As a great lover of Meena Kumari, i knew i had to check out the film that made her a Superstar. Baiju Bawra is also the first film which was awarded the Filmfare 'Best actress' and 'best music director'. I watched this movie with a non bollywood fan and i was so surprised a) that he liked it and that & b) that he sat through the whole thing. So what is it about Baiju Bawra which is said to be based on the legend of Baiju Bawra from the Mughal times that gripped a non bollywood fan
Mian Tansen a well accomplished composer in the kings palace, orders the guards to maintain silence around the kingdom as he's composing
Young Baiju (Rattan kumar) and his dad who happen to be passing by in a praying singing troop, are confronted by the guards who order them to be quiet, Baiju's father refuses to be quiet saying 'Music should never be restricted'. One of the guards flings him and Baiju's father is seriously injured, before he dies he tells Baiju to avenge his death from Mian Tansen the palace composer
Baiju is now orpahned and is bitter and eager to get his revenge from Tansen, he meets Shankar (Manmohan Krishnan) an elderly man who takes him in, he also meets Gauri a lively girl who lives in the same locale. The two fall in love and Baiju is overcome by Gauri's love and forgets about his quest for revenge
Word soon gets around that Gauri is dishonouring her father because of her relationship with Baiju (Bharat Bhushan) as she has been betrothed to another young man by the name of Narpat. Her father through Shankar eventually agrees to Baiju & Gauri's marriage when he discovers their passion for one another
When stealing Bandit Roopmaji storms the village one day, she takes a liking to Baiju's voice when he starts singing, she decides to leave the village goods if she can take Baiju with her. Baiju leaves and promises Gauri he will come back for her
While away from Gauri, Roopmaji's actions raises the vengeful spirit in Baiju and he remembers his promise to avenge his father's death from the Tansen. Baiju then travels to avenge his father, when he's about to kill the Tansen he discovers cold murder won't do it but that he would have to challenge him in a sing off, after which if he outsings the Tansen, the tansen would kill himself out of shame. Thus the battle commences (in a sing off to give American idol and other singing reality type shows a run for their money) with the first out of the two to melt a marble in a glass of water winning.
Will Baiju outsing the Tansen? Will he succeed in fully melting the marble with his voice? Will he be back in time to prevent Gauri being married off to Narpat?
This is one of the first movies that gave Meena the tragic diva tag i believe, she balances her role of being a sprightly fresh faced beauty to the distressed lover awaiting her lover's return effectively
Bharat Bhushan was cute and adorable in his role
Overall a wonderful film with romance, suspense, drama, great dialogues music (lots of classics here) and comedy all rolled into one, but although this movie had all these, the ending ruined it for me, however still watch it if you like classics and if you like films that have a bit of history behind them. At the heart of the film's theme is the powerful effect of music, how music can be very spiritual and passion/love's ability to tame.
The music by Naushad are classics and i was really gutted the GVI dvd of the songs came without subtitles but i really enjoyed Door koi gaye with Meena Kumari and her girl pals, Aaj gawat mann mero which Mian Tansen and Baiju sing for their sing off, and Tu Ganga ki Mauj (see below) which won Naushad his first and only filmfare best Music director award
Total Score: 7/10 (Entertaining classic musical)