There is something very moving about songs that are sung in the orange glow of the sunset. I showcased, recently, another song in a similar light, Aanchal mein sajaa lena kaliyaan which was a goodbye song. But today’s song is a song of commitment. Guide’s song of commitment is sung by Rafi for Raju; one wonders why Vijay Anand had the backdrop of the sunset for a song of promises.
Is the sunset symbolic of the end of one phase of their lives, that they are now moving towards a new dawn?
Going back to our days in the 60s, in Mumbai, most cosmopolitan marriages took place with agni as saakshi between 5 and 7 in the evening. One old chapter was closing and a new one opening.
So did Vijay Anand see the sun as a witness to this marriage of two souls, the sun being the fire witnessing the fusion of two hearts?
Listen to the vows, reminiscent of wedding vows:
Tere mere sapne ab ek rang hain
Ho jahaan bhi le jaayen raahen
Hum sang hain…
Tere dukh ab mere, mere sukh ab tere
Tere ye do naina chaand aur sooraj mere…
Laakh manaa le duniya saath na ye chhootega
Aake tere haathon mein haath na ye chhootega…
The bride-to-be is in tears, she is unsure, she has her head covered, and the groom is promising to be all things to her, never to leave her side, even repeating again and again, “O mere jeevan saathi”…the groom is confident and committed…
Rosie is in tears, and at first shrinks from his touch, and later succumbs after she hears of his deep and abiding commitment to her. One can almost see her asking herself: “Wasn’t this what I wanted from my husband Marco but never got? Didn’t I want someone to be steadfastly by my side, offering me all his time, his comforts, his loyalty and love?” Hearing his comforting words she steps forward and moves towards him, and with the fiery sun as the witness, the two hug each other. The sun as agni saakshi…
Yet, ordinarily a waltzing song of commitment should be a duet, but this one is a solo. SD Burman could have made it into a duet with the last stanza given to Lata or he could even have given her the stanza where Rafi sings
Mere tere dil ka tay tha ek din milna
Jaise bahaar aane par tay hai phool ka khilna
O mere jeevan saathi, tere mere sapne…
But the story was preparing us for the reality of the situation, it subtly shows us Raju’s adoration and commitment, yet holds back on her vocal acceptance of him as her life partner, she does not utter words of abiding love, not for her are the lines,
Tere dukh ab mere, mere sukh ab tere,
Tere ye do naina chaand aur sooraj mere
And so Vijay Anand laid the ground for the vital test in their lives. On her part, she offers to give him her entire bank account, and he, out of innate decency, refuses to take it. So both are equally placed on this issue. And yet, when she is tested when he forges her signature for a paltry sum of money, she abandons him.
Because at no point was she committed to him in her heart.
And thus, this song becomes ironical for the simpleton who is a glib-talking Raju…
Originally published on 29 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.