Tera jalwa jisne dekha

Raaj Kumar

Tera jalwa jis ne dekha
Woh tera ho gaya…

Raaj Kumar’s reel persona was indeed such… Tera jalwa jisne dekha, woh tera ho gaya…irresistible, particularly in the sixties! He was an impact actor even ahead of Dilip at that point, so much so that even his anticipated appearance on the screen stirred the audience.

I had experienced that. Way back in the year 1968, I was part of the audience in a theatre in Kanpur, watching Humraz. Raaj Kumar showed up in the first ten minutes, sang a duet too with Vimi. And as the audience keyed up to him and looked for more, he was withdrawn–he was not shown for about two hours!

But the Chopras knew the importance of Raaj Kumar and his popular sway. Therefore they did a clever thing; they showed his bi-colored shoes instead, to sustain the audience’s interest. And the moment his shoes–just the shoes–appeared on the screen, the effect was electric. The audience broke into a spontaneous applause–whistling by the front-stallers and clapping by the others. That was unbelievable–राम से बड़ा राम का नाम, राम की चरण पादुका; राजकुमार से बड़े राजकुमार के जूते! It happened twice again and the response was no different.

Raaj Kumar’s understated acting style, his stony gaze, his forceful yet measured dialogue delivery…but were these enough to create the enigmatic charisma that he was? I guess, no! I guess, he was much deeper than he looked prima facie. A superciliousness, an innate sense of pride in self, a better-than-thou attitude seemed to inform his being. These in synthesis created an aura – a reactive aura – standing up to the other and standing in an insulation of sorts! He never looked down and grounded even when he was playing beaten-in-life roles such as Shaamu in Mother India or Hori in Godaan. Somehow this dignity in adversity found an acceptability with the audience. And it was for the self-same reason that while playing a villain he hardly ever looked depraved or abominable. In Lal Pathar, he plotted a murder, yet no one perhaps came out of the hall hating him, like one will hate a Puri or a Ranjeet! In fact, his presence in a film–irrespective of the character he played–created a sharp bi-polarity, of he and the others. The audience loved it. Often he was the most important factor in the box office success of a film. In the first multi-starrer Waqt, Raaj Kumar emerged the first amongst the equals. Some of his dialogues in this film, as in some others too, like Paakeeja, have survived to this day transcending their immediate cinematic context.

Raaj Kumar – the lover on screen. The dignity of his own demean, which helped him carve his actorial niche, recoiling on him! His nemesis! He lacked the informality, the spontaneity becoming of a lover on screen. He definitely was not in the league of the contemporary giants – Dilip, Dev or Raj – on this aspect. A chink in his armour and therefore missed the pedestal of a complete superstar. Yet if there was a role that gelled with his screen persona, he easily excelled. Nausherwan-e-Adil was one such film, where he acted a royal scion, was expected to wear the royal dignity 24×7 and he did that with ease. Mere Huzoor and Pakeezah too will fall in the same category – where admission of love was expected to sound like an issue of a decree! And Raaj Kumar really turned cosmic… chalo dildar chalo,chaand ke paar chalo in Pakeezah! In Mere Huzoor, he glimpsed, in the dance number jhanak jhanak baaje payaliya…that he had yet another dimension to his acting if only he were not slave to his own popular image! Heer Ranjha – the film that has all its dialogues versified, eminently suited his measured dialogue delivery and his performance was critically acclaimed. And the other-worldliness of Neel Kamal found a proponent in the apparently detached and distanced aura of Raaj Kumar.

Tera jalwa jisne dekha…Raaj Kumar (Kaalu) with his characteristic and celebrated superciliousness seems a perfect foil to the advances of the dancing dynamo Kumkum (Kammo). Kumkum was a preferred heroine of the Bhojpuri films but largely settled for supporting roles in Hindi films. She ever looked an accomplished dancer with an un-ignorable histrionic talent. She is holding the stage in this dance… personifying its pace, verve and melody. She is enchanting, or should I say seducing a smug, condescending Kaalu, apparently in a dancing arena that looks a part of an underworld ghetto. Yet she does not look hollow or cheap….perhaps her innate dignity shows through.. Or is it the dignity in Lata’s voice that becomes her prop? A great song and a great dance scene. S-J Had the touch of Midas in those days and their job was easier here as they had the gold nuggets for words from Hasrat.

A priceless duet from the film Nausherwaan-e- Adil – Taaron Ki Zubaan Par Hai Muhabbat Ki Kahaani

The duet is deep, stirs a fantasy, it’s a love allegory–the Moon in love with the stars symbolizing the love of the singing mortals on the earth below! The expression Ja Ja ke Palat Aati Hai Phir Teri Javaani is so fascinating…the waning-waxing cycle of Moon symbolizing love that resurges phase after phase, life after life–endlessly!

Taaron Ki Zubaan Par Hai Muhabbat Ki Kahaani
Ai Chaand Mubaarak Ho Tujhe Raat Suhaani

Kahate Hain Jise Chaandani Hai Noor-E-Muhabbat
Taaron Se Sunehari Hai Hamesha Teri Qismat
Ja Ja Ke Palat Aati Hai Phir Teri Javaani
Ai Chaand Mubaarak Ho Tujhe Raat Suhaani

Chhaaya Hua Duniya Pe Muhabbat Ka Asar Hai
Kahate Hain Jise Chaand Mera Daagh-E-Jigar Hai
Taaron Se Kahaa Karata Hai Ye Dil Ki Kahaani
Ai Chaand Mubaarak Ho Tujhe Raat Suhaani

Ham Ho Na Ho Duniyaa Yun Hi Aabaad Rahegi
Ye Thandi Hava Aur Ye Fiza Yaad Rahegi
Rah Jaaegi Duniya Mein Muhabbat Ki Nishaani
Ai Chaand Mubaarak Ho Tujhe Raat Suhaani

~~~~

Posted on 01 November 2017

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.

One thought on “Tera jalwa jisne dekha

  1. “Raaj Kumar’s understated acting style, his stony gaze, his forceful yet measured dialogue delivery…but were these enough to create the enigmatic charisma that he was? I guess, no! I guess, he was much deeper than he looked prima facie. A superciliousness, an innate sense of pride in self, a better-than-thou attitude seemed to inform his being. “…absolutely beautifully said _()_ 🙂

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