Baiju Bawra (film)

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Baiju Bawra
Baiju Bawra, 1952 poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed by Vijay Bhatt
Produced by Prakash Pictures
Written by Zia Sarhadi (dialogues)
Screenplay by R. S. Choudhury
Story by Ramchandra Thakur
Starring Meena Kumari
Bharat Bhushan
Music by Naushad
Shakeel Badayuni (lyrics)
Cinematography V. N. Reddy
Edited by Pratap Dave
Release dates 1952
Language Hindi

Baiju Bawra is a 1952 Hindi movie directed by Vijay Bhatt. It stars Bharat Bhushan and Meena Kumari.[1]

The movie is based on the legend of Baiju Bawra from the days of Mughal Emperor Akbar in India. Baiju (Bhushan) is the son of a musician who also grows up to be a musician. He comes to believe that Tansen, the famed musician at the court of Akbar, is responsible for his father's death. The movie then follows Baiju's attempt to avenge his father's death by challenging Tansen to a musical duel. Even though there were many changes in the storyline from the original life of Baiju Bawra, the film was both a commercial and critical success and catapulted both its lead actors into stardom. Meena Kumari went on to win the first-ever Filmfare Best Actress Award in 1954, the first of four Best Actress trophies she won in her career.[2] The film's music director, Naushad, also received the inaugural Filmfare Best Music Director Award for the song "Tu Ganga Ki Mauj"; this was Naushad's first and only Filmfare Award win.

Plot[edit]

Tansen is known to be the greatest classical vocalist ever to have existed in India, and was one of the nine jewels (Navaratnas) of Emperor Akbar’s court. Nobody could sing in the city unless he or she could sing better than Tansen. If this was not the case, he or she was executed. Baiju Bawra is the story of an unknown singer, Baiju, who is on a mission to defeat Tansen in a musical duel to avenge the death of his father.

When Baiju is still a child, Tansen's sentry tries to stop Baiju’s father from singing, and in the ensuing scuffle, his father dies. Before dying, he extracts a promise from his son to take revenge against Tansen. Baiju gets shelter from a village priest and while growing up, falls in love with Gauri, the daughter of a boatman. He continues his musical education on his own, but gets so enamoured by Gauri's love that he forgets the promise made to his father.

Later, a group of dacoits raid Baiju's village. With his song, Baiju persuades them against looting the village, but the female leader of the dacoits falls in love with him and asks him to follow them to their fort as a condition for their sparing the village. Baiju leaves with her, leaving the wailing Gauri behind. In the fort, the dacoit leader, who is actually a princess living in exile, tells Baiju how her father’s serfdom had been usurped and she was seeking revenge because the village too previously belonged to her father. The word “revenge” brings all of Baiju's memories back; he leaves the fort greatly agitated, and the princess does not try to stop him.

Baiju sneaks into the Mughal palace, where Tansen is singing. He is dumbstruck by the way Tansen sings, and the sword that was supposed to cut the maestro’s throat fell on the tanpura, saddening Tansen. He said he could only be killed by music, and the pain that accompanies it. “Dip your notes in melancholy and I’ll die on my own,” he said. Baiju accordingly leaves the palace to learn “real” music.

Baiju remembers that when his father was killed, he was taking Baiju to Swami Haridas. He goes to see the Swami himself and asks for his guidance, informing him of his plan to take revenge against Tansen. Haridas tells Baiju that one must be in love to be a true musician, and thus Baiju must rid himself of all the hatred in his heart, but still gives him a vina and accepts him as his disciple. Baiju again starts his musical training, spending all his time in a Shiva temple, but his vengeful feelings never leave him. Nonetheless, he still reveres his guru, Haridas. After learning that his teacher had fallen seriously ill and was unable to walk, Baiju sings a song that so thrills Haridas that the master gets out of his bed and starts to walk.

Gauri, meanwhile, is so distraught over Baiju's departure that she is about to swallow poison. At that point, the princess who had taken Baiju from the village comes to her and tells her that she knows of Baiju's whereabouts. Gauri meets Baiju and tries to convince him to return to the village so they can be married; Baiju, however, refuses, as he feels he must take revenge against Tansen. At this point, Haridas arrives, and Baiju goes to receive him, once again leaving a crying Gauri behind. Haridas tells Baiju that in order to be a true singer, he has to feel real pain. Hearing this, Gauri decides to make a venomous snake bite her, thinking that her death would bring enough grief to Baiju that he would defeat Tansen. Baiju sees Gauri's lifeless body and goes mad, with the princess' attempts to get through to him being futile. Baiju instead goes to the Shiva temple and sings a heart-wrenching song condemning the God who had consigned him to his fate; even the idol of Lord Shiva sheds tears at Baiju's grief.

In his delirious state, Baiju reaches Tansen's city, singing the whole way. The residents fear for his life and call him bawra (insane), hence the title of the movie. Baiju is caught and imprisoned, but the princess frees him. However, both of them are caught by Mughal soldiers when escaping, leaving a musical duel with Tansen as the only way to save his life.

Emperor Akbar himself witnesses the competition. For a long time, both the singers prove to be equally good. Then Akbar suggests that whoever could melt a marble slab with his singing would win the duel. Baiju manages to do so and wins the competition, saving his own life and finally avenging his father's death. Tansen accepts his defeat graciously, and is in fact happy that there is someone better than him. Baiju persuades Akbar to spare Tansen's life, to return the princess' land to her, and to allow music in the streets.

After winning the musical duel, Baiju departs from the court. Emperor Akbar is unhappy to see him go and asks Tansen to sing to produce a storm and floods to make him stay. Tansen sings raga Megh and the river Yamuna floods. (This scene was cut from the final film.)

Gauri’s father was deeply upset when he couldn’t locate Baiju. The entire village was by now making fun of Gauri’s and Baiju’s love affair. Her father warned either Baiju be found, or Gauri should marry a village money-lender and in case she refused, he would commit suicide. Gauri couldn’t divulge Baiju’s whereabouts because she didn’t want him to know that she was alive. So she agreed to marry the money-lender.

Baiju came to meet her while she was getting married, but he was on the other side of Yamuna River and the river was in flood. The boatman refused to take him to the other side. Despite not knowing how to swim, Baiju pushed the boat into the raging waters and started towing it. He started singing and Gauri heard it. She started running towards the bank and everybody ran behind her. When she saw Baiju struggling with the boat, since she knew how to swim, being a boatman’s daughter, she jumped into the water to rescue Baiju. The boat toppled over and after a lot of struggle Gauri reached him. He urged her to go back and leave him because she knew how to swim and he didn’t. Gauri replied that they had promised to be together in life and in death, and she would be content with dying with him. They both drown.

Cast[edit]

Music[edit]

Baiju Bawra
Soundtrack album by Naushad
Released 1952
Genre Feature film soundtrack
Naushad chronology
Aan
(1952)
Baiju Bawra
(1952)
Deewana
(1952)

The plot centered around music, so it was a necessity that the movie's soundtrack be outstanding. Renowned Bollywood music director Naushad and lyricist Shakeel Badayuni created memorable songs for the movie, with all but one being based on Hindustani classical melodies (ragas). Esteemed playback singers Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar, and Shamshad Begum, and renowned classical vocalists Amir Khan and D. V. Paluskar lent their voices to the score.

Amir Khan was a consultant for the music. The result was a critically acclaimed movie soundtrack. Famous songs from the movie include "O Duniya Ke Rakhwale" (based on Raga Darbari), "Tu Ganga Ki Mouj" (based on Raga Bhairavi), "Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya" (based on Raga Bhairav with traces of Raga Kalingda), "Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj" (based on Raga Malkauns), "Aaj Gaawat Man Mero" (Raga Desi), and Jhoole Mein Pawan Ki Aayi Bahar (based on Raga Pilu). Naushad won the Filmfare Award for Best Music Director, his first and only win.

The film also established Mohammad Rafi as the top playback singer in Hindi films, a position he held until the late '60s. The songs Rafi sang for the film, including "Man Tarpat Hari Darshan Ko Aaj" and the most famous "O Duniya Ke Rakhwale", went on to become smash hits.

Soundtrack[edit]

All lyrics written by Shakeel Badayuni, all music composed by Naushad.

No. Title Singer(s) Length
1. "Tu Ganga Ki Mauj" (Raga Bhairavi) Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar  
2. "Aaj Gawat Man Mero Jhoomke" (Raga Desi) Ustad Amir Khan, D. V. Paluskar  
3. "O Duniya Ke Rakhwale" (Raga Darbari) Mohammad Rafi  
4. "Door Koi Gaye" (Raga Des) Lata Mangeshkar, Shamshad Begum & chorus  
5. "Mohe Bhool Gaye Sanwariya" (Raga Bhairav with traces of Raga Kalingda) Lata Mangeshkar  
6. "Jhoole Mein Pawan Ki Aai Bahar" (Raga Pilu) Mohammad Rafi, Lata Mangeshkar  
7. "Man Tarpat Hari Darsan Ko Aaj" (Raga Malkauns) Mohammad Rafi  
8. "Bachpan Ki Muhabbat" (Based on Maand) Lata Mangeshkar  
9. "Insaan Bano" (Raga Todi) Mohammad Rafi  
10. "Tori Jai Jai Kartar" (Raga Puriya Dhanashree) Ustad Amir Khan  
11. "Langar Kankariya Ji Na Maro" (Raga Todi) Ustad Amir Khan, D. V. Paluskar  
12. "Ghanana Ghanana Ghana Garjo Re" (Raga Megh) Ustad Amir Khan  
13. "Sargam" (Raga Darbari) Ustad Amir Khan  

Awards[edit]

Award & Category Artist Status Notes
Best Actress Meena Kumari Won
Best Music Director Naushad Won for song Tu Ganga Ki Mauj

Remake[edit]

A remake of the film was announced on November 2010. It will be written, directed and produced by American-Indian writer Krishna Shah. Aamir Khan has been approached to do the role of Baiju Bawra. A. R. Rahman has been roped in as the music director. The film is currently in pre-production.[3]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sixty Years of Baiju Bawra". 
  2. ^ Romancing The Reel
  3. ^ "Aamir offered the lead in Baiju Bawra remake". Asianage. Retrieved 14 November 2010. 

External links[edit]