Sunday, March 4, 2018

Picture The Home—Songs On Dream Of A House

In Anand Tiwari's Love Per Square Foot, a movie on a couple's tribulations for owning a house in the perpetually space-starved Bombay, there is a song called Aashiyana. The song is a dream sequence that depicts Sanjay (Vicky Kaushal) and Karina (Angira Dhar) setting up their home in an apartment. They are completely at bliss in this song. There is a particular sequence where they see a shot of Mumbai from the night sky, and the lyrics say, "Hon door itne, us zameen se, yun lagey aise. Haan! Jugnuon se, jaltey bhujtey, log ho jaise." They will be so far away from the land that people will look like fireflies. It is like they are sitting in their own heaven and can see everyone from the top.
Hindi movies have often shown people dreaming about their idyllic home using songs. Sometimes, it is a couple that dreams of living together; sometimes, single people think of owning a home. Words and phrases, such as aashiyana, duniya, and chhota sa ghar, routinely make an appearance in such songs.

In Naukari (1954), Rattan Kumar Choudhury (Kishore Kumar) stays with his widowed mother (Achala Sachdev) and sick sister Uma (Noor) in the village. He is waiting for his college results. He dreams of the day when he has a job, and a house. He narrates his dreams to his beloved sister in the song Chhota Sa Ghar Hoga where he talks about having his own house in the future. 
The song Jhilmil Sitaron Ka Aangan Hoga from Jeevan Mrityu (1970) depicts a dream sequence where a couple imagines their life together as a couple. The song opens with Ashok (Dharmendra) making a small house of sand near the sea. His sand house is surrounded by a garden with a rivulet flowing by that has a boat as well. His lover Deepa (Rakhee) walks with a watering can and puts some water on Ashok. He, then, keeps small figurines of a man and a woman representing the two of them inside his sand house. This is their dream house in which both of them will live together as a married couple. The song, then, moves forward where they can be seen living in this dream home and enjoying their marital bliss. 
The struggle of finding a home in the city is also portrayed splendidly in Gharaonda (1977). The film narrates the story of Sudip (Amol Palekar) and Chhaya (Zarina Wahab) who want to get married as soon as they can a house for themselves. They save money to build a corpus for buying a house. They go house hunting looking for a house that is in their budget. Their struggle is portrayed in the song Do Deewane Shahar Mein. The lyrics of the song say, "Do deewaane shahar mein, raat mein ya dopahar mein, aab-o-danaa dhoondhte hain, ek aashiyaanaa dhoondhte hain." Two people in the city search for a home day and night. Gulzar, who wrote the song, uses the words aab-o-danaa (water and grain) and aashiyana (abode) for the young couple looking for a home in the city. After some events, Chhaya is married to someone else. A second version of the song Ek Akela Is Shahar Mein comes up in the second half of the film that is used to depict Sudip's struggles to find a home for himself. Instead of Do Deewane (two people), he now sings Ek Akela (a single person) as he is now alone. While the first song beautifully shows the search for a physical space, the second version is more about the search for an emotional space.
The national award-winning Tapasya (1976) narrated the story of a sacrificial Indu (Rakhee), the eldest child of Prof Chandrakant Sinha (A.K. Hangal), who takes on the responsibility of bringing up her younger siblings. She falls in love with her family doctor Sagar Verma (Parikshit Sahni) who also helped in the treatment of her father. Indu and Sagar want to get married. One day, Sagar drives Indu to meet his mother. During the ride, they dream of their married life and see themselves in the future in the song Do Panchhi Do Tinke. The song is quite similar to Jhilmil Sitaron Ka Aangan Hoga in its portrayal. The lyrics say, "Do panchhi do tinke kaho le ke chale hai kaha. Ye banaayenge ek aashiya." Like two birds that use straws and twigs to make their nest, Indu and Sagar dream of having their own nest some day.
In Man Pasand (1980), Kamli (Tina Munim) sells neem branches in trains. She earns enough to make a living. One night, she is talking to her friend. Her friend asks Kamli the reason for saving all her money. She replies that she is saving it to have her own koli (house) someday. Her friend, who is getting married the next day, tells Kamli as to why is she worrying about a house. Her future husband should take care of it. Kamli replies that she does not need a man for that and she will make her house with her own money. Thereafter, Rehne Ko Ek Ghar Hoga is shown where Kamli goes in a state of trance and imagines herself in a spacious house of her own. She also sings, "Sare mohalle ki Rani banke, chalungi sadkon pe to main to tan kar. Ek hukum pe mere sab jhuk jayenge." She will walk the streets with pride and have people who will obey all her orders. The song's music and lyrics are adapted from Audrey Hepburn's Wouldn't It Be Loverly from My Fair Lady. In Hepburn's version, the singer talks about having a man who takes care of her. "Someone's head restin' on my knee, warm and tender as he can be. Who takes good care of me." While in Man Pasand, the man is replaced by the mother. This entire song sequence is so remarkable in its conception and depiction, especially, in the sense that it acknowledges the property rights of a woman, and that, too, without a man giving her any financial support. Having a song like this in a film of the eighties is definitely special.

The desire for a house is expressed beautifully in another song Logon Ke Ghar Me Rehta Hu from Griha Pravesh (1979). The film is about a married couple Amar (Sanjeev Kumar) and Mansi (Sharmila Tagore). They live as frugally as possible so that they can buy their own flat. The song is written by Gulzar, where the protagonist talks about the houses of his relatives at different places in the city, but he is wondering when will he be able to have his own home. Logo ke ghar me rahta hu, kab apna koi ghar hoga. He stays in someone else's house. When will he have his own home? He adds, "Mauje pahne rahta hu, nange paanv aangan me kab baithunga." He says that he is always wearing socks in others' homes, but he wishes to sit bare feet in the courtyard of his own home. It is a typical Gulzar-esque song where socks are used to depict the wish for a house.
In Ahsaas (1979), Raju (Parvez) is in love with Anu (Dina). They plan to marry each other. Their parents are not in favor of their relationship; however, they secretly get married but continue to live separately. Due to some confusion, Anu thinks Raju is betraying her with some other girl. Raju, then, reminds her of their dream house in the song Sapno Ke Shahar Ham Banayenge Ghar. Sung by Kishore Kumar, the song reminds them of their dream house. Mausam hanse, gulshan hanse, ghar par mere angan hanse. Ro raha dil mera, sapno ke shahar, ham banayenge ghar. Similarly, in Love Story (1981), Bunty (Kumar Gaurav) and Pinky (Vijeta Pandit) fall in love with each other after they run from their respective homes. When they are in hiding, they sing Dekho Maine Dekha Hai Ek Sapna in which they talk about their dream of living together in a house located in a city of flowers surrounded by the mountains. Kitna hasin hai yeh ek sapana, phulo ke shehar me hai ghar apana
A celebrated army officer Ajit Singh (Vinod Khanna) is jailed as he kills the men who sexually assaulted his wife Chanchal (Zeba Bakhtiar) in Muqadma (1996). While in jail, Ajit reminisces about the life with Chanchal in the song Chota Sa Ek Ghar where they talk about the life in their little home. In Mission Kashmir (2000), a terrorist Altaaf (Hrithik Roshan) visits his childhood friend Sufiyana (Preity Zinta). He sees a painting in her house which reminds him of the time they spent together as kids. In the song Socho Ke Jheelon Ka Sheher Ho, Altaaf and Sufiyana think about their idyllic life in the heavenly lands of Kashmir, where they dreamt of having a house over the waters of the lake. Leheron pe apna ek ghar ho. The song is shot in an artificial setting and proves yet again that nothing can match the picturesque beauty of Kashmir.
While the above instances portray the dreams of a house, there have been many songs that depict a couple living in their home together. Some of these include Chhota Sa Ghar Apna from Charitraheen (1974), Humne Ghar Chhoda Hai from Dil (1990), Darwaza Band Karlo from Darr (1993), and Aashiyana from Barfi! (2012).
In a country where millions continue to live in poverty, owning a house is, truly, a dream for many. With growth in the economy, here's hoping that many people get the opportunity to fulfil their dreams so that they can go on to dream about even bigger things.

Other Reading:
1. On Love Per Square FootLink
2. On Jhilmil Sitaron Ka Aangan HogaLink

Dialogue of the Day:
"Mauje pahne rahta hu, nange paanv aangan me kab baithunga."
Griha Pravesh

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