Monday, April 11, 2005

Nostalgia for school and Bollywood - brought together in the 80s

And later for nostalgia's sake I listened to songs from Hindi movies of the 1980s, songs that I grew up with, and many of the songs reminded me of the girls and boys I went to school with. There was the song "Bin tere sanam" (Yaara Dildaara), a sappy romantic song, extremely popular in its time, and recently remixed into a hit. It reminds me of Surbhi, who used to listen to this song all the time on her Walkman, a gift from her boyfriend. Surbhi was dating someone her parents didn't approve of (she was dating someone else on the side as well, but that's another story), and the message of the song about love against all odds used to resonate well with her.

And then there was "Keh do ke tum ho meri" (Tezaab), that made Pooja and Shalini go weak in the knees because they thought Anil Kapoor was so sexy! Mm....yeah, but one look at their boyfriends and you knew these girls just had no taste in men. Shalini made the big mistake of comparing her boyfriend's looks to Shahrukh Khan once (back when he started getting recognized on TV shows). She was ridiculed by all the girls and her boyfriend's appearance was ripped apart (teenage girls are so cruel, and we were only 13!).

"Aap ke aa jaane se" (Khudgarz) was a song I remembered because back in 8th standard, I had hardly any access to the latest Bollywood movie. I could hear the songs on the radio, but going to a movie theatre or renting the movie was ruled out by my parents ("you watch too much TV anyway young lady!!"). One day my dear friend Sachin who also sat next to me decided to give me some Bollywood education, and proceeded to narrate the story of the last movie he had seen, which happened to be Khudgarz. His narration was a laugh riot, and he made it seem like comic genius. Many years later, when I actually saw the movie, I realised that it supposed to be a emotionally churning, dramatic film. I wished they had used Sachin's narrative instead! By the way, the price for the hour of entertainment was doing all the sketches on his lab file. Sachchu couldn't draw a line, and I had discovered a fascination for drawing endless pages of nudes around the time. Not a bad tradeoff, 'cause Sachchu was seriously funny back then.

There were many songs that we would dance to at the annual school picnics, where the couples among us would soon disappear out of sight, not to be found till the teacher in charge had called out their names for the umpteenth time when it was time to leave. A favourite song to tease a girl and a boy who sort of liked each other was the old Bollywood standby "Chup chup khade ho". This was also the time when Punjabi pop was emerging, and the London-based Malkit Singh had scored his first hit single "Tutak tutak tutiya". The song was a solid presence on the school picnic scene for years, and was employed deviously to lure Anoop Bhan to step on the dance floor (or the dance lawn, since we usually went to parks). Anoop was a Kashmiri hottie, but looked utterly ridiculous when he danced. The poor boy had no clue about the sniggers he inspired when he danced in utter joy. I had a teeny-weeny crush on Anoop, but when I would see him dancing, I knew it was a good thing he didn't reciprocate.

During the 1980s Bollywood was at its kitschy best and we embraced it wholeheartedly. The music coloured our emotional life, provided us with the words to express our happiness and angst, and provided us with a common passion. The films didn't make for profound cinema, and the songs may not have any hipster appeal, but there was an honesty to them that I admire even now. Current Bollywood is over-stylized, painfully trendy, borrowing camera styles from MTV, populated with actors and actresses who cannot speak Hindi to save their lives. Somehow it seems to me to be akin to the difference between the current crop of Hong Kong action films contrasted with the Bruce Lee oeuvre of the past. Another movie with flying daggers or pumpkins, and I'll despair of contemporary Hong Kong film forever. Even though there was much that was embarassing, loud, overly theatrical in the old Bollywood, it seemed to be more about us and our stories, rather than cookie cutter flicks pandering to the Indian diaspora.

15 Comments:

Blogger Gamesmaster G9 said...

Its interesting to note that all the songs you mentioned have been mangled out of recognition by remix 'artists' over the past few years. Makes smoke come out of the years.

7:13 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

My nostalgia took me to smashits.com as well, where in the video section I discovered the latest horrors of the remix brigade. Actually many of the songs seemed to have the original vocal tracks unchanged with a riff or two added. Talk about lazy music!

I love me a good remix, but that takes musical ingenuity, which seems to be in short supply.

9:20 AM  
Blogger Gamesmaster G9 said...

Adding a riff is still tolerable - some of them add a few lines of pseudo-American RAP! Now that gets my goat.

Have you heard the "Tadbeer se bigdi" remix? Halfway through the song, some woman starts with "Yo! Put a bet on me", or some such nonsense.

I think I shall post a list of worst remixes ever.

6:25 PM  
Blogger Vishnupriya said...

instant karma always managed nice remixes. hum bewafa became sooooo much better after they did their thing.

7:10 PM  
Blogger eeesh! said...

Instant Karma is really good..they did a chadti jawani remix and one of the hawa hawa song, i think in the meri soni- bahon mein chale ao album. S-E-L just know how to rock.

I also like Bombay Vikings' appropriation of a nice tune and then twisting it around by making it an entirely new song with brand new lyrics. Like Kya Soorat Hai and Chhodh do anchal.

I used to listen to Yaara Dildara too. I was in Amritsar that time, I think third standard...had a cassette that had jo jeeta wohi sikandar on one side and yaara dildara on the other. have you heard tum hi hamaari ho manzil, my love? Same film.

2:40 AM  
Blogger eeesh! said...

talking of nostalgia..one of my favourite songs as a child was from this film called patthar ke phool that introduced Raveena Tandon opposite Salman. "Kabhi tu chhalia lagta hai"..used to wait for it patiently as i watched Chitrahaar every week. I loved identifying the various films and get ups in the song.

Just remembered..there was another song from this film called "Kabhi linking road"...

have you heard music from this Salman-Karisma starrer called Nishchay?

2:46 AM  
Blogger thalassa_mikra said...

Polluting Geeta Dutt's heavenly voice with pseudo-rap is so not cool, and just as bad as rapping up an Ella Fitzgerald classic. No rapper in his right mind would do that.

I do think Instant Karma have definitely been the best of the lot. Eeesh, it's really strange but the only song I've ever heard from Yaara Dildara is the "Bin Tere Sanam" song. My friend Surbhi was obsessed with it for a while.

I do remember "Patthar ke Phool", it was the first movie I ever saw in a cinema hall. And that too in the first row, so fun! And yes, I knew I'd never been lost in Bombay after the "Kabhi Linking Road" song. Isn't Nischay the movie where OP Nayyar scored the music? That was probably his last movie score.

7:57 PM  
Blogger eeesh! said...

yup, nishchay was op nayyar. i used to particularly like this one song that went "nayi surahi kala paani" or something like that..can't remember..haven't heard it in at least 10 years. used to like it despite a hideous pony tailed karisma with a long-haired-but-still- more-tolerable-than-now-salman.

10:46 AM  
Anonymous Kunal said...

Came across this blog accidentally while searching for an old Govinda song "aap ke aa jane se" lyrics..your blog pretty much sums up the same nostalgia that I've often felt...interestingly enough, I also find the mention of "Nishchay" in the comments. Wonder how some of these not-so-popular movies get etched in memories that we think about them years after they came out..

11:26 PM  
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Blogger Sachin said...

well this may sound strange, but I was in Grade 8 as well when the film Khudgarz came out. I loved the film and I adored the song Aap ke aa jaane se. I would go on and on about the song to anyone who listened. So when I came across your blog, saw my name mentioned with the song, I paused for a few seconds before I realized that's not me mentioned here :) But I am sure there are long lost friends of mine who probably go on about I how drolled over Neelam doing those awful steps on snow.

Also nice to see other people mention Patthar ke Phool and Nischay as well. I loved the songs of both movies. I still remember the line from Nischay..kisi haseen yaar ki taalash hai..Ah good memories.

I am glad I stumbled across your site as I still remember those songs like I heard them yesterday. I tried watching some old Bollywood films from the 80's that I loved as a kid but I could not sit through even 10-15 min of them. So it is a good thing I have fond memories of them.

12:10 AM  
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11:47 PM  

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