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

Samay tu dheere dheere chal

Posted on: December 29, 2011


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

Today is Rajesh Khanna’s birthday. His name always evokes memories for me because he was the colossus when I was first beginning to learn Hindi and watch Hindi movies in my life. Here are my thoughts on that period and on Rajesh Khanna. This is a somewhat long post but I hope you will have the patience to read it all the way through.

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Of all the decades of Hindi films that we’ve had until now, the one I feel most comfortable to talk about is the 1970s. That’s for one simple reason – I was there!!!

I love movies and songs of decades before the 70s and will gladly accept that the golden era of films and music may well have ended before the 70s. But the fact remains that those were decades before my time, so any information I have about them is second-hand. From magazines, interviews, websites – I did not experience them myself.

If somebody tells me there were queues and queues at Minerva (or was it another theater) in Bombay for K.Asif’s Mughal-e-Azam, I believe it. But I wasn’t even born at that time. But if somebody tells me that “ye dosti hum nahin chhodenge” was one of the biggest hits of the 1970s, sorry, I will not accept it. I lived through that decade and know that all the songs of Sholay had only moderate success at that time – their popularity grew only when the movie itself obtained legendary status with each passing year and decade. I can also proudly tell everybody that it is the dialogues of the movie (Salim-Javed) – and Gabbar Singh – that were massively responsible for the audience lapping up the movie after an initial slow start. Everybody else (yes, including the Thakur) came later. Today they are all hugely popular but it was progressive popularity. And the only reason I can say this with authority is that “I was there”. 🙂

But I am digressing. As usual.

Back to the 1970s. The decade could be fairly easily split into two – The Rajesh Khanna era, and the Amitabh Bachchan era. This split could be made pretty much down the middle. By 1975, there were some signs that Rajesh’s star was on the decline. Coincidentally, the star of a lanky, not-particularly-handsome new guy, Amitabh Bachchan, was on the ascendancy. Amitabh was getting more and more noticed and talked-about with every movie that he was featuring in. From Zanjeer to Deewaar to Majboor to Abhimaan to Mili to Chupke Chupke to Sholay, his was the name everybody had on his lips. He was on a roll and clocking up fan numbers every day.

Fan numbers that did not include me.

Yes, I did not count myself as an Amitabh fan at that time, though I did like Zanjeer and Majboor a lot. I knew I should be liking Amitabh – and I think I did (I certainly liked him more than Shatru) – but I hated the idea of Rajesh losing his No.1 spot to anybody. It did not really matter who. For me, Rajesh had to be No.1. He had been, ever since I could remember.

I grew up with Rajesh. I remember hearing his name for the first time when a neighbor asked us whether we wanted to go to town with his family to watch Baharon Ke Sapne. We didn’t go but when they returned, they kept raving on and on about this new hero. He was so handsome, he was going to become a big star. I was very very young then and have only very vague memories of this.

The next thing I know is everybody is singing songs of Aradhana. I was still very young but I knew every single line of every single song of this movie, by heart. Sharmila Tagore was already a reasonably big star but this movie took her to a different level of popularity. And EVERYBODY wanted a piece of Rajesh Khanna.

I still remember Andaaz being released. Rajesh had a very small cameo – but his name was constantly used to promote the movie. His “zindagi ek safar hai suhaana” on the motorbike is, to me, easily one of the biggest hits for not just that generation but future generations too.

Kati Patang became a massive hit – that is another movie whose songs I remembered every line of. And I was still only in Class 1 or 2.

Safar did well too (again, the songs!) but Anand is the movie I remember most as the one which brought Rajesh universal praise and high critical acclaim. The film is all about his character – and he carries the entire film on his shoulders seemingly effortlessly. Everytime he said “Babu moshai” in that drawn-out style, the crowds cheered.

Amar Prem followed – and received tremendous critical acclaim as well. By now, he’d easily become the darling of the crowds and his name was just enough to sell any film. Girls would go delirious over him, his looks, his buttoned-up silk kurta, his tilt of the head, his dialogues, immortalized by lines like “Ye aansoo ponch daalo, Pushpa, I hate tears”.

The hits came, thick and fast. From Sharmila to Nanda to Mala Sinha to Asha Parekh to Mumtaz to Tanuja to Hema Malini to Raakhee to Rekha to Zeenat Aman, he acted opposite them all and delivered hit after hit. Even a Haathi Mere Saathi, a story primarily of a man’s love for his elephants, became a superhit.

Although he was known as the romantic hero par equal, he was loved even in other essentially non-romantic roles – like the outsider who becomes like a family member and sorts out family problems in Bawarchi, or the cameo role of a flower vendor in the tearjerker Anuraag.

This then was the Rajesh I grew up with. Wherever I looked, there was the reassuring face of Rajesh Khanna, lip-synching to the magic of Kishore Kumar’s voice. I would be singing his songs ALL the time.

And then it all changed.

The first signs I can remember are probably with Mehbooba. This was a heavily promoted film (by the standards of those days). The music had been released before the film and RD Burman’s composition “mere naina saawan bhado” had become a superhit. Hema Malini was already the No.1 heroine of the time, so there was every reason to believe that the two top stars of the time and the hit music would deliver yet another superhit.

Wrong! Mehbooba crashed at the box-office, if I remember correctly.

Prem Kahani did OK – but, for a Rajesh-Mumtaz starrer, it was not quite the mega-hit that their earlier movies had been.

There were whispers. Initially just soft whispers. Rajesh was SO huge that nobody talked openly of him maybe, just maybe, losing his magic touch.

But the signs were there. His mannerisms were getting increasingly grating, the hamming had increased considerably. The long hair that he began sporting may have been the fashion of the time but it somehow made him look less dashing, at least in my opinion. (I remember not liking his looks in Ajnabee at all for this reason alone).

Chalta Purza and Bundalbaaz crashed – and the whispers got louder. Suddenly they were not whispers anymore. Suddenly there was talk of how “arrogant” an actor Rajesh was, how “unprofessional” he was, how he kept directors and co-stars waiting during shootings.
In the same breath, there would be talk of how “hard-working” Amitabh Bachchan was, how “thoroughly professional” he was, how “punctual” he was.

One didn’t need to be a rocket scientist to know which way the tide was turning. The industry had always been fickle – and Rajesh had somehow not exactly endeared himself to a whole lot of producers and directors anyway. They had been accepting his shenanigans only because of his market value. And once they saw it falling, they dropped him like a hot potato and went with the new kid on the block. “The King is dead, long live the King” was the call of the day.

Poor Rajesh Khanna! Living in that bubble of success and possibly sycophancy, he could not come to terms easily with the fact that he was not the sought-after superstar anymore. Overnight, the crown had been removed from his head – possibly while he was asleep.
He continued to act – and deliver flops. My heart used to break everytime a Rajesh film would be released – and would crash at the box-office. At the same time an Amitabh movie would be released – and the talk would be all about Amitabh. My heart and mind could just not accept what was happening – I was in denial.

Then I saw “Aashiq Hoon Baharon Ka”. It was one of the most expensive movies ever made at that time. It had also been hyped up quite a bit so there was some anticipation for the film. It was with some trepidation that I went to watch the film. After watching it, I decided I’d NEVER watch another Rajesh movie. I was SO disappointed, SO angry at the movie and at him.

For a while I kept my word. I did not watch movies like Janta Hawaldar (though I heard it was an OK film). But then, I broke my word and watched Thodisi Bewafai – it was a different sort of film and all the reviews said that Rajesh had learnt from his mistakes. I loved the movie – he and Shabana looked good together.

By then, I’d begun to accept Amitabh too. I realized he was a good actor – I absolutely loved him in Trishul and in Amar Akbar Anthony. And it was not his fault that Rajesh Khanna was no longer the No.1.

I guess I was just beginning to realize that success is ephemeral. Rajesh’s time had come and gone. And Amitabh’s had come – and would go too one day.
Anyway, that was a long story about my relationship with Rajesh Khanna during my schooldays in the 70s and now it is (high) time that I actually get down to the business of talking about the song in this post.

———————————–
The song for today is of course from a Rajesh movie but it is one that I did NOT watch when the movie was released. It was during my “blackout” period for Rajesh films.

I had heard about this movie “Karm” when I was in high school. It was made by BR Chopra, who was a big name in those days. At that time I did not know much about BR Chopra’s pedigree. It is only much later that I learnt that many of the movies he made were ahead of their times, many of them questioned social practice and norms of the time. Ek Hi Raasta, Sadhna, Dhool Ka Phool for example.

At the time of Karm, I was SO dillusioned with Rajesh Khanna that I was 100% sure the film would flop. BR Chopra or no BR Chopra, Rajesh was out. I did not see the movie at that time. And, the movie also did not do particularly well, if I remember right. I do not recall whether it was a flop but it was certainly not a hit.

Recently I decided to watch the film. I am obviously not bound anymore by any of those schoolboy conditions that I placed on myself. And, as a BR Chopra fan anyway, I thought I’d give this movie a look.

I must say the first half was not bad at all. It is a bold subject – the movie examines a live-in relationship, it challenges the institution of marriage, it depicts the way society looks at people in a live-in relationship. All this in the 1970s. Like I said, BR Chopra did pick subjects which were ahead of their time. Especially in India.
After what looked like an absorbing first half, the story suddenly takes a slightly religious turn, it gets more conventional and then begins to lose a lot of its power. By the end, I felt disappointed at how it turned out, especially considering what it could have been.

Story apart, it was very good to see Rajesh looking quite good, considering his decline was well underway when this was made. Vidya Sinha’s role becomes quite painful in the second half but that’s not her fault, it is that of the script. Otherwise she looks quite pretty – this was the first film in which I was seeing this pairing. I’m not sure they have another film together.

The song “samay tu dheere dheere chal” was fairly popular in its time. It is a pleasant enough song and one that can be listened to multiple times without getting bored of it. The picturisation is not bad either – both Rajesh and Vidya look good in the outdoor scenes.
I used to like this song quite a lot even then – and when I heard it recently I found I still like it. I hope you like it too.

Finally, thanks for reading through this very long write-up. I realize that most of it is about my own experiences, and about Rajesh Khanna, and less about the song itself but I hope that’s ok. 🙂

Happy version

Sad version

Song-Samay tu dheere dheere chal (Karm)(1977) Singers-Asha Bhonsle,Kishore Kumar, Lyrics-Rajkavi Inderjeet Singh Tulsi, MD-R D Burman
Asha Bhonsle + Kishore Kumar

Lyrics
—————————-
Happy version
—————————-
Samay tu dheere dheere chal
samay tu dheere dheere chal
saari duniya chhod ke peechhe
aage jaaoon nikal
main to aage jaaoon nikal
pal pal
ho o pal pal
samay tu dheere dheere chal
samay tu dheere dheere chal
saari duniya chhod ke peechhe
aage jaaoon nikal
main to aage jaaoon nikal
pal pal
ho oO palpal
samay tu dheere dheere chal
samay tu dheere dheere chal

ye rut aur ye pyaara samaa
aa aa
saara jeewan thehre yahaan
aaa
pyaar ki raahon mein khoyi rahoon
teri baahon mein soyi rahoon
aaj ka din meri muthhi mein hai
kisne dekha kal
arrey kisne dekha kal
pal pal
ho pal pal
samay tu dheere dheere chal
samay tu dheere dheere chal

ruk jaayen ghadiyaan
ruk jaayen chhin
raat ki zulfon mein bandh jaayen din
na main main rahoon
na tum tum
ik dooje mein ho jaayen gum
ban ke shama parwaana donon
pyaar mein jaayen jal
hum to pyaar mein jaayen jal
pal pal
ho o pal pal

samay tu dheere dheere chal
samay tu dheere dheere chal
saari duniya chhod ke peechhe
aage jaaoon nikal
main to aage jaaoon nikal
pal pal
ho o pal pal
samay tu dheere dheere chal
samay tu dheere dheere chal

chhota sa ho,
apna ghar
na kuchh fikren,
na koi darr
har dum
aisa waqt rahey
aankhon se naa,
aansoo bahey
dharti parbat hil saktey hain,
apni preet atal
dekho apni preet atal
pal pal
ho o pal pal
samay tu dheere dheere chal
samay tu dheere dheere chal

saari duniya chhod ke peechhe
aage jaayen nikal
hum to aage jaayen nikal
pal pal
ho o palpal
samay tu dheere dheere chal
samay tu dheere dheere chal
samay tu dheere dheere chal

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Sad version
——————————-
chhota sa ho apna ghar
na kuchh fikren na koi darr
har dam aisa waqt rahe
aankhon se na aansoo bahen
dharti parbat hil sakte hain
apni preet atal
dekho apni preet atal
pal pal
ho o pal pal

samay tu jaldi jaldi chal
Samay tu jaldi jaldi chal
aaj kadin hai pal pal bhaari
kaisa hoga kal
haay re,
kaisa hoga kal
pal pal
ho o palpal
samay tu jaldi jaldi chal
samay tu jaldi jaldi chal

khud hi apni maut hoon main
khud hi apni saut hoon main
na ghar mein shehnai baji
phir bhi meri sej saji
main hoon aisi dulhan jiska
bikhar gaya kaajal
haay re,
bikhar gaya kaajal
pal pal
ho o pal pal
samay tu jaldi jaldi chal
samay tu jaldi jaldi chal

apne haathhon lut gaye hum
maangi khushiyaan
mil gaye gham
ho o duniya kehti aise hi thhi
uff na kar o raaton ki
aankhon ki aulaad hai aansoo
kaise jaoon nigal
haay re,
kaise jaaoon nigal
pal pal
ho o pal pal
samay tu jaldi jaldi chal
samay tu jaldi jaldi chal
aaj ka din hai pal pal bhaari
kaisa hoga kal
haaye re,
kaisa hoga kal
pal pal
ho o pal pal

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19 Responses to "Samay tu dheere dheere chal"

Raja ji,
Thanks for a very interesting and moving write up which not only kept me glued to reading further but also eminently expressed your emotions about that period,Rajesh Khanna and the state of your mind with changing times.
very good indeed.
I,personally, was never a Rajesh Khanna fan,for I felt from the begining that he was very showy,proud person who knew that it was his time NOW ! nevertheless I liked his Namak haram and Anand.
-AD

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A balanced write up and a beautiful song.

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Raja ji

Both versions are my favourites, I always hum these two versions,

very good (sensitive)article, I like your writing very much.

thank you.

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Arunji

I request you to provide more information about the song writer
Rajkavi Inderjit singh Tulsi.

please

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Prakash ji,
RAJKAVI INDERJIT SINGH TULSI was from Ludhiiyana, Punjab.He started writing for Punjabi films,but specialised in Bhajans which made him famous.
In the 70s he wrote many hit songs in Hindi films.He wrote for Ravindra Jain,Sonik Omi,L-P,K-A,Bhappi Lahiri,R.D.Burman,Rajesh Roshan etc.
His songs were sung by Lata,Asha,Rafi,Narendra Chanchal,Mukesh,Anuradha Paudwal,Kanchan,Manna Dey,Mahendra Kapoor and Kishore Kumar.

He wrote for films like-Fakira,Sauda,Kalicharan,Bhakti mein shakti,Chor machaye shor,Ehsaas,Jaandaar,Do Jassos,Black Mail,Ek phool do mali,Karm,Pratima aur Payal,Baton baton mein,Bobby etc.
-AD

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Thanks Arunji, you are such a sweetheart, I don`t know how should I express my gratitude to you.

regards
prakash

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i also used to be a Rajesh Khanna fan much similar to Rajaji. but i stopped seeing his movies partly bcoz my dad didn’t take me to the movies that often. i was allowed a movie after an exam or class test etc to lighten the moods but the choice was always his so to the extent that i ve seen movies like “Alibaba- Marjina” with Prem Kishen and Tamanna in the lead (bet no one has heard of these people). so these other movies of Rajesh Khanna got missed in the interim. then dad started liking AB. so i also switched to AB and i ve never complained abt his acting too.
i am sure all of us atulites will agree that Rajesk Khanna’s choice of movies started deteriorating from 1975 what with things like Red Rose, Prem Nagar, then there was Masterji in the 80s. god what a come down for him. and he thought he cud survive with a few gr8 Kishore Kumar numbers in each movie. stardom and its expiry date was forgotten by him.
but any ways his songs were always lovely gr8 etc.
and yes i ve managed to read through Raja’s writeup 2day. it was very much my own feelings. gr8 work raja

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Raja ji,

A ha, spoken like a true fan. Aap ka ye personal touch is just so captivating, the words seem to be flowing from your own self, one can sense it. So many things to be said about a personality that held sway over a million hearts, and you captured the flavors so well through the innocence of a child who has witnessed the rise and the fall.

When Rajesh Khanna took upon the label of ‘Super Star’, he insticntively relaxed and let go, as if his work was done, and the rest was now up to the world and his fans. He forgot that the climb to the top does not end, for every peak is just a stopover, and a true achiever will continue to meaningfully re-invent himself every so often. He also forgot to keep a wise distance from the flames of glory, for one is bound to lose his hair if one gets too close – better to bask in the warmth from a safe distsance.

Success is huge effort, sustenance is the greater effort.

I have seen many of his films, and truly admire his performances, but I guess I was too starry eyed from a diet of ‘Yahoo’ and ‘Gaata Rahe Mera Dil’ to let myself be counted as a diehard fan. And somehow the vagaries of his personal life, splashed in headlines did not help either. With the exception of Raj Kapoor, and later maybe Dharmendra, all the other top aritsts in the industry have had a safe and stable personal life that was sacroscant and not available for scrutiny by the media and the public. This was one let down that sent a message to his teeming fans that he did not care. And it brushed off the sparkle from his personality.

Thanks for the delightful song, it is a great selection for the day.

Rgds
Sudhir

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Thanks to everybody for your kind comments. I must made one confession though – I had completely forgotten yesterday morning that it was Rajesh’s birthday (I had remembered last week but not yesterday). Only when I logged on the net and checked Atul’s blog, and saw other songs, I realised it – and immediately worked on getting this write-up to Atul with the request to him to post him in time for Rajesh’s birthday. A big thanks to Atul for making this happen.

As for Rajesh, I think he became a major victim of his own success. It came too fast, it was too heady, he had sycophants all around him – anybody would lose his head in that situation. I saw an interview of him of a few years ago, where he was very humble and said something like “I did not know how to handle success”. I felt really sorry for him.

Apparently he is in very poor health right now. I wish him all the best – he is still young.

Another thing.

I fully understand that people like Arunkumarji may not have been particularly fond of Rajesh. I know many people of an earlier generation (and actually of a later generation also) who did not like Rajesh. Those of an earlier generation were often fans of (at least one of) the big 3 or Shammi Kapoor. And even the Kishore songs they liked were from an earlier era, not the Rajesh era. I can totally understand that.

Those from a later generation are usually fans of Amitabh and his roles – and often they don’t identify with the “romantic” roles of Rajesh.

So poor Rajesh – got stuck in a (short) era between the biggies of an earlier generation and THE biggie to follow.

Somehow for me, maybe because I loved those romantic movies, I just loved those roles. He’d sing “rona kabhi nahin rona” or a “ye reshmi zulfen” or that lowering his eyes/blink act in “ye jo chilman hai” – and everything would seem right with the world. 🙂 That last-mentioned song, btw, is one of his most-underrated songs IMO.

For me, whatever his personal life may have been, or whatever his professional failings may have been, he was the one who gave me a lot of sweet moments and memories of my childhood. And for that, I will be eternally grateful to him. 🙂

Like

Raja ji,

Ditto for the song, ‘Ye Jo Chilman Hai. . .’, one of my favorites from my childhood.

Rajesh spends a fair amount of time at his residence in South Delhi. A very close relation of mine has a store of furnishing fabrics. I was there one afternoon, when the staff became animated, the buzz went around – Rajesh was in his car outside, waiting for his driver to pick up some things from the shop. I stepped outside, but the car of course had tinted glasses. (I chekced with my cousin, and he mentioned that yes he occasionally comes to their shop for housewares.)

I wish him good health and happy times again.

Rgds
Sudhir

Like

Hi Raja,

thanks for sharing your memories of watching Rajesh movies back in the 1970’s. It was very eloquently written – you really have a way with words & your affection for Rajesh really shines through.

I’m also a big Rajesh fan who watched many of his movies in the cinema hall too, but not in India, in London. In fact it was ‘Haathi Mera Saathi’ that got me hooked. I’ve always associated Kishore & Rajesh together, even when Kishore sang for others if I hadn’t seen the film I would always imagine it was picturized on Rajesh Khanna.

Like you said growing up in that era we were first-hand witnesses to the steady downfall of Rajesh & ascent of Amitabh & I also had mixed feelings about liking Amitabh’s films when I knew Rajesh’s were not doing well.

In case you’re interested I have posted a fascinating program from my collection on YouTube, called ‘Bombay Superstar’. It was made by the BBC back in 1973 & invite those who have not seen it to take a look here : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fWmucHoZN3U

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Raja ji, wonderful write up…

I became Rajesh Khanna fan watching Haathi Mere Sathi and Amar Prem …

Amar Prem is something that would bring our entire family in front of TV whenever it is shown and I guess it will continue to do so.. 🙂

Post 79, there was something about Rajesh Khanna that appealed to me very much. He appeared to me as an underdog at that point of time or maybe the media portrayed him like that…. Having been fed up of watching Amitabh Bachchan repeating his act in many films in late seventies I was somehow pulled in to watch Rajesh Khanna movies during late seventies. This aura of RK being an underdog helped a lot.. 🙂

When I read about films of his that he did post 79, now, after about 30 to 40 years, it appears to me that he rose from an impossible situation to act in films like Kudrat, Avtar, Amrit, Souten etc…IMO, the journey of his, post 79, makes his career ever so more interesting…

Many say his films between 75 to 79 include films that are classy stuff…”Palkon ki…” is one of them…Guess Karm is also one of them…and yeah I too love this song…Thanks.

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Many thanks Prakash ji for all the links !!!

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This blog discusses Bollywood songs of yesteryears. Every song has a brief description, followed by a video link, and complete lyrics of the song.

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