BR Chopra’s Dhool ka Phool, in a microcosm, reflects the plight, and the predicament of an unwed mother. The seminal composition in the film — Tu mere pyar ka phool hai encapsulates her anguish in the sensitive yet powerful words of Sahir Ludhianvi. Shirish Waghmode revisits this ode to the child born out of the wedlock.
Back in the 1950s, for a single mother with a child born out of the wedlock — the shame and the fear of society’s reaction hung like a Sword of Damocles especially in not so liberal countries like India. The plight of a one such woman is the heart-rending dilemma of Dhool ka Phool, a gutsy movie standing apart — from the period films, family dramas, romantic tales and sob stories — that populated the screens in those times. And who better to voice the pain of the trapped woman than Sahir?
This distraught mother looks at the tainted face of innocence in her hands and whispers in his ears –
तू मेरे प्यार का फूल है
के मेरी भूल है
कुछ कह नहीं सकती
पर किसी का किया तू भरे
यह सेह नहीं सकती
Tu mere pyar ka phool hai
Ke meri bhool hai
Kuchh keh nahi sakti
Par kisi ka kiya tu bhare
Yeh seh nahi sakti
The song begins by establishing the “fait accompli” — the single mother has braved the first hurdle. She has given birth to the child! In many societies, the moral police and the keepers of faith (all self-appointed, of course) have readymade, time-tested solutions for the unwed mother. The newborn is hurriedly given up for adoption or, abandoned in an open space or a doorstep, or left in a jungle to be a feast for the wild beasts.
But this woman, now having repulsed the pressures to deny her, her motherhood, is beset with a huge challenge — how to bring up her child. She thinks of the baggage the child has to carry all his life.
मेरी बदनामी तेरे साथ पलेगी, साथ पलेगी
सुन सुन ताने मेरी कोख जलेगी, हाय, कोख जलेगी
Meri badnaami tere sath palegi
Sun sun taane meri kokh jalegi
Haaye kokh jalegi
My infamy will be a constant companion, my child, all your life. It will never fade, will grow like a poisonous weed. The taunts hurled at you will make my womb shrivel with shame, rage with the fire of guilt.
काँटों भरे हैं सब रास्ते
तेरे वास्ते जीवन की डगर में
कौन बनेगा तेरा आसरा
बेदर्द नगर में
Kaanton bhare hain sab raaste
Tere vaaste jeewan ki dagar mein
Kaun banega tera aasra
Bedard nagar mein
It is a path strewn with thorns. My child, who will lift you up and protect you from the hurt and the distress that awaits you, I wonder and I grieve!
पूछेगा कोई तो किसे बाप कहेगा
जग तुझे फेंका हुआ पाप कहेगा
हाय पाप कहेगा
बनके रहेगी शर्मिंदगी तेरी ज़िन्दगी
जब तक तू जियेगा
आज पिलाऊँ तुझे दूध मैं
कल ज़हर पीयेगा
Puchhega koyi to kise baap kahega
Jag tujhe phenka hua paap kahega
Haaye paap kahega
Banke rahegi sharmindagi teri zindagi
Jab tak tu jiyega
Aaj pilaun tujhde doodh main
Kal zehar piyega
What will you answer to those who enquire about your father? His whereabouts, his absence? The world will readily castigate you as a discarded outcome of a shameful liaison. Your life will be a story of shame spent dodging the sling-shots of social martinets. The moral brigade will rise as one, putting aside their own execrable follies to target you. I have suckled you at my breast and fed you milk, my child, but tomorrow you will have to survive the venom that awaits you!
Unlike many film songs that enhance their appeal by moving outdoors, this one stays indoors. In a dank, cheerless room where no streak of light enters, no gust of wind blows in. Nothing that could come in the way of the guftagu between the infant, and his determined mother. Even the elements stay away, as the two together, map their hazy, uncertain future.
Mala Sinha puts in a surprisingly emotional performance, with love, helplessness, and rage reflected on her face as the movie progresses. A great takeaway from her Pyaasa experience, perhaps!
Tu mere pyar ka phool hai (Dhool Ka Phool, 1959) N Dutta / Sahir Ludhianvi / Lata Mangeshkar
For centuries, we have talked about our glorious culture and traditions in glowing terms. But then little attention has been paid to the ruthless atrocities perpetrated on women. A child widow or an unwed mother, brought out the beast in ordinary people, as they believed, or were made to believe, by the keepers of tradition that they were purging the society of evils. As Hemingway put it, they were — Puritans in public, perverts in private.
Dhool ka Phool, in a microcosm, reflects the plight, and the predicament these women were made to live with. It shows a rare sensitivity in its treatment of the subject and the songs are the articulate wheels that take the story forward.
The love songs in Dhool Ka Phool are utterly delightful — remember that duel in college poetry contest, Tere pyar ka aasra chahta hoon or that humming duet Jo tum muskura do? But the seminal compositions are the two which stand out — Tu mere pyar ka phool hai and the song that celebrates being human above everything else:
Tu Hindu banega na Mussalmaan banega
Insaan ki aulaad hai insaan banega
And so many years later, we cannot but shout out the name of the producer B R Chopra, who courageously broached the taboo subject of an unwed mother and an unwanted child. Salute to these visionaries on celluloid who made the entertainment-driven Hindi films look inward!
I cannot resist stating my unstinted admiration for trailblazing cinematic contribution of B R Chopra. Born in 1914, he completed his MA in English Literature and worked for a Film Magazine ‘Cine Herald’. After Partition the family moved to India and BR, an outlier to the film industry, decided to become a filmmaker. His initial forays did not meet with success. After making Afsana and Naya Daur, which met with box office success, he felt he should make movies that reflect the deep-seated blemishes of the society. In 1958, he made his first clarion call to the collective conscience of cine-goers by making Sadhana, a withering peep into the life of a prostitute. After this seminal venture earned plaudits from commoners and connoisseurs alike he boldly carried on the crusade of exposing the lesions and lacerations that women in our society had suffered for ages; that was Dhool Ka Phool, a scathing expose of the plight of a woman, scorned and reviled for no fault of hers.
(The views expressed are personal)
More Must Read in The Song Story
Whether you are new or veteran, you are important. Please contribute with your articles on cinema, we are looking forward for an association. Send your writings to email@example.com
We are editorially independent, not funded, supported or influenced by investors or agencies. We try to keep our content easily readable in an undisturbed interface, not swamped by advertisements and pop-ups. Our mission is to provide a platform you can call your own creative outlet and everyone from renowned authors and critics to budding bloggers, artists, teen writers and kids love to build their own space here and share with the world.
When readers like you contribute, big or small, it goes directly into funding our initiative. Your support helps us to keep striving towards making our content better. And yes, we need to build on this year after year. Support LnC-Silhouette with a little amount – and it only takes a minute. Thank you
Silhouette Magazine publishes articles, reviews, critiques and interviews and other cinema-related works, artworks, photographs and other publishable material contributed by writers and critics as a friendly gesture. The opinions shared by the writers and critics are their personal opinion and does not reflect the opinion of Silhouette Magazine. Images on Silhouette Magazine are posted for the sole purpose of academic interest and to illuminate the text. The images and screen shots are the copyright of their original owners. Silhouette Magazine strives to provide attribution wherever possible. Images used in the posts have been procured from the contributors themselves, public forums, social networking sites, publicity releases, YouTube, Pixabay and Creative Commons. Please inform us if any of the images used here are copyrighted, we will pull those images down.