Day 32: Sar Jo Tera Chakraye

Movie: Pyaasa (1957)
Song: Sar Jo Tera Chakraye
Music Director: S. D. Burman
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Singers: Mohammad Rafi
Actors (in the song): Johnny Walker.

I saw Pyaasa when I was around 11-12 years old, on a vacation in Mangalore. It was summer and unbearably hot outside so my family decided to stay indoors in our air-conditioned room. Unfortunately, the TV had only one Hindi channel and Pyaasa was the movie playing. I still remember feeling so down after watching the movie. “It’s so unfair!” I wanted to scream.

Pyaasa is one of the most depressing movies I have watched. It is about a poet who is famous after he is perceived to be dead. His life is a wretched struggle and over-all the movie was an extremely disillusioning experience for me. Even then, when film studies was not one my interests, I could see the break or the weak points of the movie (every item number in every movie today).

While the movie is over-all very serious, there are two songs that break the mood. This one where Johnny Walker (see the other post about him) is explaining the positive effects of a champi (the aim  is to distract the guards of the mental asylum where Guru Dutt is kept so that he can escape) and the other one is Hum Aapki Aankhon Mein (I think the video inspired the look and set of the first part of Wo Ladki Hain Kaha). It might just be an attempt to water down the drama of the movie or simply appealed to audiences and had one song that could be a “happy” memory of the movie. Jaane Wo Kaise Log is another song that you cannot miss from this movie. It ties up the over-all theme together quite nicely.

My grandmother sings “aaja pyaare paas humare kaahe ghabraaye” (come dear close to me, why are you scared) every time a child is scared to approach her. 🙂 And those are my favourite lines.

This song is one of those that is evergreen because of the lyrics! Which Indian has not had a champi when sad, happy, tired, energetic!? Everyone loves it because it connects with your memory of being loved through a head massage. 🙂

The Wikipedia entry does have a line on the tune of this song being copied and Burman not being happy about it (!!), but I have not been able to trace the original.  The story is loosely based on Sahir Ludhainvi’s (lyricist) failed romance with poet Amrita Pritam, so the entry says. Another interesting story about Ludhainvi is about his relationship with Gulzar that’s been translated by my friend Savio on his blog. The story leaves me with a smile.

Watch the video here:


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