I suddenly remembered that we used to love belting out Narendra Chanchal's song in 'Benaam' by the same name in the OU Engineering College canteen and the hostels. I had seen the movie many years ago and quite liked the dashing Amitabh in the role of a corporate executive searching for his kidnapped son in the suspense thriller. It was a decent movie overall and I remember Moushumi Chatterjee and the cute scene where she sews a button on Amitabh's shirt standing on a bed, the car chase in the end and the Chanchal song.
Ali used to sing the song. He had a great voice and could sing beautifully. He also had this wonderful collection of movie songs in his head and I'd help him along as we sang aloud in our spare time. By the time we progressed to the final year we had even named ourselves Shankar Jaikishen. Ali refreshed many songs that I had forgotten in those years. Benaam was one of them.
I don't remember hearing the original much. All I remember was Ali's rendition of the song. All the words I remembered were from Ali's version. But whenever I was given a chance I always liked singing this song because it is a nice full throated song, Of course all the lyrics and words were all mixed up in my version but I gave it 100% in passion.
Years later I happily found that Jayant wrote the screenplay for 'Benaam' and when we had the bhavande get together in Bombay a few years ago I belted out the song full throatedly, mistakes and all. And only today after so many years I suddenly realised that I did not have this song in my playlist. And instantly downloaded it.
'Yaara o yaara...,' goes Narendra Chanchal and I am transported all those years back into the dusty, dinghy Seth's canteen, the deep insides of which we inhabited and sang these songs to our heart's content.
We lost touch with Ali after the college days. He was troubled badly by the accident that he and Sunil got into, the botched operations, the persistent infections over the years, and by the time he recovered, had gained much weight and one leg was shortened considerably. He visited me once and that was that. I made some enquiries about him but found no answer. But whenever the song plays it is as if the handsome Ali Mumtaz is sitting next to me, singing passionately, intensely for all his lady loves.