Starring Mahipal, Geetanjali, Jugal Kishore, Helen

This was a movie that launched Laxmikant Shantaram Kudalkar and Pyarelal Ramprasad Sharma. They created some fascinating music which transformed an average film into a huge hit. Parasmani was more about these composers than Mahipal and Geetanjali, the key protagonists of this musical drama.

Six songs embellished the movie; six songs that lifted the fortunes of the movie. There may not have been much to rave about the story or performances; the film may have suffered on account of technical deficiencies but it had the desired qualities that make an entertainer. It may not appeal to the multiplex crowd of today but it was a movie that stood out for its music and smooth performances by mostly now-forgotten actors.

Forty eight years have passed since the movie caught the imagination of cine lovers countrywide but Ooi Maa Ooi Maa Yeh Kya Hoga can still leave you in a trance. The captivating voice of Lata Mangeshkar and

the artistic movements of Helen make for a heady combination. It is the first song of the movie and sets the trend really. Mahipal is Paras, separated at a young age from his father, chief of army. A locket is evidence of their relationship. The son grows into a musician and predictably falls in love with the princess of the state.

The king, at the instance of his army chief, is opposed to their meetings. All because he has been told that the son-in-law would be the cause of his death. The army chief (Jugal Kishore) is unaware of Paras being his long-lost son. The only way out, as plotted by the army chief, is for Paras to fetch the parasmani, a stone with mystical powers to give life to the dead.

He does succeed eventually but loses his father, who prefers death even as the parasmani is his proud possession, thanks to Paras’ dare devil ways. Of course, it is the locket that unites the father with the son, ending a series of confrontation between the two. The slow-paced movie revolves around Mahipal and his exploits in winning the heart and hand of Geetanjali, who plays the princess. “Mere Dil Mein Halki Si” is a melodious offering by Lata with Geetanjali dancing flawlessly. The fact that the movie had four dance directors proves the significance of this aspect of the movie.

Laxmikant-Pyarelal get Mohamamd Rafi to sing two gems, “Roshan Tumhi Se Duniya” and “Wo Jab Yaad Aaye Bahut Yaad Aaye”. There is a lilting duet by Lata and Mukesh, “Chori Chori Jo Tumse Mili”, and a Lata-Kamal Barot hit “Hansta Hua Noorani Chehra” that mark the second half of the movie, partly shot in colour.

Dance and music form the strength of this movie. Laxmikant Pyarelal made a glorious debut with “Parasmani” and proved it was no fluke by giving unforgettable compositions in “Dosti” a year later. Asad Bhopali, Farooq Kaiser and Indeevar provide the lyrics for Laxmikant Pyarelal’s landmark work. In later years, both had reportedly acknowledged the importance of “Parasmani” in shaping their career. They also never forgot to show their gratitude to Lata and Rafi for lending their golden voice and setting a dream platform for the two young composers.

Helen in a one-song role and a teenaged Aruna Irani in a fleeting presence add nostalgic value in a film that essentially belongs to behind-the-scene stars, the lyricists and the composer duo.