Sunday, October 31, 2010

REKHATOBER: Song of the Day: When Rekha's doppelganger gets cozy w/ Raj Babbar

Today's Song of the Day is one of my absolute favorites and a constant earworm of mine since the 80s. Agar Tum Na Hote was a strange and sad movie starring Rekha and Rajesh Khanna and Raj Babbar.

Rekha and Rajesh Khanna play a married couple and then their lives take a tragic turn with the birth of their daughter and Rekha passes away. In a complicated turn of events that can only happen in Bollywood, there is a Rekha-doppelganger out there in the world that falls in love with and marries photographer Raj Babbar. When he is hurt in an accident, Rekha 2.0 goes out to find a job and comes to work for Rajesh Khanna as a nanny for the little girl, who is completely scarred by growing up without a mother. Not knowing she is married, Rajesh Khanna falls for her, especially seeing how she manages to charm and turn around his daughter's behavior. Raj Babbar is trapped by his injury and his failure to provide for his wife and begins to doubt her fidelity. There's a lot of guilt and suffering and misunderstanding tossed around before they finally come to a conclusion.

I do remember this movie, and I found it incredibly sad. Rekha's acting was particularly good in this film, I mean it HAD to be if she was portraying someone in love with Raj Babbar (I mean, seriously!). But the best thing by far was the soundtrack. Most well-known is the title song "Humein aur jeene ki chaahat na hoti, Agar tum na hote ... Agar tum na hote" (gorgeous song!), but I also remember the random songs like "Kal to Sunday ki chutti" (in which Rekha lent her voice!), "Sach Hai Yeh Koi" (Rajesh Khanna's drunken song) and "Hum to hai Chui Mui" (a delightful song in which Rekha is dressed up to play a puppet in a stage show).

My absolute favorite was the very sensual, sweet, melodic number "Dheere Dheere Zara Zara" sung by Asha Bhosle. This song really draws you in with the stirring guitar work by Ramesh Iyer -- the chord progression in particular really gets me. It's an unusual tune, something haunting and beautiful that is truly a work of art by R.D. Burman (my all-time favorite Music Director). Together with the tropical, palm-tree dotted setting, the bonfire on the beach, Asha-ji's crooning (as only she can do) and Rekha's stunning expressions, this song has stuck in my mind for MANY years and is probably the source of my burning desire to have a romantic bonfire on the beach.

I definitely wanted to share it for Rekhalicious October, especially today being the final day, because it is probably my all-time favorite Rekha song and I think she's incredible in it!

Let me know what you think!


  1. Where and when is that Rekha picture from?
    I can't remember her being so toned back in the 80's and the colors look a bit too vivid?
    or is it a photoshop kinda job thing?
    Rekha is awesomness though, has no one written a round up post of what she meant for cinema like I did for Sri? :-)

    dont remember this one but I avoid anything related to Rajesh Khanna and Raj Babbar as a general rule. they seemed lecherous old men even when they were young-


  2. So why is it so hard to believe someone loves Raj Babbar is he that bad, please i'd like to know your reason. I've seen 'Agar tum na hote' too , i thought it was just ok but you're bang on about her acting and my favourite of all the songs is 'zara zara dheere' too and that 'kal to sunday' song sounds much like 'badal yun main lagta hai' from Betaab

  3. Asim - I know that pic looks uber-doctored, not sure what it's from! Sujoy Singha was spear-heading the Rekhafest so I'd check his site at to see if there was any round-up post.

    BollywoodDeewana - B'wood likes and dislikes can be so polarizing ... I always had a distinctly creepy feeling whenever I saw him on-screen and have similar reactions to Ajay Devgan ... but then everything is subjective and I recognize that he had his own set of fans. It's just my own personal dislike that came out in this post. I'm sure he has his merits too, and there are heroes I like that other people simply can't understand too.