Hindi films have always been very fond of having songs which have a hidden meaning to the audience and some of the players on screen, but seem perfectly innocent to everyone else. I’ve spoken before of the typical Hindi film party song, with words that do everything from profess love to mock the antagonist of the piece; Dekha na hai re socha na from the 1972 film Bombay to Goa is very much an antagonist mocking party song, only it’s set on a bus travelling as indicated in the title, and has Amitabh Bachchan jumping around a lot wearing a shiny pink shirt.
Bombay to Goa was one of Bachchan’s first starring roles, although he had been in various films as voice talent and in supporting roles for a couple of years. A young Aruna Irani plays the heroine of the plot, and this song at least is a non-stop antics fest. It includes a whole slew of characters on a bus, including such greats as Lalita Pawar and Keshto Mukherjee, Mehmood as the expressive-faced bus conductor, Amitabh Bachchan writhing around down the aisle of a bus, and a man trying to hide a pistol behind a newspaper. Truly, this song has it all.
The song itself is sung by the energetic Kishore Kumar, with more vocal antics than the actors can keep up with. He slips from suave to mocking, to absolute yodelling madness without a pause, and he makes it sound easy. The music by RD Burman is upbeat and unrelenting. It displays that certain melodic hustle that Burman was a master of creating in his many outings as music director.
Rajendra Krishan brings the appropriate amount of dramatic-comic intrigue into the mix with his lyrics, including verses such as:
Qaatil hai kaun, kaha nahin jaye
Chup bhi to raha nahin jaye
Bulbul hai kaun, kaun sayyaad
Kuch to kaho meri jaan
It can’t be revealed who is the killer, violent,
And yet I can’t remain completely silent,
Who is the song-bird, and who the hunter to fear,
Say something, my dear.
Dekha na hai re socha na is one of those fun songs that will always be remembered, for a young and enthusiastic Amitabh Bachchan acting like he’s acting like a romantic rogue in a pink shirt, for Kishore Kumar singing circles around anyone who cares to listen, and a RD Burman‘s music, all set on an old rickety bus to Goa.