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Thursday, November 26, 2020

Deconstructing the classic ‘Bombay Noir’: Raj Khosla’s ‘CID’

CID is remembered not for its simplistic plot but as the film that launched Waheeda Rahman.

Written by Harneet Singh | Mumbai | Updated: August 30, 2015 11:26:00 am
Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, Shakila, KN Singh, Johnny Walker, Raj Khosla, OP Nayyar, CID, Dev Anand CID, Dev Anand movies, Dev Anand Waheeda Rehman, Actor Dev Anand, Actress Waheeda rehman, Waheeda rehaman movies, Entertainment news Spot the clues Dev Anand plays a bumbling cop in the film

Film: CID
Year: 1956
Director: Raj Khosla
Cast: Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, Shakila, KN Singh, Johnny Walker
Music: OP Nayyar
DVD: Ultra

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As an investigating officer of CID, there is little that escapes Inspector Shekhar (Dev Anand)’s eyes. He addresses female thieves as “Lady.” When he’s on a murderer’s trail, he doesn’t think twice before jumping into a passerby’s car who happens to be the pretty Shakila. He sees a cigarette at the murder scene and instantly knows this can lead him to the killer because there are very few people in ‘Bombay’ who have “charas waali cigarette.” He also knows that there is a bigger conspiracy behind the murder of a newspaper editor — “Ek jisne chaaku chalaya aur ek woh jisne chaaku chalwaaya.” And since it’s Dev playing him, there has to be that perfect romantic moment when he’s serenading his lady love by the pond side, crooning Aankhon hi aankhon mein ishaara ho gaya — while he’s still wearing his tie!

The Guru Dutt produced-Raj Khosla directed film, CID, fits snugly in the genre of ‘Bombay noir’. As an urban thriller of the 1950s, the film’s mode of crime-solving now appear too simplistic. The filmgoer’s fascination with CID continues because it marks the Hindi film debut of Waheeda Rehman, who plays Kamini, the good-hearted moll. Though she’s a bit raw with a singsong dialogue delivery, just a glimpse of that luminous face and the hand gestures that Zohra Sehgal made her perform for the Shamshad Begum classic Kahin pe nigahein let us know you that she was, indeed, destined for a memorable innings.

Dev Anand, Waheeda Rehman, Shakila, KN Singh, Johnny Walker, Raj Khosla, OP Nayyar, CID, Dev Anand CID, Dev Anand movies, Dev Anand Waheeda Rehman, Actor Dev Anand, Actress Waheeda rehman, Waheeda rehaman movies, Entertainment news spot the clues Dev Anand plays a bumbling cop in the film

Rehman, who had signed a contract with Guru Dutt Films, shot CID back to back with Pyaasa and if Dutt hadn’t intervened she would have most likely been out of the former. In the book Conversations with Waheeda Rehman, she tells author Nasreen Munni Kabir that she nearly walked out of CID because of a costume! “I had to wear a long skirt with a long sleeved lace blouse for Kahin pe nigahein.. The problem was the blouse had no lining.. I had no intention of wearing a see-through blouse.”

Khosla was most irritated, Sehgal tried convincing her as did Bhanu Athaiya (then Bhanumati) who designed the costumes, but nobody could change Rehman’s mind. Finally Khosla called Dutt, who was writing Pyaasa with Abrar Alvi somewhere in Khandala, to intervene. Dutt returned to Bombay and came to see Rehman in her make-up room, who was adamant. Athaiya informed it would take half a day to have the blouse altered and since Dev had to leave for Switzerland, the unit was in a fix. The solution came from Rehman. “I suggested I wear a dupatta. And that’s what was decided. If you see the song, you’ll notice I’m wearing a dupatta over the blouse,” narrates Rehman. Khosla wasn’t too happy with Rehman’s work in CID and even told Dutt, “CID will be her last film.” Sure enough, he had to eat his words. Rehman narrates how after he saw the rushes of Pyaasa’s Jaane kya tune kahi, Khosla commented to Dutt, “How is it possible? She is so bad in my film and has done such a good job here.”

The other big star of CID is OP Nayyar’s soundtrack, enriched by Majrooh Sultanpuri’s lyrics. The hugely popular song Jaata kahan hai deewane was, however, taken out of the film. There are two versions of this controversy. According to popular belief, it was because the censors had a problem with the word “fifi’”in the refrain Kuchh tere dil mein fifi. In an interview, Nayyar said, “Fifi was a meaningless word, like ‘adi tappa’ and ‘lara lappa’. Censors had given us a lot of trouble by saying that ‘fifi’ is an obscene word.” However, in a recent interview with Anushka Sharma, the leading lady of Bombay Velvet (which used the same song), Rehman, on whom the original was filmed, said that the censor board found the lines Jaata kahan hai deewane, sab kuch yahan hai sanam, to be suggestive. They recommended that these lines be re-written and then the song be re-filmed, but that was not possible, as by then Dev was in Switzerland.
But the beating heart of CID is the quintessential Bombay song: Aye dil hai mushkil, sung by Geeta Dutt and Mohd. Rafi, filmed on Johnny Walker. The song was No. 1 on the Binaca Geetmala charts that year. With his words, “Milta hai yahan sab kuchh.. ik milta nahi dil..” Majrooh saab delivered a tight whack on the much acclaimed “spirit of Bombay” but also addressed the city as “meri jaan”. And that’s how we know it.

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