Shooting film songs

Picture the song: Lovers burn up the phone wires in ‘Jalte Hai Jiske Liye’

The song from Bimal Roy’s 1959 classic ‘Sujata’ is one of the most quietly raging love songs out there.

Sujata is an orphaned Dalit girl brought up by a Brahmin couple with a daughter of their own. Her earliest lesson in long-distance affection comes soon after she has been given shelter by the kind-hearted Upendra (Tarun Bose) and Charu (Sulochana) as a baby. Charu (Sulochana) sings a lullaby to her daughter Rama – the lovely Nanhi Kali Sone Chali – as Sujata cries in the servants’ quarter. Charu isn’t broad-minded enough to take Sujata in her arms, but she comes to the window and continues the song. Its gentle notes carry over to the infant and lull her to sleep.

Sujata (Nutan) is rudely reminded of her position in the caste hierarchy after she has become an adult. The handsome and sensitive Adhir (Sunil Dutt) has fallen for her, but he misunderstands her reticence as an inferiority complex over being adopted. He also doesn’t know that he is supposed to marry Rama (Shashikala). After promising her heart to Adhir, Sujata learns both about the proposed match and plans to marry her off to the first available groom. Then the phone rings.

Bimal Roy’s quietly profound films, including Do Bigha Zamin (1953), Madhumati (1958), Sujata (1959) and Bandini (1963), explored Indian social realities with curiosity, complexity and immense delicacy. A forerunner of Indian neo-realist cinema, Roy created richly textured social dramas in the 1950s and ’60s that wove together romance, humour, tragedy and thought-provoking themes. He found apt situations for songs in his films and ensured that they fit snugly into the narrative.

Sujata has several SD Burman classics that complement the emotional states of the characters. Jalte Hai Jiske Liye, sung by Talat Mehmood, is the song with which Adhir serenades Sujata over the telephone. It’s vintage Bimal Roy: the camera movements and editing cuts are minimal, like the song itself; there are close-ups; the plot moves forward. Sujata is in agony as Adhir mouths Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics in Mehmood’s tremulous voice. He is full of ardour, while she crumples her sari and silently weeps into the phone. Roy rhythmically cuts between the characters and resists any attempts to ruin the moment with flourishes. The rage is all in the lyrics. Adhir tells Sujata that his song is as delicate as glass and must be handled with care – just like Roy treated the sensitive subject of caste discrimination way back in 1959.

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Jalte Hai Jiske Liye from Sujata (1959).
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The quirks and perks of travelling with your hard to impress mom

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A year ago, Priyanka, a 26-year-old banking professional, was packing her light-weight duffel bag for an upcoming international trip. Keen to explore the place, she wanted to travel light and fuss free. It was not meant to be. For Priyanka was travelling with her mother, and that meant carrying at least two extra suitcases packed with odds and ends for any eventuality just short of a nuclear war.

Bothered by the extra suitcases that she had to lug around full of snacks and back-up woollens, Priyanka grew frustrated with her mother. However, one day, while out for some sight-seeing Priyanka and her family were famished but there were no decent restaurants in sight. That’s when her mum’s ‘food bag’ came to the rescue. Full of juice boxes, biscuits and sandwiches, her mother had remembered to pack snacks from the hotel for their day out. Towards the end of the trip, Priyanka was grateful to her mother for all her arrangements, especially the extra bag she carried for Priyanka’s shopping.

Priyanka’s story isn’t an isolated one. We spoke to many people about their mother’s travel quirks and habits and weren’t surprised at some of the themes that were consistent across all the travel memoirs.

Indian mothers are always prepared

“My mom keeps the packed suitcases in the hallway one day before our flight date. She will carry multiple print-outs of the flight tickets because she doesn’t trust smartphone batteries. She also never forgets to carry a medical kit for all sorts of illnesses and allergies”, says Shruti, a 27-year-old professional. When asked if the medical kit was helpful during the trip, she answered “All the time”, in a tone that marvelled at her mother’s clairvoyance.

Some of the many things a mother packs in her travel bags. Source: Google Images
Some of the many things a mother packs in her travel bags. Source: Google Images

Indian mothers love to feel at home, and create the same experience for their family, wherever they are

“My mother has a very strange idea of the kind of food you get in foreign lands, so she always packs multiple packets of khakra and poha for our trips. She also has a habit of carrying her favourite teabags to last the entire trip”, relates Kanchan, a marketing professional who is a frequent international flier often accompanied by her mother. Kanchan’s mother, who is very choosy about her tea, was therefore delighted when she was served a hot cup of garam chai on her recent flight to Frankfurt. She is just like many Indian mothers who love to be reminded of home wherever they are and often strive to organise their hotel rooms to give them the coziness of a home.

Most importantly, Indian mothers are tough, especially when it comes to food

Take for instance, the case of Piyush, who recalls, “We went to this fine dining restaurant and my mother kept quizzing the waiter about the ingredients and the method of preparation of a dish. She believed that once she understood the technique, she would be able to make a better version of the dish just so she could pamper me!”

Indian mothers are extremely particular about food – from the way its cooked, to the way it smells and tastes. Foreign delicacies are only allowed to be consumed if they fulfil all the criteria set by Mom i.e. is it good enough for my children to consume?

An approval from an Indian mother is a testament to great quality and great taste. In recognition of the discerning nature of an Indian mum and as a part of their ‘More Indian Than You Think’ commitment, Lufthansa has tailored their in-flight experiences to surpass even her exacting standards. Greeted with a namaste and served by an Indian crew, the passengers feel right at home as they relish the authentic Indian meals and unwind with a cup of garam chai, the perfect accompaniment to go with a variety of Indian entertainment available in the flight. As Lufthansa’s in-flight offerings show, a big part of the brand is inherently Indian because of its relationship with the country spanning over decades.

To see how Lufthansa has internalised the Indian spirit and become the airline of choice for flyers looking for a great Indian experience, watch the video below.

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This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Lufthansa as part of their More Indian Than You Think initiative and not by the Scroll editorial team.