Bechain dil Khoyi si nazar – Lata/Geeta – Shankar-Jaikishan – Cuckoo/Helen | Yahudi (1958)


Movie: This song appeared in 1958 Bombay Films’ historical drama Yahudi (Jew) directed by Bimal Roy and produced by Savak B. Vacha. The movie starred Dilip Kumar, late Meena Kumari, late Sohrab Modi, late Nazir Hussain, Nigar Sultana, etc.

Circa more than 2000 years ago. The era of the Roman Empire. The plot: persecution of the Jews at the hands of the Romans.

Ezra (Sohrab Modi) is a gemstone trader, having a son Elijah. His slave Emmanuel functions as the caretaker of Elijah. Ezra goes out to visit a trader. Elijah is upset to stand on the balcony. Brutus (Nazir Hussain) the Governor of Rome is passing that way, with a preceding an announcement of his coming. Elijah is watching him from the balcony. A stone slips from his hand and hits Brutus on his head. As Elijah is a Jew, he is sentenced to death.

When Ezra returns, he is shocked to hear about the incident. He visits Brutus and begs him to free his son. But, Brutus orders the boy to be fed to hungry lions. Ezra returns to his home, mourning the death of his son. Emmanuel kidnaps Brutus’s motherless daughter Lydia (Baby Naaz) and takes her to Ezra to avenge the death of his master’s son. Ezra forbids him to kill Lydia and adopts her. Brutus is angry and orders his soldiers to find his daughter and punish all Jews.

Years later, Lydia is Hannah (Meena Kumari) and has been brought up very lovingly by her foster father Ezra. Brutus’ niece Olivia (Nigar Sultana) is betrothed to the Roman Prince Marcus (Dilip Kumar). Marcus one day has a horse-riding accident. He is saved by Hannah and also falls in love with her. He realizes that she is a Jew and dresses up as one to find her. At this time, an Arabian magician brings to life 2 wooden dolls. They turn into 2 dancers (Cuckoo Dancer and Helen), who perform this song-and-dance sequence.

Song: The music of this song was scored by Shankar-Jaikishan and the lyrics were penned by Shailendra.

The gist of the song is, “The heart is without peace. The eyes are not alert. When I am alone, evening or morning, I am reminded of you.”

Video: Cinematography is by Dilip Gupta. Dance choreography is by Vinod Chopra-Surya Kumar-Satyanarayan.

The video opens with people shocked at wooden dolls turning into human dolls. The dancing dolls Helen and Cuckoo Dancer throw away their chunri and begin dancing. Cuckoo Dancer begins the song. Dilip Kumar does not seem to be interested in the dance. Dilip Kumar climbs down a few steps and goes to stand beside Minoo Mumtaz.

Minoo Mumtaz is eating a radish with the leaves. Without seeing, she irritates Dilip Kumar’s ear with the leaves. He pushes it away twice. Then, he sees that it is Minoo Mumtaz, who was with Meena Kumari after his accident. Minoo Mumtaz moves away from him.

Cuckoo Dancer approaches Dilip Kumar performing the dance at the same time. He looks at her but is disinterested. He follows Minoo Mumtaz at a distance. A woman pulls a man away, who seems to be too much interested in the dancers. The song and the video end abruptly as the performers continue to dance.

Artists: The playback of this song was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Geeta Dutt and the onscreen performances are by Cuckoo Dancer and Helen.

Cultural Influence: This filmi song can be called an item number of olden days. It takes from the Arabian Culture. It is not sure, which singer is singing for whom. Often there is some overlapping. The song and the artists are good. The video is watchable for the same.


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