Monday, July 21, 2008

Beeti Na Beetai Raina: Forgotten Stars, Unforgettable Songs

Recently, Mad Momma came up with an uncharacteristic post on songs that became massive hits despite non-entity actors and/or flop movies. Needless to add, she got 711 comments on her post. So, taking the discussion forward, I thought of adding some favourite songs of mine - which meet the criteria defined above. However, knowing my tendency to ramble, there is fair possibility that this post might degenerate into a reminiscing post about songs I liked, but ones that did not become adequately successful…
Confession: I have not read the comments so there are bound to be many repeats. Anybody who has read all the comments are advised to stay away!

According to me, Neele neele ambar par (from the film, Kalakaar) is the biggest hit from a flop film. Kunal Goswami's turn as a guitar-toting singing sensation did not make any impact as he behaved like his father in Kranti (which I am told, was Kunal’s first movie as a child star). I vaguely recall the song being sung in a college-picnic / bonfire kind of setting in which Sridevi falls in love with Kishore Kumar's voice and had contend with Kunal's wooden looks.

Maula mere maula from the UFO called Anwar has suddenly emerged as a strong contender for the above title. A lovely song in the sufi style, it had taken over all the FM channels in the last few months while its film had a blue-faced Krishna-type character gracing some posters, which I saw in multiplexes. The film also apparently released but sank without such a lack of trace that it is ranked alongside Atlantis and Hoffa among the greatest disappearances in world history. On the other hand, Shootout at Lokhandwala with Ganpat did not vanish as cleanly.

Sili hawa chhoo gayee from Libaas made it to the top of every countdown show in town despite having two major disadvantages. One, it had no jhankaar beats. Two, the song was filmed on Shabana Azmi and Raj Babbar, who are not exactly teeny-bopper favourites. They are not quite pushovers either but in the context of Divya Bharti in the days of Superhit Muqabla, they were quite unknown. Come to think of it, the film never flopped because it never found a theatrical release! Probably the last film of the RD-Gulzar combine, the music had everything except for distribution.

Ajay Devgan and Sonali Bendre are not exactly flop stars though they have acted in innumerable flop films. One of their biggest flops is undoubtedly Diljale. Produced and directed by Harry Baweja (of Love Story 2050 fame), this came on the back of a reasonable hit called Dilwale, causing Nilendu and me to speculate if Mr Baweja is on a Dil**le series. Dilwale starred Ajay Devgan, Sunil Shetty and Raveena Tandon among others and is famous for a romance brewing between Ajay and Raveena on its sets because of which Raveena Tandon and Karisma Kapoor had a showdown in Bombay airport causing Ajay to dump them both and hook up with Kajol while Raveena Tandon went ahead with Akshay Kumar. Damn, my asides are longer than my main points! Anyway, Diljale had one song (a moderate hit, picturised on Ajay Devgan) which was played all over but I have forgotten by now. It had an even better song - Kisse poochhoo us ladki ka naam - picturised on Parmeet Sethi, which was never played on the music channels because he was a non-entity. Anu Malik redeemed himself of his early 90's crap with this one song, lovingly written by Javed Akhtar.

Another example of a hit song from a flop film needs unravelling of a very dark chapter from my past. In college, I hung around the fringes of the Calcutta quizzing circuit, which is unquestionably the toughest (and also, the most sarcastic!) circuit of the country. But in a strange snobbery, the Bollywood questions asked in Calcutta quizzes were terribly easy because it was still unfashionable for the Bangali bhadralok to admit that he derived pleasure from Govinda's pelvis... okay, that sounded a little odd but you know what I mean, right? In one such quiz, they played the music video (starring Anupama Verma) Boom Boom and asked us to name the original film the song was from. The other participants - who were used to questions like 'what is the full form of DDLJ' - froze. My team relaxed because they knew I would get it. Nilendu was in the audience and again wondered all is not well with the world. I, of course, forgot the name of the Kumar Gaurav starrer (of which Nilendu owned a LP record in a dog-eared cover). It was from a movie called Star and my inability to answer that caused me more embarrassment that my flunking Engineering Mechanics in the first semester! As a footnote, one may add that most (if not all) of Kumar Gaurav’s songs can feature in hit-gaana-flop-hero list. He acted in a reasonable large body of musically competent but cinematically crap films.

How many of you have heard / remembered a film called Don II? However, most of you would remember the Hawa Hawa (e hawa, khushboo luta de) song from the album, performed by one Mr Hassan Jehangir who was supposed to be a Pakistani star. The album had some eight or ten songs, all of which were quite good and some of them were runaway hits, despite the rather poor quality of recording. Enthused by the success of his album, Hassan landed up in India and made a film (which looked worse than a music video) to fit in all his songs and dreamt of having an affair with Raveen Tandon but all his fans vanished in a puff of smoke the moment they say his hennaed hair and pot-bellied figure! No, the film never released. In fact, I don’t even know if the full film ever got made.
But then, it is probably unfair to put Hassan Jahangir’s shoddy music video as a film. Nevertheless, in the same breath of music videos, one must fit in a quick nod to Altaf Raja – who sold a platinum disc of platinum discs with his song – Tum toh thehre pardesi, saath kya nibhaoge / Subah pehli gaaaaaaadi se, ghar ko laut jaogaaaayyyy. His success was so stupendously mind-blowing that it was Mithun Chakraborty – and not multiplex darlings like Karan Johar – who offered him a guest appearance in one of his films. I stand ashamed before GreatBong and his cohorts as I completely fail to remember the name of the film which has the landmark song – “Thoda intezar ka mazaa lijiye…

At one point in the early 1990's, the most powerful man in Bollywood was not Amitabh Bachchan, it was not Yash Chopra, it was Gulshan Kumar. The T-Series baron - with a little bit of help from Nadeem-Shravan, Kumar Sanu and Anuradh Paudwal - churned out hit album after hit album, clocking massive sales of the tapes irrespective of the movie's box office fate. But as Hindi film villains keep on saying, "Har insaan ki koi kamzori hoti hain...", Gulshan had a brother called Krishan who had ambitions to become a film star. Among his assets was an ability to wear heavy leather jackets in summer (including beach scenes), extremely bushy & expressive eyebrows and of course, his brother's undying love. Armed with this, he acted in a series of devastating flops (which would have sunk many a lesser producer but not Gulshan!), almost all of which had decent soundtracks. Particularly nice is the title song from the film Aaja Meri Jaan (which was a teen-romance-murder-mystery on the lines of Khiladi), which also starred his eventual wife - Tanya Singh. The wound of the posters - "Starring Dashing Krishan Kumar and Cute Tanya" - on my memory is still raw. Another movie of his (with another hit-but-hated song Achha sila diya tune mere pyaar ka / yaar ne hi loot liya ghar yaar ka) was called Bewafa Sanam (not to be mistaken with Sanam Bewafa, starring Salman Khan and Roshni) - in which his best friend framed him, got him jailed and married his childhood sweetheart. Something like what Nadeem did to Gulshan Kumar.

At this point of time, it would be advisable to take a couple of steps backward and land in the 50-60’s. For example, Pradip Kumar Batabyal is a total non-entity as far as my wife and sister are concerned, his film Taj Mahal is a flop in their eyes but even they cannot deny the power of the brilliant Jo wada kiya wo toh nibhana padega. Just as people would be hard-pressed to remember the stars of Saraswati Chandra (which was a moderate success, at best) but Retro Café on Radio City (9 PM, weeknights) would have folded up long time back if they were not allowed to play Chandan sa badan, chanchal chitwan.
Does Joy Mukherjee qualify as a non-entity? A lot of youngsters would probably agree but I would join my mother in protesting very strongly as the 1960's scion of the Mukherjee family was a big star and a string of hits like Love in Tokyo, Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon and most importantly, Shagird.

So, I would leave the discussion here. Ever since I saw an Indian Idol contestant (incidentally, a Bengali) whose life’s ambition was to meet Aftab Shivdasani and Nauheed Cyrusi, I realized that it is futile to classify success and failure according to conventional wisdom.
After all, Pran singing Yaari hain imaan mera along with a non-entity hero in Zanjeer could well have been part of this list.


Nilendu said...

Aah, Diptakirti, you refresh such memories (and make end of the days so much better when you post) that I would not bring up the misses (ouch, hits) from "Fifty Fifty", "Saathi", "Laava" and "Nischay".

Now, time to go back to the Confidence Motion.

Anonymous said...

just one point- sanam bewafa starred chandni not roshni. how about tarzan my tarzan from tarzan( what else?!) that starred the flop hero hemant birje and kimi katkar?

the mad momma said...

oye - what do you mean uncharacteristic? I can bet I have more music posts than you do. by the way i ahve never heard your sili hawa chhoo gayee song. was it really that big a hit?

Anonymous said...

I think the diljale song you were referring to ( with Ajay Devgan) was 'Ho Nahin Sakta'

Silent Melody said...

lolz :D U bet...some movies wud come n go widout a trace but the songs hang on...u remember that 'Achcha sila diya tune mere payaar ka' starrin Gulshan kumar's brother ...i dont rmrbr the movie or the guys name but im sure u can recall that was supposed to be sad but was a big joke in our school times.

Nilendu said...


roshni is that chick from samundar..growing old, huh?

Anonymous said...


Typo - it is "Jo wada kiya woh nibhana padega" - the "toh" is not there in the original song...

Interesting list nonetheless - i really like Sili Hawa Choo Gayee...


Greatbong said...

"I stand ashamed before GreatBong and his cohorts as I completely fail to remember the name of the film which has the landmark song – “Thoda intezar ka mazaa lijiye…”

The name of the movie, most prolly, is Shapath. :-)

shrabonti said...

I didn't read all of MM's comments but no one seems to have mentioned 'Roz Roz Aankhon Tale'. A truly beautiful song if there ever was one. From a film called 'Jeeva' starring Sanjay Dutt and Mandakini. No one's ever heard of the film. I only know coz the song was featured on a compilation of Gulzar's songs and I just happened to catch the film on cable once.

shrabonti said...

And, umm, is the song in this post's title meant to qualify in this category? I don't really agree, actually. Parichay, Sanjeev Kumar, Jaya Bhaduri, non-entities, flops? Surely not?

OrangeJammies said...

The person who co-starred in Sanam Bewafa with Salman Khan was Chandni Sharma, not Roshni. She was a Saawan Kumar Tak find. I can't believe I know this. Must go drown.

Nilendu said...

Jeeva is actually a great film (for reasons I cannot write here). Baba played a daaku etc etc. I would not put Jeeva as an unknown film in any list.

Anonymous said...

There was this movie called Alag Alag, starring Rajesh Khanna and Tina Munim, back in the days when they were sharing a toothbrush. It had some great RD songs - the title track was a blockbuster tho the movie wasn't. And Shrabonti, I thought I was the only one to know that Jeeva number!

Anonymous said...

Anybody who is an RD fan would know the Jeeva & Libaas song. Bade Dil Wala was another movie that had great songs so was the old Buddha Mil Gaya with Navin Nishchal

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

@ All: Of course, it is Chandni. An unfortunate typo and a realisation that all you guys read my posts way too carefully!

@ Shrabonti: Of course, your Roz Roz Aankhon Tale is a suitable and welcome addition to the list. And don't you worry... people not only know Jeeva (epsecially the heroine) intimately, they even own VCDs of the movie.

@ MM: Uncharacteristic because you write about ENGLISH music. You do look down upon Bollywood and associated appendages so I was rather surprised to see a Hindi music post from you.

@ GB: But, of course!

the mad momma said...

what shit Dipta - I have NEVER looked down on hindi music. My husband looks down on my taste - so go take ur issue up with him :D he prolly hasnt heard half this stuff.

that said - @ shrabonti - Dipta's post is slightly different - mine clearly said stars tha tno one really recognised. Sanjay Dutt wouldnt qualify. but otherwise - beautiful song. I love it.

Nilendu said...

Hey Dipta,

I think you already know this - I did not. So here it is --

Last night there was a re-run of "Seeta aur Geeta". Before Geeta's (disguised as Seeta) wedding to Sanjeev Kumar, the jeweler visits the haveli. Guess which shop he said the "gehnes" will be coming from?

"Haribhai Jarwalla Jewellery".

What a masterpiece. Ramesh Sippy leaves such gold flakes throughout.

Roger Rabbit said...

I believe the song in Diljale you were referring to (topping music charts once upon a time) was either "Jiske Aane Se" or "Ho Nahin Sakta"...

I also believe it is unfair to include "Sili Hawa.." in this list, simply because it came from a film that never got released. Rather, it was not allowed to be released (the only revenue Mr.Sampooran Singh ever made out of this movie was through the music). The Censor Board, in those times, considered Libaas, a film "unsuitable" for Indian audiences. A little strange, considering that Libaas was made almost as a sequel to Ijazaat. Libaas also starred Utpal Dutt who was with us no more by the time the dubbing was to be done, and it was left to a certain Johny Lever to do the dubbing on behalf of him.

Apart from "Sili Hawa", there was another gem..."Khamosh Sa Afsana" (Suresh Wadkar+Lata) .. you might be lucky to find it in some CD collections.

The songs were marvels, no questions about that...but even in those days they never went down with the public becaus of two things:
One, the lack of publicity (as you have rightly pointed out), and
Two, the over-availibility of spice.
In 1993, expecting the average Indian music lover, already too too confused between Akshay-Raveena-Shilpa-Sunil quadrangle (and even more confused to figure out whether Ms.Karishma was indeed a "baby" or something else) to interpret Gulzar's "Neeli Nadi Ke Peeche Pila Sa Chaad Khil Gaya", was like expecting Mayawati to interpret the IAEA deal.

Libaas strictly did not belong to the 90s. Well, this time it was not "ahead of its times" had arrived too late.

By the way, I never knew Taj Mahal was a flop in those times.
Don't you think "Wo Jab Yaad Aye, Bahut Yaad Aye" from a disaster named Parasmani (you wouldn't like to view the picturisation of this song in the first place) should figure in your list?

Andy said...

Hi Dipta,

There used to be a song with Moon Moon Sen and the "Yudhister" from Mahabharat. They always used to show it in Rangoli. Would you remember it?

Not that it might feature in this list, but i used to love the song and look forward to it every Sunday morn!!

Anonymous said...


I am surprised no one mentioned this Kishore Kumar gem - "Pyaar manga hai tumhise.. na inkaar karo..." from a movie called College Girl... never got a chance to watch the movie.

Roger Rabbit said...

Itna sannata kyon hai bhaai?

Ritu said...

Nice theme anda great nostalgic selection from the 90s (music that I ran away from while growing up, but look back fondly now, mainly out of nostalgia!)

I still haven't figured out how 'beeti na bitai raina' could be termed as pictursised on forgotton stars. Surely Jaya Bhaduri and Sanjeev Kumar are not forgotton? Infact I daresay, the song is lesser known than the stars :).

Also, while I share your wife and sister's aversion to Pradeep Kumar(add joy mukherjee and biswajit to the list as well!), Taj Mahal was a blockbuster in it's times and so that this song.


P.S I discovered your blog recently and have quite enjoyed what you dish out here, esp your sales stories!

Beryl said...

" my asides are longer than my main points!"
LOl-But ur side bar nuggets of info are very informative

What a cool post of memories..
Wow..U actually remember the promos for Aaja meri jaan-I thot I was the only one-But the movie had good songs

Hawa hawa song became a phenomenon. The singer did come here but I didnt know he had tried making a movie

Also some other songs were the pooja bhat sons like "Tum kya mile janejaan" from saatwan aasaman and
bambai se aaya mera dost from i dont know which movie

Khalil Sawant said...

You forgot
Bin Tere Sanam, Mar Mitengey Ham - Yaaraa Dildaaraa

Khalil Sawant said...

Diljale also had the "Meraa Desh Mera Mulk Mera Ye Watan" and "Shyaam Hai Dhuaan Dhuaan".
Having Javed Akhtar helped a lot :)