The Story of Betrayal and Blame
Two songs, back to back, in one film, seamlessly connected with each other One goes, “he says” and the other, on its heels, goes, “She says” These are special for the beauty of betrayal and blame.
Mose chhal kiye jaaye…
The first of the two betrayal songs in Guide is sung by Lata for Waheeda. The dance of blame that Waheeda performs to this song is unique. Here Rosie (Waheeda Rehman) expresses her anger and sense of betrayal at Raju, and what I observe is that her entire dance is angry, her steps and facial expressions are in tandem, her body moves and dances in cut motions, her face grimaces, scowls, frowns and expresses deep contempt. One doesn’t sense any sorrow in her accusations, its furious anger all the way.
While Rosie hurls accusations and labels him “beimaan”, he calls her “bewafaa.” The two adjectives are probably the most expressive of the mood and cadence of the two characters onscreen: she accuses him of being immoral, while he accuses her of unfaithfulness.
Rosie is angry, her movements are fast and furious, her clothes are the color of anger, red and black. She blames and is utterly contemptuous and scalding.
Raju is sorrowful, hurt, his movements are slow, his clothes are yellow-and-black.
Hey, yellow-and-black? Why yellow and black?
In Mumbai, the cabs we hire are this color combination.
Was Vijay Anand attempting to show us that Raju had been hired, used and then discarded? Looking at the careful choreography of the second song, it does not show Rosie in red-and-black but in white-and-gold. In those days, I remember very clearly at weddings, the bride used to wear this combo. It spoke of her angelic purity, her being pristine.
So despite everything, even in his imagination Raju sees her at a higher plane than himself, as pure and lovely, as graceful and talented, while he, on a lower plane, now realises that he was merely a rung on her ladder to success, a cab that had got her to her destination, and now with no purpose in her life. She never looks at him as she dances gracefully, moving forward on her own elevated path…never once. In his imagination too, he knows that he does not count for much in her life.
Rosie and Raju have reflected in these two songs the two sides of the same story: both who blame, both who feel victimised, and yet, it’s only one of them who can still see through the prism of the heart…can still accuse her of unfaithfulness and yet see her as beautiful and pure…
Such are the ways of love…As a director, Vijay Anand thought of everything, and it’s only we who have failed to connect the dots to this masterpiece.
Salute to the giant Vijay Anand for having projected betrayal and blame in its two forms, one as anger, and the other as sorrow…
Kya se kya ho gaya…
Guide and its songs!
In my last conversation with Dev a year before he passed on, I remember admitting to him that I had lied to him! He was intrigued. I told him that as a teenager what I found most fascinating about the enormous telephone directory was the section which went, “Anand Dev” followed by Iris Park, Juhu. I had called him thrice when I was a mere teenager when I had a huge crush on him, and he had spoken to me at length, once it had been on his birthday! He was a friendly, breathless talker, and in those days he used to pick up the phone and straight away say, “Dev here!” I picked up his habit when I was working with Trans World Airlines and with three phones on my table constantly ringing, I would answer all of them with “Lata here!” I became the subject of much fun in the office with one of my colleagues Mahendra Jhingan who later married Vineta R Jiandani He would flip his long hair and mimic me with “Lata here!”
Anyways our heroes teach us so much! So now about this song.
One of Rafi’s absolute killer songs, I am amazed at the way in which it has been composed, hats off to SD Burman! The direction of this song, which follows seamlessly on the heels of the contemptuous and sneering song by Lata, “Mose chhal kiye jaaye” is simply stunning. Fali Mistry’s photography, the excellent symbolic setting, everything is simply perfect.
A man who gave his all to the woman he loved to distraction, stands accused of betrayal by the same woman whose ill-disguised contempt and smug anger is something he simply does not deserve; worse, he definitely does not deserve to go to jail for forging a petty cheque. But then he should have known better. She had already told him what had happened between them was finished. Yet, in an effort to cling on, hoping against hope, he committed a small crime. But she was not interested in his “whys”, she stopped where it suited her and made herself look like she was the wronged party. She forgot that he had offered to give up his drinking, gambling, friends–everything for her–but she had rejected his offer. He knew that he was yesterday’s newspaper for her. She got rid of him at the first opportunity that offered itself. He understood, and so his insides were crying out to her.
“Kya se kya ho gaya bewafaa tere pyaar mein?”
He lost his career, his mother, his village, his friends, everything, just so she could make something of her life. And she had lost nothing. She had simply used him, exploited his charm, his ability to persuade sponsors. But now she was on a trajectory of her own.
Vijay Anand has shown a point where a road he is on is moving straight, and she has branched off on her own. It was not he who had strayed from their road together, it was she, the first bend in the road, and she took it.
A song about which I can write so much more, but let Dev, SDB and Rafi and Shailendra speak much more than many more words ever can.
A masterpiece from Guide.
Thanks a zillion for having been in my life in so many ways.
Hats off to the entire team of Guide, Vijay Anand included.
Originally written on two occasions, these two essays have been brought together on 19 March 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.