Mai ri main kase kahoon peer – Lata Mangeshkar – Madan Mohan | Dastak (1970)


Movie: The 1970 movie Dastak (The Knock) was produced and directed by Rajinder Singh Bedi (debut) under the banner of Dachi Films. The movie starred late Sanjeev Kumar, Rehana Sultan and others.

The movie begins with the newly married couple Hamid (Sanjeev Kumar) and Salma (Rehana Sultan) moving into a rented flat. Slowly, while cleaning the flat, they discover that something was amiss about the previous occupant of the flat. That night Salma hears someone singing a song. Hamid says that a couple of streets beyond is located the red-light area, the place where courtesans live. But the area, where they had shifted is a reputed one. Or that’s what he has been told.

The neighbors think that the Salma is also a nautch girl like the previous occupant of the house. They begin to pass derogatory comments and even visit the couple with the proposal of the human trafficking business. Hamid insults them and tells them not to come back. He also warns Salma not to play her father’s tamboora (a stringed instrument) to avoid the people’s derogatory remarks.

To add fuel to the already burning situation, Salma comes out of the bathroom in a towel and dresses up in front of the open window. A pair of students enjoys the sight. I don’t understand one thing. If Salma, as is said in the beginning of the movie, comes from a decent family and has a happy relationship with her husband, would she not close the windows and doors before stripping? I strongly feel that this movie was made to show the heroine in the nude. The heroine is shown as an object available for voyeurism. It is disgusting!

Coming back to the story of the movie, fed up of the stress that is being caused to her due to all the pressures, Salma sings this song.

Song: The lyrics of this song were written by late Majrooh Sultanpuri and the music was composed by late Madan Mohan.

The gist of the song is that the girl is complaining to her mother that she has some grievance connected to her heart. She is also asking about the person to whom she should complain. When she was waiting for her beloved husband the edge of her sari became dirty. This symbolically means that she was minding her own business when people attributed disrepute to her.

Video: Cinematography is by Kamal Bose.

The video opens with Rehana Sultan lying on the floor covering her body with only a large towel. The song has already begun in the background. She thinks that she is running along the beach wearing a sari. Then, she is seen fighting a bull and then running over a bridge. She is trying to catch up with someone. Then, she is seen tackling a maze. Soon, the song peters out and the video ends as she is seen still running on the rocky beach. All the situations, she is in are symbolic representations of the condition of her mind.

Artists: The playback singer is Lata Mangeshkar and Rehana Sultan lip-syncs to the song.

Cultural Influence: This is a typically filmi sad song. But, the picturization is not as good as the music and the lyrics. It could have been made without nudity and voyeurism. This song is good. But, the video is watchable only for the song and the singer.


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