Dil chahta hai

In 2001, the film Dil Chahta Hai was at least a minor revelation. Made with a technical skill and a disregard for many common Hindi film wisdoms, it set the bar for the many youthful movies in the following decade and beyond. At the time, one of the major reasons it caught the attention of movie watchers, before word-of-mouth made it a true hit, were its catchy and mostly music-montage trailers. These trailers were various scenes of three friends enjoying each other’s company in Goa. Those early trailers were pretty much shorter edits of this, the title song, Dil chahta hai
Continue reading

Afsana likh rahi hoon

The film Dard was released in 1947 and proved to be an important milestone for many involved. The music composer Naushad Ali knew much success after the songs of this film were a big hit. The singer Uma Devi Khatri would become a known name, and while her name would not carry her too far in the realm of music, she would reappear on screen in a very different guise in later decades and have a very long career as a comedic actress. But at this point, the burgeoning music of Naushad and the clear singing of Uma Devi brought us the still memorable song Afsana likh rahi hoon.
Continue reading

Kya ada kya jalwe tere Paro

In 1996, Sunil Shetty had more than half a dozen film releases. They were all likely action/revenge/angry-young-man pot-boilers of various kinds, and Shastra was one of them. I’ve never seen the film, from what I can remember, and it is difficult to remember because so many of these very similar products were released in the mid-90s that telling them apart does become a challenge unless you’re a die-hard fan. Shastra was very much a revenge plot, peppered with all the other comedic and romantic elements as a requirements rather than a necessity. Thankfully one such requirements were songs and it gave us the very memorable Kya ada kya jalwe tere Paro.
Continue reading

Hawaon pe likh do hawaon ke naam

Do Dooni Char was a film made in 1968. It was based on Shakespeare’s Comedy of Errors, a source that would be referenced by Hindi films on several occasions in the future. Speaking of mistaken identities and doubles, a film of the same name, but with a mildly different spelling, would also be made in 2010. The two were not connected in any way, except that an actress appeared in both these films, decades apart; Doubles everywhere. This 1968 film starred Kishore Kumar and while I’ve probably only seen pieces of it, the song Hawaon pe likh do hawaon ke naam has always been a favourite of mine.
Continue reading

Dum dum

Band Baaja Baaraat was a movie that came out of nowhere. Sure, it was produced by the ever eminent Yashraj Films, but it had little else going for it. Released at the very end of the year, a fresh director (Maneesh Sharma), a fist time actor in the main role (Ranvir Singh), a second time actress (Anushka Sharma) whose first outing (Rab Ne Banaa Di Jodi) was very commendable and a huge hit, but then it did star Sharukh Khan. Also, a mainstream romantic comedy set in Delhi? Unheard of in 2010. But the movie did come and left quite an impression. Musically, it is known for the much more colloquial song Ainvayi Ainvayi, a great song, but Dum Dum holds a special place in my heart. For in the unexpectedness of Band Baaja Baaraat, the song Dum Dum also manages to come out of nowhere and leave you joyous.
Continue reading

Chalka chalka re

The phenomenon of the various regional language film industries feeding material to the Hindi film industry in Bombay, and vice-versa, has been going on for a long time. In a country so diverse in its cultures and languages, it was always been natural to translate what works from one market into another market in the hopes of recapturing its success. In the early 90s, A. R. Rahman‘s music made it to a wider audience through very much this same process, of Tamil films being dubbed for a Hindi audience. By the early 2000s, while A.R. Rahman was still being translated to Hindi on occasion, there was a small surge of remakes instead of the dubs. The Hindi film industry was going through a small resurgence and the larger budgets meant remaking a film with more recognisable cast and in recognisable settings for the Hindi audience was a viable and attractive option. Chalka chalka re from the 2002 film Saathiya was one such song translated into Hind in a remake of a Tamil film (Alaipayuthey).
Continue reading

Tum se kuch kehna hai

The reason the Indian film industry, as a collection of all its many regional language industries, has been the most prolific producer of cinema for a large chunk of film history, is because it is a very deep creature. There are the popular blockbuster films staring big-name stars and top-flight talent, but the vast majority of the iceberg is made up of low budget films, made with second-tier stars, unknowns, lower budgets, and much less media attention or publicity. This has always been true, especially considering the relatively lower budget profiles of Indian films. In 1959 Guest House was probably such a film, which may not have lasted much in cultural memory as a piece of cinema, but its songs live on, and Tum se kuch kehna hai is on of its best remembered gems.
Continue reading

Mahi ve, mohabattan sachiyane

There are some films that are a huge deal when they are released, and fade away into obscurity over time. Sometimes it’s because of the marketing machine and sometimes the film is something different enough for people to take notice, but there are always ever shinier trinkets to pay attention to and their time in the limelight passes. The 2002 film Kaante is one such film, whose large star cast and novel execution for the time made it an important milestone. It still is a milestone in some ways, part of which is the piece of the film that most survives in present memory, the song Mahi ve.
Continue reading

Abhi na jao chod kar

Heroes and heroines dancing between trees has been an oft repeated cliché for the tropes of Hindi film songs. Like all clichés, it has some basis in fact, even if not as iconic as it has come to be portrayed. At some point, dancing between the trees started as a simple walk between the trees, because in the history of Hindi film, actual synchronised dancing to the music is a relatively recent development. Before such things came to be, matters were slower and simpler for the most part, and a great example of just such walking between the trees is Abhi na jao chod kar from the 1961 film Hum Dono.
Continue reading

Inteha ho gayo intezaar ki

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 gayo intezaar ki from the 1984 film Sharaabi, manages to be both by changing its mood half way through its length.
Continue reading