It’s been five years since Shamshad Begum left for her heavenly abode on 23.04.2013 leaving a golden chapter of the book of Bollywood music to glitter forever in her mesmerizing voice and unique style of singing. The great lady singer is immortal in her evergreen songs viz. Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon (Patanga – 1949), Milte Hi Aankhen Dil Hua Deewana Kisi Ka (Baabul – 1950), Sainya Dil Mein Aana Re (Bahaar – 1951), Kajra Mohabbat Waala (Kismat – 1968) and several more. Who can forget her Qawwaali sung with Lata Mangeshkar in Mughal-E-Aazam (1960) – Teri Mehfil Mein Kismat Aazma Kar Hum Bhi Dekhenge. On every India wedding, when the bride is being seen off by her relatives, we hear Shamshad singing – Chhod Baabul Ka Ghar, Mohe Pee Ke Nagar, Aaj Jaana Pada (another immortal song from the black and white movie – Baabul). That golden voice is silent now, leaving a treasure of songs behind for the melody lovers.As my tribute to Shamshad Begum, I am presenting the review of an old movie – C.I.D. (1956) which was made by Guru Dutt and directed by Raj Khosla, starring Guru Dutt and Shakila in lead roles. The highlight of this movie is the immortal music composed by O.P. Nayyar containing certain classic songs in the voice of Shamshad Begum which we, the music lovers, are fond of listening to again and again and again.C.I.D. (the acronym for the crime investigating department) starts with the killing of a newspaper editor who was on the trail of a rich businessman – Dharamdaas (Bir Sakhuja) who was supposed to be having underworld links. The case is assigned to C.I.D. inspector Shekhar (Dev Anand) who alongwith his love life with Rekha (Shakila), moves forward in the direction of unravelling the mystery of the editor’s murder and reaching the real culprit. However the real culprit is smarter than him and he weaves a web of lies, deceit and conspiracy around him and traps himself only in the murder of the murderer (Mehmood). How he proves his own innocence and catches the guilty is the remaining part of the story in which the characters of Kaamini (Waheeda Rehman) and Master (Johnny Walker) also play significant roles.This is the debut movie of its director – Raj Khosla who is credited to bring about neo-noir style in the Indian cinema. C.I.D. was one of the pioneer movies in the tradition of Hollywood style crime-thrillers in India. Raj Khosla had learnt directorial skills by assisting the producer of this movie – Guru Dutt, the legend of the Indian cinema but he did not copy his guru and instead, developed his own style of narration. This debut movie of himself is a showcase of his abundant talent which despite some plot holes, keeps the viewer hooked for two and a half hours. He has not allowed the narrative to go lax (despite melodious songs and the romance of the lead pair intervening) and presented a taut thriller. He has focussed on thrill and not on mystery, else, given the script, he could have easily made a whodunit also.
The young director has been able to draw praiseworthy performances from the actors. Dev Anand was fast evolving himself into the Indian Gregory Pack and in C.I.D. also, he is able to fling lightning on the hearts of the young females with his handsome personality and enchanting mannerisms. Shakila was very beautiful and her pair with Dev Anand appears quite charming. This is the debut movie of one of the greatest actresses of the Indian screen – Waheeda Rehman who was barely 18-19 years old then. Guru Dutt gave her the break in Bollywood through a negative role in this movie and lo ! The actress playing a vamp in her debut movie went on to register her name in one of the most happening and the most popular Bollywood heroines during the sixties. Both these ladies have done well. The complete supporting cast has also done justice to the assigned roles.Guru Dutt’s movies are incomplete without Johnny Walker. The immensely popular song – Aye Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahaan, Zara Hatke Zara Bachke Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan has been picturized on him only and none can forget his performance on this song. This legendary comedian has provided sufficient no. of relief moments in this movie belong to the genre of noir cinema. Just like Guru Dutt and Johnny Walker, Dev Anand and Johnny Walker also made a great male pair of the Indian screen, complimenting each other very well and entertaining the audience in huge quantum.
Technically, this black and white movie is up to the mark. The songs only have added to the length of this movie (but who complains for them). Otherwise the movie is not unduly long. The setting is realistic and the cinematographer (V.K. Murthy) has created an aura of sensation according to the mood of the movie. The fight and chase sequences have been executed quite impressively. Oscar laureate – Bhanu Athaiya has designed the costumes for the characters.As asserted earlier, the biggest plus point of this movie is the immortal music composed by O.P. Nayyar. Most of the lyrics have been written by Majrooh Sultanpuri. Only Aankhon Hi Aankhon Mein Ishaara Ho Gaya has been penned by the great Shaayar – Janaab Jaanisaar Akhtar (the father of Javed Akhtar). Geeta Dutt has sung Aye Dil Hai Mushkil Jeena Yahaan and Aankhon Hi Aankhon Mein Ishara Ho Gaya with Mohammed Rafi whereas Jaata Kahaan Hai Diwane is her solo.
And Shamshad Begum has given her voice to the great songs like Kahin Pe Nigahen Kahin Pe Nishana (picturized on Waheeda Rehman) and the immensely popular – Leke Pehla Pehla Pyar (picturized on Sheela Vaz and Shyam Kapoor) in the company of Asha Bhosle and Mohammed Rafi. My favourite song of Shamshad Begum from this album in particular as well as in general is – Boojh Mera Kya Naam Re, Nadi Kinare Gaaon Re which has been picturized on Meenu Mumtaz. The low profile actresses like Sheela Vaz and Meenu Mumtaz also got their share of popularity by performing on Shamshad’s enchanting voice in these songs. The lyricists have dropped gems in the form of words for the lyrics of these songs.
Choreography has been done by the great artist and one of the boldest Indian women – Johra Sehgal. All the dance performances on the songs are spellbinding and memorable.While paying tribute to the the great female singer whose voice was not fine like Lata’s and somewhat hoarse, nevertheless enchanting for the music lovers; I unconditionally recommend this interesting crime-thriller from the black and white era to the movie buffs. The evergreen songs render immense repeat value to this classic black and white movie.
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