Saturday, 9 August 2008

Top 10 Song Picturizations: 1970s

FilmiGirl is up to something mega-cool: Top Ten lists of song picturizations, going decade by decade. Now she's finally made it to the 70s, our favorite genre. The PPCC couldn't resist making its own list bursting at the seams with deliciously masala fun and heart-warming squish.

10. Mujhe Tune Mar Daala (Naina, 1973)

We love Shashi Kapoor so much we're famous for it. What can we say? He's our big masala hero. So what better way to begin than with Shashi Kapoor's Best Dancing Ever, from that film of heartbreak and alcohol, Naina. The context is ultra-sweet: in a rare moment of sobriety, Shashi's character surprises everyone by his joie de vivre. And the lyrics are great too: "You killed me! You killed me! When I saw you, my heart lit up!" It's impossible not to dance along with this song, its fun is contagious.

9. Kaahe Ko Kaahe Ko (Chori Mera Kaam, 1975)

This film has an excellent, highly addictive soundtrack, and this song is a great track. We love upbeat, faux argument songs - and we just adore Shashi's peacock act to Zeenat's eye-rolling diva. We love the heart that pumps in her hand and the fact that she makes Shashi fish it out of the ocean. We love the trilling RRRRs. We love Shashi's rubber-limbed muppet-style dancing, and we love love Zeenat and Shashi's final duet: Will you die for anyone else? Never!

8. Dhoom Mache Dhoom (Kaala Patthar, 1979)

We are complete suckers for big ensembles and proletarian songs. The slightly socialist masala classic, Kaala Patthar, doesn't have many songs, and so we were starving for some music by the time this one rolled around. And what a gift this was! It has joyous camraderie between an all-star cast, and an enormous canvas of humanity - fathers gushing over their daughters, low-key lovers watching the festivities, high-key lovers basking in the gush - with a powerful feeling of relief and bittersweet victory.

7. Mile Jo Kadi Kadi (Kasme Vaade, 1978)

This is such a sweet song. As with any truly masala picturization, there are strong emotional undercurrents: the context for this song is that they're celebrating the opening of their new garage (or something). Randhir and Neetu, whose relationship has been slowly simmering to life, sing about the joys of letting love into your heart. But what they're really talking about is how Rakhee, widowed of her first straight-laced Amitabh, must now admit her feelings for the second former-thief-now-redeemed Amitabh. The former-thief Amitabh feels somewhat out of place and has been having trouble getting accepted by the garage crowd. Guh! It's just so satisfying when they invite Amitabh to dance and he cuts loose, shimmying and shuffling.

6. Le Jayenge Le Jayenge (Chor Machaye Shor, 1974)

Now, we teased this song in the first Dance Off for exhibiting Shashi's typically graceless dancing, but we somewhat glossed over the fact that despite that clumsiness - or maybe because of it - this is one of our favorite Shashi numbers ever. A lot of our joy comes from the lyrics, which perfectly capture a sort of cheeky, cocky romanticism. "Did you speak with Dad [about our imminent engagement]?" Mumtaz asks. "What did you say to him?" Shashi immediately breaks out with, "Le jayenge, le jayenge, dilwale dulhania le jayenge!" (Take her away, take her away, the brave-hearted will take the bride away!) The two lovers then basically laugh and dance in the face of the infuriated father, breaking free of conservativeness and tradition. We just adore their duet, which has such an adorable companionship to it. We love the moment when Shashi admits that he doesn't have a big car, and Mumtaz says, "No biggie!" Or when the two of them sing that they'll visit home, like good pious children, and then they prostrate themselves on the ground.

5. Pandit Ji Mere Marne Ke Bad (Roti Kapada aur Makaan, 1975)

Roti Kapada aur Makaan has so many excellent songs, but we've decided on this one since it exemplifies all that we love of the entire film: the excellent direction by Manoj Kumar, the way the song captures perfectly the emotional nuances of the characterizations while simultaneously advancing the plot, the characteristically bittersweet irony of the lyrics. We just love the waltzing cinematography - with Aruna's stumbling on one side and Manoj's hiding on the other side. What fluid camerawork! What stark visuals, with stressed-out Manoj's dark, jagged suit (and dark, jagged shelf of hair) cutting sharp lines against the earthy tones around him, while Aruna's sparkling debauchery lurches in and out of the frame. It's so mod and so freaking cool!

4. Khaike Paan Banaraswala (Don, 1978)

What can we say? We agree with Filmi Girl. This was our introduction to Amitabh Bachchan, and what an introduction! With his gangly flailing style, his motley assortment of back-up dancers (we love that big, pot-bellied guy!), and the fact that he's bhaanged out of his brains - it's hilarious! When Amitabh cuts loose, he's an amazing and compelling dancer. And the moment when he's shakes his butt at the camera, turns around and checks that Zeenat and we are watching - priceless.

3. Deewane Hain Deewano Ko (Zanjeer, 1973)

In the early days, we used to trawl through YouTube looking for nice Hindi film songs. This was one of our earliest discoveries - back when we only vaguely knew that Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan were kind of a big deal. We love the set-up of this song: the sexual tension between Amitabh and Jaya's characters is externalized and played out in a love song sung by two completely different people, while the protagonists are symbolically imprisoned by burglar bars and inhibition. We just love it when random characters voice the protagonist's feelings in a story, it feels very Greek chorus. Also, once the beat kicks in, with the camera sweeping up to look at the palm trees swaying in the clear blue sky, and Amitabh and Jaya's angsty glances - just, guh! It really is just a great song.

2. Teri Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi (Suhaag, 1979)

Suhaag is the end-all, be-all masala film for the PPCC, and this might be our favorite song from it. We say "might" because we passionately love every song from Suhaag, but this stands out because all four leads - Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Rekha and Parveen Babi - get a chance to shine in this quartet about getting the Scrooge-like Shashi Kapoor to agree to marry Parveen. We love the flamboyant Punjabi disguises, the over-the-top choreography and human pyramids, Shashi's grimacing "straight man" act and the fact that it's supposed to be Mumbai, even though it's clearly London. Yeah, Southall dancers!

1. Koi Haseena Jab (Sholay, 1973)

What can we say about this gorgeous slice of heaven? This song was love at first sight for us, and we still haven't gotten over our crush for it. We love the jingling bells, the clopping horse, the clear blue sky and that train, whistling in the distance. We love the easy choreography and stark visuals - such as when Hema snaps the whip and Dharmendra raises his arm, or when Dharmendra sits back on the carriage and indicates the distant train. What aesthetics! What joy!

4 comments:

bollyviewer said...

A 70s "top 10" that has enough Shashi and my favorite number from Suhaag. :-) Yey!!! How does one confine oneself to just 10 favorites, though? There are sooooo many well picturised songs in the 70s, I dont think I can even begin to confine myself to a top 25!

Sanket Vyas said...

You had a tough job limiting it to just ten songs - like bollyviewer said this list could be google long and it would STILL wouldn't be enough. Over at Doc Bollywood we love the 70's and do appreciate the fact that Kishore Kumar is just not well represented here - he pretty much steals the show ;)

Filmi Girl said...

Yay! Great list! "Pandit Ji.." from Roti is such a great track. I almost stuck it in, but the angsty reprise won out.

I need to do a top 10 drunk tracks...there are so many!

Crazy on Bollywood said...

Normally in 1970s Kishore Kumar was the main stealer of songs.