Sathi haath badhana – Rafi/Asha – O P Nayyar – Dilip/Vaijayantimala | Naya Daur (1957)


Today is Labor Day. This one is to celebrate the same.

Movie: This song appeared in 1957 social drama Naya Daur (New Era) produced and directed by B R Chopra under the banner of B R Films. Initially filmed as a black and white movie, the movie was given a color scheme and re-released in 2007. The movie starred Dilip Kumar, Vaijayantimala, late Ajit, late Jeevan, etc. The black and white film was dubbed in Tamil after its initial release as Pattaliyin Sabadam (1958).

The movie is set in the era after the Indian independence, with industrialization slowly creeping in. The story focused on tongawallahs, earning their living by transporting people to their destinations on tongas or horse carts. Soon, the son of a rich landlord Kundan (Jeevan) threatens their livelihood by operating a bus in the town. He begins by heavily subsidizing the tickets so that the tongawallahs are driven out of town and then he intends to make profits.

Shankar (Dilip Kumar) is one of the tongawallahs, who protests against the injustice. Kundan proposes a competition between the tongas and the bus to decide the best service. A race between the vehicles is decided upon. If the bus wins, the tongawallahs would not complain further. If the tonga wins, the bus service would stop. The competition was a joke at the expense of the tongawallahs from the beginning. Shankar, however, accepts the challenge. Everybody is shocked. According to him, he had to attempt this race. Otherwise, they would all be driven to starvation.

The rest of the tongawallahs do not share his hope. They call him foolish. He is left alone. Only, his sweetheart Rajni (Vaijayantimala) supports him. He has to make a new path for the tonga to run during the race. Rajni helps him begin the construction of the rough road. Soon, the others begin to support him one by one. It is at this time that they all sing this song.

Song: The music of this song was scored by O P Nayyar and the lyrics were penned by Sahir Ludhyanvi.

The gist of the song is, “Friend, extend a helping hand. One alone will become tired. It is best to lift the burden together.”

Video: Cinematography is by M Malhotra.

The colored version of the video opens with the blue sky with white cottony clouds. The music has already begun. Dilip Kumar is seen beginning the song with an alaap. Vaijayantimala also joins him in the alaap. Men are seen moving mud from one place to another in small head pans. Girls take this mud to the destination and drop it.

The men and girls are also seen joining the alaap. Some men are seen leveling the road. Vaijayantimala sings among them. Vaijayantimala and Dilip Kumar are, soon, seen singing holding each other’s hands. Their romance continues as the others work! Dilip Kumar is, now, breaking large rocks with a digging bar.

Vaijayantimala approaches Dilip Kumar singing that their happiness and sorrow are one. He stops working and she pushes him to continue working. A group of girls brings water in metal pots. The girls sprinkle the water over the mud path in the making. At the end of the day, all are seen returning from work satisfied and happy with the progress.

Dilip Kumar continues to sing. The song peters out with a few alaaps by the lead pair. The video ends there.

Artists: The playback of this song was sung by Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle and the onscreen performances are by Dilip Kumar, Vaijayantimala and others.

Cultural Influence: This is a typical O P Nayyarian song depicting the coming together of the working class for their own cause. The typically filmi song and the artists are good. The video is watchable for the same.

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