This is one of the most powerfully written songs by Sahir, it virtually outlines the descent of the overly trusting person into paranoia, grief, self-blame, agony, and then leading the person onwards to the next and logical last step: suicide.
Society often gives us mixed messages. On the one hand, we are told to lead holistic lives, to balance our lives in order to be happy; on the other hand, it encourages us to get single-minded in the pursuit of our passion in order to have a meaningful n successful life. There is a price to be paid for taking either of these two roads.
This is the story of a girl being used by others for their own bottomless greed; she is persuaded to keep working to satisfy their greed. She finds an outlet for herself when she falls in love with a man, with the obsessive single-mindedness of the neurotic, but the man surprisingly for the innocent trusting girl, was just as bad as her greedy relatives, he was also a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
He too exploits her trust and the climax arrives: she is surrounded by people who care zero for her as a human being and simply use her as a means to further their ends.
This is the song of the potential suicide. It is this song that leads on to the powerful Rafi song, a ‘rescuer’ sings of sorrow and its fleeting nature thru the words ‘raat bhar ka hai mehmaan andhera…’ and the warning is timely: the potential suicide was within minutes of becoming a loser, a victim to life’s endlessly greedy and exploitative human beings.
Asha Bhosle takes the song to a crescendo, to a high yet manageable pitch. Alarmed, Nutan in Asha’s voice finds she is talking to an all-male audience which watches her sorrow and anguish without a tear: the heartlessness of the world is further accentuated with the grinning man who eggs her on to share her sorrow with men who seem to be made of stone. The smiler is as bad as the expressionless cold and unfeeling men in the audience.
Deepak to akela hai, toofaan hazaaron hain…
She identifies with a little diya, in the face of heartless storms, she then arrives at the ultimate question: if nobody cares, why live? For whom live?
OP Nayyar does bring out the best in Rafi, Asha and Talat in this film, but the scene stealer is Nutan, the broken-hearted-hearted girl who is rescued in time, and begins to salvage her life bit by bit with the help of a caring and wise soul…Balraj Sahni in one of his career best performances…
Originally published on Nutan’s birthday, 4 June 2018
Lata Jagtiani is an author of several books including the biography, ‘O.P.Nayyar King of Melody’. She has been a lecturer both in India and abroad teaching English and Creative Writing to college students. She lives in Mumbai.