward Dayal, thinking that he is the prospective groom, for everything including quarters and food.

In no time, Amar (the real one) gets attracted to the maid of the house Geeta (Jaya Bhaduri). She is even kind and protective towards his little daughter. But, because of his farcical situation, he is unable to reveal himself or openly propose to her. He is the silent spectator of Durga’s tortures of Geeta.

Soon, the family celebrates the 25th wedding anniversary of Durga and her husband (Manmohan Krishna), during which a qawwali singer (Yogita Bali) is invited to sing. Dayal in the guise of Amar joins the qawwali singer in this song.

Song: The music of this song was composed by R D Burman and lyrics were penned by Majrooh Sultanpuri.

The gist of the song is that the singers have seen several get-togethers or parties, but this environment is different.

Video: Director of Photography D C Mehta and Cinematography by Nooruddin.

The video opens with Yogita Bali beginning the song. Manmohan Krishna and Lalita Pawar are seen enjoying the song. Close-up shots of Jaya Bhaduri, Sanjeev Kumar and Jalal Agha are shown. Meena T and Madhu Malini are seen seated with Mahmood in the middle. The girls sitting behind Yogita Bali are playing some musical instruments and some girls are dancing with her.

Madhu Malini moves closer to Mahmood. He shifts a little toward Meena T. Meena T also shifts uncomfortably. Sanjeev Kumar suggests to Madhu Malini to send Mahmood to the stage to sing with the qawwali singer and naughtily gets his friend into trouble. Sanjeev Kumar gestures Meena T also to tell him to go on to the stage. With Sanjeev Kumar giving a push and the 2 girls pulling him together, Mahmood ascends the stage.

The 2 girls, making sure that he does not leave the stage, sit with him on either of his sides. Mahmood takes over the song. Sanjeev Kumar smiles at the situation. Mahmood places his hand on Meena T’s ear and performs the alaap. She removes the hand and places it on his lap. Then, he places the other hand on Madhu Malini’s ear. She lets him perform the alaap and then takes the hand to place it on his thigh.

The video ends with the close-up shot of Mahmood.

Artists: The playback singers are Asha Bhonsle and Mohammad Rafi. Onscreen performances have been given by Yogita Bali, Mahmood, Madhu Malini, Meena T, Sanjeev Kumar, Jaya Bhaduri, Manmohan Krishna, Lalita Pawar and Jalal Agha.

Cultural Influence: Qawwali is a typical Sufi devotional song popular in South Asia. Bollywood has adapted it to suit even romantic situations in movies. Thus, it has often been sung as a party song. The song and the artists are good. The video is watchable when our mood permits.

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