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22 December 2011

My Favourites: Songs of Celebration

Christmas Eve is around the corner and New Year's Eve, just beyond. This is the season for party-hopping. I must confess I would like to have a quiet evening at home, sipping a glass of Cointreau and watching a thoroughly amusing film from my ever-increasing pile of unwatched DVDs, but I know I'll be spending these two days at a friend's place, as I have done for the past 6 years.  Thankfully, these are not dance parties. I have two left feet and am totally lacking grace when it comes to dance, though I'm graceful (enough) otherwise. However, it is another (and more alarming) situation - the parting of the Red Sea.

Don't know what I mean? Well, since I became an adult and until I came to the US, I have never hosted, or been a guest at, a social occasion where there was a segregation of men and women. Perhaps it was because 500 sq. ft. flats in Bombay do not lend themselves to such segregation. Perhaps. The truth of the matter was that our friends were not the sort who wanted to hide themselves in two different rooms. We all sat in the same room, on any available seating (and the floor, if not), happy to socialise together. Not so over here. 

Most of my social circle live in rather huge Colonial houses, whose very floor plan is conducive to such parting. If you walk in the front door, the men move like herds of cattle into the 'formal living room' while the women, like yet another herd of cattle, move into the 'family room' - these rooms being on either side of the foyer.  Then, for the rest of the evening, 'never the twain shall meet'. 

Perhaps this is not the case amongst the Indian diaspora all over the US. It certainly is the case here in this specific community in New England. (Perhaps I need to find a different social circle? Or ensure that the friends I meet do not live in Colonial houses? Okay, it's not all bad, I do derive some enjoyment in sitting back and watching people, but I'm feeling somewhat like Grinch these days. :) 

However, I do like the party songs from old Hindi films - not the ones where the hero is moaning and groaning over his lost love while the rest of the crowd stand around looking uncomfortable (or bored), but the ones where everyone looks like they are having fun. There is dancing, and merriment, and some lovely numbers.

Without further ado, let's move on to some of my favourite party songs. 

1. Mud mud ke na dekh mud mud ke
Shree 420
1955
Singers: Asha Bhonsle, Manna Dey
Music: Shankar-Jaikishen
Lyrics: Shailendra

A very sassy, very saucy, very, very pretty Nadira sashaying as she seduces Raj Kapoor into staying back at the party - don't look back, she says; and Raj is torn as his Vidya leaves. Should he stay? Or should he go? Finally, the pull of Maya is too tempting to resist. And Raj not only stays, he sings. And dances.

2. Beta dar mat dar mat dar mat 
 Bhai Bahen
1959
Singer: Mohammed Rafi
Music: N Dutta
Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi

Now, tell me. Can you imagine the Sahir who wrote Yeh duniya agar mil bhi jaaye to kya hai to be the same man who penned this nonsensical albeit humorous number? It is picturised on Johnny Walker, so that adds to the fun on screen. There are lots of familiar faces in the background in this rollicking rock and roll number. According to the text accompanying the YouTube clip, movie mogul GP Sippy is visible in the song. He apparently played a (small) villainous role in the film.


3. Gaal gulabi kiske hain
Love in Simla
1960
Singer: Mohammed Rafi
Music: Iqbal Quereshi
Lyrics: Rajinder Krishen

Love in Simla introduced two stunning leads to Hindi films - a dashing, boyish Joy Mukherjee and the beautiful, gamin Sadhana Shivdasani in her first adult role. It took the ugly-duckling-turned-into-a-swan theme, added a little bit of feminist overtones, mixed in some emotions and gave us a frothy love story interspersed with some lovely tunes. Obviously, music director Iqbal Quereshi was inspired (Ventures' Tequila) when he composed this song. He speeded up the beat, changed a few arrangements, and gave us... this.
  
4. Chheda mere dil ne taraana tere pyar ka
Asli Naqli 
1962 
Singer: Mohammed Rafi 
Music: Shankar-Jaikishen 
Lyrics: Shailendra

The situation is piquant. Anand has just left his love Renu, bowing to the emotional blackmail of his grandfather. However, what is interesting is that he does it knowing that his grandfather will destroy Renu's life if he doesn't. Renu knows  why Anand is leaving. Back in his grandfather's home, where the old man has thrown a party to celebrate the return of the prodigal (and  to get him engaged to a girl more suited to their status), Anand is adamant (chip off the old block, after all). He loves Renu, and he will have her, or no one. 
 
 
6. Tiki riki tiki riki takauri 
Woh Kaun Thi 
1964
Singers: Mohammed Rafi, Asha Bhonsle
Music Director: Madan Mohan 
Lyrics: Raja Mehdi Khan

Madan Mohan, king of ghazals and Rock and Roll? Check. Manoj Kumar dancing (and smiling when he does so?) Check. I didn't even know he could dance, but he does a mean step, matching the beautiful Helen. This is a lovely foot-tapping mumber in a score that comprised several timeless melodies.


7. Choti si mulaqat pyaar ban gayi
Choti si Mulaqaat
1967
Singers: Mohammed Rafi and Asha Bhonsle
Music: Shankar Jaikishen
Lyrics: Hasrat Jaipuri

It's not often you get to watch Uttam Kumar shake a leg. While the initial tap dancing is definitely not Kumar, he does a good job of the shaking and jiving to the foot-tapping number. Accompanying him is Vyjayanthimala, who is no mean danseuse herself. Both look like they are enjoying themselves, and that is half the battle won.


Chanelling Lalitha, I do have a question - how on earth does Vyjayanthimala manage to move so well with her pallu  tied in a double bind?

 8. Aaj kal tere mere pyaar ke charche 
Brahmachari
1968
Singers: Mohammed Rafi, Suman Kalyanpur
Music: Shankar-Jaikishen
Lyrics: Shailendra

If ever a song was designed to make you get up and dance, this was one. Of course, Rafi was singing for Shammi Kapoor, so how could it not  be energetic. I love everything about this song - a very young and pretty Mumtaz in a orange sari (or well, a dress designed to look like a sari but hugging every curve), the orchestration, a handsome glowering Pran, and Shammi, glorious, can't-bear-to-stand-still Shammi! He leaps, he shimmies, he rolls on the floor - he sits for exactly two seconds at the piano before jumping up like something bit him - it is positively tiring to just watch him! As for Mumtaz, again, how does she move in that outfit, much less match Shammi step for step?

8. My name is Anthony Gonsalvez 
Amar Akbar Anthony 
1977 
Singers: Kishore Kumar, Amitabh Bachchan 
Music: Laxmikant-Pyarelal 
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi

Anthony has invited Jenny to the Easter party at the Church. He is not sure she will turn up. But he does. Suited and booted, with a tophat, a monocle and an umbrella! The mangled English dialogues were Amitabh's own concoction, and he delivers them with great flourish. Amitabh moved to this ditzy tune with elan, making even the silliest of actions seem utterly rational.
This is probably the second-most hilarious sequence in the whole mad film (the song leading to the utterly, jaw-droppingly hilarious drunken scene where Anthony chats to his reflection in the mirror, scolding it, and at the same time, cleaning up (the reflection's) wounds).

Ironically, this iconic character may not have come to be - the original name of the character was Anthony Fernandes. Somehow, no one liked the name. It was Pyarelal who came up with the name we all know and love, paying tribute to his old master, a musician by name Anthony Gonsalvez.  

9. Huzoor is kadar bhi na itarake chaliye
Masoom
1983
Singers: Bhupinder, Suresh Wadkar
Music: RD Burman
Lyrics: Gulzar

The eighties was not a very good decade for movies. However, occasionally, there would a light that dispelled the bleakness. From Shekhar Kapoor's brilliant Hindi adaptation of Erich Segal's 'Man, Woman and Child'  comes this ghazal, one of the many melodies that RD wove using the magical threads of Gulzar's lyrics. Coming at the beginning of the movie, the situation is ironic - little does Naseeruddin Shah or Shabana Azmi know the storm that will be unleashed the very next day. This is a song that I never tire of hearing. Fantastic film, fantastic performances, wonderful songs. Bliss.

10. 1956 1957 1958 1959 
Anadi
1959
Singers: Manna Dey, Lata Mangeshkar
Music: Shankar-Jaikishen
Lyrics: Shailendra

This is out of chronological order, but hey, this is a New Year song. So apropos, no? I love its tongue-in-cheek lyrics. If you listen carefully, one could sing this song even today. Doesn't every generation rue the changing mores and fashions of the newer one? 
Fashion badhenge
Kapde ghatenge
Maalik hi jaane, kitne rahenge
Mausam ka ye khel
Zulfen chantao nakhoon badhaao
Chehre pe naqli chehra chadaao
 
Come to think of it, isn't it strange that they were complaining of this more than six decades ago? Just proves that nothing really changes. Hmm...

And so, we come to the end of another year. A sad one, for many reasons. Here is hoping that the year to come will be filled with love and laughter, hope and happiness, health and peace of mind for all of us. Wishing all my readers a Merry Christmas and a very, very Happy New Year. 

P.S. 
I'd like to say that this post came about because one of my readers, Lalitha, commented after Devsaab died, that we needed some fun to lighten our moods. Upon which quest, she is now cruising the seas, probably with a tequila in her hands. So, Lalitha, you have your own 'dedication' after all.

30 comments:

  1. I could write a book about the idiosyncrasies of NRI parties, absolutely identify with your observations. And it is not just colonial houses, almost any kind will inevitably lead to a separation of the sexes. Add to it an almost non-existent idea of how to pair wine with food, for eg. samosas do not go well with a good Cabernet Sauvignon,  but Mohd. Rafi does. Kishore pairs well with a Red Burgundy, and Asha with a Champagne, and Lata with a Sauternes, and I could go on and on.
    I will find the appropriate singer for Cointreau (perhaps Geeta Dutt), but Talat is perfect with a cognac.You should come on down to NJ, we had a Shammi-Dev tribute party where most males came dressed like Dev Anand (hats, caps, mufflers, scarves, checked shirts, reds & yellows.)Coming to your excellent song list, I like most of them, including the Raj Kapoor one ;)

    Adding mine :-
    1) Badan Pe Sitare Lapete Hue
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0xCJFicSjg 
    2) Dil Use Do Jo Jaan De De
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dTd2M5F-804 
    3) Log Kahe Mujhe Pagla Kahin Ka
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ENVEypjNReA 
    4) A somewhat downer, but still a great party song, and with Amitabh in it, what can go wrong.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YdArkaD_niw

    Almost every piano song could be considered a party song, so I will not add those.

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  2. Thanks, Anu, for dedicating such a wonderful, foot tapping post to me - just what I need right now!  I cannot tap my feet but I can shake my head and maybe get some of that gunk out of it, I hope!  Oh, the cruise was so wonderful, but no tequilas - not with the infection I was trying to fight, but lying out on a deck chair with the warm sun - aaaaah! 
    I will post some party songs once I am up to surfing through the web and remembering some of my own favorites, for now, i will just listen to the ones you have posted - thanks again!

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  3. Samir, thanks for the invite to NJ but honestly? I can do without another 'segregation of the sexes' party for the rest of my life! The 'Dev Anand' theme sounds hilarious, though. I would have liked to see that!

    Pairing wine with Indian food is a learned art. Very few of our friends / acquaintances are interested in wine - the men mostly go in for the hard liquor (wine is for wimps) and the women prefer soft drinks or mixed cocktails. The thought of mixing wine with any of the above makes the snob in me shudder. :)

    I didn't want 'sad' party songs. Lalitha commanded 'fun' songs. :)) I like all the songs you listed, though Shammi had better songs than Badan be sitare lapete hue.

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  4. Lalitha, you are welcome. I thought that was the least I could do after 'giving' you a virtual virus.. :)

    You are still sick?? Use a neti pot to clear your nose and head. And you should have taken my advice and drunk a couple of shots of tequila (every day) - that would have warmed you up and driven the virus out (or at least, given the virus a hangover!).

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  5. That 'segregation of the sexes' sounds really rather odd to me. Okay, I don't party very much, not even here in Delhi, but that never seems to happen - everybody just ends up in a conversation they are interested in, irrespective of whether they're male or female.

    But, getting down to business... I like your list a lot, Anu! My first 'top ten' list on my blog was a 'ten of my favourite dance party songs' list, so instead of telling you which ones I listed (and only one of them overlaps with your list, suprisingly!) I might as well plug my post in here:

    http://dustedoff.wordpress.com/2008/12/17/ten-of-my-favourite-dance-party-songs/

    Happy New Year!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Thanks, Madhu. I should have known you would have a party songs list! I didn't have the time to go and check, but I did now, when I saw your comment. :))

    Hai hai hai yeh nigahein was on my list, and so was Aage bhi jaane na tu But I nixed the former because I wanted to have Chheda mere dil ne, and Aage bhi because while it was definitely sung at a party, it was too deeply philiosophical, and a portent of doom. (LOL) That is also the reason why Aasman pe khuda didn't make the final cut.

    And yes, I'm surprised that we had only one song duplicated over both lists! This cannot be allowed to continue... :)

    That 'segregation of the sexes' sounds really rather odd to me.

    Madhu, it sounds odd to me too. :) I'm not a party animal myself but I have never had friends over and had them separate into two rooms on the basis of their gender - until I came to the US. Here, in most places, even if it is only a small get-together, with two or three families, the womn will all end up in the kitchen or dining room, and the men will all be in the living room!

    Now I have Samir corroborating my statement too! (I was hoping this was a New England aberration!)

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  7. Great, you have company here with one more less-distinguished member suffering the Two Left Feet Syndrome, in company of a wife who is a trained classical dancer!!! I am anxious to look for reasons to escape parties in every possible way and as the citizenry gets ready to twist and turn, I have to keep giving explanations as to why I don't enjoy it a wee bit. So, the mobiles come out (Thank God for these mobiles) and I suddenly remember unknown friends and get into long conversations with them till the food is served. 

    Am a die-hard fan of old, depressing songs; the more, the merrier, so it's kind of difficult to get party-dance songs into my head. Additionally, think that modern party songs are fairly decent and catchy while the old ones, esp with tragic overtones, are more memorable (strictly personal opinion). Small effort made to scratch my head and the results are:1. Aaja Aaja Main Hoon Pyaar Terahttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ClaIjmOoJTo&feature=related 2. O Haseena Zulfonwaalihttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jce60yu1Wgw&feature=related 3. Bholi Soorat Dil ke Khotehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TVI83j8GmO8&feature=related 4. Chura Liya Hai Tumnehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLDMp5xf8uE&feature=related5. Baar Baar Dekho Hazaar Baar Dekhohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nOcjM384SsA&feature=related6. Duniya Pagal Haihttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TsQJNbJPyck7. Lakhon Hain Yahan Dilwalehttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BxeWNqGBTL4

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  8. Pradeep, I did edit your post to set the links right as you requested. :)

    I like all the songs in your list - as songs - but other than Chura liya and perhaps Lakhon hain yahan dilwale none of the others constitute 'party songs'.

    I do like most of the angsty party songs where the hero (usually) is always bemoaning the lack of love / fidelity / whatever on the part of the woman he loves - but honestly, everytime I see a situation like that, I'm wondering why someone doesn't get the guy out - pronto!

    The songs are beautiful usually, but as a woman, I certainly wouldn't want an ex-boyfriend coming over my engagement party and singing deeply meaningful songs explaining how I was such an unfaithful ----! :)

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  9. Celebrations! Celebrations!
    I have been falling from one party into the next since two weeks. Thank God, the X'mas weekend was calm, like Christmas should be.but all the same tons of food. I think I will have to starve the next year to come down to my normal weight.
    Celebrations is a nice topic for the list, much better than my so jao, so while I sleep you celebrate! :-)

    I didn't know of this gender segregation. Sounds.... ahem... how to say it without sounding patronising... you know what I mean. I hardly have any contact to the Indian diaspora here, thus can't say how they party.

    Loved your list! I was particularly overjoyed to find huzur is kadhar bhi na in the list and mudh mud ke. As a die hard fan of Raj you must already be knowing this but still. Nadira had just signed her divorce papers on the day mudh mudh ke na dekh was filmed. And she felt in no position to wear the robe leave alone dance in it. Raj it seems got very angry till he understood the reason and somehow he could cajole her to give the shot.

    The only song which I can come up with right now is, karo baate mulaqate from Bhanwar
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bd6Z3hWlT8A

    and speaking of christmas
    michael daaru pike dhandha karta hai, oops sorry michael daaru pike danga karta hai
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KQ58Oc10qTI

    And I think this one is also a new year song
    yeh raatein nayi purani from Julie
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jjwblYfKRns

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  10. Finding a wine to go with indian food is so difficult. The one thing which goes good for sure is Zweigelt with Pakoras (but not too thikaa). I totally skip the white (though so good for hot summer days) for indian food and take the heavier red ones. Though I find beer always suits the spicy south indian food.

    As an oenophile, what would you suggest, Samir? *trying to get a muft ka consultation*

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  11. Ask & you shall receive
    http://www.mouthshut.com/review/Tips-on-Buying-a-Wine-review-oltrsrtnom 
    I did not know about Zweigelt with Pakoras, but you are right about the "not too tikhaa". 
    Some whites do pair well with Indian foods, especially the less spicy vegetarian variety.
    I would stay away from the Bordeaux or Barolo reds.
    Of late, I find that Cote Du Rhone's or Chianti's go well with Kababs.

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  12. Nadira thanked Raj Kapoor for giving her the role of Maya; she also chastised him for giving her the role of Maya. The gratitude was because she hadn't really had a meaty role since her debut; the chastisement because everyone promptly typecast her as a vamp after the movie. :) She was his rakhee sister, and very fond of him.

    The gown she wears when she first sees RK playing cards? It was stitched so tight that she couldn't sit down wearing it. She said when she saw herself on screen, she was so thrilled at how she looked that she promptly forgave RK all the pain of shooting in it.

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  13. harvey, you have been partying non-stop, and you still want wine suggestions? At this rate you won't be able to stand up for New Year's eve, much less dance to Phir na kehna Michael daru peeke dhanga karta hai. LOL

    ps: Lassi is the best combination with spicy south Indian food. :))

    Samir, wah! I have a dinner party coming up, and I'm thinking of pairing a nice full-bodied red with tandoori chicken. :)

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  14. No, Anu, I hardly drink. Really! It is all for my guests. My weakness is not the drink but food! Though a good schnaps after the good food makes good space for more good food!

    You are right with Lassi, but it fills as well. Phir khane ka mood chala jata hai.

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  15. You are in poora giving Yuletide mood, aren't you?
    Thank you, Samir. :-)
    I remember you posting something on these lines.
    I will have to check which whites go with indian food.
    Thanks for that Kabab tip, but it doesn't help me much, I am a vegetarian. But I can drop a line or so next time when I'm with friends. ;-)

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  16. Anu, bring on the female perspective:) There must be songs with the boot on the other foot! Angst party songs where the heroine bemoans the lack of love/fidelity of the man and sings.Would be an interesting compilation!

    ReplyDelete
  17. I was just pulling your leg, my friend. :) I do drink but occasionally, but when I do, I like to pair the food and wine just right.

    Try sipping the lassi (if you can!) the next time you eat SI food. That will give you enough space for eating.

    Come over to the US - Lalitha and I will take turns to cook for you. It's a pleasure to cook for someone who actually likes food!

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  18. Pradeep, the problem is that when women are bemoaning their lost loves, they are usually in a martyred mood! All sweet and forgiving and wishing the men all the happiness they deserve, while surreptiously wiping off the single tear that will roll down their damask cheeks!

    Honestly, they make me want to get out of my seat and belt the heroine one, too!

    I have voilent tendencies! LOL

    But good idea for a compilation - a battle of the sexes. See who comes out looking worse for the wear. I shall think about it. *grin*

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  19. I'll agree to the 'segregation of the sexes' statement, Anu. :( Is this a particularly US Indian thing?
    Seems to me that it is so, because of what you said about not
    experiencing it until you came here! Where I am, everytime we go to an
    Indian gathering, all the women huddle together in the kitchen or the
    family room - I'm useless at cooking, and I always feel like I'm on show
    since I'm the only gori around.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Lovely songs, Anu. I love 'Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche' and 'My name is Anthony Gonsalvez' the best (yeah, my musical taste is quite suspect) but the scenes were such fun! I also like this one from a film I saw recently:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bepb5LwYWo8

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  21. Christmas Eve is over, and I was down with flu, so I didn't feel much like celebrating. :( But (perking up) I'm over the worst of it now, and New Year's Eve is beckoning - lovely songs on your list, Anu, though I'm surprised to see AAA there. :) I thought you would restrict yourself to the black and white era.

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  22. Christmas eve and Christmas is over. IT's 'Silent night Holy Night' completely, with family, here in the German speaking part of Switzerland. Not a soul on the streets exept quiet glowing candlelight glowing lighting the windowpanes.

    After this peace I refuse to let the mood turn to the shenanigans of NewYear's eve (I know, stuffed shirt that I am), and usually leave town. At present I'm in Muscat (my first ever middle east visit).

    But I looooove hindi film party songs, and your list is great and rollicking. What's a party without Johny Walker, though, with a moral about drinking at parties. LOL!
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jrRAgliKEs4&feature=related

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  23. Thanks, pacifist. I love the sight of Christmas trees all decked up, the candles in the windows, too; I love the carols. When we were in Bangalore, we used to have carollers come by. It was so nice to sit out in the dark and listen to them. I even went to St Xavier's School in Bombay on Christmas Eve after I got married, so I could listen to the carols in the chapel.

    I'm not much of a party goer, and am not looking forward to New Year shenanigans as you put it. IF that is being a stuffed shirt, then I'm happy being one. I feel like Grinch and Scrooge combined. In fact, I have a sneaking sympathy for both.

    The Johnny Walker song is fantastic! I'm sure there is an irony somewhere in that particular song being sung at a party. :))

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  24. Quite a nice selection and I was surprised to find Chotsi Mulaqqat in the list mainly because hardly anyone remembers this flop film. Uttam Kumar was not at all comfortable in this Hindi version of his Bengali film- Agniparikha- he mentioned to dad (dad played a role in this film) that he was definitely not happy singing and dancing in that manner he was not used to it since he belonged to the the then sedate world of Bengali films, now of course Bengali films are no different from the Hindi films.

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  25. Shilpi, I think Choti Si Mulaqat was deservedly a flop. It was quite a painful movie. But uttam Kumar looked like he was having a blast during this sequence; no one would have said he was uncomfortable. Please, do, do put up your blog about your father!

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  26. nice. only I just cringed watching Uttam Kumar jive!! So not up to his inculcated image of the Bong hero!

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  27. Sharmi, *grin*. It must have hurt quite a few Bengalis to see their so-sedate hero have to do something so masala. But for all his professed distaste (see Shilpi's comment below), he was good enough actor to make it seem like he was having a good time. I really, really liked him as an actor after watching him in Amanush.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I really don't know how I missed replying to this, Tina. :(

    I don't know if the segregation of the sexes is a particularly Indian thing - you tell me. :) But you poor thing! To be on show can be really unnerving!

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  29. That song is so much fun, Tina. Especially since Sadhana looks so flirtatious throughout. I just shudder at the song being wasted on Rajendra Kumar, though!

    No one likes My name is Anthony Gonsalvez for its musical greatness; it is for the absolute brilliance of its sequence. :)

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  30. You too?! We have all been sick, one after the other! :( I'm glad you are feeling better, and I'm so sorry I missed this comment before. I think any party song list is incomplete without AAA. :) C'mon, you think I would have missed a chance to put in an Amitabh song? And this one is really cute.

    ReplyDelete

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