Aditya Pancholi, Pooja Bhatt's 1993 film Chor Aur Chand deserves a revisit simply for its melodious soundtrack

Gautam Chintamani

May 29, 2018 15:26:57 IST

Editor's note: Whatever happened to watching a film, just because? When was the last time you watched a film, just because you stumbled upon on it, or heard someone mention it in passing? We're so used to reviews, previews and a barrage of recommendations — it almost feels like it is impossible to enjoy watching a film without it being topical. And so, here's a new column we're introducing — Films, Just Because — where we talk about films, just because.

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Among others things, the early to mid-1990s could be described as a phase where Hindi films were plain awful but their music was delightful. This was a period where the basic melody of a song, which once used to be the hallmark of Hindi film music, finally made a comeback after an abysmal period in the 1980s. The seeds of this change were sown with the music of films such as Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak (1988), Maine Pyar Kiya (1989) and Parinda (1989). The fact that some of the most successful soundtracks of the early 1990s such as 1942 A Love Story (1992) belonged to films that today are recalled only for their tunes is a testimony to the return of melody. This was also a phase where many films such as Yaara Dildara (1991), Jaan Tere Naam (1992), Aashiqui (1992), Dil Ka Kya Kasoor (1992) and Salaami (1994), became successful largely because of their music and many of them are still popular on radio channels. An example of the return of melody and the music outdoing the film itself is Chor Aur Chand (1993). Produced by actor Aditya Pancholi, who also featured as the lead, Chor Aur Chand had ten songs that were composed by then-newcomers Nikhil-Vinay and penned by the legendary Yogesh. Even though the film was a near washout, almost every single track ended up becoming the toast of the airwaves.

Stills from Chor Aur Chand. YouTube

Stills from Chor Aur Chand. YouTube

The film revolved around Reema (Pooja Bhatt), the only child of a wealthy widower Dinkar (Alok Nath), who does not want to marry the boy of her father’s choice. On the day of her marriage, Reema — dressed in bridal finery — decides to run away. She tries to outrun a stranger that she believes is one of her father’s guards. The stranger is Suraj (Aditya Pancholi), an ex-convict, who in fact was trying to rob Reema’s home. The two are forced together by nature and are joined by Hero (Raghubir Yadav), a failed bank robber, who dreams of becoming a movie star. The three become inseparable. Dinakar gets a local gangster to locate his daughter while Inspector Naik (Avtar Gill) is hot on the heels of Suraj. The ‘chor’ Suraj falls for the ‘chand’ Reema but with gangsters and police chasing them. they both know that they are headed for nothing but trouble. Yet the freedom they experience for the first time is what makes it worthwhile.

There have been instances in the past where films such as HS Rawail’s Mere Mehboob (1963) were made only to accommodate songs. Legend has it that Rawail came across a retinue of songs that were penned by Shakeel Badayuni and composed by Naushad but rejected by some other producers; so he simply came up with the situations to fit the songs and finally ended up with a film, Mere Mehboob. In Chor Aur Chand’s case, the film seems to have been an ideal vehicle for the leads where the characters of the ex-convict on the run and the poor little rich girl appear tailor-made for Pancholi and Bhatt respectively. The film’s narrative, too, was befitting of the early 1990s where popular Hindi cinema was attempting to explore slightly darker-than-usual shades. Perhaps the director Pawan Kaul felt that in the midst of films such as Parinda, Angaar (1992) and Gardhish (1993), Chor Aur Chand would seem natural to the audiences.

There was a strong case for Chor Aur Chand not just with the kind of films that were being made but also the actors featured. Only a year before Chor Aur Chand, both Pancholi and Bhatt had portrayed somewhat similar roles in Saathi (1991), a kind of a reworking of Brian De Palma’s Scarface (1983) and Saatwan Aasman (1992), where Bhatt played a cancer-stricken rich girl who runs off with a prisoner on death row, Vivek Mushran, to live her last days to the fullest. The critics had hailed both the performances and this time around blessed with the kind of soundtrack that it had, Chor Aur Chand seemed like a sure shot hit. Alas, this was not how things played out – the film flopped and practically ended Pooja Bhatt’s fine run as one of the most promising actors of the 1990s and forever dented Pancholi’s prospects of being a solo lead. As expected, the film’s music not only survived but also thrived on the airwaves. The album’s standout songs included four SP Balasubrahmanyam and Anuradha Paudwal duets - ‘Sapno mein aana dil mein samana’, ‘Lagne laga hai mujhe aajkal’, ‘Saanson ka kya pata’ and ‘Baat kya hai kaise kehde tumse raaz ki’ besides ‘Mohabbat mein duniya se hum na darenge’ (Manu Chitra, Anuradha Paudwal) and ‘Janam janam tumko sanam chaha teri kasam’ (Udit Narayan, Anuradha Paudwal).

Today, Chor Aur Chand is barely recalled and the songs, too, are not as readily recollected. Even though the film might not too be high on the nostalgia factor when compared to its contemporaries, there is something magical about Chor Aur Chand and this is primarily because of its songs. One of the things that strike you the most about the compositions when you listen to them today is the long intro before the vocals. Most of the songs are around six minutes in duration and some of them have nearly a minute-long intro, something that is perhaps as unimaginable today as it was two decades ago. It is probably this simple aspect about the soundtrack and Yogesh’s words that make the idea of revisiting Chor Aur Chand more intriguing than anything else.

Updated Date: May 29, 2018 15:33:57 IST