Dil Nasheen (Soulful) is an Urdu movie released in July 1975.
The film starred Nadeem and Shabnam, the undisputed dynamic duo of Urdu films whose antics and sexual frisson lit up screens throughout the 70s and 80s. Like Nadeem, who was the most decorated male actor in Pakistan, Shabnam (Dewdrop) garnered more Best Actress awards (13) than any of her female peers. Their combined presence in a film always gave the producer hope that he would recoup his investment.
Dil Nasheen was a big hit running for more than 30 weeks in the main cinema halls in Lahore and Karachi. The stars were both seasoned campaigners by this time. Shabnam, from a Hindu Bengali family, had begun her career in Dhaka, home to a small Bengali and (until 1971)Urdu language film hub. It was in Dhaka that Shabnam first met her future co-star in the early 60s, as he tried to crack the industry as a playback singer.
The movie’s music was composed by M Ashraf, who after an initial successful phase of his career as partner to composer/arranger Manzoor, was by the early 70s getting a reputation as a brilliant ideas man on his own. Ashraf loved playing around with western instruments, beats, phrases and melodies. Many of his compositions have found a second life in recent years as collectors and curators in the West have likened his fast-paced, ‘rockin and rollin’ compositions to those created by R. D. Burman in India.
Akh Ladti Hai Jab Dildar Se (Eyes Fight With My Beloved When…) opens with a perfect Ashraf sound confection. Within 30 seconds he has tipped his hat (probably unconsciously, but maybe not) to the rockabilly/early rock sound of Sun Studios. Jangling piano intro followed by a typical South Asian accordion solo followed by some rumbling Cash/Perkins-like guitar playing.
After one of the Moona Sisters–a 60s/70s girl/sibling act–sings the song’s first phrase our ears are tickled by some quick electric organ runs and a blazing guitar that would be at home in a Ventures show. A few more lines–all pretty innoucous stuff about making eyes with your boyfriend–and still more instruments are brought in: trumpets, flutes and electronic keyboards. In fact, it sounds as if a wedding band has wandered into the studio and each player is determined to outdo the other.
As the song progresses one gets the feeling that Ashraf doesn’t give a damn. Throw anything in there. Any beat, any sort of sound, any instrument (Harmonica? Sure. Accordion? Why not.) will do. It’s all a huge romper room of fun. The singer and the lyrics are for the most part irritations, though near the end she does manage to throw in a few heavy sighs which mix nicely into the whirlpool of sound.
Finally, (and very sadly) the end is nigh and the trumpets and the electric guitar are in a dash to the finish line. Who can go faster and have the final say? Of course, it is the guitar, Ashraf’s favorite child, that wins!
This is a blast!