Ansoo ki aag leke – 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. Everything goes fine until a Jewish festival arrives. They have a ritual where they have to eat an auspicious bread during dinner. Marcus has also been invited by Ezra, but he discreetly drops the bread below the table. But, Hannah is witness to this act and confronts him about it. He tells her to come to nearby ruins at night so that they can talk alone. At the ruins, Hannah finds out that Monshija is a Roman. She is sorrowful. Even Ezra, who had followed Hannah, gets to know about it. After an altercation between them, Hannah chooses Ezra and Marcus returns to the palace. At the palace, he is pressurized to get married to Olivia and accept the crown of Rome. On the other hand, a sorrowful Hannah sings this song.

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

The gist of the song is, “Your memory has come back with the fire of my tears. Your memory has come back with the burning ragas. Your memory has brought back several complaints. O, what a separation!”

Video: Cinematography is by Dilip Gupta.

The video opens with Dilip Kumar looking at the night sky out of the window. The night sky takes the camera to Meena Kumari, who is throwing pebbles in the pond. She begins the song. Her eyes are heavy with tears. She walks across to a tree and continues the song.

Minoo Mumtaz looks at her from behind a decorated window. Dilip Kumar is also walking across his room, in tension. Meena Kumari comes to stand in front of a decorated window. The song peters out and the video ends as she looks down.

Artists: The playback of this song was sung by Mukesh and the onscreen performances are by Dilip Kumar, Meena Kumari and Minoo Mumtaz.

Cultural Influence: This typically filmi song where the heroine laments her separation from the hero, due to man-made barriers of caste and religion. The song and the artists are fantastic. The video is watchable for the same.

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