Hindi 1960 (India)
An engrossing love story between Aman & Shabnam. Aman is a struggling & talented Urdu poet who is making a mark in the musical world. Shabnam loves his songs & poetry. When Aman & Shabnam meet each other accidently in a stormy night, they fall in love with each other. Aman is appointed as a tutor in Shabnam's pavilion for her sister Ranziah of the recommendation of Aman's friend Shekhar. Aman & Shabnam start romancing each other & plan to marry soon. But Shabnam's father turns up as their nemesis. He insults & expells Aman from their house & further fixes Shabnam's marriage with Aftab Ahmed of Lucknow against her wish. Khan Bahadur (Shabnam's father) sets off for Lucknow with his family. A dejected & devasted Aman also coincidentally arrives at Lucknow in search of his fortune. As a matter of further coincidence, Aman discovers that the friend in whose house he is staying is actually the future spouse of Shabnam. Aman leaves Aftab's residence without notice. Meanwhile Aman's old pals Shabnam & Shamma arrive at lucknow with their father to participate in a Shayari challenge. Shamma is an ardent & secret admires of the lonely Aman. Whatever she does, is dedicated in Aman's memory. Aman begins to pen & compose magnificent Shayaris. He begins to sing on radio programmes. Very quickly Aman carves a niche for himself in the elite world of Lucknow. Shamma & Aman meet each other at Lucknow. Shamma becomnes overjoyed. Aman who is submerged in the painful memory of his lost love for Shamma's does not realise Shamma's unconditional love. Anyway, he becomes the heart and soul of Shamma's father's musical troup. With Aman's voice & shayaris, Shamma's group attains pinnacle of success & popularity. A shattered & imprisoned Shabnam overhears Aman's voice on radio & acknowledges that Aman is still in Lucknow. After an immense effort, Shabnam reaches one of Aman's poetic duels. Shamma faints during the program. Her sickness gives a platform for Shabnam & Aman to meet each other. Khan Bhadur & Aman's friend Shekhar reach the spot searching for the missing Shabnam. At this point Shabnam's mother revolts against the tyranical & dictatorial Khan Bahadur. Even Aftab Ahmed supports Shabnam's mother. Khan Bhadur gives in & the estranged lovers reunite on another rainy night.
This film was released in Black-and-White and is widely considered to be a classic. The film became particularly popular for its qawwali songs and was one of the biggest hits at the box-office in 1960. The film was also one of the last to star celebrated actress Madhubala.
The story features a number of innovative themes while maintaining the basic form of a love story. It has particularly strong female characters who are independent minded and choose their own loves and destiny. The conflicts are not so much between the wishes of the parents and children about whom to marry, as is a common theme in Indian movies, but it is on the more complex level of the conflicts among the main characters themselves and the duplicitous signals men and women send each other. The movie glorifies the lives of "singing girls" not often regarded highly in Indian society. Although it is set with muslim characters, the movie seamlessly shows the universality of sensual love.
The songs are beautiful and the qawwali sequences sublime. The song and dance does not occur randomly as is so often the case in Indian movies filling a formula; instead it is an integral part of the story itself which involves a poet and singer as well as poetry competitions that were once common. This integral component of the movie may make it difficult for non-urdu or hindi speaking audiences to appreciate the movie, as it is clearly not designed for non-indian consumption.
Although Madhubla gets top billing, and she is always good, she does not have a major performing role. The main character is played by the highly underrated Shayama who delivers an excellent performance.
About the Music on this film:
Female Singers: Asha Bhonsle, Kamal Barot, Lata Mangeshkar, Sudha Malhotra, Suman Kalyanpur Male Singer: S. D. Batish, Balbeer, Bande Hasan, Manna Dey, Mohammad Rafi Music Director: Roshan Lyricist: Sahir Ludiyanvi
Barsaat Ki Raat Movie Wiki
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