Tum Pukar Lo

Author: Dr. Mandar

Tum Pukar Lo
Year: 1969
Film: Khamoshi
Singer/Composer: Hemant Kumar

He is looking out of the window. From a distance, she watches him dreamily. He is whistling an enticing tune. Then comes his humming, soon breaking into a haunting bitter-sweet song. A song of romantic longing. A song asking his beloved to just call him once. A song telling about lover’s interminable waiting. Then the song ends, she walks up to him, ready to proclaim her love and he smilingly tells her – "Do you know? I have got her back."
 
The cinematic and musical build-up and culmination of Tum Pukar Lo from the film Khamoshi are moments poignantly etched in memory. The innocent pleasure on Dharmendra’s face – a psychiatric patient coming out of his misery, happy to announce that he has got his lost love back and the shock, disbelief, pain and a put-on smile on Waheeda Rehman’s face – a nurse who had helped him get well by pretending to be in love with him, only to realize that her feelings were now real. It is certainly a classic cinematic moment.
 
Out of his many memorable songs, this song best represents Hemant Kumar’s musical genius. Born in Varanasi on 16th June 1920, Hemanta Mukerji started his career singing songs like Bhala Tha Kitna Bachpan on radio. As these numbers became popular, he was given his first Hindi film song Yeh Raat, Yeh Chaandani Phir Kahan by Sachin Dev Burman in Jaal (1952). 
 
From that moment, Hemanta , now Hemant Kumar, became an integral part of that great musical talent parade in the fifties and sixties. Not only was he a fabulous singer with a deep, bass voice that could do justice to both, melody and emotion but he was also a superbly talented composer who could compose a magical soundtrack like Naagin. Actually this very dual singer-composer identity came in his way of attaining higher stature on national scene as many composers shied away from giving opportunity to this ‘rival’ as a singer.
 
Another factor that hampered his rise to the top echelons of Hindi playback singing was his inability to become a star's voice. Early on in his career, he had sung quite a few memorable songs for Dev Anand but later the star opted for Kishore and rafi's vocals, leaving Hemant-da lip-synching for insignificant, inefficient actors like Biswajeet and Pradeep Kumar.
 
Tum Pukar Lo is a testimony to Hemantda’s great singing and composing ability. His velvety voice brings out all the uncertainty of a heart in love, sleeplessly waiting to make its fervent plea while saying these immortal Gulzar- lyrics:
 
Honth Pe Liye Huye Dil Ki Baat Hum
Jaagte Rahenge Aur Kitni Raat Hum
Mukhtsar Si Baat Hai Tumse Pyar Hai
Tumhara Intezar Hai.. Tum Pukar Lo!
 
The opening piano bars, piercing whistle and rich, resonant humming beautifully create an exotic tapestry of romantic emotions. The minimalist orchestration- a characteristic Hemant Kumar trait, features some exquisite string interludes mingling with a delicate piano providing just the right mood and atmosphere.
 
It is a milestone song from an artist of highest caliber, an artist who did not really get his due!
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