Friday, October 16, 2009

10 "Over The Top" 1970's Bollywood Songs

The 1970's were a unique era in Bollywood, one that saw the first SuperStar, as well as the first dethroning of the reigning SuperStar with a "angry young man". Hindi films & stars, especially male, threw of the yoke of Hollywood with original styles. Some may charitably label them as somewhat unorthodox, others would use the stronger "certifiably lunatic". I prefer "Over The Top"; a phrase defined byWikipedia as "Bold; Beyond Normal, Expected, or Reasonable Limits; Excessive; Outrageous".
Supporters of these stars can use these songs as examples of their greatness, and simultaneously, their detractors can use them as examples of egregiousness. This, I suppose, is the beauty of these songs; and I might add of the entire 1970'sBollywood era.

I present 10 songs that fit this category, readers are encouraged to add their own.

10) Saala Main To Sahab Ban Gaya

Dilip Kumar made a career playing serious roles that won a lot of acclaim. Even a highly respected and seasoned star like him was not immune to the 70's "Over The Top" bug; and this song is a great example. Dilip has earlier alcohol related songs, and they are in keeping with his status; this one just crosses over the limit.

His colleague Dev Anand also has some songs that fit this category, one is from the Bullet --- "Bullet Bullet Bullet, Dekho Ye Kya Hai"

9) My Name is Anthony Gonsalves

The angry young man SuperStar Amitabh Bachchan won his title with several song-less films for his character. Then he did a 180-degree turnaround in "Amar Akbar Anthony"; with songs and a happy-go-lucky character. He perfected the "Bombay Mawaali", and this song typifies it. When this film was released, this song may have been just "Over The Top"; now it is a timeless classic.

8) Are Rafta Rafta Dekho Aankh Meri ladi Hai

Dharmendra borrows from another "Over The Top" star of Marathi films, Dada Kondke, the Marathi attire and song lines speak for themselves. Could this be a solution to the regionalism issue in India ?; a person immigrated from another region has to wear (at least once) a costume of the home region.

7) Gori O Gori Prem Karle, Aisa Premi Phir Na Milega

All Gori's are hereby ordered to loose their senses (er!, fall in love) by His Lordship the First Earl of Shotgun. Please remember this is a once in a lifetime opportunity, do not squander it. Who says Hindi Movies do not contain any originality ? I defy anyone to find the original Shatrughan Sinha in any other film industry.

6) Do Bechare Bina Sahare Dekho Pooch Pooch Kar Hare

Two yesteryear stars stuck in either serious (Ashok Kumar) or villain (Pran) roles, break out of the mold with zany performances. Their sense of comedy is quite hilarious, the scenes inside the mandir are a stroke of genius. Gratuitous addition of the eunuch & the main villain make this song go "Over The Top".

5) Sundari Aye Hai Sundari, Apun Ko Bhi Ek Nazar Dekho Na

Let us inventory this "gentleman's" assets :- a) A broken down cottage b) One flowery printed shirt c) A colorful scarf tied around the neck d) One pair of cheap sunglasses. e) Most probably a career in "import-export".
What more could any Sundari want ?

After Amitabh, Jeetendra was the best at playing the Bombay Mawaali; his defining song from the 80's movie Mawaali --- Main Hoon Mawaali

4) Jitna Zaroori Man Ka Milan, Tan Ka Milan Utna Hi Zaroori

Feroz Khan (may he rest in peace) was always oh so cool in his own productions, probably a sense of scientific exploration lead him to do this third-party film. He desires to perform some "birds & the bees" experiments with his in-film wife Rekha. Remember the hilarious scene between Anthony Hopkins & Hugh Grant in "Remains of the Day"; the one where AH explains "birds & the bees" to a young adult HG. Instead, AH could have shown this song to HG; all would have been clear. Or would it ? Remember this is 1970's Bollywood; and even with an "A" certificate all is you get to see is this pair dressed in garishly colored lungis rolling on the bed at arms length. But wait, there is a topless scene at the end of the song. OK simmer down, it is just Feroz.

3) Duniya Mein Logon Ko Dhokha Kabhi Ho Jata Hai

The then reigning SuperStar Rajesh Khanna emphatically creates a new mantra for the 70's. "Over The Top" costumes & songs earlier reserved for "comic" actors, can be the domain of heroes & heroines (That is Mumtaz in a blond wig). A recent cult hit "Kaminey" pays homage to the enduring "magic" of this song, by including it in its soundtrack. Rajesh's supporters probably have a hard time justifying this song, his detractors certainly have ammunition for their stance.

2) Naach Meri Jaan Faata Faat Faat

Mehmood defined "Over The Top" in the 60's, but in the 70's he took it to another level. The lyrics of this song (imploring a lady to shall we say "dance rapidly and at once"), and the colorful neon costumes certainly prove the case.

1) Guni Jano Re Bhakt Jano

The top spot has to be reserved for the most zany eccentric genius of them all, Kishore Kumar. Not only did he provide the playback voice for other stars in other movies, he himself acts and sings in this under-rated classic. Note the almost synchronized movements of the devotees, add to it a mild spoof of then Bollywood heroes, and subtle digs at the Taxman; this most certainly deserves the #1 spot.

I would like to add some of the inspirations for this post, something I should done earlier, but better late than never.
1) Shanti "The Reviewer's" post on "Tapori Songs" from another website.
2) Top Ten Song Posts of Memsaabstory.
3) Top Ten Song Posts of DustedOff
4) "Sita-Ji's" brilliant posts on Bollywood.


couchpapaya said...

samir - i'm probably the wrong person to comment first on this post since i am familiar with only the first song .... bollywood in the 70s and 80s somehow passed me by completely!! but loved ur discussions of the songs, i agree they do sound over the top.

as for the lungi bit, i have seen these being worn quite often and wish someone would enlighten me.... why are lungis considered appropriate nightwear? (i wld have said sexy in this context, but i have certain mental images associated with lungis which do not allow the S word in the same breath!!)

avdi said...

Samir, I am the right person for this list ;) I remember all these songs and was going 'ya ya ya'.

A correction, the Jeetu song is from the movie Anokhi Ada. I loved the songs of this film, so I know, in fact, I loved the film ;)

Haha @ Birds and bees. Though this was one song we would NOT choose to sing for antakshari- out of modesty - no matter how hard pressed you were to recall a song starting with JA.

This was lovely.

BK Chowla said...

Superb.I can relate to most of the songs you have referred to.
I would like to add one more.....Jahan teri yeh nazar hai(AB)

samir said...

Still ROFLing about your lungi para, I do not know why they are considered appropriate nightwear. Perhaps it was due to the Indian Censor Board, this garment is probably on their approved list.
Thanks for a wonderful response.

samir said...

Ava :))
Glad to find a right person this list, and one who actually admits it (LOL).
Yes the Jeetu song is from Anokhi Ada, thanks for that. I think I have seen it as well, but only in parts on Doordarshan (or was it cable).
Totally relate to the Antakshari, I remember as a 10 yr old singing some song that goes "Reshma Jawan Ho Gayi" and getting dirty looks from all the grownups.
Thanks for the excellent response.

samir said...

Mr. Chowla :))
Glad you liked them, and pleased that you admitted.
And thanks for the addition, certainly worthy of being added to this list.

Smita said...

lol!! Thats a nice list!! :D

I have seen at least half of them :D and if given a chance I wud add all Jitendra songs specially Dhal gaya din :D

samir said...

Thanks for the great response, and I agree about Jeetendra. Dhal Gaya Din & many other Jeetu songs deserve to be here, he was one of the main inspirations for this list. Other 70's stalwarts like Shotgun Sinha and Feroz Khan, also had a similar quality. In that sense the 70's were a really entertaining decade.

Also, when you meet Shanti do tell her that her "Tapori Songs" review was also an inspiration.

Smita said...

Will surely tell her :-)

Even some of the Dev Anand songs were over the top thanks to his mannerisms!!!

samir said...

Thanks, and there were other inspirations as well. I will add them to the post.
That Dev Anand statement is so true; there is a nice song "Aise Na Mujhe Tum Dekho" but when you see the video you do not know whether to laugh or cry.
BTW same goes for Dhal Gaya Din, I have been humming it since yesterday; a nice song but again the video spoils it.

WhatsInAName said...

Hi samir :)
So good to read you after such a long time. Let me add you to my reader pronto.
As for inspiration I must say that the inspired post outshines my review any day. Such a cute list of songs. Over the top for sure but some have become classics in their own right. and yes kishor surely deserves spot no 1.

samir said...

WIAN :))
Thanks for your kind words, but your post was the best.
Some of these songs have indeed become classics, few would have predicted this back in the 70's.
And Kishore so very rightly deserves the top spot, I think most heroes unwittingly started doing what he had been doing all along in his career.
I have also added you to my reader list, hope to see more inspiring posts from you.

Kay said...

Did you forget jai jai shiv shanker or did you leave it out on purpose ?

samir said...

Kay :
Thanks for the "Jai Jai Shiv Shankar" suggestion, anotyher good addition.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for such nice comments. I must blog roll you now. I must stop back after work for more of a comment. :)
All the best!

samir said...

Thanks for the compliments and for adding me to your blog-roll.
Please note the "JW" in the Shotgun Sinha song.

sm said...

interesting list

samir said...

@ sm

Amit said...

LOL :) And after this, what about a little spoof on Top Bollywood sad songs of this era?

samir said...

Amit :)
Thanks for liking the post. Unfortunately I do not have the necessary inspiration for writing about the "Sad Songs", maybe some other time. As songs I like most of them, but I believe all can be spoofed.

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