Saturday, November 27, 2010


Twenty-two years have passed, but the sensations still linger. And then, last night, while trying to give voice to certain thoughts that kept criss-crossing my mind, I suddenly remembered that song -- and the film! Memories gushed back, and the sensations were ignited over again.

It was sometime in 1989 that I watched Aakarshan in a theatre called Sundar Talkies on Mall Road in Kanpur. (The theatre is now shut, like many others). The lead caste: Akbar Khan and Sonu Walia.

That was the time when I watched only two kinds of films -- the ones that had Jackie Shroff, and the soft-porn films exported from Kerala. Most of the time these soft-porn films would be dubbed in Hindi, but many of them retained the original soundtrack. The Hind-heartland audience, however, did not mind the Malayalam because they would come to the theatres to see and not to listen. But all these films would be given Hindi titles for the north Indian market, and the titles would invariably contain either the word 'Jawaani' or 'Jungle' or both. Only one of them had a numeral title: 4+4. I still can't figure what that denoted but that film had far more 'scenes' compared to the other Jungle-Jawaani films that I had seen. Oh yes, there is something else I remember from 4+4: the face of the lead character, a tall Malayali man with thick moustache, who was known as Dr Dinesh in the film -- a doctor who wore hawai chappals to the clinic.

So why spend an afternoon watching a film called Aakarshan, which had Akbar Khan, of all people, as the hero? I really don't know. I don't remember what made Anish and I stop by at Sundar Talkies and buy balcony tickets. Anish was my best friend.

Aakarshan turned out to be one of those films that lingers on your mind for days after you have watched it. The only other film that has had a similar affect on me was Rang De Basanti, which I watched first-day, first-show, in Kripa theatre in Trivandrum. The film kept disturbing me, tickling me for days after I had watched it, and so did Aakarshan.

Aakarshan affected me even more because at the time I was only 18 -- an age when your heart is like an empty canvas and your hormones are raring to paint a picture on it. Aakarshan: the magnetic attraction between a male and a female -- oh, the director brought it out so well!

In the film, Akbar Khan plays an actor and Sonu Walia an actress. They happen to work together in a film and come closer emotionally after a particular incident during shooting. In one of the shots, Akbar Khan is supposed to rescue Sonu Walia from a fire, but it so happens that there is a real fire accident on the sets during the fire scene, and Sonu Walia is trapped in fire for real. Girish Karnad, who plays the director, refuses to say "Cut!" because he wants to capture the authenticity of the rescue.

The real-life dare-devilry of Akbar Khan, therefore, makes Sonu Walia get emotionally intimate with him. Subsequently, due to the ups and downs of stardom, Akbar Khan is paralysed (I don't remember if the paralysis was caused by a stroke or a road accident triggered by emotional distress), and Sonu Walia eventually nurses him back to health, and they both go on to live happily ever after as acclaimed actors.

Sonu Walia was naturally sexy and glamorous. She was one of the few actresss, perhaps apart from Sangeeta Bijlani, who did not have to don extra makeup to look glamorous. Then there was Akbar Khan, the youngest of the handsome Khan brothers. Even though he could never step into the shoes of his elder ladykiller brothers, Feroze and Sanjay, he was quite hot in Aakarshan. Then there was Girish Karnad, the charismatic director. That afternoon, there were three women sitting right behind us in the theatre, and each time Girish Karnad came on the screen, they gasped, "Oh my god, he is looking so good!"

There was pin-drop silence in the theatre when this particular song, sung by Kavitha Krishnamurthy, came on:

Faasla rahe na, ek ho jaayen
Tod ke rasm-o-riwaaz, ek ho jaayen
faasla rahe na, ek ho jaayen
tod ke rasm-o-riwaaz, ek ho jaayen

Maine teri dhadkanon to sun liya jaanam
maine teri dhadkanon to sun liya jaanam
maine tujhko meet apna chun liya jaanam
kuchh bhi soche yeh samaaj, ek ho jaayen
tod ke rasm-o-riwaaz, ek ho jaayen

Waqt jo guzra abhi tak bojh ka guzra
waqt jo guzra abhi tak bojh ka guzra
milke tujhse zindagi ka karz to utra
aaj se apne mijaaz ek ho jaayen
tod ke rasm-o-riwaaz, ek ho jaayen

Dhoop mein saaya bano, saaye mein humsaya
dhoop mein saaya bano, saaye mein humsaya
shukriya ki waqt mere zakhmon ho sahlaya
kyon rahe thodi si laaj, ek ho jaayen
tod ke rasm-o-riwaaz, ek ho jaayen

Faasla rahe na, ek ho jaayen
tod ke rasm-o-riwaaz, ek ho jaayen...

What a song, what a song! The song, which had the Niagra falls in the backdrop, ended with a lovemaking scene between Akbar Khan and Sonu Walia under the gaze of the same world-famous waterfalls. And that's when I, and perhaps Anish too, realised that erotica is not about what you show, but what you hide. At one point, when Sonu Walia bites at Akbar Khan's ear, we would hear gasps emanating from the women seated in the row behind us. So powerful the scene was!

There is something very powerful about aakarshan or attraction. Not many people experience it during their lifetime. Most people, when they marry or choose their partners or choose to fall in love, are either guided by commonsense or by well-meaning advice from friends or elders; or are simply driven by madness and obsession.

But it is rare, very rare, for a man and a woman to be instantaneously and mutually sucked into each other's magnetic fields. Mutually is the operative word here. Aakarshan, the film, raises to a toast to that attraction.

Such an attraction sends thunders clapping and tames lyricists into writing simple, soothing poetry and arm-twists composers into creating a tickling tune:

Maine teri dhadkanon to sun liya jaanam
maine teri dhadkanon to sun liya jaanam
maine tujhko meet apna chun liya jaanam
kuchh bhi soche yeh samaaj, ek ho jaayen
tod ke rasm-o-riwaaz, ek ho jaayen.


Anonymous said...

tell me have you ever been attracted to somebody like that?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to tell you, these days your writing has deteriorated drastically.

Reading your post is just like looking at an artificial flower. You have seen it but there is no fragrance.

Amrita Sabat said...

Righto.What u hide is wat dey see. Song is good- nt haunting enuff though. Mutual Attraction fr a nite leads 2 1-nite stands. Lingering attraction leads 2 one proposin d oder. Lingering mutual attraction can blossom in2 a relationship.

Unknown said...

Useful to read about the Aakarshan which turned out to be one of those films that lingers on your mind for days,good to share.


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Sepiamniac said...

I haven't heard this song and I am looking up YouTube and other song sites for it. You have managed to do that to your reader; you win, buddy!

Chuck the aspersions some have to make. They are not worth even two seconds of your time.

People like me read your blog for its honesty and simplicity. So keep writing on similar lines; we want to know more.

Anonymous said...

I remember this movie as one which was a taboo to be talked about at home because it was an adult movie.

Thanks for bringing in the nostalgia back! Oh those innocent days!

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Anubhuti said...

Sometimes I enjoy reading the comments more than the post. Really, how personal can the readers get.

I like what you say about attraction, it might be rare and even if it happens, most of us are not in the circumstances like sonu walia & kabir khan. It's so difficult to reach out & bare your heart, even in today's world.