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.

1. Naushad: Tailor or Music Director?

In the late 1940s and early 1950s, the cinema industry was still considered a low profession – and not necessarily just for women, and not necessarily if you appeared onscreen. The music director Naushad, who’d delivered his first big hit score with Rattan (1944), had just become Hindi film music’s blue-eyed boy.

But his parents – who were very keen to get their son married – figured that there was no chance of getting a good match for Naushad if they let on that he was in the cinema industry. When they eventually found a good bride and fixed up the wedding, they informed Naushad: “We’ve told the girl’s parents that you’re a tailor. If they knew you worked in the pictures, they’d never allow the marriage.”

So Naushad got married, posing as a tailor – and, ironically enough, found that the wedding band along with the baaraat was playing the latest hit songs – from Rattan.

2. How Madan Mohan ‘bribed’ Manna Dey

Manna Dey recalls that the music director Madan Mohan was a very good cook (as, actually, was Manna Dey himself). One day, Madan Mohan phoned Manna Dey and invited him over for lunch. When Manna Dey jokingly asked, “But what are you cooking?” Madan Mohan replied, “Bhindi meat.”

So Manna Dey went to the composer’s house and enjoyed a hearty meal of bhindi meat curry and rice. When he was sated and happy, Madan Mohan said, “Now, you must listen to a tune I have composed – but on one condition: you will be the one to sing it in the film.” And, having thus ‘bribed’ Manna Dey into agreeing, Madan Mohan proceeded to sing the song – which ended up being Kaun aaya mere mann ke dwaare, sung by Manna Dey and picturised on Anoop Kumar in Dekh Kabira Roya.

3. Mohammad Rafi’s meeting with Mohammed Ali

When visiting Chicago once on tour, Mohammad Rafi (who was very keen on sports, especially boxing and cricket) requested the organisers of the tour to try and get him an appointment to meet Mohammed Ali, of whom Mohammad Rafi was a big fan.
Mohammed Ali was not usually available for meetings such as these, but when he was told how legendary Rafi Sahib was in India, he not only agreed, but even made the effort of coming all the way to Mohammad Rafi’s hotel to meet him.

Here is a cute photo of Rafi Sahib and Ali throwing mock punches at each other. And here is Rafi’s son, Khalid, recounting the incident.

4. How Joy Mukherji’s dance in Duniya paagal hai came about

En route to Tokyo for the filming of Love in Tokyo, Joy Mukherji stopped over in Hong Kong. There, in a nightclub, he saw a dancer dancing very vigorously and with an infectious verve. He was so impressed that he introduced himself to her and asked her if she would teach him the dance. She did, and that was the dance he replicated in Duniya paagal hai ya phir main deewaana, from Shagird.

5. The filming of the last scene of Jab jab phool khile

If you’ve seen this Shashi Kapoor-Nanda starrer, you know that it climaxes when the ‘hero’ Raja (Shashi Kapoor) realises that his urbanised, made-over persona is all fake and causes only unhappiness. He therefore decides to go back to his roots – by donning his old clothes and catching the train back home. In the last scene, his sweetheart Rita (Nanda) realises that she loves him so much, she would rather be poor and live in a village with Raja than in the high society of Bombay.

In the last scene, Rita is running along the edge of the platform pleading with Raja (who’s in the train) to take her with him. The director, Suraj Prakash, gave Shashi Kapoor explicit instructions on exactly when to pull Nanda into the train. Shashi Kapoor followed the directions so completely that he hauled up Nanda when just a few feet of platform were left. Suraj Prakash, at the last moment, was so petrified that Shashi Kapoor wouldn’t lift her up in time and she would be killed, that he shut his eyes. The last few critical moments were therefore shot with the director not watching.

6. Shammi Kapoor and two versions of ‘Sugar in the morning’

Remember the title song of Dil Deke Dekho (1959)? It was a nice, peppy tune composed by Usha Khanna – well, sort of ‘composed’, since the tune was a pretty much straightforward lift from the McGuire Sisters’ song Sugar in the morning.

That, incidentally, is a song that Shammi Kapoor actually went on to sing – onscreen, in his own voice, with only a minor change in the words – in a film just two years down the line.
The film was Junglee (1961). When Shammi’s character, Shekhar, comes back after a meeting with his unwanted fiancée, he does an impromptu jig in his office with his secretary and the manager. He provides the song for the little dance: “Love in the morning, love in the evening –” You can see the clip shortly after the beginning of this video.

7. A Variety of Fans for Dev Anand

One of my favourite Navketan productions from the late 1950s is the engrossing suspense film, Nau Do Gyarah. This one had Dev Anand playing an impoverished young Dilliwallah who, on receiving a letter that a wealthy uncle intends to leave a fortune – 11 lakhs’ worth – to him, motors down in a lorry from Delhi to Bombay to meet the uncle.

The film, directed by a 21 year-old Vijay Anand, was actually filmed along the highway from Delhi to Bombay, so it’s an excellent ‘road film’. Dev Anand, recalling an incident along the way, said that during the journey, the crew stopped for the night at Shivpuri. Shivpuri is in the heart of the Chambal area, which back then was the haunt of some of India’s most notorious dacoits.

In the middle of the night, Dev Anand heard a pounding on the door of his room. When he opened the door, he found a dangerous-looking dacoit outside, fearsome moustaches, belts full of cartridges, rifle and whatnot.  “Can I have your autograph, please, sahib?” the man said with an ingratiating smile, as he extended a photograph of his favourite star.

Yes, we city-dwelling softies aren’t the only ones who like Dev Saab!

8. Why it wasn’t all hariyali for Manoj Kumar

… in fact, it must have been pretty ugh for him at times.

Hariyali aur Raasta (1962) became Manoj Kumar’s first jubilee hit, although he’d already acted in more than ten films. Here, he was teamed with Mala Sinha, who had been a major lead actress for quite a while by the time Hariyali aur Raasta came around.

One scene of the film takes place while snow is falling. There was no real snow; instead, it was simulated by using ‘artificial snow’: soap flakes. Mala Sinha was either lucky or experienced enough to know how to deal with a shower of soap flakes, and managed to say her lines. When Manoj Kumar’s turn came to speak up, he couldn’t – because his mouth was so full of soap.

That earned him a sharp set-down from his co-star (it seems Mala Sinha snapped at him, “Who invited you to join the industry?”). He supposedly retorted that while she might be in films for the money, he was in the industry because he loved acting.
Manoj Kumar and Mala Sinha must’ve made up soon after, because they acted together in Apne Hue Paraaye (1964) and Himalaya ki God Mein (1965).

9. C Ramchandra, Speed King

C Ramchandra composed some of Hindi cinema’s best-loved songs – including light and peppy ones like Shola jo bhadke dil mera dhadke (Albela), Mere piya gaye Rangoon (Patanga), Eena meena deeka (Asha) and Gore-gore o baanke chhore (Samadhi) and more soulful or romantic tunes like Jaag dard-e-ishq jaag (Anarkali), Aadha hai chandrama raat aadhi (Navrang), and Balma anari man bhaaye (Bahurani).

While he was an extremely creative music director, what is perhaps less commonly known about C Ramchandra is that he was also a frighteningly (for his competitors!) fast worker. The story goes that in 1955 S M Naidu, the producer of the Dilip Kumar-Meena Kumari starrer, Azaad, had approached Naushad to compose the music for the film: with two weeks’ notice. An indignant Naushad turned Naidu down, saying he was a composer, not a factory. Naidu, therefore, turned to C Ramchandra, who took on the challenge – and composed the music for the ten songs that made up the score of Azaad. All within the fortnight he’d been allotted.

Azaad went on to be a huge hit, with many of its songs topping the charts: most of us have heard Radha na bole na bole na bole re, Kitna haseen hai mausam, Aplam chaplam chaplai re, and Pi ke daras ko taras rahi akhiyaan.

There’s also a story that C Ramchandra received the lyrics for the lullaby Dheere se aaja ri akhiyan mein (Albela) just two hours before the recording, and composed the tune in the taxi on his way to the studio. I’m not sure exactly how true that could be (wouldn’t Lata Mangeshkar and the orchestra have needed extensive rehearsals before they recorded the song?)

10. Rehman’s nemesis

One of my favourite actors of the 50s and 60s, Rehman had a lot of trouble speaking lines which began with the sound ‘k’. If a dialogue began with a ‘k-’ sound, he’d stumble over it, and not be able to speak it. Waheeda Rehman, in an interview, recalled an example: if the sentence went: “Kaash tum yahaan aa jaate, toh main kitna khush hota” (“If only you would come here, I would be so happy”) – it would stump Rehman. But if the dialogue writer simply switched the sentence around a bit, making it “Main kitna khush hota, kaash tum yahaan aa jaate” (which means the same thing), Rehman would be fine.


134 thoughts on “Ten Bits of Trivia from Classic Hindi cinema

  1. Raju Bharatan’s book on Lata Mangeshkar has quite a few of these. But they are often repeated by him. Some real gems are in Manna Dey’s autobiography. I have a list of such books here: http://wp.me/p4xtI-5. I will also list a few more which Ravi Saab shared with us when I met him a couple of months back


    • I had a look at the books you’ve mentioned – quite a comprehensive list. I’m not that keen solely on Hindi film music (I like Hindi cinema per se), so I doubt if I’ll ever get around to buying any of these. I have read one book, though (Ganesh Anantraman’s Bollywood Melodies), since it was gifted to me.


  2. Lovely, Madhu! I enjoyed reading this post. Some of these are new to me and extremely enjoyable. Never knew the Rehman one. I now need to listen to his dialogues carefully. ;-) He’s also one of my favourite actors from that era. Others that were new for me were the Manoj Kumar one, the Jab Jab Phool Khile one – and the Joy Mukherji one. So it was fun to add these trivia bits to my knowledge bank. Thank you!


    • Thank you, Raja! Yes, that Rehman one was quite an interesting tidbit, wasn’t it? Apparently, there was one scene – written by Abrar Alvi – where this happened, and even Alvi couldn’t figure out what was wrong (and Rehman wouldn’t say). Guru Dutt happened to notice and told Alvi, “‘kaash’ ko andar karo’.”

      The Joy Mukherjee one was from an old interview that he did on Tabassum’s DD programme, Phool Khile Hain Gulshan-Gulshan. The Jab Jab Phool Khile bit was also from some interview, I’ve forgotten whose now.


  3. Nice anecdotes there, Madhu! Love going through it. I knew some of them but the majority of them were new for me.
    The dacoit and star anecdote crosses boundaries and genres. I have read such stories about film stars, sportpersons, opera singers, pop artistes. It is still quite probable that many of them are true.
    Re.: Madan Mohan’s cooking. I remember seeing a photo where Lata and Madan Mohan are cooking in the latter’s kitchen, while MM’s wife watches on. The chulla is on the ground with fire to be made with wood and quite prominent to be seen is the Dalda tin!

    The sabun aur raasta story was also very amusing.


    • :-))

      Most of them are from interviews I have read, or have seen on TV, or which my father saw and narrated (the Manna Dey one, for example – my father saw it on Zee Classic and phoned me right after that to tell me!). The Dil Deke Dekho-Junglee one was just a chance observation, and the Mohammad Rafi-Mohammed Ali bit was pure serendipity!


  4. I saw the Manna Dey interview about MM less than a month back,cant remember where-I think on youtube. :-)

    I remember Manna Da relate one more on TV, which is something alone these lines.
    When Shankar Jaikishen proposed that he sing the Jugalbandi with Bhimsen Joshi in Basant Bahar( Ketaki Gulaab Juhi), we went away to Poona virtually into hiding, but his wife managed to encourage him enough for him to return to Bombay and accept the challenge, and the rest, we know, is history.


    • I was re-reading Ganesh Anantharaman’s Bollywood Melodies last night, and came across that Ketaki gulaab juhi incident there. I’d thought of including it, but since this post already had a Manna Dey bit of trivia in it, I left it out. I’m glad you mentioned it, Karthik!


  5. Madhu, lovely (and interesting) post (‘What’s new?’ she asks.) The Joy Mukherjee tidbit and the one about Shashi Kapoor – Nanda were new to me. Forget the director – I wonder how Nanda felt!

    The story about Dev and the dacoits was recounted by him in his autobiography. The story that Harvey recounted about Lata and Madan is mentioned by her in her conversations with Nasreen Munni Kabir (So, harvey, you weren’t imagining things!).

    There is a lovely bit of trivia about Mahendra Kapoor and Mohammed Rafi. Mahendra Kapoor considered Mohammed Rafi his guru; he used to play the tanpura for Mohammed Rafi. Once, when they were coming out of the All India Radio studio, a bunch of school kids approached them. Mohammed Rafi wanted to know what they wanted; when Mahendra Kapoor told him that they wanted his (Rafi’s) autograph, Rafi turned to Mahendra Kapoor and asked him to oblige them. So Mahendra Kapoor signed the autographs – in Rafi’s name.

    One more (that’s all,I promise!): Mahendra Kapoor was a diehard Rafi fan, and when he was in school, had been punished by his teacher for scribbling ‘Rafi, Rafi, Rafi’ all over his notebook. One of his classmates gave him Mohammed Rafi’s address, and the intrepid youngster took a cab to Bhendi Bazaar. The driver was a Muslim, and this was during the tension-filled days of the Partition. (Bhendi Bazaar was a predominantly Muslim area.) But he persisted, and when they reached the house, he rang the bell. It was opened by a man in a lungi and banyan, who wanted to know why they had come. Mahendra Kapoor said that he wanted to meet Mohammed Rafi. The man said, “I’m Mohammed Rafi. Come in.”


  6. @Harvey (in particular): You’ll like this one, it’s again about singers and food. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Bhojohori Manna restaurant. Fabulous chain of Bengali cuisine eateries – the best Bengali food I have ever eaten – and they owe their name to a Manna Dey song.

    This is what they write on their site:

    “BHOJOHORI MANNA is named after a famous Bengali song rendered by the legendary Manna Dey, for a film made in the 70’s. The track “ami sri sri bhojohri manna …” which revolves around a magical cook who traveled to many lands and acquired a unique culinary style of his own.”

    The music in their restaurants, needless to say, has a lot of Manna Dey’s Bangla songs. :-)


    • You are a treasure, Madhu! (that is a German expression)

      “Foooood! One of the greatest passions in life.” This is not originally from me but from a TV ad in the eighties.
      Food combined with music is magic.
      I will just have to try this restaurant when I am next time in Bombay. Shilpi, better said Shilpi’s brother, recommended it to me as well. Just to think that I will be eating only bread with a spread for dinner! :-(


      • Oh, poor you.

        But yes, you must certainly go to Bhojohori Manna. I’ve eaten at one of their restaurants in Kolkata, and their food is out of this world. It’s simply fantastic.


  7. Really enjoyed reading these. I must look up the links. The radio shows used to have a lot of such anecdotes being recounted, I am glad some of them were put in books. I must come back later and follow the links.


    • I don’t recall the radio shows – I think I was a little too small back then to remember anything more than Ameen Sayani and those long lists of who (usually from Jhumri Talaiyya) had requested which song! But I recall Tabassum’s interviews on Phool Khile Hain Gulshan-Gulshan. Then, till a few years ago, DD used to do a themed festival of films stretching over a few weeks, on Sundays. Old films, and they’d invite someone connected to the film to talk about it.


    • Thank you, Anu!

      I loved that little anecdote about Ruhan being allowed to sit for his exams on the condition that his father sang. Cute! :-)

      … and, of course, the bit about the deep interest that Rafi took in Mahendra Kapoor’s singing. It says a lot for Rafi’s generosity that he would go so far as to come and tutor Kapoor on a song that seemed to lack something.


  8. Vah!Vah! kyaa baat hai, main bahut bahut enjoy aap ka post lol I loved this so much, and I’ll definitely remember them, of all the trivia you’ve posted I only knew of the Jab Jab phool khile one and as for the Mala and Manoj Kumar one, i believe she must have been a lot kinder as Manoj made some reference to her and perhaps that incident in a filmfare interview I’ll post up one of these days


    • Thank you, bollywooddeewana! And yes, I’ll be looking forward to the Mala Sinha-Manoj Kumar incident, if you can find that reference to it. This one I found from a newspaper interview with Manoj Kumar, so it may well be skewed in his favour, Considering they’d already acted in two films – Fashion and Suhaag Sindoor, I guess they couldn’t be in ‘the-can’t-bear-each-other’ category!

      P.S. May I make a couple of corrections in your ‘appreciation’? The second sentence should read “Maine bahut bahut enjoy kiya aapke post ko”. ;-)

      There! The Hindi lesson for this week! LOL.


  9. A very fitting post for Neha :) though everyone enjoys as usual, in addition.
    For me all the anecdotes were new. It was fun reading them and then those in the comments.
    Thank you everyone for prolonging the pleasure.


      • Thank you , thank you ever so much!! What a lovely and fun post! I am so excited to see my name in your blog I could very well be jumping up and down right now .. but i won’t. :D

        Loved all the bits – especially about Rafi and Mohammad Ali – the photograph is adorable! And guess what – I wrote the same bit about Nau do gyarah when I had posted trivia on the film! :) Thanks Madhulika – you are a sweetheart!


  10. Dusted off ji,
    A novel idea for a post indeed.
    Somehow I felt that some of the trivias are not complete,I mean they dont give the full info.for example,about CR and the music of Azaad.
    This incident is described in details in the CR’s autobio in Marathi.
    Some of the trivias are new to me.Indian film industry has thousands of trivias,in almost every field-music,acting,making of the film,stories,actors,directors etc.
    I like your blog for its novel ideas and also for comments from some knowledgeable readers.
    -Arunkumar Deshmukh


    • Thank you, Arun.

      As for the full details of CR and the music of Azaad… well, considering I cannot read Marathi and don’t have access to his autobiography, I had to restrict myself to writing what I did know. Sorry about falling short.


      • dustedoff ji,
        I am sorry if I have offended you,which was certainly not my idea.next time I will be more careful in choosing wordings.
        I mentioned the CR incident because it was translated and was in ample circulation on the net as it was very meaty.

        When Naidu approached Naushad with a 15 days’ timeframe,first Naushad said,’I dont run a factory.’
        Then Naidu extended the period to 1 month. Naushad got irritated and said,’Perhaps you should have enquired about me in the industry before coming here.I take sometimes 1 month for just 1 song.You better go to somebody else’.
        Naidu became desparate as he had kept some sets of Azaad ready in Madras and was paying daily rent for them.Then someone suggested him the name of CR,about whom Naidu had heard earlier.
        He went to CR with his proposal.Those days,Naushad was the only composer who was demanding and getting 1 lakh per picture,besides all other expenses.CR was around 50-60 thousand bracket.
        He told Naidu,’I will do your music in stipulated time and give you songs which will become Hit too,but I want 1 lakh rupees.’
        Naidu did not even think,and agreed immediately.
        CR did the work almost in stipulated time and pocketed 1 lakh rupees’ cheque coolly.


        • No problem, Arunji! I just didn’t have access to a lot of books to draw trivia from, so I just used whatever I could lay my hands on.

          I liked that entire anecdote very much; thank you for adding it here. And I’m glad C Ramachandra had the courage to stand up and ask for 1 lakh instead of his usual fee!


  11. Now what do I do, I am itching to put down some stuff but I should be keeping something for my blog, whenever I launch it, shouldn’t I? – at the rate I am going, I will probably launch it in my next birth- then there is also the problem, should I reveal such trivia or shouldn’t? When mum was around I usually asked her “Is it OK to reveal this or will the people concerned object? Will I be betraying someone’s confidence?” So, as mum isn’t around to guide me, I will take the next best route, I will not reveal the name. So the trivia is about this song from Jab Jab Phool Khile

    This one was not shot by the film’s DOP( Director of Photography), in the film industry it is quite common for DOPs to stand in for one another when they are busy with multiple films and dates clash, so here too there was a problem of combination dates, another well- known DOP shot this song.
    Another trivia, in the film Aazad Talat Mehmood was to sing Kitna Haseen Hai Mausam, once again there was a problem of dates and C.Ramchandra stepped in and if you notice he is imitating Talat Mehmood, how do I know this? Well I got it from the horse’s mouth, Mr Mehmood himself.
    Clashing of dates has always been a problem, I remember, I was a kid, producers would come to our house asking for dates and I do not know why much to dad’s and his secretary’s frustration every body wanted the same dates, funnily enough once every body wanted 20, 21, 22, 23, finally frustration gave way to laughter as my father looked at his free dates with frustration.


    • Thank you, Shilpi! Those are some delightful anecdotes. :-)

      I had no idea DOPs stood in for each other – it would make sense, of course, and considering that so many Hindi film songs were fairly generic as far as picturisation was concerned (I’m excluding songs like Aage bhi jaane na tu, where the story progresses quite a bit through the song)… yes, understandable.

      My goodness, I have to admit to feeling very ashamed about not having paid sufficient attention to Kitna haseen hai mausam earlier. I’d never even realised that was not Talat Mahmood singing! Now, of course, when I’m listening to it and paying close attention, I can hear the difference. But he’s certainly done a good imitation of Talat’s voice.


  12. So cool, especially the one about Nau Do Gyarah! (I am a terribly biased person, am I not?) I don’t know a lot about other composers and all, so, thank you so much for sharing! ;) Where did you get them from, by the way? Any book or something? If that’s the case, I must buy it!


    • Heh. :-) I knew the Nau Do Gyaarah one would appeal to you!

      These are all mostly from various interviews I’ve either read in newspapers or magazines, or interviews I’ve seen over the years – on TV, andsome on the Net (the Rafi/Mohammed Ali one, the Naushad one). The C Ramachandra anecdote is from a book, Ganesh Anantharaman’s Bollywood Melodies. Incidentally, since you’re a Dev Anand fan, this post might appeal to you:



      • @ Dustedoff: Yay! Time to go trivia-hunting!

        @ Anu: I was thinking about getting his autobiography, but someone (I can’t remember who, sorry!) said that he felt compelled to overshare on every subject except the films before Guide. Noooooooo. I want him to talk about Tere Ghar Ke Samne and Solva Saal, not about the times he went Nau Do Gyarah from other people! I dunno whether I should get it or not. Either way, I still want to give him a big hug for loving writing just like me. xD


        • bombaynoir, it’s still worth a read. And I like it because it’s in his voice, and his writing – unlike other ‘autobiographies’ that are ghostwritten. And I popped over to your blog for a dekko – you like Raj Kapoor. Come into my arms! *grin*


          • Wow… so many ghost-everythings! Ghostwriting, ghost composing, ghost directing… anyway. I guess I’ll try to find it if they have it here in the local libraries (which I highly doubt), and yes, I do like Raj Kapoor a lot! :D


      • NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO. Dustedoff, have you ever had the problem where you publish a post and nothing is visible? I had spent two hours doing a post about the Big Three of Bollywood in 1951, published, boom, finished and gone. AND THERE WAS NO WAY TO GET IT BACK. -cries- Do you know what I can do?


        • Oh, you poor thing! :-(

          Yes, that happened to me years ago – I’d just begun writing on a travel website. I spent much time and effort writing a nice long article on a place I’d visited. Pressed ‘Publish’ – and whoosh – lost in cyberspace. I think I tried to somehow retrieve for about half an hour before I gave up.

          Since then, I never write anything slightly long directly online. All my posts are written offline (on a Word doc or Notepad) and then copied into an online post page. Try that.


          • Guess I’ll rewrite it, then. :( Thanks for the tip, by the way!

            I was just wondering, there’s gonna be a concert next week in Singapore, and they’re going to perform Dev’s and Shammiji’s songs. The singers are… Alka Yagnik, Anand Raj Anand, and I can’t remember the other one. Rafi’s son will be there too, and Shammi’s son as well! Should I go? The price is kind of steep if you want a good seat, though.

            And that also means I’ll have to put Bombai Ka Babu and Baat Ek Raat Ki on hold, and I really want them both soon.


            • Though the people who’re performing are good singers (well, Alka Yagnik, at any rate), I would frankly not go just for the music – I associate only Rafi with Shammi Kapoor’s songs, for instance, and can’t imagine anyone else singing them. No matter how well they sing! That’s one reason I never go to concerts to hear people ‘recreate’ music by singers I really like.

              On the other hand, the presence of people like Shammi’s son and Rafi’s son might mean that you’ll get to hear some interesting stories. I don’t know… I probably wouldn’t go, because since Shammi and Dev passed away just a couple of months ago, the chances of the speeches being very tribute-ish may be high.

              I guess you’ll have to take your chance. If you can find somebody who’s as keen as you, it might be fun.


  13. Wonderful post, Madhu! I enjoyed reading all the trivia, but I did hope to see one more – the one about the song Vande Mataram … from Anand Math, which you had mentioned in one of your earlier posts! I guess you dropped it because all the regulars at your blog know about it already. Anyway, now I have a store of new trivia to relate to my friends – thanks!

    I had heard the one about CR becoming the MD for Azaad earlier, as well as the one about Naushad’s parents telling his prospective inlaws that he was a tailor, earlier, but the rest were all new to me, and provided a lot of enjoyable reading. When do we get our next dose of trivia? After your next quiz? Looking forward to your next quiz, then!


    • Thank you so much, Lalitha!

      And yes, I did leave out the one from Vande Mataram (and the Premnath-Nimmi scene from Barsaat) on purpose because most of the regulars on this blog would’ve already come across those – I think the Vande Mataram one a couple of times, actually!

      Ah, a trivia quiz? That would be a good idea, but I’m clean out of trivia for the time being. And there are still two prizewinners whose ‘prize posts’ have to be written up and published. Maybe a trivia quiz later this year…


  14. My little piece of Bollywood trivia – and I am sure you have heard this before – during the filming of the song Mausam beeta jaaye … for Do Bigha Zamin, all the local villagers gathered at the shooting spot and were visibly upset when the shot was over and the crew packed up. Reason? They thought they were going to get “taaja mausambi” and the director didn’t give them any! Balraj Sahni narrated this during a Vishesh Jaymala for the fauji bhais (no behens then, are there any now?) and this was probably in ’65 or ’66 that I heard it.
    Another snippet – Hema Malini was my husband’s classmate in the sixth grade, but left before the completion of the school year. Hubby doesn’t remember what she looked like (at least, that is what he says!), but what was funny was that he told me this on our first outing together, as if that would interest me at that time!


    • Oh, I LOVE those two little bits of trivia, Lalitha! They’re so cute. There’s something really endearing about the local villagers being upset about the Do Bigha Zameen crew packing up without giving them any mausambi juice – simpler times those were, weren’t they?

      So is your hubby a major Hema Malini fan? Or did he imagine you were? That is certainly an unusual bit of information to share on one’s first outing with a girl… have you since asked him why he picked on that? ;-)


      • Arre baba, he was just nervous in the presence of beautiful Lalitha, that he just started blurting out incoherent things.

        @ Lalitha: That means your husband and the mother of a college friend/acquaintance of mine were in the same class. Or was she a dance school class mate? I forget! Anyway, she showed me once a photo, where Hema was holding her as a baby. Hema unites people, what say?


        • Thanks, Harvey, for the compliment!

          Did your friend’s mother go to DTEA School, Mandir Marg, in New Delhi? Incidentally, after coming here, I found that a friend’s father is Hema Malini’s cousin, and another friend hails from the same village as Garam Dharam -Deol! So Hema and Dharam do unite people, as you have noted!


          • Talking of hailing from same villages.
            Did you all know that I hail from the same village as Dev Anand? Gurdaspur? :-D
            My mother did have some stories to tell, but I wasn’t so interested then. Now that I’m interested she’s no more :-(
            He was around the age of my mother’s older siblings (there were 10 of them). I vaguely remember her telling us that as children they played together, and talk about their adulthood, and what they all would be doing when they were older.


            • Arre wah! You’re from Gurdaspur? That’s a small world indeed. :-) My aunt (my father’s sister) actually knew Dev Anand’s family – partly through Kalpana Karthik, since Kalpana’s a Christian. And, in our family, we all say that my aunt “knows the nitty-gritty of every North Indian Christian family!” She really does, down to the sordid details.

              I wonder what Dev Anand wanted to do when he was older… might have been interesting to know him back then!


        • Lalitha cannot clarify – she is totally, totally in the dark and mystified – what “other” ,mausambi are we talking about?


            • Ah. Enlightenment dawns. When I was reading through this thread, I couldn’t figure out either what the other ‘mausambi‘ could possibly be. Yes, this does make sense. I can imagine villagers being upset at being deprived of something like this. ;-)


            • I did know about the other mausambi, but it didn’t occur that’s what they meant. Makes more sense though :-D

              I wonder what an Oenophile would think of ‘mausambi’? :-D


      • @Madhu, not only was he a major Hema fan, he was also a major Sridevi fan – we were looking to buy a plot of land in Madras, and somebody told him about this plot across from Sridevi’s house. I didn’t know this until we got there, but luckily for me, the price was more than we could afford then! I did ask him if he had planned to spend his mornings gazing at her house, hoping for her darshan, and he said he thought I would be delighted to have her as my neighbor! Hmph! Oh yes, and the password on our computer was Sridevi for some time, till I changed it!


        • LOL Lalitha. Thankyou for sharing these lovely anecdotes :)

          BTW, did you change your husband’s password from Sridevi to…ummm…Dev Anand? :-D


        • Hehe. Your husband sounds like a very sweet person! :-) Not that I like Sridevi – in fact she’s one of the few major Hindi film actresses I don’t like at all – but anybody who’d keep ‘sridevi’ as their password… that’s so cute. I hope Sridevi drops by this blog someday and sees this little tribute to her!


          • Yeah, Sridevi, everybody goes ooh and aah about her, but I don’t see much in her. She was good in Chalbaaz. Chandni and Lamhe didn’t do anything to me. It was like somehting from M&B, form what my freinds have told me about it.
            Thanks, Madhu for giving me this coming out moment! ;-)


            • I haven’t seen Chandni or Chaalbaaz, though I’ve watched Lamhe – and a few other Sridevi movies, such as Mr India and Roop ki Rani Choron ka Raja. I somehow think her acting in these, at least, is pretty exagerrated. And her looks just don’t appeal to me.


            • Love this thread too !!!
              @Harvey : You should do that post !!!

              @Pacifist :
              I am not really sure if “mausambi” is even made from the fruit mosambi (sweet-lime), perhaps our resident botanist Harvey would elaborate. My opinion, stay away from all such things; actually stay away from most alcohols except wines & some liqueurs :)


              • Agree with you on staying away form all sorts of alcohols except for wines, liquers and schnaps.
                What I know from hear say is that the in Bombay, the mosambi is made from rotten fruits from the garbage heap.


              • @Samir, I am completely with you – I’ve never liked any alcohol other than wines and liqueuers (barring Creme de Menthe, which I hate) anyway. Now, because of a medication, I’m not allowed any alcohol, so even that’s a thing of the past. :-(


  15. An enjoyable light session, electrified in the usual manner by all-round ‘comments’.

    Hats off to DustedOff’s free-wheeling imagination!


  16. RE: Mosambi

    Since we’ve run out of space in that thread I’m writing here.
    I think the name mosambi is due to the fact that it has a yellowish colour. The orangish stuff is called ‘narangi’ and I don’t know what the green coloured stuff is called.
    How do I know this? I’coloured m not sure at all. The information is all I can remember, how I came about it is not clear :-D


      • :-))))

        I think I read it in a local hindi newspaper while in Kanpur. because illicit production of hard country liquor was/is (?) rampant in villages around the countryside causing deaths at times.
        But again, my memry is so vague that I might be confusing the various colours with some other thing.


  17. So narangi is different from mosambi, and is not the same as santara, I suppose! Now you say there is a green one too – who knows what all these fruits are called – would Harvey be the authority here? Let me check with Wikipedia and see what is there.


    • Oh, now that you mention, I think it’s santra rather than narangi.
      Yes, wikipedia is a good idea. I’m going there immediately.


      • No, unfortunately I am no expert when it comes to illicit liquor, but I think they just colour the liqour which they distill with colours they use for the golas (crushed ice).


        • I was discussing this yesterday with my husband, and he was saying that as far as he was aware (not that he can claim to have even ever drunk this stuff!), the name depended upon what fruit the liquor had been distilled from. He was giving angoori as another name to support his theory.

          But, like you, I am inclined to think it’s added colour which gives the iquor its name.


    • As for the earlier question. The girl concerned was a fellow MSc. student at Xaviers and her mother showed me this foto, I mentioned, and that was twenty years back, so I don’t know anything about the background. I haven’t heard about her ever since.


    • It’s all trivia! Not film trivia, but trivia nevertheless. Seriously, did you think about listing the different types of country liquor before this? Or thinking over why they may be called what they are? Or why your husband told you about Hema Malini? :-))


  18. I am just another of those who loves such little known facts. This post is a storehouse of such and well written by Dustedoff.

    Adding some which I know. It may be that many of you would already know of this….

    Dharmendra and Manoj Kumar were to star in solo-hero movies “Naqli Nawab” (1962) and “Shola Aur Shabnam” (1961) respectively. But as luck would have it, they were dropped from those movies and cast in the other movie.

    Dev Anand was to have been the hero of “Teesri Manzil” (1966). But he was busy shooting “Guide” (1966) and Shammi Kapoor was roped in. Incidentally, this was the first Vijay Anand-directed movie which didn’t have his brother as the leading man.

    Another trivia is that Dharmendra had almost walked out of “Phool Aur Patthar” (1966) because he had differences with the Director, O. P. Ralhan. Thankfully sense prevailed and he stayed back. Even though he had several hits before this movie, this was the one which made him a star. Before Ralhan signed on Dharmendra, he was considering Sunil Dutt for the role.

    After his win in the Fimlfare-United Producers competition, Dharmendra was considered as the leading man for “Love In Simla” (1960). But the makers decided they wanted a hero who was romantic and didn’t have the physique of a “hockey player”. Joy Mukherjee was then cast as the leading man.

    Anupama Chopra has written a book on the making of “Sholay” which contains several trivia.


  19. dustedoff ji,

    Here is a trivia from 1936.
    Ashokkumar,who had gone to Himanshu Roy of Bombay Talkies,to learn Photography, was forced by Devika Rani to become her hero in films.
    His first film was ‘Jeevan Nayya’.Just to avoid working in films,Ashok kumar cut his hair small.on the day of the first shot,H.Roy saw him,forgave him and waited for 2 months for the hair to grow.

    By this time A.Kumar was ready to act.In the first shot itself,he had to jump from the window and save the Heroine from the villain.The shot started,Ashok kumar was so enthusiastic,that he not only jumped from the window,but also broke the leg of the Villain.

    Himanshu Roy had to wait for another four months before only the second shot of the film was shot !

    -Arunkumar Deshmukh


  20. Dustedoff ji,

    Regarding Azaad and C Ramchandra and the compositions completed in two weeks, there is another very interesting tidbit to add. The song “Kitna Haseen Hai Mausam” was supposed to have been sung by Talat Mehmood. On the day of the recording, Talat Saab was unduly late in reaching the studio. With Lata ji and the rest of the orchestra and crew waiting, C Ram decided to go ahead with the recording in his own voice. When the recordist questioned him on this choice, he promised that he would sing as well as Talat Saab does. And the result is very interesting. In this song, C Ram’s voice sounds so close to Talat, that on a casual first hearing one might even mistake it for the latter.



    • Unfortunately, there doesn’t seem to be much devotion to food in old films, whether Hollywood or Hindi. New films, yes, especially non-Indian films: there’s Julie and Julia, Chocolat, Babette’s Feast and the superb Japanese ‘noodle Western’, Tampopo. Others too – I remember a Stanley Tucci starrer about two Italian brothers (friends? I don’t recall exactly) and their restaurant in the US… but not really much food in Hindi films, at least not playing an important part. Sad! :-(


  21. A really enjoyable read!

    A bit of trivia I came to know recently concerns Mera Saaya; Lata was suffering from a throat infection and not taking any assignments. Madan Mohan recorded the song in his own voice and Sadhana lip-synched to this during the shooting. Once Lata was well, the song was recorded in her voice and then dubbed onto the film. I wonder how Sadhana kept a straight face through that one…


    • Oh, yes. That’s a pretty well-known anecdote, so I didn’t include it. From what I heard, the people of Shimla turned out in large numbers to watch the shoot, and were completely flummoxed (and no doubt amused) to see Sadhana lip-synching to a man’s voice! Madan Mohan’s rendition of the song is quite nice, actually – I remember having heard it.


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