Creative minds hardly ever rest…

Dinesh Shankar Shailendra writes under his DIRECTOR’S CUT series

Raj Kapoor

From 1949 onwards, Raj Kapoor’s discoveries, Shanker, Jaikishen, Hasrat and Shailendra were one of the most formidable teams ever in the history of Hindi film music…. They were literally ruling the music industry. Some of the films they did, were not very successful at the box-office…. but almost every song they composed was a hit !

Their passion towards their work was unmatchable…
Even if they were not recording, they would meet… sometimes, get out of the confines of their music room and go off to National Park or Aarey Milk Colony…. sometimes to Khandala or Lonavala for a long drive…..spend a few hours together and return…. Occasionally, Lata Mangeshkar would accompany them too….
BUT, amidst all the fun they would have, their brains would be ticking all the time… A word spoken, a sound heard, they would be alert at all times, immersed in their work….

Creative minds hardly ever rest…

On one such trip to Khandala, the ‘gang’ stopped at a tea-stall… Shanker noticed that the boy serving tea was an Andhraite…. Shanker had spent his early years in Andhra…. He called out to the boy….. ” Ramaiyya…. vastavaiyya….”…. it apparently means ” Ramaiyya…. come here” in Telugu…. Shailendra, seated beside him, could not resist chipping in with a rhyme…. ” Maine dil tujhko diya…” Shanker liked the sound of it… he started humming… ” Ramaiyya vasta vaiyya. Ramaiyya vasta vaiyya…” Pat came Shailendra’s rejoinder… in the same tune… ” Maine dil tujhko diya….”
They exchanged glances…. it was sounding good !!! Jaikishen started beating out a rhythm on the wooden table…the ‘antara’ was being worked on… Gulping down their tea in excitement, they raced to the car…. they were rushing back to Bombay…. along the way, Shailendra was lost in thought, fitting in the words for the verses. It was getting better by the minute….They drove straight to R K Studios and barged into Rajsahab’s ‘cottage’…… They sang the song ( whatever they had made till then )….. he said… ” Just what I wanted… “


Within the next few days, this great song was completed….. Raj Kapoor was excitedly telling them how he would shoot it… what he needed….

Raj Kapoor, the director, always used his music and his songs as part of the screenplay and dialogue of his films….. THIS song is a perfect example….

Preceding the song is a sequence in an upmarket Hotel….. The rich are celebrating New Year’s Eve….Nadira is dancing to S-J’s music…. Raj Kapoor, well dressed for the occasion, suddenly finds himself out of place… All around him, people are indulging in revelry…. enjoying the music and the dance…. Raj Kapoor is almost suffocating…. As the music reaches a crescendo, he moves towards the exit…..As he steps out, the music suddenly stops…..

Mohammad Rafi’s amazing ‘alaap’ starts….. continues on Raj Kapoor walking purposefully on the road…. as if in a trance….

The introduction music starts on the people of the ‘basti’… they are celebrating too… The introduction music….. 
THE INTRODUCTION MUSIC….. sixty years old…..!!!

Play it anywhere even today and people will hum along and recognise this great song ! We see RK….. he is near the ‘basti’ but he is hesitant…. These are the people who gave him so much love and he shunned them in pursuing his dreams of becoming a rich man…..

The song starts… 
” Ramaiyya vasta vaiyya, Ramaiyya vasta vaiyya,
maine dil tujhko diya, maine dil tujhko diya…… “

A short interlude and the verse starts…. the man sings

” Nainon mein thi, pyar ki roshni,
teri aankhon mein yeh duniyadaari na thi….

The girl says

” Tu aur tha, tera dil aur tha, 
tere mann mein yeh meethi kataari na thi…. “

Man: ” Main jo dukh paaun toh kya, aaj pachhtaaun toh kya…. “

Chorus : ” Maine dil tujhko diya, maine dil tujhko diya…”

Another interlude…. the next verse….

Man : Uss des mein, tere pardes mein, 
sone chandi ke badley mein bikte hain dil…”

Girl : ” Iss gaaon mein, dard ki chhaaon mein, 
pyar ke naam parr hi dhadaktey hain dil…”

All these lines, which speak about love being more important than riches, are sung innocently by these poor people…. but we, the audience, know how they fit Raj Kapoor’s predicament perfectly….

But the unselfish director does not show the man’s reactions at all….He wants us to listen to the words ….. imagine for ourselves the pain he must be feeling…

During the interlude, we see RK….he is lost in thought…. a couple of shots of the streets…. Lata Mangeshkar’s ‘alaap’ overlaps…. the camera follows a man on a cycle singing “Ramaiyya vastavaiyya”. 
At a point the camera stops and the cycle crosses the frame to reveal Nargis sitting alone…she softly sings ” Maine dil tujhko diya…” A sharp cut to the ‘basti’, the loud music and the gaiety…. cut back to Nargis… she sings…

” Yaad aati rahi, dil dukhaati rahi,
apne mann ko manaana na aaya humein,
tu na aaye toh kya, bhool jaaye toh kya,
pyar karke, bhulaana na aaya humein…”

She is tearful…

On the loud chorus, we see Raj Kapoor… as if he has heard her…. He replies…. ” Maine dil tujhko diya, maine dil tujhko diya…”

Mukesh’s voice comes as a relief to the audience….their ‘hero’ has finally realised his folly…. love wins over wealth….he has returned to the place where, despite being poor, the people only believe in love…. they are happy even in those conditions…. The people of the ‘basti’ notice him and are ecstatic…. a sharp contrast in Raj Kapoor’s rich suit and their poor clothes…. but they embrace him and welcome him back with open arms…. they dance in gay abandon during the interlude…. RK sings…

” Rastaa wohi, aur musafir wohi, 
ek taara na jaaney kahan chhup gaya, 
duniya wohi, duniya waaley wohi, 
koyi kya jaaney kiska jahan lutt gaya….
meri aankhon mein rahey, 
kaun jo mujhse kahey, 
mainey dil tujhko diya…. “

Lalita Pawar hugs him…

This particular sequence, in my humble opinion, is the most touching part of this song…. Raj Kapoor’s expressions….we actually feel his pain….. On the end ‘mukhda’, Mohammad Rafi’s ‘alaap’ comes over the chorus….Raj Kapoor looks lovingly at Lalita Pawar and smiles a ‘real’ smile….. He has finally found his way back home….. His heart belongs here….

This song, according to me, is one of the most popular songs of all time…. a fine example of how Raj Kapoor, Shanker Jaikishen and Shailendra bonded…. Excellent music, the use of a chorus…. Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar and Mukesh, just brilliant ! 
Shailendra’s words, so appropriate for the layers of emotions, the director, Raj Kapoor wants his audience to feel….

And to think that it all started with Shanker calling out to a ‘chaiwalla’……

” Ramaiyya vastavaiyya…”YOUTUBE.COMRamayya Vastawaiyya | Shree 420 | Raj Kapoor | Nargis | Bollywood Classic Songs | Shankar JaikishanMovie: Shree 420 (1955) Song: Ramayya Vastawaiyya Starcast: Raj Kapoor, Nargis Music Director: Shankar Jaikishan Singers: Lata Mangeshkar, Mohd.Rafi & Mukesh…


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