Maine sindoor se maang apni bhari…
The song draws upon chhoti bahu’s (Meena Kumari’s) belief that Mohini sindoor in माँग will bring back her swami, restore her conjugal life in the real sense. She believes that sindoor, canvassed as empowered, will wean her swami from the other woman – the other woman of easy virtue. Poor chhoti bahu! Little does she realize that to reign in her swami, she will have to undergo a metamorphosis–that she will have to fall to the level of the other woman and her openness.
While an uninhibited chhoti bahu could lull her master–played by handsome Rehman–into her fold for a fleet of time, there was an inevitability about her failure eventually. For she was not up against her master but against a collective psyche, a socio-religious belief that had entrenched itself over centuries, rather millennia, that expected women at home to be Sita or Savitri like, treading the narrow and exacting path of righteousness. Sensuous beseeching in a state of drunkenness, as Chhoti Bahu indulged in, militated against this idolized image.
However, let us come back to the song, leaving aside what eventually transpired between chhoti bahu and her swami. In my humble view, Meena never looked so beautiful, and so fully subsumed in her role, as in this song. An anticipation of a rendezvous in privacy is writ large on her persona. Shakeel too understood the नज़ाकत of the situation and penned words befitting his stature as the poet of romance. And Geeta sang it effortlessly as if giving voice to her own emotions.
Piya aiso jiya mein…
Originally written on 10th September 2018
Exceptional thinker and writer Vijay Kumar was with The Ministry of Tourism, New Delhi, where he resides. He enjoys his children, dotes on his grandchildren, and loves Hindi film songs with meaningful lyrics.