A few days ago, while surfing the channels on my television, I suddenly stopped because one of the channels was telecasting the Hindi movie of the past years. It was called as “Nadiya Ke Paar” which in English means “On the other side of the river”. The movie was a huge hit in its time. Its scoring point was simple and honest plot set in the rural area of Bihar.
The movie transported me to the good old days when we lived in the village in Punjab. There might be difference in the language, features of inhabitants but overall conditions are almost similar. There is family living in a village. The head of family lives with his two nephews. He falls ill and is treated by the village Vaid, who lives in the village situated on the opposite shore of the river. In lieu of the fees of treatment, the Vaid proposes to marry the elder nephew with his daughter.
It is agreed and the daughter comes to the house as the wife of elder brother. The house now has a woman who sets the house right, makes it neat and tidy. She becomes very fond of her brother-in-law known locally as “dewar”. It generally happens in the rural India, that there is a sort of relation between the two of teasing and joking. The dewars generally are spoiled by the sister-in laws. After some time, the wife becomes pregnant. As is the customary, either the pregnant women go to their parents house for delivering the child or some female member of her parental side comes to her and stays there till the child is born and becomes a few months old.
In this case, the Dewar who is called “Chandan” is deputed to go to the other side of the river and fetch the younger sister of his Bhabhi for this purpose. While coming back in boat, they fall in love. It continues to become deeper during her stay in her sister’s house. Once by chance the elder sister comes to know of about them. But it remains in her heart and she does not tell about it to anyone. A child is born to the Bhabhi.
Tragedy happens and elder sister dies in some accident. The parents of the girl decide unknowingly to marry the younger sister who actually loves the younger brother, to the widowed brother to take care the child. But just at the time of marriage, the love is discovered and Chandan is married to younger daughter.
The movie ran packed houses for years in U.P and Bihar. It caught the pulse of the rustic villagers who again and again visited the theaters to watch the movie. The movie cast almost unknown actors not the stars. It was all set in a village house. There was a boat, few villagers, a river and a bullock cart. It must have been a very low budget film. It became so popular, that the movie was remade after many years by transporting the milieu to city and this again was a very popular movie. It was called “Hum Apke hain Kaun”. Though it was not as realistic as the old version, it celebrated the Indian joint family, family ties and customs of upper middle class. Everyone in that movie seems to singing, dancing and doing pretty nothing except girls and boys making merry.
The music and songs which are an integral part of an Indian movie were very sweet and were situational and graphical. Some of them like the marriage songs were the folk songs occasioned for the ceremony in those parts of the country side. The music was composed by Ravindra Jain. The male songs were sung by Jaspal Singh, the long forgotten singer. He had a very sweet voice and definitely possessed a voice which was superior to many of today’s singers.