Meri jaan meri jaan – Lata Mangeshkar – Shankar-Jaikishan – Meena Kumari | Yahudi (1958)

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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 Prince of Rome 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.

He sees Hannah’s servant Ruth (Minoo Mumtaz) and recognizes her since she was with Hannah after the horse-riding accident. He follows Ruth and reaches the market area where Hannah is buying flowers. A Roman soldier misbehaves with Hannah and Marcus saves her from him. Hannah takes him home to meet Ezra, who welcomes him as his own son. Marcus introduces himself as a successful Jewish trader of precious stones from Alexandria Monshija.

Now, Marcus visits Hannah’s home regularly even if Ezra is not at home. Now, it is the turn of Hannah to fall in love with him. It is after the realization that she sings this song.

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

The gist of the song is, “My dear, I have fallen in love with someone. What can I do?”

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

The video opens with Meena Kumari beginning the song-and-dance sequence. Minoo Mumtaz with some other girls joins Meena Kumari in the song and dance and begin to tease her. Soon, the song and the video end as all the girls gather around Meena Kumari.

Artists: The playback of this song was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and the onscreen performances are by Meena Kumari, Minoo Mumtaz and others.

Cultural Influence: This typically filmi song is an affirmation from the heroine that she has fallen in love with the hero. The song and the artists are very good. The video is watchable for the same.

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