Day 32: Sar Jo Tera Chakraye

Movie: Pyaasa (1957)
Song: Sar Jo Tera Chakraye
Music Director: S. D. Burman
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Singers: Mohammad Rafi
Actors (in the song): Johnny Walker.

I saw Pyaasa when I was around 11-12 years old, on a vacation in Mangalore. It was summer and unbearably hot outside so my family decided to stay indoors in our air-conditioned room. Unfortunately, the TV had only one Hindi channel and Pyaasa was the movie playing. I still remember feeling so down after watching the movie. “It’s so unfair!” I wanted to scream.

Pyaasa is one of the most depressing movies I have watched. It is about a poet who is famous after he is perceived to be dead. His life is a wretched struggle and over-all the movie was an extremely disillusioning experience for me. Even then, when film studies was not one my interests, I could see the break or the weak points of the movie (every item number in every movie today).

While the movie is over-all very serious, there are two songs that break the mood. This one where Johnny Walker (see the other post about him) is explaining the positive effects of a champi (the aim  is to distract the guards of the mental asylum where Guru Dutt is kept so that he can escape) and the other one is Hum Aapki Aankhon Mein (I think the video inspired the look and set of the first part of Wo Ladki Hain Kaha). It might just be an attempt to water down the drama of the movie or simply appealed to audiences and had one song that could be a “happy” memory of the movie. Jaane Wo Kaise Log is another song that you cannot miss from this movie. It ties up the over-all theme together quite nicely.

My grandmother sings “aaja pyaare paas humare kaahe ghabraaye” (come dear close to me, why are you scared) every time a child is scared to approach her. 🙂 And those are my favourite lines.

This song is one of those that is evergreen because of the lyrics! Which Indian has not had a champi when sad, happy, tired, energetic!? Everyone loves it because it connects with your memory of being loved through a head massage. 🙂

The Wikipedia entry does have a line on the tune of this song being copied and Burman not being happy about it (!!), but I have not been able to trace the original.  The story is loosely based on Sahir Ludhainvi’s (lyricist) failed romance with poet Amrita Pritam, so the entry says. Another interesting story about Ludhainvi is about his relationship with Gulzar that’s been translated by my friend Savio on his blog. The story leaves me with a smile.

Watch the video here:

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Day 22: Yeh Hain Bombay Meri Jaan

Movie: C.I.D. (1956)
Song: Yeh Hain Bombay Meri Jaan
Music Director: O. P. Nayyar
Lyrics: I don’t know!
Singers: Mohammad Rafi, Geeta Dutt
Actors (in the song): Johnny Walker.

My first introduction to Johnny Walker was through the movie Chachi 420 as the make up artist who turns Kamal Hassan into a woman. I remember my father telling me that though he played the role of a drunkard all his life and was most famous for it, he was in fact a teetotaler.

This song takes even more meaning when you understand that Johnny Walker (born as Badruddin Jamaluddin Kazi) moved from Indore to Mumbai when his father lost his job. Walker had to work and support his family eventually working as a BEST conductor where he was “discovered”.

Interestingly, he was named after the scotch whisky because he portrayed the role of a drunkard so well. You can read about his life here, here and here.

Watch him do actions for every word in the song here, especially in the second antara:

Day 20: Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua Hain

Movie: Shree 420 (1955)
Song: Pyar Hua Ikrar Hua Hain
Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishan
Lyrics: Shailendra
Singers: Manna Dey and Lata Mangeshkar
Actors (in the song): Raj Kapoor, Nargis

No song is more iconic in Hindi cinema than this one! On Manna Dey’s 95th Birth Anniversary, here’s presenting one of his most famous songs!

Unfortunately, I am busy and dozing off on my laptop as I write this! Update will follow soon!

Cannot resist the tidbit: The kids in the song are actually Rishi Kapoor, Ritu Kapoor and Randhir Kapoor! 🙂

Enjoy this evergreen song here!

Day 13: Ude Jab Jab Zulfein Teri

Movie: Naya Daur (1957)
Song: Ude Jab Jab Zulfein Teri
Music Director: O. P. Nayyar
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi
Singers: Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosale
Actors (in the song): Dilip Kumar, Vyjayantimala.

The best example of how reel copies real life is by watching Indian movies of different decades. The movies of the 50s for example, had farmers and industrial revolution and tongawaalahs defeating buses! Sorry that was the suspense. You knew the underdog wins right?! 😛

Ude Jab Jab Zulfein Teri is an iconic number. It is in equal parts flirty, naughty, romantic and fun. However, what sets it apart for me is the choreography in the song that doesn’t make Dilip Kumar-the non-dancer much, but emphasises on Vyjayantimala and even the legs of the background dancers (see the part where you see only legs keeping the beat)!

There’s nothing I can say about Sahir Ludhianvi, I would only make a fool of myself. Ditto Nayyar. What I can say though, is that I enjoy this song now because I appreciate the lyrics and the setting of “Naya Daur” much more, when we’re on the brink of a new one in India.

I love the Vyjayantimala-Dilip Kumar combo,  I love them more in Gunga Jamuna where she croons and sways asking him to look for her kaan ka bala. The magic of this song is however in the way that the lyrics are shaped. Short conversations with suggestions and counter-suggestions. My favourite ones are:

Tujhe chand ke bahane dekhu,
Tu chhatt par aa ja goriye..
Abhi chedenge galli ke sab ladke,
Ki chand bairi chip jaane de..

(I’ll see you with the excuse that’ll I’ll look at the moon,
You come to the roof.
I will be teased by the boys who stay in the lane (if the moon is bright),
Let the moon -our enemy, hide away.)

This movie re-released as a coloured version a few years back. I saw it in black and white then, ya the irony! But I found the effect of the black and white more rustic and it appeals to me much more than the colours. So here is the video in the original (though the clarity is lower than the coloured one):

Day 12: Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala

Movie: Shree 420 (1955)
Song: Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala
Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishan
Lyrics: Shailendra
Singers: Manna Dey
Actors (in the song): Raj Kapoor.

Perhaps my father’s favourite song of all time and mine too to an extent, Dil Ka Haal… is a beautiful song with great lyrics and Raj Kapoor. Overshadowed by more popular songs from the movie, this song is a rare one off where the philosophy of the lyrics hit me hard because the song is in its essence a social commentary on India and Indians.

The video is pretty straightforward, some construction workers chilling after a day of work and the “Daulatwaala” is irritated by the show outside his mansion. It’s no secret that Raj Kapor aped Charlie Chaplin a lot and that trait is very clear in this song as well.

The effect of the voice of Manna Dey picturised on Raj Kapoor is nice to watch when the setting is so informal. One of the highlights of this song to me is the “tsk tsk” or “ch ch ch” sound that the chorus makes, and in this case audience watching Raj Kapoor sing. I remember doing that clucking sound with my father when he would sing this song.

Though the song can be considered satire and a open confession of the life of the character, I like how emotional it is. Especially the line “Bhook ne bade pyaar se paala”, if that doesn’t touch you, I’ve no clue what would.

My favourite verse is:

Ghum se abhi aazad nahi main,
Khush hoon magar aabad nahi main,
Manzil mere paas khadi hain,
Paanv mein lekin bedi padi hain,
Taang adata hain daulatwaala.

(I am not free from depression yet,
I am happy but not flourishing,
My goal stands close to me,
But my feet are chained,
The rich man interferes.)

Enjoy the video here and tell me if you like it as much as I do:

Day 3: C-A-T Cat Cat Maane Billi

Movie: Dilli ka Thug (1958)
Song: C-A-T Cat Maane Billi
Music Director: Ravi
Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri, Shailendra and S.H.Bihari
Singers: Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosale
Actors (in the song): Kishore Kumar and Nutan

From Govinda to Govinda ka baap, Kishore Kumar. Obviously I didn’t mean that literally! If there is one person I never understood in terms of the wide pool of talents, it is Kishore Kumar. Singer, dancer, actor and even a comic. I sometimes wonder if he learnt to create those funny voices or if it was something he was born with.

This song is older than my father, so obviously, it being famous now is a testimony to how absolutely mind blowing it is. Not only the lyrics (funny and insane) make it different, a lot of credit  has to go to the singers! Asha Bhosale is my favourite singer of the bygone era, and when I play Antakshri and try to sing this song, I fully appreciate how difficult it is to get all the lyrics correct!

The music is fun too because it complements the energy that Kishore Kumar brings to this song. The music by Ravi (also the composer of the evergreen Chaudavi ka Chaand) is especially great in this movie that has my other Kishore Kumar favourite – Ye Raatein Ye Mausam. Hopefully, it will make this list too!

However, though Nutan is the one actress whose songs make me want to try be all shy and coy while being mischievous (how does she do that with her eyes and eyebrows!); I don’t particularly like her here. Absolutely no justice to Asha Bhosale’s effort, which is sad because we’ve seen her be soooo great in a lot of songs! While she is in one place syncing to the lyrics, her co-actor steals the show from under her nose with all his trademark antics.

My favourite part (also the random-est part of the song):

B-A-D Bad, Bad maane bura,
B-U-T But, But maane lekin,
Arre dil hain tere panje mein toh kya huaaa!

Watch the video here and do comment!