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JAAL (1952) and its unique song sequence featuring Dev Anand and Geeta Bali. (Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing)

30 Dec, 2018 | 10 Most popular Articles AT BTC / Articles on Cinema

The two names unanimously celebrated as the pioneers of unique song picturisation in Hindi Cinema are Vijay Anand and Raj Khosla since the 50s. And you will easily find numerous write-ups on their specific song sequences shot differently without any dance performances or traditional choreography defying the set norm.
However the real mastermind behind such distinctive execution of songs in Hindi films was Guru Dutt, who interestingly even started his career as a choreographer, but was still never keen on using typical dances in his songs filmed on the main characters. As a matter of fact both Vijay Anand and Raj Khosla had Guru Dutt as the key inspiration behind this specific achievement of their career and the genius also had a deep, emotional relationship with the Anands right from his initial years in the industry beginning from HUM EK HAIN (1946).
In an interview with Nasreen Munni Kabir, Vijay Anand fondly mentioned his childhood spent with people like Zohra Sehgal and Guru Dutt (both trained under Uday Shankar in his cultural center), almost living in their house along with Balraj and Damayanti Sahni, where a lot of students used to come to learn dancing, giving Vijay his early lessons of choreography by the means of keen observation. On the other hand, Raj Khosla actually started his career in films as the assistant to director Guru Dutt.
Continuing the association of Guru Dutt and Dev Anand, JAAL (1952) was in reality inspired from an Italian film BITTER RICE (1949) which both Dev and Dutt had together seen at Excelsior theater in Bombay (as mentioned by Dev in his biography). And both dared to experiment with a hero having grey shades in an unconventional storyline even in 1951-52 taking the obvious risk. Interestingly JAAL was also the film from which cinematographer V. K. Murthy joined the team and Johnny Walker was still credited with his original name Badhrudin. He probably got rechristened as Johnny Walker from BAAZ (1953) also directed by Guru Dutt.
Coming to the soundtrack of JAAL composed by S. D. Burman and lyrics by Sahir Ludhianvi, it has the cult track “Yeh Raat Yeh Chandni Phir Kahan” sung by Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar. But where most of its songs have been sung by Geeta Dutt and Lata Mangeshkar, there is only one duet by Geeta Dutt and Kishore Kumar as “De Bhi Chuke Hum Dil Nazrana Dil Ka”. Incidentally Kishore also began his singing career from a Dev Anand film ZIDDI in 1948, but this particular track of JAAL has a unique quality of its own as a trademark Guru Dutt song filmed in an unbelievably outstanding manner.
Firstly the track begins exactly as Guru Dutt believed his songs to initiate without any musical buildup in a realistic way. Hence it straight away starts with Dev singing the first line and no prelude of any kind breaking the norm.
Secondly and most importantly the USP of the song is the way it has been picturised only focusing on the facial expressions of both Dev and Geeta Bali without any dance movements and that too entirely shot with the two sitting on the branches of a tree teasing each other.
So the picturisation begins post Dev pulls up Geeta Bali on to a tree with a rope and then the complete song has been shot on the tree itself with the two moving from one branch to the other singing a duet.
In between the track Dev falls down on the ground and Geeta also comes down from the hanging rope. But singing the next verse she again climbs up holding the rope and Dev follows her too again getting up on the tree, probably becoming the only duet song shot with the couple changing places on a tree and doing nothing else.
Adding to the above, remembering the much talked about single shot songs of the present era, every stanza/verse of the song has been shot as a single take with the cut coming only in the interludes (music in between the various stanzas) without making you feel any monotony at all. And to remind you again this was all done in the early 50s by the masters together.
Musically, my personal favourite is the short innovative instrumental piece added after every line beginning from the second stanza and the naughty way, the song gets interrupted for a couple of seconds within a single shot continuing till the very end.
Besides, most probably written on an already composed tune (indicated by its unusual opening poetic phrase), can’t say it was intentionally written keeping in mind the picturisation or not, but the song does have the title mentioned in a verse and also has its last stanza exactly matching the onscreen proceedings saying,
“Daali Daali Phirte Hain Harjaayi, Lobhi Bhanwron Ne Kab Preet Nibhaayi
Yun Hi Sab Karte Hain Bahaana Dil Kaa, De Bhi Chuke Ham Dil Nazraana Dil Kaa”
So do watch the song once again with a new insight post reading the write-up (at the link given in the note) and I am sure you will fall in love with Geeta Bali in particular watching her adorable act on screen singing along the charming Dev Anand.
© Bobby Sing / Harpreet – Bobbytalkscinema.com
(30th December 2018) 

(NOTE: Watch the complete song from 42 minutes onwards in the original movie officially posted at Youtube by Ultra at the following link:


The other uploads at Youtube might not have the complete song)

Tags : JAAL (1952) and its unique song sequence by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Dev Anand Geeta Bali and Kishore Kumar in JAAL, Exclusive Songs directed by Guru Dutt, Guru Dutt's rare songs, Articles on Cinema by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com
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