Our recent trip to Nainital prompted me (actually, even before we left on our trip) to read Gulshan Nanda’s novel Kati Patang. Gulshan Nanda, for those who may be unfamiliar with his work, wasn’t just a hugely successful writer of Hindi social-romantic popular fiction, but also a script writer for Hindi cinema: he wrote the scripts (many of them based on his own novels) of blockbusters like Saawan ki Ghata, Khilona, Kati Patang, and Jheel ke Us Paar. This insightful article about Nanda’s writing, as well as its adaptation to the big screen, is worth a read.
Some context, first, for this post.
I had recently been on a hiatus for a while because I shifted home. I’ve lived in Delhi for 32 years now, and for various reasons, my husband and I realized it would make more sense to move to Noida.
Shifting house is something I simply hate doing. I should’ve gotten used to it over the years: my father, after all, was in the IPS, and frequent transfers (once every year, when times were good) meant that we moved around a lot. Even after I grew up and got married, we’ve had to shift several times: because a relative offered us their flat at a nominal rent; because—one year down the line—they decided they wanted to sell it; because a landlady wanted to renovate a house; and so on. I have some idea of what to expect now when we hire packers and movers.
But there are always glitches, always another bunch of thoroughly unprofessional professionals. This time was no different. On top of that, I fell ill—first with a viral infection, and then with an infection of the eyes. Till a few days back, I was going around with two red eyes, a hacking cough, and a runny nose (I looked like something out of a Ramsay Brothers flick).
The silver lining, though, is that this made me think of just how important homes are to us. Not mere buildings, but places that we call our own. Places that shelter not just ourselves and our families, but which represent, too, our aspirations, our emotions, ourselves. Hindi cinema has done ample justice to the concept of ‘home’ and ‘house’, from songs like Ek bangla bane nyaara to films like Dastak, Biwi aur Makaan, Hamaara Ghar, Gharaunda and Tere Ghar ke Saamne.
Some time back, I received a request from a blog reader and long-ago professor of mine: would I do a post on songs sung at pianos? Hindi cinema, back in the good old days, invariably had a song at a piano per film, often more. I had to inform my ex-prof: I had already compiled, some time back, a post on piano songs: specifically, women pianists. But this gave me an idea: how about a post on male pianists? After all, there has been no shortage of songs picturised on men sitting at pianos.
I’d been thinking, for the past few months, of doing a post on songs that a person uses to introduce himself or herself in Hindi cinema. Not the “Awaara hoon” or “Main rangeela pyaar ka raahi” type, which actually use a set of adjectives to describe the singer, but an actual introduction: this is my name, this is where I live, stuff like that. I can think of a number of songs along those lines, and it seemed like a good idea to do a list.
When I watched Love in Bombay last weekend (and saw Kishore Kumar belting out Maazaa naav ahe Ganpat Rao), I was reminded of that long-pending list. So here it is: ten of my favourite songs, mostly from pre-70s films, where the singer introduces himself/herself by name. These are, as I usually stipulate for my lists, from films I’ve seen. Not all of them are necessarily good songs, music-wise, but they invariably have something or the other—lyrics, picturisation, situation, whatever—which sets them apart for me.
A friend of mine on Facebook recently posted her favourite daaru song, as she called it: Yeh jo mohabbat hai, from Kati Patang (1970). And since I’m not one to let inspiration go a-begging, I decided I had to do a post on my favourite daaru songs. Classic Hindi cinema is replete with these: songs induced by alcohol, songs praising alcohol, songs reviling alcohol (even if sung in an alcohol-induced half-stupor; remember Yeh laal rang kab mujhe chhodega)?
So here’s a list of ten of my favourite daaru songs, all from films of the 50’s and 60’s that I’ve seen. Cheers!