Saturday, April 23, 2011

Random Movies I Like: Love Story

An inquisitive reader sent me a mail a few days back to know the 'selection criteria' for the movies that come under Random Movies I Like. Are they my favourite movies? Are they unnoticed gems? Are they part of some in-joke? Well, the answer is 'all of the above' and yet 'none of the above'...
I have written about these movies basis some immediate stimulus, which reminded me of their impact when I was first saw them. It could be a re-run on TV, a chat with a friend, a real-life situation similar to a scene or an advertisement based on the film/scene.

For the latest in the series, it is this ad series that reminded me of one of the biggest hits of 1980s and made me feel a little guilty that I have only written about Love Story in the context of its hero (whose later films - quite inexplicably - flopped) and his being missing-in-action thereafter.
This is unfair because when I first saw the film, I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Rajendra Kumar loves Vidya Sinha who loves Danny and marries him. They have a baby daughter called Pinky (cho chweet). Rajendra Kumar marries somebody else and has a son Bunty (cho cho chweeet). Love Story was the story of their initial hatred, intermediate romance, parental opposition, elopement and eventual union. I will desist from describing the details of these - not even the sub-plot of Amjad Khan as a bumbling hawaldar who handcuffs them together and a reasonably large part of the film is spent trying to uncuff themselves.
Because this is what happens when I last tried that.
A typical 80s-style teeny-bopper romance, Love Story had an unknown lead pair, a predictable plot, locales and completely forgettable supporting cast.
But - and this is the biggest but of them all - it had a dynamite of a soundtrack. The kind that sticks in your mind. The kind that gets made into an ad jingle thirty years after the film is released.    

So, here are my five reasons why I still love Love Story.

Yeh ladki zara si deewani lagti hain
This is the Coke tune and the parraparrapapapa parraparrapapapa that adds the zing to a set of evidently silly ads.
Bunty gatecrashes a picnic with a plastic snake and starts taking pot-shots at the prettiest girl in the group. The girl responds and there is a peppy number, reminiscent of the best of Nasir Hussain films. If I am not mistaken, this was the first song of the film and Amit Kumar matched Asha Bhnosle note for note - even managing to bring in the romantic energy that his father made his own.

Kya ghazab karte ho jee
Asha Bhnosle and Aruna Irani never age - Old Bollywood saying.
It happens in a contrived situation where the 'teenaged' Bunty is to be given a taste of adulthood by a Mrs Robinson-like prostitute, as Vijayeta Pandit hides behind curtains. Aruna Irani - in a slit skirt - does the usual Bollywood foreplay routine by singing songs instead of any real seduction. But with Asha Bhosle's voice, nobody really minds.

Kaisa tera pyaar tere gussa hain sanam
This is your standard-issue Bollywood roothna-manana song.
Bunty and Pinky elope and set up a Utopia in the middle of the woods. He cuts woods. She keeps house. They murmur sweet nothings to each other. Eventually, to prove that this is not a Disney Film, they have a fight. Pinky goes with lunch to Bunty. And in this super-cliched situation, we have this song.
Partly because of Amit Kumar and partly because of the twinkling melody, the song rises many notches above the situation.

Dekho maine dekha hain yeh ek sapna
For those detail-oriented souls who are thinking when did they set up the aforementioned Utopia, here is the song when they did!While looking for food, water and air, they happily jumped and skipped as the song happened.
What else? Arre what what-else? Gaana suno...

Teri yaad aa rahi hain
Pop Quiz: The lead pair sing a happy song. They get sad, get happy once again and sing a song. Now they get separated - usually by warring families - and they sing a sad song. This is that sad song.
Except that the real judaai hasn't happened yet (or that's what I remember). Bunty and Pinky lose each other in the forest (which was probably the grounds of the Shimla Club) and sing a plaintive number. And as plaintive numbers go, this is as good as they get.

Now look at the range.
One nos. seduction. One nos. masti. One nos. romantic - sad. One nos. romantic - happy. One nos. romantic - peppy. All the mandatory elements that made an 80s soundtrack were there. Unfortunately, there was no megalomaniac villain in the mix or else there would have been a rocking pre-climax cabaret also!
Nowadays, every film seems to have a mood and the soundtrack follows that mood. But then, over three hours, moods change a million times (or at least five times) and there should be songs to match that. This realisation died with the age of genius composers.
So we have to lift 30-year old tunes for jingles.

1 comment:

Pratik said...

Absolutely adore all the songs from this movie. Another piece of interesting trivia - Kishore Kumar would've won 6 Filmfare awards in a row for best male playback from '81 to '86, except that he was beaten by his son in 1982 for Love Story! Quite surprising that Amit Kumar never reached the heights that his father did - he definitely had the talent. Perhaps politics played a big role in his career. Kishore did have an uncanny ability to piss off people and some of them might've contrived to deny Amit.