Barsaat ki Raat, 1960

For me, watching Madhubala is like watching a very finely and perfectly choreographed dance. Every movement, look and thing she does is so perfectly timed and planned that I always end up watching more of her rather than what is going on in the film.  

She’s marvelous

Thankfully this film followed the classic and beloved Love Triangle story line, so apart from keeping faces in context I could sit back and enjoy Madhubala as much as I wanted to. And I did.

The story tells of a poet Aman (Bharat Bhushan) and his neighbors, the “singing girls” Shama (Shyama) and Shabab (Ratna). Shama is obviously in love with her crooning neighbor who moves to secure a post on the radio singing his poems, as he as only sold one copy of his collections and needs money.

On the way to the city he meets with a terrifying* rainstorm and runs into a girl who seeks shelter under the same bridge that Aman is standing under. He does not get a good look at the girl, but falls in love with her.

The next night we see Shabnam (Madhubala) hugging a collection of poems by Aman and listening to him on the radio. He sings of a stormy night and a girl that he met that he will never be able to forget. It does not take her long to figure out that the girl is her and that some how she must be introduced to Aman. Conveniently her father needs a tutor for her little sister and who else would he hire BUT the new poet in town? No one, that is for certain.

Of course she’s the only one with the copy of his poems! 
Of course!

I feel some love happening…..

Aman tries to tutor the little girl but gets distracted every three seconds when Shabnam walks by their schoolroom and they engage in passionate moments of silent staring.

Shabnam’s father makes an announcement that she should be married and says he knows just the man (we know where this is going, don’t we?). Her father invites Aman over for dinner and then accuses him of leading on his daughter and making a fool out of her. Aman is ordered from the house and Shabnam runs away with him to Lucknow.

The only option after being scorned in love.

There he tries to make a living out of singing but his voice on the radio gives away his identify.  Shabnam is taken back into her father’s house and is engaged to Aftab (Peace Kanwal).

Shama and Shabab are in Lucknow for a qawali competition and after loosing a few rounds are in desperate need of a poet. Luckily they run into the distraught and scorned-in-love Aman who agrees to write poetry for their songs.

Back in the palatial mansion Shabnam has fallen ill of heartbreak and will not agree to the marriage her father has set-up between her and Aftab. In a twist Shama becomes her nurse and takes care of her. Shama says she knows how to console a broken heart, since hers was only just recently mended. Eventually Shama finds out that Shabnam is the woman that broke Aman’s heart and Aman is the man for whom Shabnam pines.  Shama steps out of the picture and lets Aman and Shabnam reunite and rekindle their relationship. The two are allowed to wed only after Shabnam’s father receives consent from Aftab, who says he would not want to destroy the “love-match”.

Please notice the gun he is pointing at his wife. Class.

Once you get the permission from the fiancée, I guess you’re good-to-go.

I really enjoyed this film, all of the characters (and the females especially) were strong, independent and motivated. There was some pitter-pattering about life not going on after Aman and Shabnam were split up but they both moved on and almost got on with other people but of course they were reunited.
The picture quality was a little fuzzy and blury, but I suppose that’s just due to the age of the film. The sound was in excellent condition, thank goodness, since the music was fantastic!  Especially with the qawali scenes. The music is so integral to the plot and never distracts or takes away from the story line, but rather is built into the plot and is effective in the movement of the drama.
Now, some leftover Madhubala pretties:

*The scary “if you’re alone in a hotel room in Jackson, WY” kind of scary.
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2 thoughts on “Barsaat ki Raat, 1960

  1. Hello,I got here through another of these Indian movies blog (Shell's I think), but I'm pleased to welcome you in the gang!Barsaat ki raat certainly looks great! I'll have to check it out one of these days.Cheers

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