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Posts Tagged ‘Mohammad Rafi’

As part of Beth Loves Bollywood‘s international mandate,  7 days of 70’s, a week-long festival of any and all things 70’s from Bollywood, I offer to you my readers, Mera Gaon Mera Desh (1970) somehing I like to call Sholay Lite!  
 


This film is a delightful mix of  some of the 70’s most delicious masala staples: orphans, dacoits, bandits, dancers, damsels in distress, amputated limbs, music by Laxmikant-PyarelalAnand Bakshi as lyricist,  playback singing by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohammad Rafi, and starring Dharmendra, Asha ParekhVinod Khanna, Laxmi Chhaya, and Jayant.

Now let me take you on a visual walk through Mera Gaon Mera Desh.  We start with Ajit (Dharmendra) as a pick pocket, caught and put on the stand, explaining his fate to the judge and jury…

Ajit gets a chance after serving a light sentance to start over in a small village to where he’s been summoned by  a one armed Hawaldaar-Major Jaswant Singh (Jayant).  Ajit carries a coin that he flips to help him make major life decisions, and it flipped to the side that made him agree to go to the little town. But why?  Why would the one armed man want orphan?

Maybe to help him with some farm work.  That seems to be the reason. Then Ajit hangs out partying with the villagers, and Jayant’s character doesn’t like this and dekh what happens:

Such ugliness! Such mean words!  That’s the limit!  So he tells Ajit to leave, but then has to change his mind:

Enter bad guy, dacoit, and bandit extrodinaire, Thakur gone bad, Jabbar Singh! I’m telling you Vinod Khanna was delicious in this part.  Look at the sideburns and the scoul on his face. Hot!

So as it turns out, the one armed guy sought Ajit for the village (gaon) not for farming alone, but instead to take the lead in fighting off the band of dacoits who have long been terrorizing the villagers. Luckily Ajit finds a double agent in Munnibai (Laxmi Chhaya) who was sent by Jabbar to find out about Ajit, but ends up falling for him instead.

Munni does her spy duty, finds out what’s going on in Jabbar Singh’s dacoit camp and reports back to Ajit.

Ajit informs the authorities, Munni’s mom get’s upset at her indiscretion because like all villagers she rears the wrath Jabbar Singh and his bandits.

In the song, Hai SharmaonLaxmi Chhaya‘s character alerts Ajit to what disguises the bandits are wearing to the fair so that he can catch them.


After some of his men are captured by police at the full moon fair, Jabbar Singh suspects a traitor among his flock and conducts a threatenging interrogation fitting a bandit.

Thing get a wee bit misogynistic.


Meanwhile, back in town, Asha Parekh’s character, Anju, freaks out when Hawaldaar-Major Jaswant Singh (one armed guy) is killed by the bandits. I love it when Asha breaks down. She of course needs a tight slap to the face in order to get a hold of herself.  To make matters worse, now poor munni is thought by Ajit to be responsible for the bandits’ attack on the gaon village.  So she’s once again subject to some man handling, and once again, things get just a tad mysoginistic.

Oh no he didn’t!  Ajit can verbally abuse her, choke her, shake her, and shove her down into the river two times, but what sets her over the edge is that he doesn’t understand that she did not betray him, and that she loves him!  He pushed her over the edge in so many ways, and now look at the face of a woman scorned! DEKH! LOOK AT IT!

Jabbar Singh cointinues with his dacoitery and kidnaps Anju to lure Ajit into his evil den, where he proceeds to tie them up for torture.  Any chance I get to screen cap a scene with the word enmity in it I do, so here:

NOW here is the scene and song that compelled me to see this film in the first place: Maar Diya Jaaye Ya Chhod Diya Jaaye, Bol Tere Saath Kya Sulook Kiya JaayeRaj and Pablo, the charming and lovely radio hosts of BBC Asian Network’s Love Bollywood,  posted this video from the film on their Facebook page. It starts off with Dharmendra tied to a pole getting slapped in the face, and that was only the beginning of this outlandish number, featuring him, Laxmi Chayya and Asha Parekh.

Spoiler moral message ending alert! In the end the lesson is learned: The village must take responsibility to self govern and not rely so heavily on the government, meaning it’s a joint effort, but this effort must first begins at the grassroots level.  As it’s said it takes a village to raise a child, and in this movie, it takes a village to eliminate a dacoit. So now that title makes more sense: Mera Gaon Mera Desh = My Village My Country.

EXTRA CREDIT:  Here’s why Mera Gaon Mera Desh can be called Sholay Lite

Since Asha freaks out so beautifully, I shall end on this note:

Check out all the other groovy 70’s week posts HERE and HERE.

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Orphans Unite!

Slumdog Millionaire (2008), step aside because Boot Polish (1954) has trumped you by delivering more tragic orphans frame per frame than your film and possibly any movie ever…well in any movie I’ve seen.

Boot Polish is a 1954 Hindi film directed by Prakash Arora and produced by Raj Kapoor. It won Best Film at the Filmfare Awards and was nominated for the Palme d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival. Belu (Baby Naaz) and Bhola (Ratan Kumar) are left to the care of their wicked aunt Kamla (Chand Burque) when their mother dies. She forces them to beg in the streets and grabs all the money they get. A bootlegger John Chacha (David) teaches them to lead a life of self-respect and work for a living instead of begging.
They scrimp and save to buy a shoe-polish kit and start shining shoes. Kamla finds out about what they have been doing behind her back, beats them and throws them out of the house. John Chacha gives them shelter, but then he is arrested and the kids are left to fend for themselves. When it rains and people don’t get their shoes polished any more, the children are in danger of starving. But Bhola believes that he will never beg anymore but on one rainy night, a man tosses him a coin and he rejects it, but Belu takes it as she is very hungry…(source)

Brother and sister, Bhola (Ratan Kumar) and Belu (Baby Naaz) are abandoned in the slums in Bombay.  The siblings get slapped around by their cranky and evil auntie  Kamla (Chand Burque) and though I love kids, I kept thinking what a fun part that must have been for Burque to play with its over the top wickedness.

She screams at them and hits them and send them out to beg and demands their earnings when they return to her hutment each night.  Yes, I used the word hutment, and I’ll use it again, since I’ll have the chance.  Chacha John played by David, is a  hutment bootlegger dweller with a  heart of gold who instills in the orphans the desire work rather than beg for a living.  Easy for him to say.  He spends a lot of time doing the sign of the cross and praying to a picture of Jesus sporting the flaming  sacred heart with the thorns around it. To beg or not to beg, that is the question.

Just when you think things can’t get worse for these orphans they get a break with a little song and dance. Let song writers Shankar Jaikishan, with playback singers Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle lift your spirits here with Nanhe Munne Bachche Teri. I couldn’t find a video with the lyrics translated into English, but the message of the song is that we hold destiny in our fists.  I’ve screen capped much of the song below and you can find it translated into English over at Dances on the Footpath HERE.

Uncle John has a strong hold over this group of orphans, convincing them to not beg, and to also cheer up through their starvation, since a better day is coming. I can’t even imagine that starving children would dance happily, but they do here, so don’t feel too sad for them, see:

I get crabby if I miss a meal or a snack so I don’t know how these orphans do it. Things can’t stay too happy for too long and the siblings get separated one night at the train station during a raid.  Belu, delirious with a fever, ends up on the train where she’s discovered by a rich couple.

The rich folks adopt her and despite the comforts of her new posh lifestyle and new loving family, Belu is distraught, missing her brother.

Bhola is picked up in the raid and sent to an orphanage.

Now both kids are at least in better conditions materially, but they are not content since they are separated and don’t know the whereabouts of each other.  Then one day, Bhola hears Uncle John’s voice through the window, runs to find him, and invites him in to her new home.  She’s happy talking about all the material comforts, but then remembers how much she misses Bhola.

Uncle John sets out to search for Bhola while newly rich Belu and her family are  preparing to take an extended leave from the city.  It seems as if John will not meet the deadline to reunite the orphan siblings, but, BUT, BUT, as Belu is about to board her train with her new family, a young orphan boy begs for some money and she hands him a coin…

Only to look up to see her long lost brother, Bhola!
Bhola has a rush of shame seeing his sister and knowing he is a hypocrite, having demanded they never beg for money, no matter what. In his eyes he’s been caught and exposed, which caused him to spiral into a flashback of slapping his sister for begging.  I enjoyed seeing the tight slap to the face in a flashback form, with images superimposed on each other:

Bhola runs away in shame.  Belu chases him and looses him in the crowd. Uncle John  appears and hobbles along  on his crutches after Bhola, but in his attempt to catch up to  Bhola, he’s hit by a car!  Spoiler Alert! So  that sequence plays out like this: Happy! Happy! Shame! Run! Run! Sad! Hope! Run! Sad! Hit! SAD! Wait, not sad, HAPPY!

The rich people adopt Bhola too, and all cleaned up, fed, safe and happy, they go off to school.

Thus in the end, Raj Kapoor managed to make a light-hearted movie about tragic poverty, starvation, and orphans, and that’s Bollywood yaar.

Now head over to Bollywood Deewana to see his write up of Boot Polish.


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WOW! I saw the classic Naya Daur (New Age) this week and LOVED IT! It’s a drama of man vs. machine. I threw out every machine in my house after seeing it, but then I went out and replaced them all when I understood, if used correctly and without taking away human dignity, they’re OK.

Naya Daur is a 1957 Indian drama film starring Dilip Kumar, Vyjayanthimala, Ajit and Jeevan. The film is set in post-independence India where Industrialization is slowly creeping in. nayadaurposter.jpgThe focus is on Tangawallahs who earn their living transporting people from place to place on Tangas (horse – carts). Their livelihood is threatened when the son of a rich landlord (Jeevan) begins operating a bus service in the town,which he subsidizes heavily with the sole intention of first driving the Tangawallahs out of the down and then making profits. Dilip Kumar plays one of the Tangawallahs who petitions the landlord over this injustice.Then, Jeevan’s character proposes a competition to decide which service is the best – The Bus or the Tanga? It is then decided that there will be a race between both the vehicles. The highlight of the film is definitely the heart stopping final race where the underdog wins and how? (wikipedia)

Check out what upperstall has to say about this movie. There’s also an official website since the 1957 film was colorized and re-released in all its glory in July, 2007. The fancy re-release of the classic has a supplementary disc where you can see Yash Choprā interview the film’s director, his brother, B. R. Chopra, who he calls, “bhai sahib” in the interview, which I loved. So formal! He even wishes his brother the oh so Indian, “All the best!” at the end of the interview. I’d love to interview my own brother and call him brother sir, he’d be so confused. Anyway, the supplemental disc has lots of nice tidbits, like Yash Choprā saying, “43 years ago, a time when people made films with their head and hearts and not just with calculators in their hands.” B. R. Chopra laments that “today’s artists are business men, not so much passion, artists only reworking the same story over and over.” B. R. Chopra speaks of hiring a large group of bangra folk dancers for the movie, worth every rupee I’d say. He also talksnayadaurasha.jpg about how Vyjayanthimala‘s role was originally intended for Madhubala, but her father refused her participation in the film for fear she’d romantically reinvolve herself with heart-breaker, Dilip Kumar. The musical launch segment has both Chopra brothers, Aditya Chopra, Vyjayanthimala, Dilip Kumar, and Asha Bhosle, all looking great in 2007!

The music in this film by O. P. Nayyar is spectacular! As upperstall writes, “The film is a musical triumph for OP Nayyar and lyricist Sahir Ludhianvi. Each of the songs in the film was a raging hit and won OP Nayyar the Filmfare Award for Best Music.” I especially liked the devotional song “Aana Hai To Aa” by playback singer Mohammed Rafi. This song offers that Bollywood wisdom that I love. Here are the lyrics in English, but I bet the Hindi is richer, more meaningful and more beautiful:nayadaurdelay.jpg

Come if you have to

There are no turns in the path

There is delay but no denial

Come if you have to

When you can’t solve your problems

Have faith in the Lord’s justice

He will resolve your problems

What you couldn’t do the Lord will

He knows everything that’s in your heartnayadaurtemple.jpg

The Lord knows your every condition

Your wishes are fulfilled without asking

Those whose hearts are pure get to take shelter here

This is the court where you get justice

He is the ultimate master of the world

Lyrics

We’re lucky enough to have BFC’s favorite remix artist, Dr. K Chaudhry post a version of the same beautiful song:

I’ll have to come back and post a bit more about this fantastic movie later.

Read what theBollywoodFan wrote about the film.

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Brahmachari is a 1968 Indian film. Written by Sachin Bhowmick, it is a G.P and Ramesh Sippy production directed by Bhappi Sonie. The film stars Shammi Kapoor, Rajshree, Pran, Mumtaz , Jagdeep, Sachin and Asit Sen. The music for this film was by Shankar Jaikishan. (wikipedia)

Of unknown parentage, as he was abandoned as a child, calling himself Brahmachari (Shammi Kapoor) lives in a heavily mortgaged house, with twelve other young orphans, and a servant/former thief (Mohan Choti). He struggles everyday to make ends meet. He cons the neighbouring landlord (Asit Sen)into forcibly giving him money so that they do not make any noise when he is showing the house to prospective tenants. One day he rescues Sheetal Choudhary (Rajshree) brahmachari-auto.jpgfrom killing herself. She was killing herself as her childhood betrothed, Ravi Khanna (Pran), is refusing to marry now that she is poor and the Khannas are wealthy. Brahmachari commits himself to helping groom and educate Sheetal so that she can meet with the high standards of Ravi and thus win his heart. In turn she must pay him enough money to clear the mortgage loan from his house. In this process he falls in love with her, but is committed to the children more than ever before, and Sheetal is determined to win back Ravi at any cost (IMDB)

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I loved this movie!  The scenes I most remember are Pran’s character being a such a jerk! I also liked the unwed mother dropping off her kid at the orphanage, and the scene with the snake vs. the woman. Thrilling!  Of course this fantastic dance scene at this cool party was also one of my favorites. I especially like the awkward white people at the party.  Are they supposed to be Britishers?  Mumtaz can really shake it!  Watch:

brahmachari-pran.jpg“Aaj Kal Tere Mere Pyar Ke” from  Brahmachari . Sung by Mohammad Rafi & Suman Kalyanpur. Music composed by Shankarsinh Raghuwanshi and Jaikishan Dayabhai Pankal , lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri.

Sukriya to youtuber deleky for posting this video.

LYRICS

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