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Rajendra Kumar's unsung song that is relevant even today — death anniversary special


‘Yeh Kiska Lahu Hai Kaun Mara’ from Yash Chopra’s Dharmputra (1961) is a gem lost in time that needs to be revisited today. 

Keyur Seta

Rajendra Kumar, also called 'Jubilee Kumar' of Hindi cinema, has sung numerous songs onscreen. Most of them are still cherished and played, be it romantic or the ones that make your heart weep. However, one song that has gone widely unsung is 'Yeh Kiska Lahu Hai Kaun Mara' from the 1961 film Dharmputra. The film talks of the futility of communal hatred, focusing on the fact that religions are meaningless if they encourage acts of communal violence. The audiences didn't appreciate the lesson then, and the film flopped at the box office.   

Today, almost six decades after the release of the film, it looks like revisiting the song is the need of the hour. Even though Kumar did a cameo in the film for this song, his expressions, the pain in his eyes, challenge the animosity against humanity. The picturization of the song too calls for critical thinking. You see three bloodied dead bodies lying on the floor and blood from all the three corpses flow to meet at a point. Thus, bringing to mind the question: Can one really identify the religion of blood? Can one seperate blood in terms of religious identity? 

The song begins immediately after the protagonist Dilip (Shashi Kapoor), a religious fanatic on a crusade to kill Muslims, discovers that he is infact a Muslim by birth. Questioning his fascist ideology, the lyrics show him the mirror, trying to make him a human again.  

Lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi jolted the listeners with his fiery words. His lines dismantle the very foundations of religious fanaticism brick by brick. In fact, the words used in the song would appear bold even today. It would not be impertinent to say that today the Central Board Of Certification (CBFC) would refrain from clearing the song. One stanza of the song particularly stands out for its brazen tone, where Kumar dissects violent acts as not befitting any faith. The holy scriptures, according to the song, are a failure if they demand us to forget the basic tenets of humanity. 

The song was sung by Mahendra Kapoor, an unusual choice, as Mohammad Rafi was a big favourite for high pitched songs back then. However, Mahendra has done great justice to the words with his soulful rendering.

Dharmputra was Yash Chopra's second directorial film. The metaphors and the play of black and white, show that the man could go much beyond romantic flicks. Sadly enough, the failure of this film discouraged Chopra from making another political film ever again.

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A gem made by contributions from some of the finest artistes of Hindi cinema, stands lost in time. Therefore, it is but fitting to revive this song on the day we lost our 'Jubilee Kumar' in 1999. 

It is a great example of leaving behind an impact despite having a screen time of just over four minutes. 

Watch the song: