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

Kahaan hai manzil teri

Posted on: April 13, 2019


This article is written by Sadanand Kamath, a fellow enthusiast of Hindi movie music and a contributor to this blog. This article is meant to be posted in atulsongaday.me. If this article appears in other sites without the knowledge and consent of the web administrator of atulsongaday.me, then it is piracy of the copyright content of atulsongaday.me and is a punishable offence under the existing laws.

Blog Day :

3921 Post No. : 14984 Movie Count :

4098

Wadia Movietone has been known for producing films in the genres mainly of stunts, actions, fantasies and costumes. The banner was set up in 1933 by Wadia Brothers – J B H Wadia (1901-1986) and Homi Wadia (1911-2004). ‘Laal-E-Yaman’ (1933) was its first sound film produced under the banner and directed by J B H Wadia which became a box office success. With this film, the name of Fearless Nadia who had a small role in this film and Wadia Movietone became inseparable in the 1930s and 40s.

From the list of films produced under the banner of Wadia Movietone, mainly during 1930s and 40s, one can categorise the films as ‘Rail Films’, ‘Jungle Films’, ‘Arabian Nights Films’ etc.

Wadia Brothers were pioneer in producing films based on the railway themes. Their first ‘rail’ film was ‘Toofaan Mail’ (1932- Silent) which became box office success. In the talkies’ rail films, ‘Miss Frontier Mail’ (1936), ‘Flying Ranee’ (1939), ‘Punjab Mail’ (1939), ‘Return of Toofaan Mail’ (1942) etc were produced by Wadia Movietone. They were also pioneer in ‘Jungle’ films such as ‘Toofaani Tarzan’ (1937), ‘Jungle King’ (1939), ‘Jungle Princess’ (1942) etc.

As far as I know, Wadia Movietone produced the first Hindi film ‘Naujawaan’ (1937) without having any songs. It was an action-oriented film. But the film had to be withdrawn from a Delhi theatre when riots broke out. The audience screamed that Wadias had cheated them as they felt that a film was incomplete without songs. The film flopped at the box office.

Wadia brothers had been raised in westernized culture. Hollywood films were their role models. But sometime in the mid-1930s, J B H Wadia, the elder brother and the main brain behind Wadia Movietone was attracted towards ongoing nationalist movements. He got associated with Indian National Congress. With this association, he felt that it was his duty to produce the socially relevant films with some social messages for the masses. A few of his subsequent stunt films conveyed social messages like women’s emancipation, evils of caste system, need for education etc. For instance, in ‘Hurricane Hansa’ (1937) it has been shown as to how a ‘harijan’ girl Hansa transforms into ‘hurricane’ Hansa to take revenge on those who had destroyed her family.

The year 1938 played a definitive role in the life of J B H Wadia as he came into contact with Manabendra Nath Roy (M N Roy) one of the founders of the Communist Party of India. Later, he left his Marxist ideology and adopted the philosophy of Radical Humanism. Both were briefly associated with Indian National Congress but left Congress in 1938 to form a new party called Radical Democratic Party of India. His friendship with M N Roy remained intact until the latter’s death in 1954. Many years after his death, J B H Wadia wrote a memoirs of his years with M N Roy and got it publish as a book – M N Roy, The Man: An Incomplete Royana (1983).

This association had a far reaching impact on J B H Wadia in terms of film productions in Wadia Movietone. He started spending more time in his political activities than in Wadia Movietone. Most of the films were either directed by his younger brother, Homi Wadia or other directors. He just wanted to ensure that the films’ screen-plays and dialogues cover some social themes more than the stunts. He had also become the conscious of the Hindustani classical music.

As contributions towards socially and culturally responsible film-maker, he started making short films like Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose’s speech at a Congress Committee meetings, on classical musicians like Mallika Pukhraj, Kumar Gandharva, Feroze Dastoor, (some of them are available on YT). These short films were given to exhibitors free of charges to be shown before the feature films of Wadia Movietone were screened.

Around the same time, J B H Wadia seems to have felt that having established successfully Wadia Movietone, he was looking for some kind of establishing his intellectual credibility as a producer-director of repute ( I guess, JBH Wadia may have been influenced by the name and fame which his compatriot directors like V Shantaram and P C Barua had earned in the Hindi film industry). With this background, he took upon himself an ambitious project ‘Raj Nartaki’ (1941) which was to be produced in three languages – Hindi, English (Court Dancer) and Bengali.

‘Raj Nartaki’ (1941) was a prestigious project for J B H Wadia. Wadia Movietone spend a lot of money on the elaborate and expensive sets. Top stars like Prithiviraj Kapoor and Sadhana Bose were part of the film’s cast. While the film established J B H Wadia as an intellectual film maker, the film in all the three languages together could barely recover the cost of productions. In a way, it can be said that the film was a final straw in a already stained relationship between the partners of Wadia Movietone which was running into the losses.

In any partnership firm, when chips are down, the disagreements between partners come to the fore. Homi Wadia, 10 year younger to his elder brother, J B H Wadia was so far been a junior partner. With losses mounting due to some films not faring well at the box office, the differences between the Wadia Brothers came into forefront. While J B H Wadia wanted to make films in the social genre, Homi Wadia and another partner, Billimoria wanted to make box office hit films irrespective of genres. The irreconcilable differences between the brothers led to the split with Homi Wadia going separate to set up his own Basant Pictures and Basant Studio. As a part of dissolution of partnership and settlements, Wadia Movietone had to sell its studio located at Parel to V Shantaram which was renamed as Rajkamal Studio.

After the split, Homi Wadia slicked to producing stunts films at a shoe-sting budget such as ‘Hunterwali Ki Beti’ (1943), ‘Sher-e-Baghdad’ (1946), Flying Prince’ (1946), ‘Stunt Queen’ (1947, and ’11 o Clock’ (1948) with Nadia and John Cawas as main actors. Despite the split, Homi Wadia and J B H Wadia jointly produced about 16 films during 1950-70, the latter now being a junior partner.

‘Kahaan Hai Manzil Teri’ (1939) was one of those ‘out-of-the-box’ films from Wadia Movietone which was directed by S M Yousuf. The star cast included Ila Devi, Harishchandra Rao, Radharani, Shah Nawaz, Urmila, Master Chhotu, Nazira, Agha, Dalpat, Sayani Aatish etc.

A summarized version of the story of the film given in the review of the film published in December 1939 issue of ‘Filmindia’ magazine is set out below:

The story goes back to old times when sacrificing of a virgin at the altar of god to please him was practiced. In a Santhal village, the annual sacrifice of a virgin is under preparation with the high priest of the temple supervising the event. In reality, the high priest, Balraj (Shah Nawaz) has arranged to keep unscrupulously these virgins in a hidden room as unwilling victims of his lust.

Paras (Harishchandra Rao) protests against this rituals and this time it is his sister’s turn for the sacrifice. His resistance to the ritual earns the wrath of the high priest. Paras escapes from the village with the help of Godavari (Radharani) who is the daughter of Balraj. She is also in unrequited love with Paras.

Paras goes to the capital of an Aryan king, Satluj who is determined to root out the primitive practice of sacrificing of virgins. In the kingdom, Paras becomes affectionate of Princess Ragini (Ila Devi). Paras reciprocates her affection. But he has little time for love as his aim is to avenge the death of his father and the ‘sacrifice’ of his sister.

In the Aryan capital, Naru, the prime minister of the kingdom is planning to overthrow the king with the help of Balraj for realization of his own ambitions. The king is killed. Princess Ragini is kidnapped and handed over to Balraj for ‘sacrifice’. Paras goes to save Princess Ragini from this trap. Once again, it is Godavari who helps him at the cost of sacrificing her life at the hands of her own father.

At last, Paras becomes successful in exposing Balraj as scoundrel under the grabs of religious activities and the superstitions. Santhals and Aryans are united in a bond of brotherhood. Paras wins the hands of Princes Ragini.

One can guess from the story of the film as to how J B H Wadia has been influenced by the M N Roy’s ideology of Radical Humanism which worked for the eradication of social evils, women’s emancipation, education etc.

The film had four songs – all written by Wahid Qureshi who also wrote the story and dialogue for the film. Songs were set to music by Madhavlal Damodar Master.

Here is the first song – a title song – ‘kahaan hai manzil teri musaafir’ from the film to appear on the Blog. The song is sung by Ila Devi and Chorus.

Acknowledgement: In writing this article, especially for the period during which J B H Wadia’s political association, his passion for humanist ideology, his yearning for name and fame as an intellectual producer-director, I have been greatly benefited by a scholarly article by Rosie Thomas on Nadia and Wadia Brothers which appeared in a book ‘Bollyworld: Popular Indian Cinema Through A Transitional Lens (2005) – Edited by Raminder Kaur and Ajay J Sinha.

Audio Clip:

Song-Kahaan hai manzil teri (Kahaan hai Manzil teri)(1939) Singers-Ila Devi, Unknown male voice, Lyrics-Wahid Qureshi, MD-Madholal Damodar Master
Chorus
Ila devi + chorus

Lyrics

kahaan hai manzil teri
kahaan hai manzil teri
kahaan hai manzil teri musaafir
kahaan hai manzil teri ee

bhor bhayi sab panchhi jaage
bhor bhayi sab panchhi jaage
apne apne kaam ko bhaage
apne apne kaam ko bhaage
tu bhi chala chal aage aage
raste ko mat bhool

kahaan hai manzil teri

chalne hi kaa naam hai manzil
chalne hi kaa naam hai manzil
chalne se mat ho tu gaafil
sone se kya hogaa haasil
sone se kya hogaa haasil
apne mann se poochh musaafir
apne mann se poo….chh

chalna teri reet puraani
chalna teri reet puraani
sunn dariya se apni kahaani
jeewan tera behta paani

chalne ko mat bhool musaafir
chalne o mat bhoo……ol

kahaan hai manzil teeeeeri eeeee

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2 Responses to "Kahaan hai manzil teri"

Song seems appropriate for the mood and theme of the film as described. I suggest ‘reet’ in place of ‘preet’ in the last antara.

Yes, ‘reet’ fits well in the line.

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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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