If you are a young man (or even when you are not so young) and in a rainy night, you happen to see an extremely beautiful girl in a drenched condition, what will be the reaction on you ? Quite naturally, you will get romantic. And if you are an eligible bachelor, you may experience a storm in your heart which is sure to be much bigger than the storm being faced by you in the outer world that night.Barsaat Ki Raat (rainy night) is the story based upon such a rainy night only in which the hero, Bharat Bhushan happens to see the heroine, Madhubala in a drenched state with her dress sticking to her body. Madhubala was so beautiful that she used to be referred to as the Venus of the Indian screen. Well, such an extra-ordinary beauty and that too in the drenched state in the rainy night, needless to say that heavens fell for the heart of our young hero (quite interestingly, Madhubala’s birthday falls on 14th February, i.e., the Valentine’s Day).The story starts from that rainy stormy night of Hyderabad (coincidentally I am also at Hyderabad and it’s raining too) and moves to Lucknow. The hero, Aman is a Qawwaal as well as a Shaayar (Urdu poet) and as was natural in that time; young, charming and emotional ladies used to fall for the touching poetry. So that sudden meeting under a shed in that rainy night changed the life of both the young Shaayar, Aman and the charming damsel, Shabnam who is the daughter of the police commissioner (K.N. Singh). Love blossoms in no time but the hiatus in the statuses becomes the insurmountable wall between the love-birds. Aman moves to Lucknow and keeps on participating in the Mushaayaras (gatherings of Urdu poets with the recitation of Urdu poetry). A lady Qawwaal, Shama (Shyama) has already fallen for him. So there’s a love-triangle in the story. Finally, the story heads to Ajmer Shareef for its climax in which Aman defeats a renowned Qawwaal in a Qawwaali contest (Muqaabala-E-Qawwaali) and gets his sweetheart.This movie is based on the unique genre of music and poetry, Qawwaali which is not an easy one to perform for even the seasoned and expert singers. In this movie, the hero is not only an Urdu poet and singer, he is portrayed as an expert in creating extempore poetry for his Qawwaalis while the contest or the Muqaabla is in progress. The lyricist of this movie’s songs, the great Shaayar Saahir Ludhiyanvi and the music director, Roshan both have done an outstanding job in creating memorable Qawwaalis (and normal songs too) for the story of the movie. Seasoned singers like Manna Dey, Rafi, Batish, Shankar-Shambhu, Balbir, Lata, Asha, Suman Kalyanpur, Sudha Malhotra, Kamal Barot have given their voices for the Qawwaalis and the songs. In fact, it’s the extra-ordinary music of this movie which has made it immortal.All the songs are real gems. It boasts of classic Qawwaalis like Na To Kaarvaan Ki Talaash Hai (which includes Ye Ishq Ishq Hai Ishq Ishq), Jee Chaahta Hai Choom Loon, Nigaah-E-Naaz Ke Maaron Ka Haal Kya Hoga etc. In addition to them, memorable songs like – Zindagi Bhar Nahin Bhoolegi Woh Barsaat Ki Raat, Garjat Barsat Saawan Aayo Re, Maine Shaayad Tumhen Pehle Bhi Kahin Dekha Hai, Mujhe Mil Gaya Bahaana Teri Deed Ka, Maayus To Hoon Vaade Se Tere etc. are all a grand treat for the genuine music lovers. Listening to these songs take the music-lover to a different enchanting world, where he / she loses the sense of the outer world and just lost in the in the melody and the Shaayari drenched with sentiments.The movie is otherwise also very interesting with abundance of romance and emotions. Director P.L. Santoshi has ably directed this unusual story. Curiosity has been maintained well for the viewer. Art direction and cinematography are A class. The Muslim environment in the cities of Hyderabad, Lucknow and Ajmer in the fifties has been exasperated in an admirable manner (it was released in 1960). Production value is high. Editing is also good.Performances are admirable. Bharat Bhushan was a specialist in the roles of artists (Shaayar, poet, singer, painter etc.) and he has done well in this movie too. The Indian Venus – Madhubala is a treat to watch. She has performed well too. K.N. Singh as the stern police commissioner, Shyama as Shama, Ratna (playing her younger sister, Shabaab) and all others have supported the main cast quite proficiently. Ratna’s performance as Shabaab deserves special mention.
This black and white movie is an evergreen classic and the only movie based on timeless Qawwaalis. Such movies are hard to find in today’s times. So watch it and get nostalgic once again.
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