Atul’s Song A Day- A choice collection of Hindi Film & Non-Film Songs

Aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen kaa…log kahen mujhe pagla kahin kaa

Posted on: October 21, 2011


This article is written by Raja, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a regular contributor to this blog

I am not one who believes in star positions in the galaxy determining happenings on earth but maybe some things were ordained.

Like the fact that Shammi Kapoor, THE Bollywood icon of the 1960s, and Helen, THE Bollywood dancing queen of the 1960s, were just supposed to be born on the same day. Ok, we’re talking 8 years apart but what are the odds that they’d be born on the same day and month, even if a few years apart?

That’s quite a coincidence. As Rick (Humphrey Bogart) in Casablanca-1942 (one of my all-time favourite Hollywood films) said “Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine”. Well, Shammi Kapoor could have said “Of all the days of the year on which she could have been born, she chooses to pick MY day”. ?

Well, that day happens to be today.

Yes, it was on the 21st of October 1931 and the 21st of October 1939 that Shammi Kapoor and Helen were born respectively.

Much has been written about both of them. The internet is full of articles and pictures about them , so there’s no point in my repeating what is already out there. It will also be a case of “chhoti munh badi baat”.

Let’s just say that both of them have millions of admirers all over the world. And both of them caused paradigm shifts in the way their respective fields (Shammi as leading man and Helen as dancer) were portrayed on screen. Both of them had a fair number of imitators – one of the surest signs of popularity, not just in filmdom but in most fields.

Individually, they were a massive draw. It is a well-known fact that during the 60s, Shammi Kapoor movies ran mainly because of him as the leading man – and songs. The storylines were usually hackneyed (Shammi himself has admitted as much) and the heroine really did not have very much to do other than play hard-to-get in the first half and then fawn over Shammi in the second half.

Similarly a Helen dance in the 60s was considered practically a must-have, if only as an insurance against failure of the script or lead actors. It did not matter whether it was a film studded with A-stars or whether it was a B- or C- film. If it was made for entertainment, you might as well throw in a Helen song, even if you have to create a bar scene that has nothing to do with the plot. ?

When they were individually such big draws, is it then strange that producers often cast them both in their film? That was the absolute insurance. ?

And they did not disappoint. There are a fair number of films of Shammi and Helen together – and almost all of them are a delight to watch. Especially if they have a Shammi-Helen dance scene together, because Shammi on the dance floor was clearly one of a kind, and his moves with Helen always seem to me to set alight the set.

Perhaps the best-known such song is “O Haseena Zulfonwaali” from Teesri Manzil-1966. It was a massive hit, in a superhit film full of superhit songs.

But there are others too. And the one I am presenting here is one of my favourites, partly because it is from one of my favourite Shammi Kapoor movies.

This is “Aashiq hoon ek mahjabeen ka” from Pagla Kahin Ka-1970. Better known probably as the title song of the movie.

Now, PKK is not one of Shammi Kapoor’s best-known movies. And commercially it did not do well – a rarity in those times for Shammi Kapoor, especially when you consider that the leading lady was Asha Parekh, herself almost a guarantee for a hit in those days. So what went wrong?

Now, nobody can ever be 100% sure of these things (and often there is a combination of reasons), but in an interview with Asha that I came across sometime back on youtube, she attributes the film’s lukewarm reception by the public to possibly their not liking Shammi Kapoor in his role.

In this movie, Shammi plays a mentally disturbed person in a mental hospital. Initially he is only putting on an act to avoid serving a lengthy prison sentence (or worse) for supposedly committing a murder. But then later, on release from the hospital, he ends up returning to it- this time with a real mental condition as a result of being traumatized at the news and sight of his beloved marrying his very best friend.

All in all, it is a very different role from his usual boy-chases-girl in a hill-station role. When I watched this film a year ago (I’d seen it long back but didn’t remember the story), I was very impressed by it. To me it is one of Shammi’s best roles – he is restrained (and that’s saying a lot for Shammi ?), he gets under the skin of the role and carries it off with great conviction.

Helen has one of the more significant roles in a Shammi Kapoor film in her career. (I remember she has a significant one in Chhote Sarkaar also). Here, in PKK, she plays Shammi Kapoor’s love – again a rarity in their movies where she often plays either a dancer role or at best, as in Teesri Manzil, the girl who loves Shammi but has no chance against the heroine.

Here, she is actually the girl he loves. She is the one to whom he sings the famous “tum mujhe yunh bhula na paoge”. So in PKK, Helen is very much Shammi’s equal. Until, in a manner that only Hindi films can somehow contrive, her character goes completely downhill and leaves you feel not just sorry for her, but also cheated. Sigh!

Anyway, coming to songs. PKK has the famous “tum mujhe yunh bhula na paoge” – rendered multiple times in the movie, both in the voices of Rafi saab and Lataji. It is a beautiful song which I’ve always liked but liked even more when I saw the movie and understood the context.

Then there is “mere bhains ko danda kyon maara”, a song I remember very well from my childhood. It is a fun song in the mental hospital – Manna Dey could do fun songs pretty well and not just great classical number.

But today’s song here is “aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka” – the title song early in the movie with Shammi and Helen in full flow. They are both working at a club (owned by KN Singh) and they perform a dance act on New year’s Eve. Prem Chopra is Shammi’s best friend and musician at the club.

Shammi in an interview has said that by the late 60s, his knees were beginning to seriously trouble him. He’d injured himself multiple times in his life by then and his several physical roles and dance sequences were beginning to take a toll of his knees/legs. So he was forced to cut down on his dancing. You can see that in Andaaz, even in the “dil use do jo jaan de de” dance, he’s very subdued.

I think already in PKK, things were getting bad on this front. Considering this, it is even more special to see this lovely dance number between Shammi and Helen. The song is catchy (Shankar-Jaikishen’s music) and the mood is total fun. I just love this song.

I hope all of you enjoy it too.

P.S: One question for the knowledgeable readers of this blog. Various sources refer to this film as being a 1970 release. In this song, one can see that it is a 1968 New Year’s party that they are celebrating. Is this a movie that got released a couple of years late? Or is the info of a 1970 release incorrect (often one source gets copied all over the place and soon becomes the “truth”). I somehow feel this could be a 1968 (or latest 1969) release. Please enlighten. Thanks.

Audio

Video

Song-Aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen kaa…log kahen mujhe pagla kahin kaa (Pagla Kahin Kaa) (1970) Singer-Rafi, Lyrics-Hasrat Jaipuri, MD-Shankar Jaikishan

Lyrics

aa haa
aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka
log kahen mujhe pagla kahin ka
aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka
log kahen mujhe pagla kahin ka
dil ki tamanna poori kar do
saathi bana lo mujhe zindagi ka
aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka
log kahen mujhe pagla kahin ka

mehfil mehfil dhoom machaaon
mehfil mehfil dhoom machaaon
paagal bankar naach dikhaoon
paagal bankar naach dikhaoon
jaane tamanna saath hai mere
jaane tamanna saath hai mere
haal na poochho meri khushi ka
aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka
log kahen mujhe pagla kahin ka
aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka
log kahen mujhe pagla kahin ka

jaane wo kaisi jaane jahaan hai
jaane wo kaisi jaane jahaan hai
uske bina to,
chain kahaan hai haay
uske bina to,
chain kahaan hai
shaam sawera kuchh nahin dekhoon
shaam sawera kuchh nahin dekhoon
phera maaroon uski gali kaa
aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka
log kahen mujhe pagla kahin ka
aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka
log kahen mujhe pagla kahin ka

ek sanam ko apna kiya hai
ek sanam ko apna kiya hai
pyaar ka bandhan baandh liya hai
pyaar ka bandhan baandh liya hai
mujhko to apna hosh nahin hai
mujhko to apna hosh nahin hai
mujhpe nasha hai aashiqui ka
aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka
log kahen mujhe pagla kahin ka
aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka
log kahen mujhe pagla kahin ka
dil ki tamanna poori kar do
saathi bana lo mujhe zindagi ka
aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen ka
log kahen mujhe pagla kahin ka

7 Responses to "Aashiq hoon ek mehjabeen kaa…log kahen mujhe pagla kahin kaa"

Raja ji,

Thanks for the wonderful write up. 🙂 (I was on the road yesterday, and was communicating with Atul ji, regarding the b’days for Shammi ji and Helen ji, and he informed that you are already working on a song with both of them on screen. Wonderful catch up with the reminders.)

The release year of this film is definitely 1970, and I believe there is some story behind its delayed release. For this film was under production earlier, and the new year being celebrated for 1968 would be alright, since the shooting had been in progress during 1967-68. I do not now recall the precise reasons for the delay, but I do remember having read a while back in an article, about the delay in the release of this film.

Arun ji, please add any anecdotal information available to the above comment.

Rgds
Sudhir

Like

Arunji, would you be knowing the reason why this film got delayed in its release? It does look like it was made in 1967-68 but did not get released before 1970.

Like

Raja ji,
I am sorry,but I was unable to get any info about the reasons why the release was delayed.I can only confirm that it went on the floors in 1967 itself.The NY Party of 1968 was filmed in 1967 end itself in the film.
I also found one of your comments on Memsaabstory,dated 5-4-2011,about this same riddle of make and release year,in the discussion on PKK review by memsaab.
-AD

Like

Thanks, Arunji. That NY party was what triggered my thinking also. Maybe the party was filmed in end-1967 but the whole movie may have taken longer to complete. Anyway, if we get any further info on this, it would be good to know. Now that Shammiji is not there anymore, maybe Asha Parekh can help us with this one. 😉

Like

Helen was born in November 21st of 1941 according to Filmfare magazines. Wikipedia seems to be wrong. In ‘Queen of the Nautch girls’ interview, Helen says that she was 16 in 1957 during the ‘Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo’ shooting. Wikipedia also mentions Waheeda Rehman’s birthday to be May 1936 when she was really born in Feb 3 1938. She recently celebrated her 74th birthday.

I don’t think wikipedia or IMDB is a reliable source

Like

Sarika ji,
I 100% agree with you that as far as movie related info is concerned Wikipedia is tot trustworthy.Seems to me that WP accept any contributor’s info,without ascertaining it’s authenticity.They ofcourse mention,sometimes,indication to that effect but most visitors go by what is provided there and get misled.
As far as IMDB is concerned,their info is always half hearted.Their reviews of films are always incomplete and many times,they give totally erroneous info.In one case they gave the date of death of an actress who was very much alive and kicking !
IMDB’s procedure for making corrections is so cumbersome,that one starts feeling that they are upto discouraging such efforts.
Various blogs provide more reliable info,is my experience.
-AD

Like

Many years ago, when I found wikipedia giving totally incorrect information about Hindi movies, I decided to provide correct information to them. They not only removed the information given by me, but I was sort of banned or something, I do not now recall what. After that I decided not to have anything to do with them.

Like

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