Reshmi salwar kurta jali ka – Asha/Shamshad – O P Nayyar – Minoo/Kum Kum | Naya Daur (1957)


Movie: This song appeared in 1957 B R Films’ hit social drama Naya Daur (New Era) produced and directed by B R Chopra. Initially, it was made in black and white and in 2007 the movie was colored and re-released. The movie starred Dilip Kumar, Vaijayantimala, late Ajit, late Jeevan, Chand Usmani, Manmohan Krishna, etc.

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. The evil son of a rich landlord Kundan (Jeevan) threatens their livelihood by starting a bus service in the town. He initially heavily subsidizes the tickets, so that the tongawallahs lose their livelihood and then he intends to increase the ticket prices to make profits.

Shankar (Dilip Kumar), one of the tongawallahs, 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 believe him. 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. Soon, the others begin to support him one by one. They are progressing well. Krishna (Ajit) is Shankar’s former wood-cutter friend, who is upset with his friend due to a small issue. He does not like Shankar’s progress. Krishna is now in cahoots with Kundan. Kundan and Krishna bring the Nautanki (traveling folk theater) to the town and immediately the workers are tempted to watch the performances. It is at this time that 2 female dancers, one posing as a boy, perform this dance.

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

The ‘boy’ is on a teasing spree. ‘He’ says, “You are wearing silken salwar and netted kurta. I cannot bear your beauty.” The girl replies, “Leave me alone. Why are you looking for the directions to the police station?” She threatens him that she would complain about him to the police.

Video: Cinematography is by M Malhotra. Dance choreography is by Manohar Deepak.

The Nautanki performance begins with a firework bursting and the curtain raising. Minoo Mumtaz enters wearing a boy’s traditional Punjabi dress. The music has already begun. Kum Kum also enters wearing a similar girl’s dress. Both are dancing within seconds. Minoo Mumtaz begins the song and Kum Kum replies to her in the song itself.

Vaijayantimala comes and stands at the entrance of the hall where this performance is happening. She sees Jeevan giving Ajit something, which the second actor hides in his coat. She sidles to Manmohan Krishna and asks him where Dilip Kumar is. He replies that perhaps he must be on the bridge that they had recently built. Vaijayantimala gets worried about the hero. She runs out and the song and the video end there.

Artists: The playback of this song was sung by Asha Bhonsle and Shamshad Begum and the onscreen performances are by Minoo Mumtaz, Kum Kum, Vaijayantimala and others.

Cultural Influence: This is a typical O P Nayyarian Bhangra song is intended as a distraction for the good work being done by the hero and his group of workers. The typically filmi song and the artists are good. The video is watchable for the same.

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