Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Oddballs

The realisation of age first hits you when you sight your first grey hair.
It happened to me in February 2001. A colleague pointed it out and even helpfully plucked it out for me! I promptly taped the offending strand on to a piece of paper and mailed it to my parents. I had written - "This is not the first grey hair I am giving you..."

The second whammy happens when some one calls you 'Uncle' for the first time. 
This - for me - was in September 2002. I had just moved to Bangalore and into my first house. The neighbour introduced herself, offered to find a maid and even brought her cute son over. "Say hi to uncle..." 

And finally, you have three songs from your college days playing back to back on FM. 
On a show called Retro Cafe. 
That happened in March 2009. 

Since I have always liked some really oddball songs, I thought I will hunt for them on the 'net and compile them in one nostalgic post so that I don't have to drive home after 9 PM to listen to them. 

Neela aasmaan (Silsila)
The Amitabh version is one song which every one loves to hate. With Lata singing the other version, this has nothing going for it. Except that Amitabh's voice has a pathos, which is quite undescribable. Probably it had something to do with the fact that he knew that he would never act with Rekha again. 
If - however - you like the song, then you should hear this as well. 

Yeh lamhe, yeh pal (Lamhe)
Hariharan's beautiful voice was the perfect choice for this wonderfully mellow composition by India's two foremost classical musicians coming together as Shiv-Hari. Of course, I loved the film so much that I took notice of the clean-shaven Anil Kapoor and the high-pitched Sridevi. What a pity that songs just go into oblivion when films flop. 

Kya ghazab karte ho jee (Love Story)
Long before 2050 came a Love Story starring the producer's son. Bunty escapes from home and meets Pinky on the road. Through P2C2E*, they land up in a shady hotel and Bunty gets hooked up with a - well - hooker. An incredibly well-maintained Aruna Irani comes in and sings the standard issue seduction song - while Ms Pinky is also hiding in the same room and evading Mr Bunty and Ms Irani. Fuggedaboutit. Just listen to the song
* Process 2 Complicated 2 Explain

Suno suno Miss Chatterjee (Baharein Phir Aayegi)
I had never seen this song till just now but somehow I knew that it can only be Johnny Walker who could have pulled off this kind of lyrics. Probably because of this song
And what better place to sing an ode to Miss Chatterjee than in front of Victoria Memorial of the 1950's? 

Chandi ki chamcha (Roop ki Rani Choron ka Raja)
I must be one of the three people in the world who have liked RKRCKR (the other two being Anil and Boney). Apart from a breathtaking aerial train robbery scene, the film had a brilliant song written by Javed Akhtar and composed by Laxmikant Pyarelal, starring Sridevi as a Chinese princess (Princess Chaime Chini of Chinchpokli) and Anil Kapoor as an African prince (Prince Batata of Matunga). Akhtar just excels himself in the word play during the song and the scene just before it. 
Rather odd that not too many liked it. Probably because nobody heard it in the first place! 

Guni jano, bhakto jano (Aansoo aur Muskaan)
Kishore Kumar - on screen - manages to bring a manic energy not seen in too many performances. What starts off as a slightly comic bhajan ends up being a totally hilarious spoof on the film stars of the day. In an absolutely crazy crescendo, Kishore goes full blast on his Bollywood colleagues and does 1-second imitations of the leading stars of the day. You see the last minute of the song (which has line that goes - Bum bum nache bhakta Kishoram) and realise that it needs a statutory warning - "This has been performed by an expert. Do not try at home."

Mere paas aao (Mr Natwarlal)
Amitabh Bachchan's first attempt at playback singing was a momentous enough event for my mother to buy an EP record of the film - though I do not recall hearing any other song (including the runaway hit, Pardesiya). Though, I remember the Hanuman Chalisa, the tiger imitation, the jungle sound effects as if I had heard it yesterday. Well, you could argue that I did hear it yesterday but you know what I mean!  
And when all else fails, there is always the final dialogue between AB and the kid... 
- Khuda ki kasam, mazaa aa gaya / Mujhe maar kar besaram khaa gaya! 
- Khaa gaya? Lekin aap to zinda hain? 
- Arre! Yeh jeena bhi koi jeena hain, Lalloo?  

Hum Bewafa / One Two Cha Cha Cha (Shalimar)
You know this (complete with its tribal mating call!) thanks to this. Did you know what you just heard is the SAD version? But of course! It had words like kitni akeli, tujhse bichhad, tere gham and all. 
But have you heard of the happy version? Only those who did not move away from Zee Cinema, waited for the titles to roll and saw Dharmendra (in a naval officer's uniform) and Zeenat Aman (in a wedding dress) exchanging garlands in a church would remember it. But now, it is available for all... Thank me for it! 
In the Shalimar post, I had talked about the Cha Cha Cha song as well. Aruna Irani - in red stillettos - teach Mr Naidu, lanky sailors and bashful Parsis (aankhen thoda upar) how to dance as Premnath plays high stakes poker in Ferguson's Dance Studio. 
Come to think of it, this is yet another film of which my mother bought a record for and I remember hearing the Cha Cha Cha song with her. Amazing, no? 

And of course, my absolute favourite oddball song is the anarchic version of the title song from Do Aur Do Panch - in which Shashi Kapoor sings while Amitabh tries to grapple with an unconscious Parveen Babi. And I was so thrilled to learn that it was performed by Rajesh Roshan and Mehmood. 

So, what oddball of yours is bouncing on YouTube tonight?  
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