By the 1980s, Amitabh Bachchan was at the height of his stardom. While the decade was not the most vibrant for the Hindi film industry in general, Amitabh went on to do some of his most iconic movies at the time. Their success can in no small part also be ascribed to some of the great songs that came out of them, because this was a time not all that far back in the past, and yet Kishore Kumar was still around to sing songs. In spite of the slightly downbeat trend in film music at the time, some happy gems did come out of it. Inteha ho gayi intezaar ki from the 1984 film Sharaabi, manages to be both by changing its mood half way through its length.
Amitabh Bachchan is suave and casual on screen, as his fitting for his permanently inebriated rich-kid character in the film. The casual on-screen presence is something he had achieved by this point in his career, having gone past some of his more dramatic years of being the action hero. He’s supported in the background by the ever dependable veteran of the screen Om Prakash, playing his concerned caretaker. The film makers were surely trying to rekindle the magic these two actors created in their previous movie together, Namak Halal in 1982, and they did succeed. Jaya Prada had been acting for almost a decade in South Indian films at this point, but was a fresh recruit into full fledged acting in Hindi. In her 1979 film Sargam she played a mute and wasn’t at the time fluent in Hindi. She does an admirable job in transforming from her more naturally classical dancing body-language to the more contemporary free-style bollywood madness that’s required of her here. Some awkwardness is understandable.
Director Prakash Mehra and cinematographer N. Satyen make a very lively and kinetic experience of this song with the camera always sweeping across the room, panning to follow the characters as they walk and dance across the floor, and generally doing everything but staying still. The real energy, however, comes from the voice and from the music. The enduring image of Bappi Lahiri is one of loud and kitch extravagance, because many of his songs in the 1970s and 1980s did subscribe to that aesthetic, but here he shows that he is capable of so much more. The first half of the song is slow, melancholy and melodic, with some very fine instrumentation, and when the song finally breaks out in more traditional Bappi Lahiri style, it has earned it.
There’s not much more to be said about Kishore Kumar besides restating his mastery of his voice. There is almost more acting going on in his singing than on screen, and it makes this song heartfelt and more than a caricature. The song being set in a birthday party for our hero, lyricist Anjaan does his usual dependable job of supplying not startling but very memorable words such as:
Logon ne toh diye honge bade-bade nazarane
Layi hoon main tere liye dil mera
I’m sure people have given you gifts lavish and fine
All I have brought for you is this heart of mine
Inteha ho gayi intezaar ki is a very enjoyable musical journey, for the antics on screen, for the music, for the singing, and for its ability to be all things and good.