If you have read the timeless classic creation HEER by Punjabi Sufi poet of the eighteenth century Waris Shah and also heard any soulful rendition of the same in the melodious traditional composition famous since ages. Then you must be aware of the lyrical beauty, emotional depth & heavenly feel in its soulful words. And are sure going to cherish this unique & original attempt from the master film-makers of Hindi Cinema which till date remains the only film ‘completely made in verse’ like an unforgettable expressive poem written on the silver screen.
Conceived by one of the most under-rated director Chetan Anand along with another magician of words Kaifi Azmi (dialogues & lyrics), HEER RAANJHA remains the most exemplary visual interpretation of Waris Shah’s Heer and can easily inspire all the young viewers to explore the actual poetic creation by the Sufi poet, respectfully read and sung in the literary circles. Based on the traditional/historical love story of Heer & Ranjha hugely famous in Punjab and its surroundings, the film transports you into an amazing world where characters converse with each other in rhyming verses offering an entirely novel or never seen before kind of experience to its viewers with a highly touching emotional appeal. And that is the reason its original publicity artwork says, “The Story of Heer Ranjha – Spoken & Sung” and the film thoughtfully begins with a poem having a couplet (probably in the voice-over of its director Chetan Anand) saying,
“Dard Punjab Ke Seeney Se Chura Laya Hun,
Chand Tukdey Dil-e-Waris Ke Utha Laya Hun,
Aag Meri Na Sahi, Iska Dhuan Mera Hai,
Heer Ranjha Ki Kahani Hai, Bayaan Mera Hai”
Its each and every sequence clearly shows the kind of effort put in by the entire creative team ranging from the writer, composer, art director, cinematographer and the captain of the ship, its director. Interestingly, even the colours of the costumes are carefully chosen according to the look & feel of their particular scenes. And its lead pair strongly gives you the impression as if you are watching the real Heer-Ranjha emoting on the screen with an immense depth and feel. Raj Kumar excels in an unusual role different from his actual reel-image, Priya Rajvansh looks stunningly beautiful as Heer (though many would find her as a straight faced beauty at few places to put it honestly) and Pran is simply unbeatable playing Kaido, the cunning uncle of Heer who plays the real villain in her eternal love story in the end. Also Prithviraj Kapoor, Jeevan, Ajit, Kamini Kaushal and more give their own contribution to the epic supporting the lead pair superbly.
A spectacular musical masterpiece, the film’s immortal music is unanimously considered as one of the best original soundtracks in the 100 years history of Hindi cinema, brilliantly composed by Madan Mohan with lyrics by Kaifi Azmi. And its various unforgettable songs remain among the most soulfully performed tracks by their renowned singers led by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd. Rafi. In fact even in this present net-age, no sad song compilation on ‘separation’ gets complete without two memorable songs, “Yeh Duniya Yeh Mehfil” and “Do Dil Toote, Do Dil Haarey” giving their much deserved due. The Punjabi flavor is brilliantly used in “Naache Ang Ve” & “Jo Mama Mera Aa Jayega”. Plus the traditional “Heer” truly is capable of bringing tears down your eyes undoubtedly.
To give you the truth, the theme of HEER RAANJHA was later adapted both in Hindi as well as in Punjabi featuring some of the leading stars of their respective era by two well-known directors. But such was the stature of this epic creation of Chetan Anand that the attempts could stand nowhere close to the original classic frankly and the 1970 gem still remains the only film one remembers the moment any discussion comes to the historical love saga of HEER RAANJHA.
So as a sincere suggestion, this film essentially needs to be seen by every serious fan of Indian cinema as it still doesn’t have any parallel of its kind till date. And no one can even dare to attempt such a loving project made straight from the heart ever again in the coming years, since crude commercialization has widely taken over the emotional involvement in our projects, unfortunately. Hence do yourself a favour and watch HEER RAANJHA at the earliest, to understand, feel and experience how movies used to be made by all our gifted masters in the past, rightly known as the ‘Golden Era of Hindi Films’.
Screenplay & Directed By Chetan Anand
Starring : Raj Kumar, Priya Rajvansh, Pran, Prithviraj Kapoor, Ajit, Jeevan, Kamini Kaushal and more.
Music By Madan Mohan
Dialogues & Lyrics by Kaifi Azmi.