Guest article by Anita Rupavataram
(There is no upper age limit for falling in love. As our octogenarian love guru, DP Rangan, has explained in his recent series of articles, love entails going through different phases: ecstasy, agony, flippancy, and finally when the things go wrong, shikwa/shikayat. This has led to a mushroom growth of counsellers and self-proclaimed relationship experts.
Our guest author Anita Rupavataram is rightly sceptical of such experts. She cites some literary sources, too, in her support. Nevertheless, this has not deterred Bollywood, and we have several songs in the nature of an advisory to the lovers.
Anita had debuted as a guest author on SOY in February 2022. This is her second article for the blog. She also writes her own blog of which I am a regular follower. Anita writes very well as you can see from her uncluttered style. Therefore, when she offered to write for SOY on this theme, I had no hesitation in welcoming it as it fitted very well with the series by the Love Guru. Thank you Anita, for an excellent article. – AK)
One of the sections I consciously avoid in any book store is that on self-help books. Belonging to a generation where there were no life coaches and relationship experts during the growing up years, life as it rolled out was (and is still) the biggest advisor and teacher. Thus, there is no connect with such self-improvement books. Today, however, there is no dearth of specialists who could advice you on just about anything under the sun. This is more the case with so many social media platforms mushrooming.
Oscar Wilde wrote in his play An Ideal Husband, “I always pass on good advice. It is the only thing to do with it. It is never of any use to oneself“. As long as one does not have to walk the talk, one can generously part with pearls of wisdom to all and sundry. I am reminded of an iconic scene from Jab We Met where the Station Master starts reeling out unsolicited advice – Akeli ladki khuli tijori ki tarah hoti hai – after the heroine misses the train and seeks his assistance. The gutsy heroine shuts him up by asking him whether the advice is free of cost or has a price tag attached to it as she has no change to part with.
When advice is solicited about matters of the heart, there is no inadequacy of it. Shakespeare’s poem A lover’s complaint is quite topical here. A lover’s complaint is a compressed poem detailing the predicament of an abandoned female lover who laments her undoing at the hands of an unscrupulous male seducer. She explains how advice does not help in matters of the heart and how it only whets the appetite of the lover furthermore.
…Counsel may stop awhile what will not stay;
For when we rage, advice is often seen
By blunting us to make our wits more keen.
‘Nor gives it satisfaction to our blood,
That we must curb it upon others’ proof;
To be forbod the sweets that seem so good,
For fear of harms that preach in our behoof….
(Advice only delays us when we’re set on something. When we are angry, advice — trying to calm us down — ends up making us angrier. And advice cannot satisfy our desires, when we rein them in because someone told us to. It is like being forbidden to eat delicious candy, which we don’t eat because we are afraid of punishment someone has preached about on our behalf. Source : https://www.litcharts.com/shakescleare/)
The relationship advisor is a common character in our films. The protagonist or his/her close friend often dons this role and ably guides the one who seeks advice. Be it in writing love letters, gifting, fixing a rendezvous and many other such allied tasks – advice is always solicited and readily given. But how can one forget Col. Julius Nagendranath Wilfred Singh (Ashok Kumar) of Chhoti Si Baat, whose mission was to professionally assist those who had fallen in love. Colonel Singh through meticulously designed lesson plans and “hands on” training in courtship brings about a positive change in the personality of the protagonist and finally helps him win over the heroine. The character of Colonel Singh is unique and Ashok Kumar is impeccable as the life and relationship coach.
There is also the familiar situation of the possessive or precautious lover advising the counterpart about what to do or what not to. Against this background, I shall now set out to list songs where advice is given in matters of the heart.
1. Mohabbat ki raahon mein chalna sambhal keby Md. Rafi from Udan Khatola (1955), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad.
Here’s Dilip Kumar who is already in love with Nimmi, trying to warn Surya Kumari, the queen, to tread carefully on the path of love. He is obliquely trying to suggest to the infatuated queen that he is already spoken for. One can see a jealous and insecure Nimmi, lurking in the background trying to shoot an arrow as Dilip Kumar sings very prophetically – Na yoon teer phenkon nishaana badal ke. The queen does not seem to be interested in taking the cue and thus ignores the sane advice of Dilip Kumar.
2. Babuji dheere chalna by Geeta Dutt from Aar Paar (1954), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music O.P.Nayyar.
This club song from Aar Paar featuring Shakila, gives practical advice. After warning that there is a lot of deceit on the path of love, Majrooh, the lyricist of the song says – Ho gayi ho kisi se jo anban, thaam le doosra koi daaman (if you have broken up with one, find another). The foot tapping music and the spirited dance of Shakila have made this song evergreen.
3. Dil use do jo jaan de de by Md. Rafi and Asha Bhosle from Andaz (1971), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar-Jaikishan.
The advice in this party song is very sane and comes straight from the heart. The mukhda means that you must give your heart to someone who loves you dearly and can do anything for you. One should part with one’s heart only after analysing whether the other person values it enough. Though picturized as a new year party, the song has sublime thoughts embedded. I love the way musical instruments are played one after another throughout the song.
4. Ma ne kaha tha o beta by Shailendra Singh from Chacha Bhatija (1977), lyrics Anand Bakshi, music Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
This piece of advice comes from a mother to her son – firstly not to fall in love and, if love finds him, then not to fear the world. This advice, it appears, is drawn from experience and thus is reliable. It is about being committed and supportive. This is a song picturized on Randhir Kapoor and Yogita Bali.
5. Bade miyan deewanee aise na bano by Md. Rafi & Manna De from Shagird (1967), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Laxmikant-Pyarelal.
The word Shagird means ‘pupil’ or ‘disciple’. Here is I.S.Johar as Joy Mukherjee’s Shagird learning practical lessons of how to fall in love. Joy, his guru, gives him all the advice that he can in matters of the heart. He grooms him and gets him on to an exercise regimen. Towards the end of the song, Johar is out on his own but barks up the wrong tree. Dressed in complete western formals, he makes a fool of himself, stuttering and stammering each time he is too close for comfort with Saira – who, incidentally, is Joy’s love interest. The lyrics and the picturisation are fantastic.
6. Tum akele to kabhi baag mein jay ana karo by Md. Rafi & Lata Mangeshkar from Ao Pyaar Karein (1964), lyrics Rajendra Krishan, music Usha Khanna.
This sweet romantic duet featuring Saira Bano and Joy Mukherji is a stage song, where they give each other advice about where not to go and what not to do. The song is all about what is taboo and the consequences of disregarding the advice in a very light hearted manner. At some level, the advice is of course tendered to pull each other’s legs and lacks seriousness. Rajendra Krishna comes up with very imaginative lyrics.
7. Teri pyari pyari surat ko by Md.Rafi from Sasuraal (1961), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar-Jaikishan.
This song which won Rafi a Filmfare Award and made it to the top of the chart, is penned by the diehard romantic lyricist Hasrat Jaipuri. He apparently wrote the mukhda while referring to his son Akhtar, who was the apple of his eye. While this song is about praising the lover, there is also a piece of advice thrown in, both in the mukhda and the antaras – of how the beloved must protect herself from the nazar (evil eye) of the mirror, the weather, herself and so on.
8. Jhuka ke sar ko bolo by Asha Bhosle & Sapan Chakraborty from Satte Pe Satta (1982), lyrics Gulshan Bawra, music R.D. Burman.
This is again a song that gives advice along with basic training about how to impress a lady and fall in love. Hema Malini tries to civilize her savage brothers-in-law by educating them in etiquette and gentlemanly behaviour. A touch of western classical music and dance along with conversation interspersed in between the song makes it lovable. The credit for such improvisation undoubtedly goes to R.D.Burman.
9. Soch samajhkar dil ko lagana sung by Geeta Dutt from Jaal (1952), lyrics Sahir Ludhiyanvi, music S.D. Burman.
This club song almost similar to the song from Aar Paar (Babuji dheere chalna) cautions those who fall in love. The advice is that one must tread carefully on the path of love for it is difficult to find an honest and committed partner. Dev Anand and Geeta Bali are at the club when this song is sung. It appears that this song is directed at Geeta Bali. I am not sure about the name of the actress (Purnima?) who lip-syncs. The music of the song reminds one of the C. Ramchandra’s tunes of Albela (1951).
10. Is rang badalti duniya mein sung by Md. Rafi from Rajkumar (1964), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar-Jaikishan.
This song featuring Shammi Kapoor and Sadhana makes you believe that no one can be trusted – even God. The hero feels that the lady must not go out all decked up for the world is full of untrustworthy people. He is not willing to part with her for he does not feel that she will be safe without him. So here’s a possessive and insecure lover who does not want to leave anything to chance and hence gives the lady loads of advice.
Acknowledgements and Disclaimer
The song links have been embedded from the YouTube only for the listening pleasure of music lovers. This blog claims no copyright over these songs or video links which vests with the respective owners.