Johny Mera Naam (1970): 50 years of Crime & Morality

The long weekend had given me some respite from work from home, I decided to watch a film of which I have heard so much, but never found the time to watch it. earlier Surprisingly as I watched this in the early hours of Sunday, I must say that it kept me hooked on for the entire duration.

Johny Mera Naam is a tale of two brothers who get lost in childhood, ending up in two different sides of the law. But then this is a Vijay Anand film, twist in the tale is that the one who is supposed to uphold law the cop is cheating people to achieve his goals.  Johny Mera Naam might look like a crime thriller at the outset, but like a good pulp film, it has layers to it.Continue reading “Johny Mera Naam (1970): 50 years of Crime & Morality”

Azaad(1955): Fun and Frolic with Dilip Kumar

Dilip Kumar is one of the greatest actors  the world has ever seen, there is no doubt about it.  There is a perception among younger audiences that Dilip Saab could only do tragic roles, but as a thespian, he has proved his mettle in all kind of characters. In Azaad we get to see his comic and fun side.

Azaad is a remake of Tamil film Maalaikallan (Thief of Hills), this was the first big hit of MGR and the screenplay for which was written by none other than Karunanidhi.  Dilip Kumar was undergoing counselling when he was approached by S M Naidu to play this role and he took this up as a challenge.Continue reading “Azaad(1955): Fun and Frolic with Dilip Kumar”

An Evening in Paris (1967) Movie Review: Shakti Samanta’s Indian Moulin Rouge

Shammi Kapoor inviting us to enjoy An Evening in ParisNow a days, it is common for most middle class Indians to fly to exotic foreign destinations for their honeymoon or for vacations.Imagine in late 60’s when Indians did not have this opportunity and had to buy plane ticket by standing in queue like people do for railway tickets and mostly you had to have the right contacts to get a plane ticket.

Shakti Samanta, offered millions of impoverished Indians a ride across the globe for less than 2 INR in comforts of their own home, I think An Evening in Paris is one of the earlier Indian films to be shot majorly abroad with Pramod Chakravarthy’s Love in Tokyo and Raj Kapoor’s Around the World also releasing around the same period (1966  & 67 respectively).

The film begins with a monologue on how a rich heiress who has been in love thrice, moves to Paris to find the true love which she feels she cannot find in India, what better place than the city of romance. We are introduced to aerial view of Paris, and then we see Sam (Shammi Kapoor), looking straight into camera and singing “Aisa Mauka Phir Kahan Milega” in an indication to audience that they will not get a better deal and he will show them An Evening in Paris. The Devanagri title of the film, shows the name of the film as Ek Shyam Paris Main, which is transliteration of original title.Continue reading “An Evening in Paris (1967) Movie Review: Shakti Samanta’s Indian Moulin Rouge”

Zanjeer Movie Review : Shamefulness abounds!

Apoorva Lakhia’s Zanjeer. This is one hell of an unintentionally hilarious film. Sample this.

Priyanka Chopra in Zanjeer 20131. Every time Ram Charan’s take on the iconic character of Vijay Khanna goes out to beat some goons, they orchestrate a BG of ‘Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram’. Satyagraha much?

2. Vijay gets nightmares of horsemen and people with ‘scary looking’ knives reminding him constantly of a dreaded incident earlier in his life. Some Bhaag Milkha Bhaag? Also, it turns out the ‘dreaded incident’ never involved any horsemen.

3. Priyanka Chopra’s Mala is a police witness in a murder who is given a lot of money to go out and shop when her life is in danger. Also, when does get out of the house, she suddenly discovers an accent, considering she is coming from USA. Not only that, Vijay, who told her to shop, apparently freaks out at her roaming around free.

4. NRI girls from America come to India to dance on cheap innuendo laden songs at their friends weddings in India.Continue reading “Zanjeer Movie Review : Shamefulness abounds!”

Zanjeer (2013) Movie Review: A Legacy Blown to Dust

Zanjeer- Ram CharanDisclaimer– Before I go on to write anything about Zanjeer (2013) I should admit that I wanted to only view this film as a standalone film and not do any comparison whatsoever with the original iconic film made by Prakash Mehra way back in 1973. Continue reading “Zanjeer (2013) Movie Review: A Legacy Blown to Dust”

Popular Male Jodis of Indian Cinema: Part 1

One of the most oft explored themes in Indian cinema is that of Male bonding. Since time immemorial, the male bonding theme was explored in various ways . i.e. through a love triangle ( 2 guys falling for the same girl), lost and found formula, two brothers or friends on the opposite sides of the law and other such oft explored themes. These themes more than often resulted in some great films being made which pitted popular male actors in multistarrers against each other in various permutations and combinations.

The first part of the 2/3 part series looks at the popular male jodis of Hindi Cinema.Continue reading “Popular Male Jodis of Indian Cinema: Part 1”

Top 12 friendship songs of Bollywood

The bond of friendship has been one of the oft depicted bonds in Bollywood since time immemorial. From Jai and Veeru of Sholay to Akash , Sid and Sameer of Dil Chahta Hai , the depiction of friendship in Hindi cinema might have gone a radical change. Still it continues to be one of the most explored relationships in Hindi. Moreover , when it comes to declaring undying love and dedication to their friends no one does it better than Indian cinema.

On the eve of Friendship day, here is a look at the some of the best songs in Hindi cinema that have gone to immortalise the bond of friendship on celluloid.

Yeh dosti hum nahin todenge – Sholay

How can one not mention Sholay while talking about Best friends forever(BFF) jodis of Hindi Cinema? Right from doing daylight robberies, harassing “Angrez ke zamaane ke jailor” to taking on the most dreaded villain of Hindi cinema – Gabbar Singh, the duo of Jai and Veeru have done it all. And they survived through almost all of it, thanks to their strong friendship . And what could be better than this song , which brilliantly depicts their love and respect for each other.

Tere jaisa yaar kahaan – Yaarana

The film Yaarana sees Bishan (Amjad Khan) helping his best friend Kishan (Amitabh Bachchan) to realise his dreams of becoming a playback singer and they stick with each other through thick and thin , proving that their  bond of friendship is indeed a strong one.

This beautiful composition by Rajesh Roshan sees Amitabh Bachchan getting his moment of glory as a singer and performer in the film. And it also gives him a chance to thank his BFF for sticking with him through thick and thin.

Diye Jalte Hai – Namak Haraam

Namak Haraam directed by Hrishikesh Mukherjee was loosely based on a Shakespearean play ‘Beckett’. The  film tells the story of   two best friends Somu(Rajesh Khanna) and Vicky (Amtabh Bachchan) belonging to different strata of the society and how their friendship gets affected due to a clash of ideologies.

This beautiful song composed by R.D Burman and sung by Kishore Kumar shows the duo in one of their happiest moments together.

Yaaron – Rockford

The film Rockford is a coming of age story set in hostel and centered around a school going kid. Though this song was a part of the Rockford OST, it was never featured in the movie. Instead, a separate music video was shot (which was a very popular trend those days and still continues to be ) to promote the film.

This beautiful composition rendered beautifully by K.K  implies that friendship and love are one of the best things to happen in an individual’s life. And the memories of such love and friendship are to be cherished forever.

Bane chahe dushman zamana hamara – Dostana

This Dostana doesn’t refer to the Abhishek BachchanJohn Abraham starrer. Instead this refers to the Amitabh BachchanShatrughan Sinha film in which the two actors star as childhood friends who are separated due to misunderstandings only to reunite towards the end in true Hindi film fashion.

This song sees them giving an ode to their immortal friendship. Composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal , this song is one of the rare collaborations of Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi who come together to do the playback for Amitabh and Shatrughan Sinha respectively.

Yaari Hai Imaan Mera – Zanjeer

The first solo megahit of Amitabh Bachchan sees him as an honest police officer who avenges the death of his parents who were murdered by Teja (Ajit) with ample help in the form of ladylove Jaya Bachchan and a good samaritian Pathan played by Pran.

This song follows after an explosive confrontation between Amitabh and Pran in the police station. And this song shows  the bond of friendship being cemented between them. With vocals by the versatile Manna Dey and music by Kalyanji Anandji, this song is undoubtedly one of the best songs that celebrates the bond of friendship in true hindi film style.

Dil Chahta Hai – Title Song

Director Farhan Akhtar created a revolution of sorts with his directorial debut , that had some brilliant cinematography (Ravi K Chandran), awe-inspiring visuals and some brilliant music by Shankar-Ehsaan-Loy.

The result was Dil Chahta Hai. A trendy, urban, coming of age movie set in an urban milieu.

The film is about three best friends Akash (Aamir Khan), Sameer (Saif Ali Khan) and Siddharth (Akshaye Khanna), their individual relationships and the effect that these relationships have on their friendship.

At a time when Bollywood was getting increasingly stereotypical, this film came as a breath of fresh air with its subtle and subdued depiction of individuals and relationships.

The title song sees the friends heading to Goa, wherein they are having a gala time whilst enjoying the company of each other , indicating that  the moments spent with best buddies are to be cherished forever.

Qurbani – Title Song

Qurbani directed by the late Feroz Khan was a stylish actioner with the right mix of action, setinments, romance and melodrama. The film focusses on two friends Vinod Khanna and Feroz Khan who drift apart since they are in love with the same woman – the superhot Zeenat Aman only to come together for a action packed and an emotional reunion in the end.

One of the film’s highpoints was undoubtedly the music by Kalyanji-Anandji and Biddu. The extremely hummable title song(co-incidentally once again song by (Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi) well establishes the bond between the duo of Feroz Khan and Vinod Khanna in the film.

Jaane nahi denge tujhe – 3 Idiots

Based on the book ‘Five Point Someone’ by Chetan Bhagat , 3 Idiots was a much better on-screen adaptation of the book directed by Rajkumar Hirani with his usual flair for feel good cinema.

The film focuses on three friends (Aamir, Sharman & Madhavan) and the ups and downs they face during the course of doing their engineering course.

The song comes at a time when Sharman Joshi’s character is going through one of his worst phases as a student. Being unable to take the pressure anymore , he attempts suicide. The song sees his other friends Aamir and Madhavan trying their best to help Sharman recover from the incident. Though the picturisation is a bit filmy unlike the normal style of Hirani , it does manage to brign a lump in your throat.  Shantanu Moitra and Sonu Nigam deserve a great amount of applause for doing a wonderful job composing and rendering the song beautifully.

Imli ka boota – Saudagar

At the time of its release , Saudagar was one of the most hyped and eagerly awaited films . For a very simple reason – since it brough together , two of the biggest superstars – Dilip Kumar and Raaj Kumar in the same frame. Besides this , the film also featured an ensemble cast of Amrish Puri, Anupam Kher, Jackie Shroff, debutantes Vivek Mushran and Manisha Koirala amongst others. It also featured music by Laxmikant Pyarelal which contained chartbusters such as ‘Ilu Ilu’ and the above featured song amongst others. And director Subhash Ghai met the expectations as the film went on to become one of the biggest box office hits.

The film tells the story of  best freinds Veeru Singh (Dilip Kumar) and  Rajeshwar Singh(Raaj Kumar) who become bitter enemies due to a misunderstanding created by Chuniya(Amrish Puri) and his accomplices. Only to re-unite towards the end to eliminate their common enemy Chuniya and rekindle their everlasting friendship.

This song which is the theme song of the film plays at various critical junctures of the film. At this point , the song is playing when both the friends reunite after a long time.

Khudgarz – Zindagi Ka naam dosti

Khudgarz which was the directorial debut of Rakesh Roshan tells the oft-repeated story of two best friends (Jeetendra  and Shatrughan Sinha) who become sworn enemies due to a series of misunderstandings initiated by the evil Kiran Kumar. Though the storyline is predictable , the film is well directed by Roshan and well enacted by Jeetendra and ‘Shotgun’ Sinha.

One of the film’ s highpoints was the music composed by Rajesh Roshan which featured a couple of hummable numbers, including the above mentioned number which very well depicts the friendship between Jeetendra and Shatrughan Sinha.

Mustafa Mustafa – Duniya Dilwalon Ki 

Duniya Dilwalon Ki was a dubbed version of the Tamil hit film ‘Kadhal Desam’ starring Abbas, Vineeth and Tabu amongst others. The film is love triangle where two friends (Abbas and Vineeth) fall for the same girl (Tabu).

The music composed by A.R Rahman was one of the biggest strengths of the film even in the dubbed version. The Mustafa Mustafa song was a rage when it had released.  The song which celebrates the spirit of friendship is rightly considered by many as an anthem of friendship.

 

Fun Mode : Kishore-da's Unbridled Enthusiasm

Just the other day I was listening to Kishore songs, not the sad depressing numbers which can make even a normal person melancholic, but some fun songs for a change. One thing that came out loud and clear was the fact that he enjoyed singing those songs, however silly the lyrics was or however absurd the tunes were; he gave it his all.

If a singer himself does not seem kicked about a song, how will he ever enthuse others? That’s the feeling I get when I hear those inane new talents on the numerous talent hunt shows. They come, they sing, they don’t even bother to work on the comments given by the judges [some of the judges are not even worth their salt, better not hear their comments at all] and mechanically appear again in some other show.

Anyways, back to Kishore da. He totally gets into the mood, full-on, unplugged. There are legends about Kishore and the manner in which he rendered the Khaike Paan Banaraswala number. It goes like this: Kishore actually asked for a bunch of pans which come in those cases [as seen in Padosan] and a peek-daan to spit out the paan. He sat on the floor or some kinda bed and literally rambled the words Bhang Ka Rang Jama Ho Chaka-chak. I go back to my previous para where I mentioned that unless the singer does not enjoy the song, there is very less chance that others will. And Kishore was a master of that. The kind of energy that he would blow into the song and the infectious jovial nature is unparalleled.

Since his Padosan songs have been talked about no end, I shall refrain from doing so. Let me talk about his other songs, especially from the black & white era. In the same genre as Mere Bhole Balam from Padosan was a song called Gaana Na Aya Bajana Na Aya, Dilbar Ko Apna Bana Na Aya. Its a hilarious song that blows your top-off. Kishore is seen trying to create a new song and the result is pure comedy. The lyrics were again by Rajendra Krishen and music by Hemant da. There is a small Brit accent piece, Kishore trying an imitation, really funny. Who could imagine the ever-serious Hemant Kumar composing such a number, but such was the exuberance of Kishore that everyone was affected by it. Also seen in the video clip is Gemini Ganesan along with Meena Kumari who are baffled by Kishore’s antics. Probably the only time that the south matinee was seen with Kishore in the same frame.

How funny can Kishore da get? Well, turns out very funny. So funny that in the movie Aansoo Aur Muskaan, there is a song picturised on Kishore in a ashram which is called Swami Kishore-aanandam Kirtan Ashram. And the song itself is Guni Jano Bhakt Jano, which sees Kishore in the garb of a sadhu. The lyrics of the song even goes on to list all the stars of bollywood in a fine spin of words sounding like bhajan

brahmaande he koti sitaram prithvi par bhi anek sitaram
arre aashirvadam ashok-kumaram
prithvi-putram raja-kapuram shammi-kapuram shashi-kapuram
ramam shyamam dilip-kumaram purab-pashchim manoj-kumaram
arre premapujari dev-anandam, roopa-pujari IS-joharam
arre nilam-kamalam raj-kumaram, yade yadam sunil-dattam
are ittefaqam rajesh-khannam jai jaani rajendra-natham
uchhalamakudam jai mahamudam

Two of the wackiest Kishore songs feature Pran, and Kishore himself in motley attire, thats pure coincidence. In Cheel Cheel Chillake, he is dressed in a school uniform, probably on some tour in scouts jamboree. The movie was Half Ticket, I haven’t been able to see the movie yet. But if the movie is even half as good as the song, then it shall be a treat to watch.


No one can forget a pre-supposed duet song being sung by the same singer. Kishore achieved that feat in Aake Seedhi Lagi where he not only cross-dressed but also cross-voiced. He sang as Kishore for Pran and then as squeaky/screechy and rustic village-belle-Kishore for himself. I am not even finding words to describe Kishore’s ludicrous yet fantastic act. No one could have pulled it off, but him.

‘Kahani Kismat Ki’ had an unprecedented song picturisation. And much before Dharamendra had climbed atop a tank in Sholay, he was seen in a crane elevated carrier singing Rafta Rafta Dekho Aankh Meri Ladi Hai; which he does after gathering a small crowd. Towards the end, he even starts singing ghati lyrics which is hilarious, and an embarassed Rekha looks around for some kind of sanity.

Then, there is the Eena Meena Deeka number. The mukhda of the song is a string of garbled words that make no sense but have been sung with great conviction as though it were the commandments. Kishore totally believed in the song and executed it with perfection, just watch his choreography; amazing. And the lyrics of the song has some insensible wisdom. Check this

Mat socho ki sasta hai sauda
Phal paayega lagayega jo paudha
Dil ki ye kyaari banegi phulwaari
Ye duniya jalegi, jalan ki hai maari
Hasegi hasegi hasegi meri pyaari

If you thought Kishore had sung only romantic and sad songs for Rajesh Khanna, then you are wrong. Rajesh Khanna too had a fair share of Kishore’s masti songs. One of them being the Saasu Tirath, Sasura Tirath from the movie Souten. The lyrics literally mean that in-laws are are to be worshipped and visited regularly as a duty and a pilgrimage.

Another lesser spoken about song from the movie ‘Chalti Ka Naam Gadi’ was Hum The Wo Thi Aur Samaa Rangeen Samajh Gaye Na. The two brothers, Anup and Kishore, discussing the forbidden topic of an encounter with a woman which Anup hasn’t had and Kishore teases him with lyrics which go like this:

Khoya Mai Kaise Uski Baton Mei
Kehta Hoon Dam To Lene Do Ahhaha
Khoyi Woh Kaise Meri Baaton Mei
Kehta Hoon Dam To Lene Do Ahhaha
Kya Kya Keh Dala Aankho Aankho Mei
Kehta Hoon Dam To Lene Do Ahhha

Another song from the same movie, worth mentioning, is the Panch Rupaiya Barah Aana song. It so happens that Kishore repairs Madhubala’s car and she still owes him Rs.5.75. And Kishore is out to get that money, even if it means earning it by entertaining her.Watch Kishore dressed in leather pants, jacket and a feathered cap. And watch him each time he says Chahe Namoona Dekh Le and tunrs up in a different costume. This song later became an inspiration for a song in movie ‘Jeevan Ek Sanghursh’, where Amit Kumar crooned Dede Mera Dede Tu Bees Rupaiya, Twenty Rupees My Twenty Rupees.

Vinod Khanna has rarely been seen in comical acts, except for the movie Hera Pheri with BigB. But in this song Priye Praneshwari from movie ‘Hum Tum Aur Woh’ is a song which sees Vinod Khanna in never-seen-before getup. The only other funny getup Vinod Khanna ever did was in Hera Pheri. In this song, Vinod is singing to his lady love in chaste hindi and even I did not know the meaning of a few of those words. The lyrics of the song and Kishore’s rendition is just awesome.

priye praaneshwari, hridayeshwari
yadi aap hamey aadesh karey to
prem ka hum shri ganesh karey

If anyone is depressed, thinking about love and missing their loved ones, should listen to Hum To Mohabbat Karega from ‘Dilli Ka Thug’. Its another comical song which describes the extent to which a person can go, to prove his love and to stay with loved ones. After hearing words like Joota Polish Karega Tel Maalish Karega, they are bound to smile at their own stupidity and limitless affection for their loved one, what with thoughts like … joota paalish karega lekin tum par marega, laila laila karega thandi aahen bharega and doobegaa nahin tairega pyaar se ham nahin darega


A song which encapsulates the qualities that a man looks for in a woman is very humorously penned in Zaroorat Hai Zaroorat Hai Zaroorat Hai, Ek Shirimati Ki, Kalavati Ki, Seva Karey Jo Pati Ki. It may sound a bit idealistic, but its to be taken with a pinch of salt; because the song is really a romantic one at heart. Sample this:

haseen hazaaro bhi ho khadey, magar usi par nazar padey ho zulf gaalo se khelti, ke jaise din raat se ladey adaaon mei bahaar ho, nigaahon mei khumaar ho qabool mera pyaar ho to kya baat hai itar mein saanse basi basi, vo mastiyo mei rasi rasi zara si palkein jhuki jhuki, bhavey ghaneri kasi kasi phoolon mei gulaab ho khud apna jawaab ho vo pyar ki kitab ho to kya baat hai 

And with Kishore enacting it, his facial expressions and the naugtiness in the voice was great.

This is just the beginning of a long list of Kishore-da’s songs which continue to enthrall us. The man was a complete maverick and no one entertained us, the way he did; whether it was infront of the camera or behind it, be it in the recording studios or shooting a movie. Whereever there was a fun moment, he was there; or may I put it like this – wherever he was there, there were fun moments. So, please go ahead and list your fave Kishore songs which tickled your funny bone, I am sure that won’t be a tough task!