Shashi Kapoor’s movie Junoon was released in the year 1978. I have very faint memory of it as I must have watched it a few years later on Doordarshan. Later I read Ruskin Bond’s Flight of Pigeons and some more research revealed that it was directed by Shyam Benegal and had Jennifer Kandal (Kapoor’s wife) playing the role of a british lady in the movie. If I am not mistaken it was Nafisa Ali’s first movie and she played Shashi Kapoor’s love interest or should I say lust interest. Interestingly, Jennifer played her mom’s role. It also had Naseeruddin Shah as a revolutionary soldier trying to dethrown the English masters during the revolution of 1857.
Ismat Chugtai played a role as the grandmother of Ruth. You can see her in the video ! It was perhaps the only movie she did.
Apart from the great historical setting and a interesting plot, for me the two compositions of Amir Khusrau “Aaj Rang Hai” and “Sawan ki Aayi Bahar” were the real treat. The melody of latter got stuck in my head and it comes back every monsoon when I find myself humming it inadvertently as I sit on the swing in my balcony listening to the chatter of the rain.
In a way this song is quite special as it represents the spirit of India. A song written in Awadhi by a Muslim Sufi is sung by a Maharashtrian Brahmin in a Movie based on a novel by an Anglo Indian. The movie itself is directed by a Bengali dada and produced by a Punjabi whose parents migrated from Pakistan.
Unfortunately, we seem to be losing this spirit and have forgotten to enjoy the richness of our checkered past and the diversity of our heterogeneous present. Rather than enjoying the variety we are eager to place everyone in a box, to fit them in a certain stereotype which may exist only in our minds and offers a certain fillip to our own point of view.
Anyways, you enjoy the music and the rains…घिर आयी कारी घटा मतवारी, सावन की आयी बहार रे !!