Some of the most memorable romantic Hindi film songs of the 1960s and ’70s had Shashi Kapoor in them. Whether it is the prophetic Pardesiyon Se Na Akhiyan Milana or the lovely Wada Karo or the cheery Keh Doon Tumhe or the haunting title track of Kabhie Kabhie, Kapoor’s filmography has a love song for every mood and situation.
Ironically, Kapoor was actually averse to lip-syncing in films, writes Aseem Chhabra in his book Shashi Kapoor: the Householder, the Star. In the section on the actor’s friendship with director Yash Chopra and the shoot of the film Dharamputra (1961), Chhabra writes, “Shashi, who was twenty-three at the time of the film’s release, played the challenging role of an overzealous Hindu who knew nothing about his biological roots. Besides agonising over his character, Shashi also found himself wrestling with the conventions that guided Hindi cinema. During an interview with Rachel Dwyer, Shashi speaks of Yash’s loquaciousness... how one subject spun into another; and that at the end of it, the director and the actor found themselves at loggerheads. Shashi, a reluctant star of Hindi cinema, still had youthful ideals – one of them being that he could not sing songs in films.”
What, then, must Kapoor have made of Nasir Hussain’s Pyar Ka Mausam (1969), which had seven songs, all of which featured the actor? The track Tum Bin Jaun Kahaan is deployed five times in the movie – three of which have Kapoor singing it.
He seems to be at ease in all of them, and appears to be enjoying them too.
Pyar Ka Mausam is a classic lost-and-found tale. Jamuna (Nirupa Roy) gets separated from her husband Gopal and her son Sundar in an accident, and it is RD Burman’s Tum Bin Jaun Kahan that finally reunites them. Gopal used to sing it for Jamuna, and Sundar had heard it while growing up. (Hussain repeated the plot a few years later in Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973).
The song pops up in non-family situations too. For instance, between the adult Sundar (Shashi Kapoor) and Seema (Asha Parekh), whom he loves. Wwhen Seema needs assurance that Sundar actually loves her, he uses the song to pledge his commitment to her. Like father, like son.
Majrooh Sultanpuri’s declaratory lyrics – “ke duniya mein aa kar kuch na phir chaha sanam tumko chaha ke” – leave little doubt in Seema’s mind that Sundar loves her. Hussain films the song in a garden under the moonlight amidst Grecian-looking statues. Sundar seals the moment with an “I love you” at the end.
The lost-and-found theme also holds true for Sundar and Seema, who keep having to forge fresh connections with each other at regular intervals. In the second half, Seema sings Na Jaa Mere Hamdam in a bid to stop a miffed Sundar from walking away. She is successful, and Sundar changes his mind, which he conveys by singing the first stanza of Tum Bin.
Clearly, the makers of the film were a little too happy with the track.
Should there be doubt, watch the scene in which Burman appears in a cameo, as one of Seema’s suitors. While seated in Seema’s living room, he listens to her play the tune on the piano. Burman’s character closes his eyes, shakes his head and raises his hand in a dreamy stupor. This is Burman (justifiably) congratulating himself.
The last time Tum Bin appears is during the climax, when Jamuna finally recognises Sundar. The song begins as Sundar’s stinging message to Seema, who is betrothed to another man. But as the tune progresses, its message is transformed. The scales of the composition change too, and it reaches Jamuna’s room. A true family heirloom, the song brings a mother running to her son.