Crime and the Hindi film song: Ten examples

I attended an interesting Conference on Crime Fiction at St Stephen’s College, Delhi University, last month (for more on that, click here). During a couple of the less-engrossing sessions, I found my mind wandering a bit – but not too far: only to crime in cinema. And from there, to songs about crime.

Also, over the past several months, I’ve been wracking my brains over what post to dedicate to friend, blog reader, fellow-blogger and participant in the Classic Bollywood Quiz, Raja. For the other prize winners, deciding a post was fairly easy: some had requested particular posts in the past; some had voiced interests in a way that made me fairly sure of what they’d like. But Raja? I was flummoxed.

Then I remembered that Raja, besides sharing my love for old Hindi cinema (and its songs), also has a fantastic sense of humour. And a strong sense of justice, of what’s right and what’s not. This post, therefore, is dedicated to you, Raja. I hope you enjoy it.

Here it is, then: a list of ten film songs – as always, mostly from pre-70s films that I’ve seen – that talk about crime. To leave no room for doubt, they’re all actions that are illegal under the Indian Penal Code (or Acts of Parliament). And yes – no crimes are repetitions.

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Harvey (1950)

No prizes for guessing whom this prize post is dedicated to.

(For those who’re not in the know: I hosted a Classic Bollywood Quiz last year on this blog, and the prizes for that—one for each participant—was a post dedicated to that participant. My friend and fellow blogger Harvey got the Quick Worker Award for the quiz—he had to perforce submit his answers within a couple of days of the quiz being posted, and still managed to get 7 out of 10 right. Impressive).

So: the all-important question. Why am I dedicating this post (about a sweet man whose best friend is an invisible giant rabbit) to Harvey? No, not because I think my pal is nuts. But because Harvey was the one who recommended Harvey to me, and because I found this such an unusual film. And with such an endearing moral to it. Thank you, Harvey. That warmed my soul.

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Ten Bits of Trivia from Classic Hindi cinema

This is another of the prize posts for those who participated in the Classic Bollywood Quiz I hosted on this blog last year. I’ve two awards left to ‘hand out’ – (read ‘two more posts to dedicate to readers’) – but this post is dedicated to Neha, whose blog is really niche: it’s a collection of interesting trivia about black-and-white Hindi films. Neha won the Hope Springs Eternal Award in the quiz, simply because she didn’t allow herself to be deterred by the fact that she couldn’t guess more than a handful of the answers. Atta-girl, Neha! That’s the attitude.

Anyway, here goes: a post for Neha. Since Neha’s so keen on trivia, I decided to do something along those lines for her post. Not, unfortunately for Neha, from just black-and-white Hindi films, but at least from pre-70s Hindi films. Just some little snippets that I’ve discovered over the years, and thought were fun.

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Ten Songs of Heroines ‘Manaao-ing’ Heroes

If you don’t know what manaana means, be patient. I’m getting around to that.

First, though, an introductory note on this post. This list of hard-found songs (believe me! I’ve spent months coming up with these) is dedicated to extremely supportive and loyal blog reader pacifist.  Pacifist won the Innovative Ideas Award in the Classic Bollywood Quiz I hosted a few months back – because she came up with the innovative idea of having prizes for everyone who participated, film awards style! This one’s for you, pacifist, because you were the one who suggested this list in the first place. And because it caught my fancy immediately.


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Announcing the Answers – and the Winners!

Ever since I announced the classic Hindi cinema quiz last week, though I’ve published no new posts, I’ve had a lot of traffic on my blog – and a large amount of it to the quiz post. Thank you, everybody, who commented on it, gave up on it (!), and – very especially – sent in answers. Even if they weren’t all correct, even if they were just wild guesses. Your enthusiasm touched me and encouraged me. You’re the reason I keep this blog alive. Thank you.

Okay, we’ll get around to the winners in a little while, but first, the answers:

Q1. In the film Detective (1958), what is the profession of the character played by Pradeep Kumar?
Answer: A magician. Anu was the only one who came close – she thought he might be a street entertainer. (If you listen to the song Aankhon pe bharosa mat kar, duniya jaadoo ka khel hai – “Don’t believe all you see, this world is a magical show” – it does contain a hint).
The detective in the film is actually the father of the character Mala Sinha plays.

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… And a revised quiz

All right, we had some hiccups with the original ‘Classic Bollywood’ quiz, because some readers got confused about how to submit answers. Never mind. I always have more trivia up my sleeve! So, an updated quiz. Forget about the last one; I’ve already posted the answers to most of those questions, at the end of the post.

What I’m doing is: I’m changing most of the questions (basically, the questions people didn’t get right). And here’s a mostly-new quiz.

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How about a ‘Classic Bollywood’ quiz?

To begin with: don’t bother with this quiz; it isn’t valid any more (see my next post for the quiz that’s now THE quiz). You can scroll down to the end of this post to see the answers to most of the questions (the ones that didn’t get correctly answered are part of the latest quiz).

But first, an announcement regarding a mini project this blog’s been on.

Back in May this year, I set a target for myself: to create a series of posts, each of which would be linked to the post preceding it, and the post succeeding it, in some way or the other. Posts could share common themes, genres, crew (directors, writers, actors and actresses, whatever), or – well, just about any logical connection. I decided I’d continue until I either:

(a) Ran out of ideas, or
(b) Closed the loop – that is, ended up with a post that somehow connected with the post that began the series.

So here we are. The post I began with was Ek Saal (1957), which starred Ashok Kumar and Madhubala. The post I published last week was Mahal (1949), also starring Ashok Kumar and Madhubala. Loop closed.

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