The girl at the window or the balcony is a classic romantic trope, probably tracing back to ancient theatre, lost in the mists of time. In Hindi cinema, with the majority of the audience living in an increasingly crowded urban environment, that quickly turned into lovers at windows in adjacent houses or apartments, forever separated by the insignificant but fathomless divide between buildings. Many a romantic tale, some serious, some light-hearted, have been woven across that gap over the decades. Being Indian cinema, inevitably, songs were sung across the abyss, and Aise to na dekho from the film Teen Devian is a wonderful example of the genre.
This song has it all, the stolen glances through narrow cracks in windows, lacy curtains, plenty of mirrors for both protagonists to be able to react to without looking at each other directly. And there is the ever suave Dev Anand in his prime, shot in gorgeously-lit black & white. Even Nanda‘s over-the-top bashful antics work. They’re singing across windows here, people, give them a break; It’s just that sort of song.
Let’s not forget the song itself though. Mohammed Rafi really does bring the silken best of his voice into this one, and the poetic and dramatic lyrics are wonderfully presented in SD Burman‘s simple and melodic tune. The occasional wail of the shehnai adds an interesting melancholy touch to what is a playful song.
Majrooh Sultanpuri does very well here with such turns of phrase as:
Tum humein roko, phir bhi hum na ruke
Tum kaho kafir, phir bhi aise jhuke
You stop me, and yet I continue onwards, true.
You call me an infidel, and yet I bow before you.
This really is a beautiful song, both to look at and to listen to, and if romance is your poison, words and music rarely get more dramatically romantic than this.