Barsaat Ki Raat (1960)
Name: Barsaat Ki Raat (Rainy Night)
Director: P.L Santoshi
Did I watch this recently? Yes
Up and coming Poet, Aman (Bharat Bhushan), soon moves to Hyderabad to pursue a radio poet/singing living. One rainy night, he has a chance encounter with a girl (Madhubala) and becomes immediately infatuated (as does she) but she runs off into the night without any indication of who either of them were. The girl, Shabnam, happens to be a fan of Aman’s poetry which she keeps on her bedside table. When he sings a ghazal about his rainy night encounter, she hears it and realises, as the poem unfolds, that the attraction was indeed mutual and that he is her adored poet. However there love must overcome the boundaries of family opposition in the form of Shabnam’s dad.
Barsaat Ki Raat’s strength lies in its beautiful poignant performances, strong characters and Madhubala. I really really wanted to love this film more, but unfortunately i loved the parts more then the whole. This is mostly due to the fact i found the story very tedious and predictable. Unfortunately loving bollywood for this long, i’ve seen too many family opposition stories to still be enthralled by them. Especially this one where no clear explanation is offered why the father does not like Aman. Was it because he went behind his back to woo Shabnam? Was it because Aman is a poor poet? It’s never really explained hence why i couldn’t figure out why there was a big drama for 2 hours over nothing.
But despite the fact the story was weak, the dialogues, songs, cinematography, acting and characters were all clear favourites for me. The dialogue was superb i think it just flowed off the tongues of its actors. While the songs and cinematography help set the mood and tones for the film – a subdued just poignantly beautiful setting. The title song ‘Barsaat Ki Raat’ had beautiful lyrics and a voice to match the tone of the mysterious night. Qawwali songs at the end definetely needed a chop down but i liked that side story nonetheless, was a nice break from the back and forth romance.
Madhubala for me was once again a clear favourite. She has her charisma and style back, once again in a role i enjoy her in. Although still can’t beat her more light hearted roles i enjoy most with her. She captures the strength, fear and innocence of her character. Also she was just one of the many strong female characters in the film from Shabnam to Shabnam’s little sister to Sharma. Even Shabnam’s mum had more guts and strength then a lot of the previous female characters i’ve seen from this error. On a side note i think Barsaat Ki Raat like Chaudhavin Ka Chand offers some of the rare positive and strong roles for Muslim’s within early bollywood. Especially in regards to the female muslim roles.
It’s also my first time seeing Bharat Bhushan in a role, it was also funny after just seeing Bheja Fry where they mention the name i had no idea who it was. So seeing this i suddenly realise some of the Bheja Fry jokes and references. I must say overall i like him. Bhushan for me is a lot like Ajay Devgan – not just in terms of their uncanny likeness.
Another trend i loved in this movie, other then the strong characters, was the fact the performances were melodramatically overdone like alot of these classic movies can be. I think the 70s more specialise in over the top melodrama, but this film at least had Madhubala and Bharat matching the subtle tone of the movie. I would like to know if they have any other movies together because i found their chemistry very natural together.
Overall Score: 3/5 – I would love to give this film a higher score. It had so much going for it, beautiful songs, cinematography, strong performances and some truly touching moments. However the parts can’t make up for the whole and i felt like i wanted more from the story after it had finished. Seeing too many of these previous family object the love storylines is probably the main problem for me so therefore is given just a timepass rating for me. But its a beautiful movie nonetheless.