Stuck indoors due to the heat, one decides to indulge in some filmi nostalgia.
The first song in my collection is one of Kishore Kumar’s wacky numbers from Half Ticket. And that motivates me to compile a list of Hindi songs with wacky lyrics. Considering that I compiled this list from largely from memory, I think I haven’t done too badly.
1) Lara lappa lara lappa layi rakhda … Ek Thi Ladki, 1949. This timeless hit from the late 1940’s is one of the very few songs that features Mohammad Rafi with his idol, GM Durrani. You can hear Rafi in the chorus. GM Durrani was India’s first male professional playback singer. Rafi modeled his voice after him, in his early days. The female lead voice is that of Lata Mangeshkar.
2) Goyake chunanche … Manoranjan, 1974. Inspired by Irma La Douce, a novel and rom-com from the 1960’s, and directed by Shammi Kapoor, Manoranjan was a spicy comedy with Zeenat Aman and Sanjeev Kumar in the lead. Unlike other Indian movies, Manoranjan depicted prostitution as a fun activity, with the heroine openly enjoying herself with several men. No wonder the movie was generally panned by serious film critics. But the lay public (like me) enjoyed watching it all the same, and this wacky item song topped the charts.
The lyrics were penned by Anand Bakshi. Apparently, the phrase Goyake chunanche is from Urdu, and it roughly means ‘although therefore’. It is the wrong way to use Urdu, which explains Shammi Kapoor’s horrified expressions in the song.
3) Taka taka dum dum … Do Aankhen Barah Haath, 1957. Widely accepted as one of Indian cinema’s all-time classics, V Shantaram’s bold movie on prisoner rehabilitation won several awards. All the songs of the film were hits, especially ‘Ae maalik tere bande hum’, at the end, rendered by Lata Mangeshkar.
Lata Mangeshkar also sang this off-beat dance number, performed quite vigorously by Shantaram’s wife, Sandhya.
4) Bakkamma bakkama yekada pathoda … Shatranj, 1969. Rendered by Rafi and Sharada, this wacky dance number performed by Mehmood (who else?) and Helen was the highlight of an otherwise forgettable spy thriller.
I’m not sure why Hasrat Jaipuri used Telugu words when he wrote the song, but Shankar Jaikishan did a pretty decent job of composing a dance number with such weird lyrics.
5) Ramaya vastavayya … Shree 420, 1955. Another classic from the black-and-white era, Shree 420 dealt with the chronic issue of corruption in our society. The movie was a runaway success and each song in it was a hit.
The lyrics were by Shailendra, regarded as one of the finest song-writers of his time. He heard the Telugu phrase ‘Ramaya vastavayya’ in the folk songs of migrant laborers in his neighbourhood, and used it in this evergreen hit.
6) Gapuchi gapuchi gamgam … Trishul, 1978. Admittedly, I remember this song because of Poonam Dhillon in a wet, tight, green monokini, rather than its lyrics! Poonam Dhillon was a Yash Chopra discovery and Trishul, directed by him, was her debut film. She made quite an impression with this one song, written by Sahir Ludhianvi. That led to her lead role in Chopra’s very next venture, Noorie, the movie that made her a big-time star.
7) Muthu kodi kavadi hara … Do Phool, 1973. Another wacky number featuring Mehmood. Do Phool had Mehmood in a double role and at his comic best. This particular song was performed by Mehmood himself, along with Asha Bhonsle. Mehmood’s co-star in the song is Rama Prabha, a prolific Telugu character actor who appeared in more than 1400 movies. Rama Prabha acted in two Hindi movies, and Do Phool was her sole performance as female lead.
8) Eena meena deeka … Aasha, 1957. Without question, this is the wackiest of the wacky numbers. Only Kishore Kumar could pull off a weird number like this – although Asha Bhonsle sang a version as well.
Eena meena deeka has an interesting history. The music director for Aasha was C. Ramchandar. He was asked to create a fun song. While he was scratching his head trying to figure out a suitable tune, he was distracted by some kids outside, constantly chanting Eeny, meeny, miny, mo. That inspired him to create the song. His assistant John Gomes was a Goan, and he added a Konkani touch, with the words ‘Maka naka, maka naka’. And Kishore Kumar performed and enacted the song in his characteristic style.
Fifty five years later, Eena meena deeka still makes people break out into a wild dance, no matter which generation they belong to.
9) My heart is beating … Julie, 1975. It’s not a wacky song, strictly speaking. I added it to this list, because to my knowledge, ‘My heart is beating…’ is the only fully English song to feature in any Indian movie.
And what a lovely song it is. Composed by Rajesh Roshan, and superbly rendered by Preeti Sagar on her debut performance, the song is one of the all-time Bollywood hits, although it is entirely in English. Preeti Sagar received a special Filmfare award for this song, and rightly so.
Did you know, that the lyrics of ‘My heart is beating…’ were written by Harindranath Chattopadhyaya? If you don’t know who he is, Google him. And shame on you.
Cheers … Srini.