Mamta Ki Chhaon Mein – 1989 : Kishore Kumar’s Swan SongAug 04
I had written most of the stuff in paragraphs/lines format, in many forums ( Internet as well as private ). So trying to compile them and present here.
Mamta Ki Chhaon Mein
I remember this film when I got the VHS on rent from a well known ( those days in the early 90’s ) shop on Tilak Road, Pune. It was the first VHS which I rented from the shop and did not return it back ( Previously I watched many VHS’s but the “keeda” of collecting had not bitten me ) ! Instead I told the owner that I lost it and that they take the full money from me :-). It was one of my prized possessions for many years till it was destroyed by rain/fungus. That day I was simply blown away when I put the VHS in the player and the film started with live snippets of Kishore Kumar stage shows ! What more one could ask for. Apna to paisa udharich vasool !
At the end of 2/3 minutes, Kishoreda says “Agar zindagi rahi to phir milenge” and the next scene they show the Antim sanskar of the legend. And the good (?) part is at the background of the procession, Kishore singing in his own words, unplugged, probably his own poem
“Le chal mujhe bhulaava dekar
Mere naavik dheere dheere
Jis nirjan mein saagar lehri
Ambar ke kaanon mein gehri
Nishchhal prem katha kehti ho
Taj_kolaahal ki avani re
Le chal mujhe bulaava dekar
Mere naavki dheere dheere
Le chal mujhe bulaava dekar”
Immortal Kishore Kumar’s Last Offering
SPOILER ALERT – story revealed.
The titles start rolling with the madhur ghungroo ki chhanak of the bullock cart. The chorus takes us to far away villages, through the rivers, mountains, valleys and greenery. Amit Kumar is shown sitting in the bullock cart, and Kishoreda starts singing at the background “Ho Teri Jeevan Gaadi Yunhi Chalti Rahe”. And there comes the real Kishore Kumar to the forefront : rains, mountains with clouds, Greenery, grazing of cows, behta-paani, chirping of the birds, slow madhur shaant geet. Music and instruments giving a divine feel. Hasrat Jaipuri’s words were as if coming alive giving a ray of hope. I wonder why his name was not put in the title credits of the film
Story, Screenplay, Music, Lyrics and Direction by Kishore Kumar…….
Amit Kumar , shown as an old man, gets down from the bullock cart and sits on the banks of the river…the pleasant atmosphere taking him into flashback :
His mother Leena is shown pregnant, lying on the bed, crying in pain. She in turn sees the flashback where somebody was molesting her….cut to present…Badhaai ho ladka hua hai…
Leena is always sad and the past never leaves her alone. Her blind chacha tries to console her and says that she is a mother and she has to make her child a very big man..in fact to make a good singer and person, like his mother. Then there are various characters shown like a muslim Khilonewaale chacha ( Anup Kumar ) who is always humming songs and the name of allah ( I am sure written by Kishore ). A bewda ( Jagdeep ) who considers Leena as his sister.
A single mother, Leena takes care of the small child ( Sumeet Kumar ) very well and always sings sweet songs to him. Nice song written by Anjaan :
She faces the typical questions from the child “to bring his father to him”. The flashback comes for a while, showing the struggling Leena from an unknown person. The tension builds within…
Leena and the small kid are grinding grains at home on a round apparatus which makes flour. Cut to a young Amit Kumar is shown grinding the same wheel. Then comes one of my most favourite songs of Amit Kumar : Main Ek Panchhi Matwaala Re. ( Written by Kishore Kumar originally for the film “Door Ka Raahi” and also sung originally in 1967 by Amit Kumar. This song was cut from the movie, released in 1971, because Kishore did not find the right place for the song in the film. Amit Kumar was shown singing this song on a tree. Amit Kumar sounded like his mother in that song at the age of 15 ). But here Amit sings like a raw but a competent singer :
Leena is impressed by his singing and Amit seeks her blessings.
One day amit asks Leena who his father was. He won a medal in a competition and the elders asked whether his father was also a poet/artist…Flashback….Leena cannot answer – She just says that he is a son of a very big and wealthy man. Amit says that he will tell the world that he is his “mothers child”
Amit does well in the exams and passes in 1st division –
The lyrics of this song were by kishore. They resemble to a few more songs composed by Kishore ( the antara of ge ge li zara- Jhumroo and the first bengali non film song of Amit Kumar in 1972/73 “Aei Kota Din Noy” )
Ashok Kumar the headmaster of the village school, gives a recommendation letter to go to a college in a city and meet his friend. He says to Leena that she has taken care of Amit very well and he will make her proud. Amit Kumar takes admission in Swami Vivekanand College ( Kishore used to immensely read about Swami in real life ). There he meets the Principals ( Pradeep Kumar ) daughter ( Deboshri Roy – DR )and they become friends because of their common beliefs in life. Slowly they start liking each other. There is a singing competition in college. Chairman of the college ( Raj Babbar ) is come for the function as a chief guest and judge. Anjaan , who wrote the songs like “Main Tera Tota Tu Meri Maina” in the same year, is really an amazing lyricist. Salaam sir. Amit Kumar is spellbounding.
Pradeep Kumar asks Amit to marry his daughter and says that he wants to meet his mother.
Raj Babbar is puzzled how did the song reach this child and also the public watching the movie, is wondering “aakhir ye raaz kya hai”.
One day When Raj Babbar is talking with Amit Kumar, he asks him that where did he learn to sing (this song). Amit Kumar shows his mother’s photo which he always carries with him. Raj Babbar is shocked. He asks Amit if his father is still alive. Amit Kumar does not know. Then after Amit is gone, Raj calls the principal and tells him that Leena was a “rangeen aurat” of her times and in his jawaani he also slept with Leena. Principal calls Amit and says that he wants to meet his father and not his mother. After Amit says that he does not know anything about his father, Principal says that he does not want to give his daughter’s hand to Amit. The calm and composed Amit Kumar in this scene is just superb. It is my most favourite scene to see this Amit Kumar. It shows how well he is brought up and how well he faces life. When he hears bad things about his mother from the Principal, he is furious and goes to Raj Babbar to question him. After seeing the photo of Raj with Leena in his house, he is shocked and sad. Wonderful acting by Amit here. He starts to go home, he meets DR , where she says that she heard everything and wants to leave her house and go with Amit. In that condition, Amit is composed and tells her that her father’s izzat will be at stake and that they must always have blessings from the elders. He tells her to go back and promises that he will bring his mother and prove to everybody that she is pure.
His mother refuses to come with him. He pleads a lot but still she does not listen. At a spur of the moment Amit is furious shattered and devastated. He pushes her away and walks out of the house. Now he does not know what to do where to go. He sees one funeral where a child is crying in front of his dead mother. Amit is sorry and returns back home. But he finds out that his mother has left the house because of the shock. Ramu chacha tells him the story of his mother. Many years back, Leena was staying in an orphanage and taking care of it. In that orphanage once a Kunwarsaab ( Rajesh Khanna ) comes as a chief guest. And his entry is marked with a beautiful Kishore solo
“Mera Geet Adhoora Hai, Koi Bikhare Taar sajaa de…”
This song is actually written by Shailendra for the unreleased B/W movie, Suhaana Geet, in which Kishore and Madhubala were acting. It was originally sung as a duet by Lata and Kishore. Though Hasrat and Shailendra worked together in so many films with SJ, but this instance is one rare occasion where Shailendra and Hasrat have written a song in that same movie in the decade of 80s and for a non SJ fare. MKCM song’s orchestration reminds us of the many ghodaghaadi beats that OPN and other music directors had brought in film music.
If you are Kishore Kumar fan and you have not heard “Mera geet adhoora hai” as yet, go grab it and hear it as the first thing.. The magical baritone and the trivial aspect could very well define it as “The Swan Song” for Kishore da…
Raj Babbar is a friend of Rajesh Khanna and manages Rajesh’s business. Both of them reach the town. Rajesh meets Leena, who does not know that he is a Kunwarsaab.
Raj Babbar is bored in the town becasue of no shabaab and so gets himself duboed into sharaab. Rajesh Khanna is besotted by Leena and her simplicity. He marries her soon. After marriage Raj Babbar gives some excuse of not developing the photos of the marriage. Then in he gets himself clicked with Leena. That solves the photo mystery ! He tries to put dore on Leena and tells ulta-seedha about Rajesh to her. Rajesh is furious with Raj and tells him to return his power of attorney back.
Rajesh is thrilled to know that Leena is pregnant with his child. On the other hand Raj Babbar is agitated and wants to do something to prevent the power of attorney getting cancelled. He kills Leena’s pet rabbit in anger. Rajesh goes and slaps Raj. Raj says that he will take revenge.He catches Leena alone once and tries to molest her. Rajesh reaches her and by mistake shoots the naukrani. Rajesh goes to jail. Here Raj Babbar troubles Leena and she decides to leave the house and go to the present village.
Flashback over…Amit Kumar hears the story and goes to search for his mother. He reaches the orphanage and learns that his father (Rajesh ) is not alive. After Amit leaves, Leena also reaches the orphanage and learns that her husband has died 15 years back. She cries and tells the photo that she kept the promise of not telling her son, that his father was a murderer. One day Raj Babbar comes to the town and says that he wants to demolish the ashram and make a fertilizer company. After listening to this, Leena reaches Raj’s house one night and confronts him and kills him with a sharp object.
After this heart wrenching song by Amit Kumar ( lyrics by Kishore ) mother meets son. Gile shikwe door ho jaate hain ( all is sorted ) but fate has a different route. Leena dies in the arms of Amit.
Main Flashback over. Old Amit Kumar on the river bank….
A film by Kishore Kumar – A masterpiece according to me.
This film is not for those who are restless kind of soul. Who are only used to the masala kind of movies. One needs a patient and relaxed mood to see it. It is so sensitively made. Simple houses, village air, chirping of birds, various pet animals, background music with good dose of sitar, Santoor, etc pleasant instruments – thats Kishore Kumar for all.
The biggest draw from this film is the talent of Amit Kumar as an actor. I think it is one of the finest that Hindi Cinema has ever seen. I wonder if this movie had a smooth release , he would have been also cast by some of the film makers. Amit’s talking style resembles to that of the olden Kishore Kumar days – simple. The full movie was full of mother-son love emotions wonderfully captured by Kishore – Amit was simply fantastic. Next comes Raj Babbar. He was also outstanding. Rajesh Khanna was lucky to get the cameo role, once rejected by Amittabh Bachchan.
Music was something to cherish for life. Nowhere close to the shor sharaaba of the 80’s. Simply magical.
Kishore Kumar could not see the release and it got released only after two years of his death, that too with great difficulty and lots of efforts by Amit Kumar. Today, one can catch the film on VCDs released on TIME VIDEO.
“In sansoo ki sargam puchh thakee saubaar
Paas bhi ho, door bhi ho, kaun ho tum us paar
Tum jo milo to geet ho poora, mil jaye mann ke taar
Mera geet adhoora Hai, Koi bikhare taar sajaa de”