BADHAAI HO: Thoroughly entertaining with its perfect blend of humour, romance and emotions

By

Sharada Iyer

After the brilliant Andhadhun earlier this month, Ayushmann Khurrana is back again with yet another quirky, fun-filled, zany and enjoyable film- Badhaai Ho. 

One can’t help but marvel at the ingenuity of the writers to come up with such an unusual script and turn it into such a fun-fest.

PLOT:

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What happens when a couple in their fifties with two grown-up children discover to their utter surprise and disbelief that they are going to become parents all over again? This unexpected pregnancy puts them in an embarrassing spotlight and they are at the receiving end of all kinds of admonishing glares, small talk and gossip by everyone around them-right from their children to the husband’s aged mother to all the relatives, neighbours, friends and colleagues. The parents even become the butt of jokes for people who get a kick out of laughing at them.

With this unique incident as the backdrop director Amit Sharma takes us on a breezy roller-coaster ride where we experience myriad emotions felt by the various characters in the film from their individual perspective. The middle-class setting of Delhi and the natural dialogue delivery laced with dollops of humour and emotions keeps us engaged from beginning to end.

PERFORMANCES:

The film is on the lines of Hrishikesh Mukherjee and Basu Chatterjee ‘school of film-making’ where it is the characters that stand out and the actors just blend in with the script. This is especially evident in the main protagonists -the parents- played by Gajraj Rao and Neena Gupta. These kinds of scripts give a lot of opportunity for our character artistes to come to the foreground and display their talent. Gajraj Rao fits into the role like a glove. The talented Neena Gupta has not got too much chance in our film industry but whenever the opportunity has arisen, she has done a brilliant job.

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With their endearing chemistry and subtle nuances these two become the real scene-stealers in the film. They give serious competition to the pair of Amitabh-Hema in Baaghban and Rajesh Khanna –Shabana Azmi in Avatar who had also charmed us with their winning chemistry as old couples in the said films.

 

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Surekha Sikri as the elderly lady is priceless! Her relationship with her son, daughter-in-law, grandchildren and her daughter has various shades and she is a natural! Ayushmann Khurrana never ceases to surprise. He has a meaty role and does a marvellous job. This youngster like many others who entered as outsiders has proved that to rock in the industry nepotism need not be the rule!

Other characters like Ayushmann’s girlfriend played by Sanya Malhotra and her mother played by Sheeba Chaddha are also apt and so are the actors who play Ayushmann’s brother and his friends.

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Music is also good and as usual songs are played more in the background except for the song which plays during end-title credits. Once again a few lines from a couple of Kishore Kumar songs played in the background soothe our senses and make our day! Nowadays many music directors compose songs for one film and it becomes difficult to remember who has composed what…

Here is the YouTube link for a catchy number from the film:

IN CONCLUSION:

The film also gives us food for thought: it makes us ponder over the age-old values of our society where romance between a slightly elderly-couple is either frowned upon or almost unimaginable as they are generally expected to be busy in their mundane activities and be involved in their children’s lives. Into this scenario if such a pregnancy comes to fore, the parents are almost made to feel guilty of having shared an intimate moment. The grown-up kids also have problems accepting the unbelievable and unforeseen situation.

Under the director’s skillful handling such a bold script turned into a superb entertainer but the fact remains that in reality the circumstances could have been very different and maybe more traumatic!

Don’t miss the opportunity to have some fun and head for the cinema halls to watch this delightful entertainer!

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ANDHADHUN: A must-watch riveting edge-of-the-seat thriller!

By

Sharada Iyer

Director Sriram Raghavan whips up a mind-blowing, racy, taut, suspenseful, unpredictable, murder thriller which is engaging from start to finish. He revives a long-forgotten genre of Bollywood- suspense thrillers- with an original story-line, a brilliant screenplay, an excellent cast and a gripping narrative full of unexpected twists and turns.

The story revolves around the events that take place in the life of a blind piano player. His seemingly ordinary life undergoes a catastrophic transformation because of certain events. There is evil lurking at every corner and there are hidden secrets which come tumbling out.

The real star of the film is the director who shows us what it takes to make a good thriller. Apart from suspense, he has also managed to lace it with humour and good songs!

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Ayushmann Khurrana known for his choice of unique subjects has really hit the jackpot with this one. He is simply outstanding in the main role and holds the film in his grip throughout. After watching this film every actor in the industry will feel that this movie should have gone to them! Three cheers to Ayushmann for his amazing performance!

After playing remarkable characters in Drishyam, Golmaal 4, Haider and Fitoor, the ever dependable Tabu gets under the skin of yet another interesting character. She is really such an exceptional actress and it is heartening to note that filmmakers are writing such strong roles for her.

The current ‘Netflix queen’ Radhika Apte is also spot-on and brings a refreshing charm to her scenes with Ayushmann. It was nice watching old-timer Anil Dhawan who plays himself –a retired movie actor. We get to see some of his popular songs being played on TV/computer on the screen and it felt great to have the golden voices of Rafi and Kishore resonating in the cinema hall albeit for a few minutes only.  The credits of the film actually mention their tribute to the evergreen programmes ‘Chaya Geet’ and ‘Chitrahaar’.

The film also has a line-up of supporting cast like the Inspector, his wife, a doctor and some neighbours all of whom contribute to the racy plot keeping us guessing. And as with normal murder plots, there is also a cat in the film which adds to the eeriness.

As Ayushmann is a piano player, the piano plays an important role in the film and music director Amit Trivedi has come up with some brilliant symphony pieces which keep playing in the background adding to the suspense.

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This film has been released without much brouhaha and publicity which shows the director’s conviction in his talent to deliver but on the flip-side the awareness of this film is not as much as it deserves. The morning show that I went to hardly had much audience. The film will pick up only by word of mouth.  

Indeed 2018 is turning out to be one of the best years for Bollywood in terms of the variety of films being released as well as the outstanding performances from all our actors/actresses. And this film could well be the best movie released this year…

I cannot reveal anything more about the film as this may spoil the fun for others. The film is not-to-be-missed! So without hesitation and before anyone reveals the plot, do head to the nearest cinema hall ASAP and enjoy this super thriller…

TRILOK KAPOOR: Actor and younger brother of Prithviraj Kapoor

By

Sharada Iyer

Thirty years back on 23rd September, 1988, actor Trilok Kapoor passed away after a long innings spanning more than fifty years in the Hindi film industry (1933-1987). He was the younger brother of the grand old man of Hindi cinema- Prithviraj Kapoor and uncle to the famous trio Raj Kapoor, Shammi Kapoor and Shashi Kapoor. He was thus an important part of the famous Kapoor family  and yet hardly anyone remembers him today or even talks about him!

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Starting at the young age of 18 as a romantic hero in Char Darvesh (1933) he moved on to mythological films and attained popularity playing the character of Lord Shiva in innumerable films. His film Har Har Mahadev (1950) where he played Lord Shiva with Nirupa Roy playing  Goddess Parvati was a super-hit of its time and turned him into an overnight star of mythological films. After this film both he and Nirupa Roy became household names as ‘Shiva-Parvati’ with their posters and photographs being sold to the public. He is said to have starred in a record of eighteen films with her.

EARLY DAYS:

Born in Peshawar, Pakistan he spent his early years in Peshawar and like many youngsters of that era took an active interest in the freedom struggle of our country. But father Basheswarnath Kapoor who was worried about the safety of his younger son wrote to his elder son Prithviraj Kapoor for help. Prithviraj at that time was struggling to make it as an actor in Hindi films in Calcutta (now Kolkata). Trilok Kapoor soon joined his brother in 1928 and later along with him shifted to Bombay (now Mumbai) in the late thirties.

Prithviraj Kapoor helped his brother also to get into films. Thus Trilok got his first film as a hero opposite Kanan Devi in director Prafulla Ghosh’s film-Char Darvesh. His second film was Seeta where he essayed the role of one of Lord Ram’s twin sons Luv while Prithviraj Kapoor played Lord Ram and Durga Khote played Goddess Seeta. After this he started assisting director Hem Chander and worked for five years under him. He also did some small roles in a few films.

In 1947 his pairing opposite ‘mallika-e-tarannum’ Noorjehan in the popular love story Mirza Sahiban was a big hit and the film went on to become a box-office success with all the songs also becoming a hit. Trilok Kapoor’s resemblance to nephew Raj Kapoor in this film is quite striking!  This was the last film in which Noorjehan acted before shifting her base to Pakistan after the partition.

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In 1951 Trilok was paired opposite Nargis in Pyar Ki Baatein. His other co-stars in the film were Pran and Cuckoo. The film was directed by Akhtar  Hussain.

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AS A HERO in MYTHOLOGICAL  FILMS:

After the super-hit Har Har Mahadev, It was his association with director Vijay Bhatt which proved to be very fruitful when the latter signed him up to play Lord Shiva in the 1954 film Ramayan. Trilok Kapoor got to act in a variety of mythological films.

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Har Har Mahadev

He played the role of the dwarf avatar of Lord Vishnu- ‘Waman’ in the film titled Waman Avatar  (1955) where actor Sapru played King Bali. He essayed the role of Lord Ram in the film Ram Bhakt Hanuman in 1948. He played Lord Vitthal in Chakradhari in 1954.

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Waman Avatar

In the 1970 film Bhagwan Parasuram, where Abhi Bhattacharya played the title role, once again Trilok Kapoor played Lord Shiv and this time actress Tabassum played Parvati .  Some of his other films include Shiv Shakti, Shiv Kanya, Jai Mahadev, Ganesh Janma, Ganesh Mahima, Ali Baba, Amar Raj, Alakh Niranjan, Vir Bhimsen, Dasa Avatar, Maya Machindra, Sri Vishnu Bhagwan, Ishwar Bhakti, etc.

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with dancer Cuckoo
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As Lord Ram in Ram Bhakt Hanuman

AS A PRODUCER:

He ventured into production under his own banner ‘TK films’ and wrote and produced the film Shiva Parvati in 1962. His elder son Vijay Kapoor was an assistant director in the film while his second son Vicky Kapoor was the associate producer. Actress Ragini played Parvati in the film. The film was directed by S N Tripathi who was also an actor and music composer.

CHARACTER ROLES:

Trilok Kapoor acted in small roles in several films. He was seen in R K Films’ Ram Teri Ganga Maili which released in 1985. He has played a judge,  a professor, a doctor, a villager, and other such roles but one is not able to recollect anything special as he had no mannerisms and did not restrict to any particular type of roles. Also his get-up being different it is difficult to immediately recall him in any film.

When he was acting in mythological films he was always dressed up as some God so his real facial features were never really visible in all that make-up and costume. When I went through his filmography, I was amazed to know that he had been part of so many films over the years that I have watched yet I could not place him immediately. Now that I know how he looks like I saw some of his films and tried to figure out the character he had played. For instance he was part of the cast of Jai Santoshi Maa, Dostana, Saudagar, Sargam, Raaste Ka Pathar, Main Tulsi Tere Aangan Ki, Prem Kahani, Do Chor, etc.

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Jai Santoshi Ma

Trilok Kapoor has thus been part of this industry for more than half a century and contributed in his own way to the development of our cinema. Today in Chembur (a suburb of Mumbai), there is a road named after him-Trilok Kapoor Marg

He will always be remembered for his portrayal of Mirza and his roles as Lord Shiva

Links to two of his popular songs:

Mirza Sahiban

Waman Avatar

 

(Images are taken from the Internet)

MANMARZIYAAN: Taapsee’s vivacity steals our hearts in this new-age love story

By

Sharada Iyer

Just when I was wondering if Bollywood had washed its hands off the quintessential love-triangles, director Anurag Kashyap along with writer Kanika Dhillon spring a surprise in the form of ‘Manmarziyan’– a contemporary love story set in Amritsar. With an interesting star-cast of Abhishek Bachchan, Vicky Kaushal and Taapsee Pannu, the film makes for an enjoyable watch thanks to the top-notch performances from the three protagonists, interesting screenplay and good music.

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Told from the perspective of our fiery, feisty and free-spirited heroine Rumi (Taapsee Pannu), the film takes us on a roller-coaster ride where we experience the ups and downs, confusions and dilemmas faced by her young heart. As her emotions oscillate between the crazy physical attraction she has for her lover Vicky (Vicky Kaushal) and the stability of a mature relationship offered by Robbie (Abhishek Bachchan) the film addresses a lot of issues existing in today’s society especially for the young girls.

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The director makes the female protagonist the dominant partner here and so it is hot-headed Rumi who takes all her decisions albeit impulsively and so she gets to choose between her two contrasting suitors. On the one hand is young Vicky with whom she brazenly indulges in a physical relationship much to the chagrin of her family. She has no qualms about accepting her part after she is caught in her room and is determined to stand by him. Her family gives in to her emotions and agrees to get her married off to him.

But there is a hitch. Our lover-boy has no permanent job and is commitment-phobic. Though he genuinely loves Rumi, he wants to pursue music and cannot offer a settled stable married life right away as demanded by her family. When Vicky develops cold feet they even try running away but that also does not work out as they realize that they have nowhere to go and nothing to do. 

Now the family gives the ultimatum that either Vicky shows up with his parents at their house the next day and makes a commitment or she would have to agree to an arranged marriage with a groom of their choice.  Out of desperation she also threatens Vicky that if he does not show up she would get married to any person of her family’s choice.

Enter our third angle of the triangle Robbie who is the typical staid and brooding NRI with a secure job offering stability. He falls for her instantly but seeing her aloofness realizes something is amiss. He stalks her on Facebook and finds out about her boyfriend Vicky. Determined to win her he plays his cards slyly by pretending to be unaware of her affair and keeps up with a quiet and mature image of his.

Out of sheer anger and just to spite Vicky, Rumi gets married to Robbie. The marriage is dead from the word go as there is no love between them and she keeps remembering Vicky. Back from the honeymoon she continues to meet Vicky secretly.

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So what happens next? Does she opt out of her marriage to be with her lover? Or does she decide to remain with her husband even though there is no spark in the marriage? Or does she want to remain free of both of them? The director deftly navigates through her tumultuous thoughts and confusions and thereby even raises questions on love marriage vs arranged marriage in the current scenario.

The film is a tad long at 2 hours and 40 minutes but then as Abhishek’s mother interestingly points out in one scene-“Shaadi koi gudde gudiyon ka khel thodi hai”! so the heroine here has been given enough time to make up her mind. The story reiterates that marriage is not a frivolous game where emotions should be caged for the sake of commitment. It needs maturity to handle whatever decision is taken and stick by the outcome.

REASONS TO WATCH:

After all, a love-triangle cannot offer any great variations in terms of a suspenseful story. Either one of the two suitors will get the girl or she decides to be free of them both. But the USP here is the modern-day setting, the dynamic narrative dotted with many comical dialogues which keep us engaged as we travel the journey with Rumi sometimes feeling happy for her and sometimes feeling her pain.

Taapsee Pannu is the heart and soul of the film and she gets to essay one of the best roles written for a heroine. She fires the screen with her superb acting and her effervescence is infectious. Her remarkable chemistry with Vicky Kaushal as they scorch the screen with their passion and heady romance makes their scenes very natural and believable.

Vicky Kaushal who is currently having a great run in the industry tackles yet another role with finesse and panache. He adds life to his quirky character and has the audience rooting for him.  Abhishek  Bachchan returns to screen after a 2-year hiatus and brings a quiet dignity to his role and does most of the talking through his eyes.

Music by Amit Trivedi is another strong point of the film and there are many songs peppered throughout which definitely help to carry forward the narrative. Though the songs are very good they are mostly played as background songs making us wonder as to why our actors today shy away from lip-syncing to songs! Maybe that era where a singer became the playback voice of a particular artiste is gone now. Every movie introduces new talents nowadays and there are plenty of singers to choose from…

Here are the links to two interesting songs from the film:

https://youtu.be/wKkrrpKc-H8

https://youtu.be/wHHCO29mqiA

JUST A THOUGHT :

Though Abhishek has acted well and done justice to the role, he has not done anything new in the this film. He has stuck to what he has done before in his earlier films. Perhaps another young actor like Siddharth Malhotra or Sushant Singh Rajput who would have been in the same age group of Taapsee and Vicky could have added an element of novelty and excitement to this love-triangle…

 

 

A few thoughts as we bid farewell to Mumbai’s iconic R K STUDIO …

By

Sharada Iyer

Ever since Randhir Kapoor and Rishi Kapoor made the announcement of selling their father’s 70-year old property – R K STUDIO, fans across the nation including people from the film industry irrespective of age or gender have expressed shock, disbelief, sadness, disappointment and anger. It is heart-breaking to even think that an integral, important and iconic part of our film legacy will soon be razed to the ground only to be replaced by one of those ever burgeoning massive eye-sores in the form of a gigantic mall or an exorbitant residential property! 

Spread over a sprawling area of two acres in the prime locality of Chembur in North Mumbai, Raj Kapoor’s famed R K Studio has been an unforgettable iconic landmark in the city and a place of pride in the hearts of innumerable cine loving public for the past 70 years.

R K Studio

The studio came into existence one year after India got independence in 1948 and has not only given birth to some of the best talents of our industry but also witnessed the filming of several evergreen classics of the Black & White era made under the prestigious banner of R K Films – Awaara, Shree 420, Boot Polish, Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, Jaagte Raho, Sangam, and in later years Ram Teri Gaga Maili, Bobby, Mera Naam Joker, Dharam Karam, Kal Aaj aur Kal, Henna, Aa Ab Laut Chalein, etc.

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This studio was never just about the area encompassed within the four walls where scenes were shot. There are treasured memories embedded in the walls of an era gone by. Memories of the classic and precious films that were shot, of the various functions, premieres and ‘muhurat’ shots that were held, of cultural programmes, of discussions and debates vibrate in the atmosphere which can only be felt when one steps inside. Countless talents were discovered and it is from here that many an actor took his/her first steps into the world of films!

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A RARE LEGACY:

Raj Kapoor built this studio from scratch at a time when Chembur was like a concrete jungle with hardly any buildings in the area. His steadfast vision and unwavering passion for cinema  made him revere this place like a temple and everyday ‘puja’ was performed before the start of the day’s activities . He breathed and lived cinema every moment of his life. Every film of his was so dear to him and close to his heart that he preserved every costume ever worn by the stars of his films in a separate room. He also kept precious memorabilia like his ‘dafli’ used in Jis Desh Mein Ganga Behti Hai, his ‘shoes and coat’ from Shree 420, his ‘joker’ doll from Mera Naam Joker, etc.

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Raj Kapoor passed away in 1988 leaving behind a thriving studio and an incomparable legacy. It is tough to imagine that in the last thirty years neither his children nor his grandchildren could do enough to preserve this legacy. Prithviraj Kapoor’s Prithvi Theatres was resurrected by Shashi Kapoor and is still being maintained by his family. But one wonders what made Randhir and Rishi wait so long to crib and cry about financial losses of the legendary R K Studio. As none of the sons have inherited Raj Kapoor’s vision, passion or talent for film making were they not far-sighted enough to see this kind of situation arising after Raj Kapoor died?

Today many reasons are being stated by the Kapoor family for having taken this tough, historic but unbelievable decision to sell this property. According to them the financial losses being incurred by the family members in the maintenance and upkeep of this huge property has made it almost impossible to keep the place as it is for just its historic and heritage value. The number of bookings for shooting of films has gradually reduced over the past several years as the current lot of actors and directors prefer the studios situated at the Film City in Goregaon and do not find it convenient to come all the way to Chembur.

Though a few television shows were being shot here it was not profitable. Also after the massive fire which broke out during the shooting of a reality TV show in October 2017, a large part of the studio and lots of memorabilia were destroyed forever. Fortunately there was no loss of human life! Though big announcements were made, the Kapoors never really showed any interest in resurrecting the studio to its former glory and renovating it with newer state-of-the-art equipment and techniques in film-making.

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Going by the current real-estate prices, it is estimated that the starting auction price for this prime property could be anywhere between Rupees 500 and 750 crores but nothing concrete can be stated now. Though the studio technically may be their inheritance and they can do what they want with the structure, to the film-goers of this country there is a strong emotional connect with R K films, R K Studio and the showman Raj Kapoor himself. It is very sad that the fire last year destroyed many of the precious R K memorabilia and costumes! Had the Kapoor family had been more serious about preserving these artefacts, could this situation have been prevented? Did they take this legacy for granted in these past thirty years? These thoughts do enter our mind…

As a country we are known to be indifferent to preserving our own legacy and heritage which explains why so many of our films have been lost forever. A few years back many precious early films of Bombay Talkies were destroyed thus erasing them forever from our records. There is no print of our first talkie ‘Alam Ara’ in existence today. All reels have been destroyed. Somehow renowned archivist P K Nair managed to preserve two reels of our first silent film ‘Raja Harishchandra’ made by Dadasaheb Phalke.

Under the circumstances it is hard to imagine losing this 70-year old living breathing piece of cinematic history for lack of funds. In an industry making crores of rupees of profit isn’t there anyway the studio can be saved from being completely destroyed? After all our top actors earning crores of rupees can still come forward and set up a fund or stage a show and collect money to turn this place into a Bollywood Museum. Top businessmen who don’t hesitate to get the stars to dance during their personal functions and family ceremonies must contribute to preserve this cinematic legacy. Can the Government intervene and preserve this area and turn it into a museum?

Mumbai boasts of being the mecca of the Hindi film industry yet there is not a single structure in the city dedicated to glorify of our 105-year old film industry…

A WALK DOWN MEMORY LANE:

Not many are aware that before making his debut as a hero in Neel Kamal in 1947 opposite Madhubala, Raj Kapoor who started his journey as a child artist also acted in a few films in a supporting role. One such film was ‘Valmiki’ in 1946 starring his father Prithviraj Kapoor in the title role with Raj Kapoor playing ‘Narad muni’.

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picture taken from video of indiavideo.org

The film was directed by the veteran Bhalji Pendharkar who was fondly called ‘Mamaji’ as he was very close to the Kapoor family. Bhalji was very impressed with Raj Kapoor’s acting in Valmiki and when he wanted to pay him for his work, Prithviraj Kapoor refused to take any money from stating that he was family and that he should not pay them. However as a token of appreciation Bhalji Pendharkar then insisted on gifting a piece of land in Chembur. Prithviraj  Kapoor accepted it little knowing that one day it would become an iconic landmark of Mumbai.

Raj Kapoor soon turned director with Aag in 1948 and though it was not a big hit, he had set his eyes on direction and production. With his second film Barsaat in 1949, he established his banner R K Films . The film was a runaway hit and now he wanted to establish his own studio. When he started scouting around for land, Prithviraj Kapoor then remembered this area in Chembur and asked Raj Kapoor to take it and build the studio of his dreams. Raj Kapoor then decided to take the scene where Nargis comes and falls in his arms in Barsaat as the emblem of his R K Films and etched it at the entrance of the studio. 

The very first scene shot in the studio was the dream sequence song of Awaara‘Ghar aaya mera pardesi…’ for which a stupendous set was erected. It was the first of its kind to be witnessed in Hindi cinema ans set a precedent for many dream sequences in the years to come. But none has come close to the novelty and grandeur of the Awaara song. Interestingly, the walls of the studio had not been built fully and yet Raj Kapoor managed to shoot the entire sequence without any problem.

A look at his films will tell us the kind of sets which were erected and the attention to detailing to recreate the scene. Not only just R K Films but many other directors also shot their films in this studio. Popular directors Manmohan Desai and Hrishikesh Mukherjee are said to have shot most of their films in this studio. 

Here is a YouTube link wherein an emotional Raza Murad reminisces his journey with R K Studio:

Here is an interesting video which depicts R K Studio itself talking to us about its journey.titled ‘Main R K Studio bol raha hoon…’

The Kapoor family also must have had a hard time to make this emotional decision to sell the place. What is going to be the final outcome of all this and what will be the fate of R K Studio remains to be seen. Maybe like so many other precious aspects associated with this great film industry, this too shall pass away and remain a memory in the hearts of fans.

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When I  stepped out and paused by the studio thinking of the era gone by I couldn’t help but hum these 2 songs with meaningful lyrics from Raj Kapoor’s own film MERA NAAM JOKER which seems so apt in the current scenario…  ‘Jaane kahan gaye who din kehte the teri yaad mein nazron ko hum bichayenge’… and ‘Jeena yahan marna yahan iske siva jaana kahan…’

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HINDI-TAMIL-TELUGU: Same film in three languages!

By

Sharada Iyer

Unlike other countries of the world, the film industry in India has a unique feature.  Though Hindi films dominate the scenario and claim to have a more national perspective, many states have their own film industries catering to the regional audience and hence made in the language of the particular State-Tamil, Telugu, Bengali, Kannada, Malayalam, Punjabi, Bhojpuri, Oriya, etc.

Out of all the State languages, Hindi cinema has always had a stronger connection with Tamil and Telugu film industry and many films can be listed which have been made in all three languages.

Interestingly, the release date of the first talkie belonging to these three languages in India can be traced back to around the same time!  Alam Ara (Hindi) was released on 14th March 1931, Kalidas (Tamil) with songs in Tamil and Telugu was released on 31st October 1931 and Bhakta Prahalada (Telugu) was released on February 6th 1932. Thus these three industries laid the foundation of their talkies almost simultaneously and grew up to be powerful and significant in their own way.

Further, Ardeshir Irani , the Father of the Indian talkie, who directed the Hindi film Alam Ara was also the producer of the Tamil film Kalidas and H M Reddy who worked as his assistant in Alam Ara directed both Kalidas and Bhakta Prahalada. To L V Prasad actor-cinematographer-director-producer- businessman goes the unique distinction of having starred in all these three talkies!

Somewhere in the thirties, the idea of making the same film in more than one language took shape and the trend which continued throughout our century-old cinematic history can be seen even today. Perhaps the success of the film in one language may have prompted the producers to remake and reshoot the same film with different actors and actresses and sometimes different directors depending on the language to be made.

The earliest of this trend can be seen around the year 1935-36 when P C Barua who became an overnight sensation in Bengal as an actor-director with his Bengali film Devdas decided to direct the same story in Hindi with Kundan Lal Saigal as the hero. The film became a runaway hit across the country thus exposing the story to a larger audience. Till date about 20 remakes of Devdas have been made.

Over the years there have been innumerable instances of the same story being made in these three languages. This blog-post lists 15 interesting films which were made in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu and were all successful at the box-office. The post focuses on some songs from the different versions and one observes that sometimes the tunes have been copied exactly (Woh Kaun Thi?, Bhabhi, Pooja ke Phool, etc.) and sometimes  only the costumes worn by the actors have been replicated (Sita aur Gita, Don, etc.), while in some others only the situation is common and tune and picturization of song is different (Pyar Kiye Ja).

  1. HINDI- Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)

The film is a psychological mystery thriller which starts on a stormy night when a doctor gives a lift to an unknown girl who gets dropped at a cemetery. The gates mysteriously open on their own and after the girl enters he hears a song. Later when he is called upon to attend to a patient he finds that the dead patient’s face (she is already dead by the time he reaches) resembles the unknown girl he had met. The Hindi thriller directed by Raj Khosla was released first and later remade in Tamil and Telugu. The haunting tunes composed by music director Madan Mohan for the Hindi film were retained in the Tamil and Telugu versions as well.

Song: ‘Lag ja gale ke phir yeh haseen raat ho na ho…’

Sadhana, Manoj Kumar

TAMIL- Yaar Nee? (1966)

Jayalalitha, Jaishankar

TELUGU- Aame Evaru? (1966)

Jayalalitha, Kongara Jaggaiah

  1. HINDI: Do Kaliyan (1968)

The hero and heroine meet, fall in love and after marriage are blessed with twin baby girls. But their marriage faces hurdles due to interference from heroine’s mother. One day the hero decides to walk out with one of the baby girls and so the children grow up in different atmospheres and with one parent each. A few years later they meet in the school  and devise a plan to bring their parents together.

The Tamil film was made first followed by Telugu and then came the Hindi film. In both the Tamil and Telugu versions we have the same child artiste as well as heroine reprising their respective roles.

Song: ‘Bachche man ke sachhe saare jag ki aankh ke taare…’

Baby Sonia, Mala Sinha, Biswajit

TAMIL: Kuzhandaiyum Deivamum (1965)

Kutti Padmini, Jamuna, Jaishankar

TELUGU: Letha Manasulu (1966)

Kutti Padmini, Jamuna, Harnath

  1. HINDI- Pooja Ke Phool (1966)

The hero is given shelter in the heroine’s house where she and her father are both lawyers. They fall in love and their marriage is fixed but by a twist of fate, he is forced to marry a blind girl back in his village. She happens to be the sister of the evil village goon whom the hero’s sister wants to marry. The heroine here is a wonderful character who not only forgives him but also defends him when he is arrested on a murder charge he did not commit.

The Tamil film came first followed by Telugu and much later the Hindi version was made

Song: ‘Meeow meow meri sakhi, achhi achhi meri sakhi…’        

Ashok Kumar, Mala Sinha, Dharmendra, Nimmi

TAMIL- Kumudam (1961)

S V Ranga Rao, C R Vijayakumari, S S Rajendran, Sowcar Janaki

TELUGU-Manchi Manasalu (1962)

S V Ranga Rao, Savitri, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Sowcar Janaki

Interestingly while the original in Tamil had the kitten, it was replaced by a pigeon in Telugu but the kitten was brought back for the Hindi version

  1. HINDI- Main Chup Rahoongi (1962)

A typical family drama of the sixties, the heroine gets pregnant before marriage with the hero’s child but her father takes a promise from her not to tell about this to anyone. They leave town and when she delivers a baby boy her father lies to her that it was a still born child and goes and puts the child in an orphanage. Years later by a quirk of fate not only does the heroine end up as a teacher in the same orphanage the hero also gets to meet the child. After a lot of melodrama everything is set right. The child artistes of the films were the real stars as they deliver superlative performances in all three languages.

(An interesting trivia about the song: In all the three versions prayer sung in the orphanage by the children has almost the same tune is the same and the meaning of the words is also more or less the same. However the deity in front of whom they are singing changes in accordance with the language/region they represent. In the Hindi version it is Lord Krishna, in the Tamil version it is Lord Kartikeya (also called Lord Murugan) and in the Telugu version it is Lord Balaji.)

Song: ‘Tumhi ho maata pita tumhi ho, tumhi ho bandhu sakha tumhi ho…’

Master Babloo, Meena Kumari, Sunil Dutt

TAMIL- Kalathhur Kannamma (1960)

Master Kamal Haasan, Gemini Ganesan, Savitri

The film won the Certificate of Merit by the Government of India, and the President’s Gold Medal award for Master Haasan. 

TELUGU- Mooga Nomu (1969)

Master Brahmaji, Jamuna, Akkineni Nageswara Rao

  1. HINDI- Brahmachari (1968)

The hero who himself is an orphan who runs an orphanage with many children and earns money by working as a photographer. One day he rescues a girl from committing suicide and decides to unite her with the man she loves. But he soon finds out that this man is a womanizer and has no good intent in his heart and decides to expose him. The villain in turn kidnaps the orphanage children leading to a thrilling climax. The film turned out to be a super entertainer and was packed with excellent music.  Shammi Kapoor put his heart and soul into the role and won his first Filmfare award for Best Actor.

Song: ‘Main gaoon tum so jao such sapnon mein kho jao…’

Shammi Kapoor, Rajashri

TAMIL- Enga Mama (1970)

Sivaji Ganesan, Vanisri,

TELUGU- Devudu Mamayya (1981)

Shoban Babu, Vanisri

trilingual

Only the audio version of the Telugu song is there on YouTube.

  1. HINDI: Miss Mary, 1957

Directed by L V Prasad, this 1955 social comedy was a success in all three languages. While it was shot simultaneously in Tamil and Telugu, it was later remade in Hindi also in 1957. The actress Jamuna was common in all three versions and actor Gemini Ganesan played the hero in both the Tamil and Hindi version. In fact he made his debut in Hindi cinema with this film. Actor NTR played the hero’s role in the Telugu version.

The song chosen here is almost a frame to frame replica in all three versions and has the same tune as well…

Song- ‘Brindavan ka Krishna Kanhaiyya…’

Meena Kumari, Gemini Ganesan, Jamuna

TAMIL: Missiamma, 1955

Savitri, Gemini Ganesan, Jamuna

TELUGU: Missiamma,1955

Savitri, Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Jamuna

         7. HINDI: DEVDAS (1955)

This eternal tragic love story based on Saratchandra Chatterjee’s classic novel Devdas remains an eternal favourite of our industry. When childhood friends Devdas and Paro grow up and develop feelings for each other, their families are against their marriage as they do not belong to the same caste. Paro is married off to a wealthy widower with grown-up children and Devdas becomes an alcoholic. He is befriended by a prostitute who gets transformed in her one-sided love for him but Devdas’s heart beats only for his Paro. Though the  lovers never meet and the ending is tragic, the image of Devdas remains etched in every cine-goer’s heart even today.

The song chosen here is sung when Devdas and Paro are kids and enjoying their innocent friendship unaware of the tragedy that awaits them in the future…

 Song- ‘ O albele panchi tera door thikana hai…’

TAMIL: Devadas (1953)

TELUGU: Devadasu (1953)

  1. HINDI: Bhabhi, (1957)

The film Bhabhi in 1957 was a remake of the Tamil film Kuladeivam (1956) which won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Tamil of that year. Well directed by Krishnan Panju, it was a socially relevant family drama with a touching story, pleasing music and excellent performances from the cast. Pandari Bai essays the role of the mother in both Tamil and Hindi versions. While Balraj Sahni plays her husband in Hindi, Sahasranamam is her husband in Tamil. The film was a commercial and critical success in all languages.

Actor Jagdeep plays Balraj Sahni’s youngest brother who is an important character and gets plenty of screen time. He comes up with a brilliant performance and it is sad to think that this talented actor was later relegated to playing only comedy roles!

Song- ‘Chal ud ja re panchi ke ab yeh desh hua begana…’

Balraj Sahni, Jagdeep, Pandari Bai, Nanda, Shyama

TELUGU: Kuladeivam, 1960

Rajagopal, Sahasranamam, S S RajendranChandrababuS A Ashokan, Vijayakumari 

Here is an 8-minute video clip with the song in both Telugu and Hindi versions. The Telugu song is sung by Ghantasala and the Hindi version by Mohammed Rafi. The tunes are exactly the same in both versions. The Telugu song comes first and at 4min 25 sec, the Hindi song starts…

TAMIL: Kuladeivam, 1956

Rajagopal, Sahasranamam, S S RajendranChandrababuS A Ashokan, Vijayakumari 

  1. HINDI- Pyar Kiye Ja (1966)

A delightful romantic comedy directed by C V Sridhar, the film was first made in Tamil and then reshot in Hindi and Telugu. A wealthy widower lives with his two daughters and a son in a big estate and wants to get his daughters married off to boys from families wealthier than him. Ironically nothing turns out the way he plans and his daughters fall in love with guys who don’t meet his approval. Much to his chagrin he even ends up getting conned by them. Misunderstandings are cleared to pave way for a happy ending.

Song: ‘Phool ban jaaungi shart yeh hai magar…’

Shashi Kapoor, Kalpana, Kishore Kaumar, Om Prakash, Mehmood, Mumtaz

TAMIL- Kadhalikka Neramillai (1964)

S. Balaiah, R. Muthuraman, Nagesh, Rajasree, Sachu, Ravichandran ,Kanchana. 

TELUGU-Preminchi Choodu (1965)

Akkineni Nageshwara Rao, Jaggaiah, Rajasree, Kanchana

  1. HINDI- Don (1978)

This blockbuster film became an important landmark in the career of Amitabh Bachchan where he gets to play two look-alikes – a simpleton in the city and a cold-blooded criminal Don. One day during a police encounter Don is killed and only the Police Commissioner knows this truth. He hides this fact from his own Department and trains the simpleton to masquerade as the Don and get information for the police. But things do go awry and there are plenty of twists and action scenes to make it an unforgettable film.

Song: ‘Yeh mera dil pyar ka deewana…’

Amitabh Bachchan, Zeenat Aman, Ifthekar, Pran

TAMIL- Billa (1980)

Rajnikant, Sripriya, Balaji, Thengai Srinivasan

Incidentally while we have Helen in the Tamil version also singing the song in a different costume, the lady in the Telugu version imitates Helen’s dress but is nowhere near Helen in either her appearance or her dancing!

Telugu- Yugandhar (1982)

NTR, Jaysudha, Jagayya, Satyanarayana

HINDI –Don

Here is another song from the same film – In the Hindi version, Amitabh’s dance in the song became a super-hit and remains a favourite to this day. But neither the Tamil nor Telugu versions were a patch on the Hindi song. While Rajnikant copies Amitabh’s costume but sings a different song, NTR in Telugu copied the tune of the Hindi version but chose to wear a different dress. Dancing by both these actors was not impressive at all…

Song: ‘Khaike Paan Banaraswala khuli jaaye band akal ka taala…’

TAMIL

TELUGU

Same tune but terrible dancing and heroine is relegated to just a few seconds of screen time

  1. HINDI: Prem Nagar, 1974

Produced by D Rama Naidu and directed by K S Prakash Rao, the story of this romantic family drama revolves around the transformation of the alcoholic and womanising hero into a better person by the heroine who works as his caretaker and succeeds in understanding his inner turmoils. Titled Prema Nagar in Telugu, it was remade as Vasantha Maligai in Tamil and Prem Nagar in Hindi and all the three heroes- Rajesh Khanna, Shivaji Ganesan and Akkini Nageshwar Rao benefitted immensely from the success of the film. While Hema Malini was the heroine in Hindi, Vanisri reprised the heroine’s role in both the Tamil and Telugu version.

The song chosen here is sung by the heroine at a poignant moment in the film when she decides to enter the music room and play the ‘Veena’ which has remained untouched for many years…

Song- ‘Yeh kaisa sur mandir hai jisme sangeet nahin…’

Rajesh Khanna, Hema Malini

TELUGU: Prema Nagar, 1971

Akkineni Nageswara Rao, Vanisri

TAMIL :Vasantha Maligai, 1972

Sivaji Ganesan, Vanisri

  1. HINDI: Seeta Aur Geeta, 1972

The story of identical twin sisters separated at birth and growing up in different places under different circumstances in different families proved to be a super-hit formula which was made in all three languages. The song I have chosen is identically shot in all three languages and even the costumes worn by the stars are identical! The film was turning point in Hema Malini’s career and catapulted he into the numero Uno position .

Song- ‘Hawa ke saath saath ghata ke sang sang…’

Hema Malini, Dharmendra, Sanjeev Kumar

TELUGU: Ganga Manga, 1973

Vanisri, Shoban Babu, Krishna

TAMIL: Vani Rani, 1974

Vanisri, Shivaji Ganesan, Muthuraman

  1. HINDI: Yaadon Ki Baraat (1973)

An entertaining musical thriller complete with action, drama, revenge and emotion, the film became a trendsetter in Bollywood. An honest man witnesses a robbery but unfortunately to prevent him from testifying in court, the gangsters kill him and his wife. Their three young sons who witness this get separated and grow up under different circumstances. the eldest one takes to crime only to realize later that his boss is actually the murderer of their parents.

The youngest brother forms a band and sings the song taught by their mother in the hope of reuniting with his brothers. In the song, All three brothers come together but the eldest is not able to give away his identity as he is a criminal now. 

 Song- ‘Yaadon ki baraat nikli hai aaj dil ke dwaare…’

Dharmendra, Vijay Arora, Tariq Hussain, Zeenat Aman, Ajit

TAMIL: Naalai Namadhe (1975)

MGR, Chandramohan, Latha, Nambiar

Interestingly MGR is seen in a double role playing the first and second brother! Wonder how he didn’t play triple role taking on the third brother as well! (In the remake of Zanjeer, he played both Pran and Amitabh Bachchan’s roles!)

TELUGU: Annadammula Anubandham (1975)

N T Rama Rao, Murali Mohan, Nandamuri Balakrishna, Latha

Here the Hindi tune is copied verbatim unlike the Tamil version.

  1. HINDI- Don:The Chase Begins (Remake of the 1978 Don) (2006)

In 2006, director Farhan Akhtar decided to remake Amitabh Bachchan’s super-hit 1978 classic Don from a new perspective with ShahRukh Khan playing the double role. Needless to say, the story underwent major changes but some songs of the originals were remixed and added to the narrative. The innocent ‘paanwala’ gets killed and the criminal Don escapes. Though the film was a big hit, it lacked the chutzpah and charm of its original. At the same time the Tamil and Telugu maker also decided to remake the original Billa with new actors and we had the movie in all three languages just like its predecessor.

Song: ‘Main hoon Don…’

ShahRukh Khan, Priyanka Chopra

TAMIL- Billa (2009)

Ajith, Nayantara

TELUGU- Billa (2009)

Prabhas, Anushka Shetty

  1. HINDI- Rowdy Rathore (2012)

The film is an action packed thriller which involves two look-alikes- a thief and a Deputy Commissioner of Police. The DCP’s small daughter mistakes the thief to be her father and some goons beat up the thief thinking him to be the DCP. The film with all the ingredients of a solid entertainer like action, intrigue, comedy, good songs and excellent performances was a super-hit in all three languages.

Song- ‘Chintata chita chita chinta tata…’

Akshay Kumar, Sonakshi Sinha

TAMIL- Sirudai (2011)

Karthi and Tamannah

TELUGU- Vikramarkudu (2006)

Interestingly, the recent super success of the blockbuster Telugu film Bahubali: The Beginning and Bahaubali: The Conclusion proved beyond doubt that there is no need to re-shoot the whole film in another language with different actors. The makers of this film just dubbed the dialogues and released the film in multiple languages and the film proved to be a super-hit in all languages. The actors Prabhas, Rana Daggubatti, Sathyaraj, Anushka Shetty and Ramya were appreciated in all languages and the talent of these brilliant artistes came to fore for the whole nation to appreciate. Had they been remade with a different set of stars then most of the magic would have been lost and the result would certainly not have been the same. 

WHEN MOHAMMED RAFI AND KISHORE KUMAR WORKED TOGETHER

By

Sharada Iyer

Mohammed Rafi and Kishore Kumar with their unique God-given extraordinary voices sang memorable songs and mesmerized the people across the country and the world for over three and a half decades. During this period they became the two pillars of Hindi film music without whom Hindi cinema and Hindi film music seems unthinkable. Music and songs have been the single most important and distinguishing factor in our cinema since its earliest days and the contribution of these two singing giants is astounding and incomparable.

Both left the world too soon at a stage when they were still actively singing and created a void which could never be filled and would never be filled. They had great regard and respect for each other and shared a wonderful relationship personally as well as professionally.

kishore-rafi 2

Together they got the opportunity to work together in different ways. Both sang more than 30 songs together. Interestingly Kishore Kumar got to lip-sync to Rafi’s voice in three of his films in which he acted- ‘Ragini’, ‘Shararat’ and ‘Baaghi Shehzaada’. On the other hand Rafi got to sing a song composed by Kishore Kumar for the latter’s home production ‘Badhti ka naam dadhi’ .

It is indeed our good fortune that our film industry was blessed with two of the greatest singers ever and the joy was doubled when they worked together to give us remarkable melodies!

 

kishore-rafi 1

This is a musical blog-post where we revisit some of these songs either in audio or video form. Regarding the duets sung together, I have posted YouTube links to about 15 of their duets which include some rare as well as some very popular ones. Also included are a few songs where a third singer joins them. The post also has three songs for which Rafi has done playback for Kishore. At the end are two songs for which dual versions exist in the voices of these two great singers.

RAFI-KISHORE DUETS

FILM:MALKIN (1953)

Music director-ROSHAN

SONG: ‘Kahin se unchi kahin se nichi…’

FILM: BHAAGAM BHAG (1956)

Music director- O P NAYYAR

SONG: ‘Hey Babu yeh hai zamana tera…’

FILM: NAYA ANDAZ ( 1956)

Music director- OP NAYYAR

SONG: ‘Duniya ke bazaar mein bhaiyya…’

audio

video

FILM: FIFTY FIFTY (1956)

Music director- Madan Mohan

SONG: ‘Aadhi tum khalo aadhi hum khalen mil jul ke zamaane mein …’

 

FILM: AKALMAND (1966)

Music director: O P NAYYAR

SONG: ‘Do akalmand hue fikarmand ab soch rahe kya karna hai…’

 audio (very clear)

video (Not very clear but we can see Kishore Kumar and I S Johar)

FILM: SWAYAMVAR (1980)

Music director: RAJESH ROSHAN

SONG: ‘Ek mahal ma cham cham karti rehti dui shahzaadi…’

FILM: DEEDAR-E-YAAR (1980)

Music director: LAXMIKANT-PYARELAL

SONG: ‘Mere dildaar ka baakpan allah allah…’

FILM: DOSTANA (1980)

Music director: LAXMIKANT PYARELAL

SONG: “Bane chahe dushman zamana hamara salaamat rahe dostana hamara…’

FILM: YAADON KI BARAAT (1973)

Music director: R D BURMAN

SONG: ‘Yaadon ki baraat nikli hai aaj dil ke dwaare…’

FILM: AAP KE DEEWAANE (1980)

Music director: RAJESH ROSHAN

SONG: ‘Tumko khush dekh kar main bahut khush hua…’

FILM: CHUPKE CHUPKE (1975)

Music Director: S D BURMAN

SONG: ‘Sa re ga ma, ma sa re ga…’

FILM: AAP TOH AISE NA THE (1980)

Music Director-USHA KHANNA

SONG: ‘Khuda hi juda kare to kare koi taaqat juda humko nahi…’

FILM: IMAAN DHARAM (1977)

Music director- Laxmikant-Pyarelal

SONG: ‘Hum jhoot bolte hain maante hain log jhoot bolte hain maante nahin….’

FILM: RAM BALRAM (1980)

Music-director- LAXMIKANT-PYARELAL

SONG: ‘Ek raasta aha aha do raahi aha aha, ek chor ek sipahi…

FILM: MUQADDAR (1978)

Music-LAXMIKANT PYARELAL

SONG: ‘Tere chehre se parda hatana bhi hai,wallah wallah wallah…’

WHEN THE DUO TEAMED UP WITH A THIRD SINGER:

With MANNA DEY in Nanha Farishta, 1969

Music director- KALYANJI ANANDJI

SONG: ‘Bachhe mein hain bhagwan…’

With SHAILENDRA SINGH in Parvarish, 1977

Music director-LAXMIKANT PYARELAL

SONG: ‘Hum premee prem karna jaane…’

With SHAMSHAD BEGUM in Mastana, 1954

With ASHA BHONSLE in KASME WAADE, 1978

Music director- R D BURMAN

SONG: ‘Mile jo kadi kadi ek zanjeer bane…’

With LATA MANGESHKAR in DOOSRA AADMI, 1977

Music director: RAJESH ROSHAN

SONG: ‘Kya mausam hai chal kahin door nikal jaayein…’

With SUMAN KALYANPUR in Badaltey Rishtey, 1978

Music Director- LAXMIKANT PYARELAL

SONG: ‘Na jaane kaise pal mein badal jaate hain yeh duniya ke…’

WHEN KISHORE KUMAR TURNED MUSIC DIRECTOR FOR RAFI:

FILM: Badhti ka naam dadhi, (1974)

SONG: ‘Band mutthi laakh ki khuli toh pyaare khaak ki…’

WHEN MOHAMMED RAFI DID PLAYBACK FOR KISHORE KUMAR

FILM: SHARARAT (1959)

Music director- SHANKAR-JAIKISHEN

SONG: ‘Ajab yeh dastan teri yeh zindagi…’

FILM: RAAGINI (1958)

Music director-O P NAYYAR

SONG: ‘Man mora baawra…’

FILM: BAAGHI SHEHZADA(1964)

Music director- BIPIN BABUL

SONG: ‘Main is masoom chehre ko agar choo loon…’

—- WHEN KISHORE KUMAR and MOHAMMED RAFI SANG THE SAME SONG

(albeit for different actors under different situations to express different emotions)

PYAR KA MAUSAM (1967)

SONG: ‘Tum bin jaoon kahan ke duniya me aake…’

RAFI

KISHORE

ANDAZ (1971)

SONG: ‘Zindagi ek safar hai suhana…’

RAFI

KISHORE