Bollywood Saturday: Do You Know Bimal Roy’s Social-Drama Parakh Was Supposed to be a Songless Film?

Bollywood Saturday: Bimal Roy, known for unconventional themes and experimental filmmaking, much before Anurag Kashyap and Madhur Bhandarkar, made it cool hit the bull’s eye with Parakh. The filmmaker who had a knack for exploring rural India and social issues with utmost authenticity made a satirical social drama. As the new wave cinema in Hollywood was on its rise during 50s and 60s, Bimal Roy left no stones unturned to work on quality content in terms of storytelling. After his inspiration from Italian neo-realist cinema in Do Bigha Zamin, Bimal Roy moved to light-hearted, yet hard-hitting satirical drama. With Parakh he attempted a social dramedy as India’s answer to the likes of Billy Wilder, Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Cubrick and Roman Polanski’s black comedies. A simple story about greed narrated in the backdrop of casteism, untouchability, class division and democracy makes for a universal theme.

BIMAL ROY WANTED PARAKH TO BE A SONGLESS FILM

The best part about Bimal Roy’s depiction of social realism is the light-heartedness showcased through melodious music and traditional customs. Bimal Roy had initially wanted to make a songless film in order to stay true to the subject. He had entrusted the maverick Salil Choudhary for the film’s story and music. While the legendary Shailendra had penned the dialogues for the film. As Salil and Shailendra completed their work on Parakh, they explained to the filmmaker that the film must have song sequences. After listening to their perspective Bimal Roy was convinced to add songs in his satirical drama.

PARAKH HAS THE LEGENDARY NIGHTINGALE LATA MANGESHKAR’S SOULFUL RENDITION

O Sajana Barkha Bahar Aayi and Mere Mann Ke Diye picturised on Sadhna are among the best songs from the film. Both are sung by none other than the nightingale late Lata Mangeshkar. Shailendra had also earlier contributed to the lyrics of Do Bighaa Zameen and Madhumati, Bimal Roy’s timeless classics. Salil Choudhary, on the other hand was the music-composer of these films as well. Bimal Roy’s films have also conveyed the intensity of the narrative through brilliant cinematography. Parakh was no different, as ace cinematographer Kamal Bose was assigned the task. Bose was the director of photography in Bimal Roy’s Do Bigha Zameen, Devdas and Sujata, prior to Parakh.

The movie had five Filmfare nominations and won three awards including Best Direction. Parakh features Sadhana, Motilal, Nazir Hussain, Durga Khote, Leela Chitnis, Basanta Choudhary and Keshto Mukherjee in pivotal characters.

Parakh was a semi-hit at the box office.

For more updates on Bimal Roy and Parakh, check out this space at India.com.