Yeh Shaam Mastani

Film: Kati Patang (1970)

Producer: Shakti Samantha

Director: Shakti Samantha

Lyricist: Aanand Bakshi

Singer:  Kishore Kumar


What can one say about a song that, for a long time, was synonymous only with Kaka and KK for the cine going janata? It’s truly timeless, much like its composer – and to me, a special number – one, that opened up the world of Pancham for me in the late 70s….enough of nostalgia, and back to the shaam that’s so so beautiful, so mastani


And RD’s powerful visualization shines through in each orchestral touch. He opens with beautiful, cascading violins that fill up the room, the scene, the waterfall, and your senses. And as they stop, a beautiful strumming piece on the guitar that’s a cue for the camera to pan to the hero, and even as you see him, Pancham gets in the whistling of the mukhda tune, the strumming still on, the whistling goes to the tune peak and RD gets the magical, mystical Kishore Kumar to step in with “hey heyhmmmm hmmm” that takes the mukhda tune forward (though Kaka keeps his lips slightly open just in case Pancham plays a trick and gets in a whistle without warning), then the whistling takes over to complete the rest of the mukhda tune. And this is Pancham – what a super, super hypnotic introduction to the mukhda! Simply mastani!


Then Kishore comes in with “Ye shaam mastani” – his “shaam” casting an evening magic over the greenery, his “mastani” making the sun wait in its place and marvel at the magic. And after “mastani“, Pancham gets in a lovely flute and violins that take the tune further up had he made Kishore sing more and not broken for the meter. And the violins continue up in the far distance, touching the sky and becoming faintly visible only for “teri or liye jaaye“. And the beautiful electric guitar that strums after every rhythmic beat adds that sheen to nature’s glossy postcard. And how beautifully Pancham tuned the song…every move of the tune helping Kaka to enhance his mannerisms and tilts and add to his persona.


The first interlude’s so seamless, as RD continues the strumming of the guitar, now more assertive and pronounced, as Kaka casts his magic over all the ladies in the picnic. And even as they continue, Pancham gets in Kishore to break their spell with his semi-yodelling “Oooooo” and as he finishes, the guitars end the strum and the violins come rushing in to catch Asha Parekh steal a glance behind, and to get in the antara.


And what do you say about the antara that’s on everybody’s lips but not many can sing in tune? It starts off high for “Door rehti hai tu“, semi-complaining, “mere paas aati nahin, hothon pe tere kabhi pyaas aati nahin“, and then at the pause, the violins come in, nodding in agreement, not loud, just at the right distance. And then Pancham moves the tune from complaining to understanding and empathy, gets Kishore to drop the pitch and sound even more magical, “Aisa lage, jaise ke tu” and then the tune opens up back to the picnic, the one-to-one made and disconnected, “hanske” (a super pause for emphasis) zehar (pause again, goosebumps!) koi piye jaaye” and then the tune beautifully melds into the mukhda.


The next interlude has those strong current of violins with another violin ensemble on lower level acting as the counter current – a lovely piece this. The current of violins rises, taking the counter currents with it, and then they both rise, and then come together, fused by the beautiful flute that leads to the next antara and a pensive Asha Parekh. Again the semi-complaining tune for “Baat jab main karoon“… and a beautiful shot by Shakti Samanta as Kaka and Asha are on two sides of the fence, and no one else in the frame, they walk toward each other as the antara progresses….and then Kaka turns away in angst for “mujhe tok deti hain kyon“, while Asha passes on helplessly, unable to tell him anything…that’s magical cinema for you. Then Kaka turns around for Pancham’s empathetic and loving part of the antara, “teri haya, teri sharam, teri kasam mere honth siye jaye“, and then “Ye shaam“..and look at that beautiful touch, that halt by Kishore for “mas-tani“…magic!!


And after Asha Parekh slides away from Kaka’s touch, Pancham gets in a superb accordion piece that’s playful as Kaka’s happy about that hand touch, and the piece progresses, also getting in Asha P’s apprehension, a hint of flutes to pack in the extra punch..and then as they cross each other, the saxophone comes in, playing the same tune as the accordions, but slower now, almost as though the breathing’s become normal after the touch, and as they circle each other, the sax rises, broken by the guitar, a broken progressive piece as the shots go back and forth and Pancham pauses the guitar to get in Kishore for the final antara. Again the semi-complain, followed by the flirty second part, Kaka smiling magically and then back to the mukhda. Now, as the flute gets in the mukhda, it shows Asha smiling, her attraction toward Kaka undeniable now….and then the magical whistling back, allowing her to join the picnic, but not yet..and they both walk away, back toward each other, the whistling ends and the guitar ends the song with a final strum.


No surprise then, that this song made me absolutely nutty patang about Pancham!


Vineet Upendra