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Tilak Rishi, born in India, has been working as a career corporate executive, after doing his MBA. Passionately pursuing his hobby for writing, he also remained a regular contributor to newspapers in India and the U.S. Many true happenings and characters he came across in life, including interaction with former president Bill Clinton, inspired Paradise Lost and Found, his first novel. A family saga, it starts from Kashmir, when this paradise on earth is lost for the tourists who thronged in thousands every year to enjoy its scenic splendor. Terrorists have turned it into one of the most dangerous places in the world. The family is not only a witness to the loss of this paradise, but also to another tragedy of much bigger magnitude. In the aftermath of the partition of India, along with millions uprooted from their homes in Pakistan, the family leaves behind all that it has in Lahore. Starting from a scratch on the difficult path to progress, it still has many joyful moments when along the way it makes a difference in many a life. The survival-to-success story climaxes in California where the family finds the paradise that was lost in Kashmir.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Hilarious Hits Of Comedy Icons

Bollywood has carried on the tradition of discovering and rediscovering the comedians from the bygone era till today, who excelled in evoking laughter with their talent and perfect comic timing. Comedy is a tough thing to enact and to do a comic song is all the more demanding. Still, thanks to the comedy icons, especially of the bygone era of Bollywood, there is no dearth of such songs. These are joyous, naughty, swinging songs with deliberately clever wordings which were immensely enjoyed by the audiences. The way these songs have been sung with sparkling comic timing by some of the ace comedians, is what makes them classics in their own right and rage of their time. Here is a pick, my most favorite ten, from the long list of popular comedy songs, with a tribute to the comedians who made the magic happen:

1. Mere Piya Gaye Rangoon – Patanga (1949)
Even sixty years after the original song was sung by Shamshad Begum and Chitalker ( C. Ramchndra), many re-mix versions have been made till recently. Not only that, even the song seems to have inspired the Lady Gaga/Buoyancy hit duet “Telephone”. The screen version of the song was an instant hit, chiefly because of the charm of leading lady Nigar Sultana and the popularity of comedian Gope, on whom the song was picturised.

Beginning his career in the early 1930s, Gope Kamlani went on to become one of Hindi cinemas most popular comedians. Such was his appeal that at the height of his career, he shared credits with the films lead actors. His first film was Insaan Ya Shaitan (1933), which starred among others Jaddan Bai, the mother of actress Nargis. Gope soon won critical and popular acclaim for his comic roles and became the leading comedian of his time. Amongst his better-known films are Hindustan Hamara, Patanga, Mirza Sahiban, and Chori Chori.

2. Lara Lappa Lara Lappa Layee Rakh Da - Ek Thi Ladki (1949)
The song meant instant fame for Meena Shorey and the film, in which she shares the screen with legendary actors such as Motilal and I. S. Johar .This light-hearted funny Punjabi-Hindi song became immensely popular because of the lyrics and the free flowing tune and not to forget the magic of Lata and Mohammad Rafi. The film gave break to the legendary comedian I. S. Johar.

3. Ye Do Diwane Dil ke, Chale Hain Dekho Milke - Johar Mehmood In Goa (1965)
Comedians Mehmood and I. S. Johar hit a surprise jackpot with this rollicking number that made Johar Mehmood in Goa a runaway hit. The film is remembered for Mohd. Rafi and Manna Dey's hit duet.

I. S. Johar
Johar made his acting debut with Roop K Shorey’s, Ek Thi Ladki (1949). He acted in numerous Hindi films from the 1950s through to the early 80s, and played cameos in international films such as Harry Black (1958), North West Frontier (1959), Lawrence of Arabia (1962) [4] and Death on the Nile (1978), besides acting in Maya (1967), a US TV series. I. S. Johar also wrote and directed films in which he co-starred with comedian Mehmood. Comedians Mehmood and I. S. Johar hit a surprise jackpot with the rollicking entertainer Johar Mehmood in Goa. Mehmood's no-holds barred comedy provides the perfect match to Johar's subtle, cynical humour and the sparks flow. The comedy team clicked in a big way and the comic duo went on to make several more capers which immortalized them. He also starred in films with his own surname in the title such as Mera Naam Johar, Johar in Kashmir and Johar in Bombay, which is a testament both to his immense egotism, as well as his popularity with the common masses.

4. Bholi Soorat Dil Ke Khote - Albela (1951)

This song is funny in its own way. The lyrics are one of the most meaningful songs considering the way of life is in this era. And the tender dance steps of Bhagwan Dada became his trademark dance step. In fact, every major star from Amitabh Bachchan and Govinda to Mithun Chakraborty and Rishi Kapoor has copied Bhagwan-style slow-moving dancing in their movies. Even today crowds go hysterical every time they hear Shola jo bhadke, dil mera dhadke … or Bholi surat dil ke khote, naam bade aur darshan chhote… from the film.

Bhagwan Abaji Pandav, better known as Bhagwan or Bhagwan Dada, was acknowledged as an ace comic actor. Bhagwan was different from our concept of a romantic hero. He was portly, slow-moving and had bulging eyes. But in "Albela" he clicked well with Geeta Bali. The film became a super hit and Bhagwan had everything he had dreamt of — money, fame and friends. A veteran actor of about 600 films in the course of more than five decades, Bhagwan ultimately gave up as he could not adapt to the indiscipline of the present set-up. Bhagwan was in particular grateful to Dilip Kumar who would stop his car and honk whenever he passed by his window and would not move till they greeted each other. Some other industry folks too would salute him on the odd occasion he attended a public function.

5. Charandas ko peene ki jo aadat naa hoti – Pehli Jhalak (1954)

In this song, Kishore Kumar enacts Charandas as well as Charandas’ harassed wife. And needless to say, he sings the song too (lending voices to both the characters). The lyrics by Rajinder Krishan are very amusing and his description of the behavior of a drunkard is quite realistic and life like. C Ramchandra is the music director.

6. Paanch Rupaiya Barah Aana - Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1956)
Kishore Kumar has to recover five rupees and twelve annas which Madhubala owes for getting her car repaired in his garage. But he also uses this opportunity to profess his love for which he can sing dadra. And now he chooses SD Burman’s classic Dheere se jana bagiyan mein to give it a comic twist. Kishore Kumar is not done yet. In the end he declares he can become a jogi for her love – and now he chooses KC Dey’s iconic Teri gathri mein laga chor.

7. Mannu Tera Hua Ab Mera – Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi (1956)
This song sung by Kishore and Manna Daa has to be one of the most beautifully sung songs ever. It talks about the haves and have-nots as far as having a girlfriend is concerned. Kishore having besotted Madhubala with his boyish charms belongs to the haves while the eternal bachelor Anoop bemoans his lack of a girlfriend, and the ensuing duet makes for compulsive rib tickling viewing.

Kishore Kumar
Kishore Kumar was a genius who died before his time. He was a comic par excellence and if you have not seen films like Chalti Ka Naam Gadi, Padosan, New Delhi then do yourself a favor and watch them. Of course he sang romantic melodies, sad songs and children’s songs and sung them all with unmatched talent, but he was by far the best in his uproariously funny songs. Kishore Kumar did not need to do an act. He was mad. He was crazy, he was wild. He would sing – in Hindi, in English, in Bengali, in Gibberish; he would dance, he would squat, he would jump, he would roll, he would sleep – all in the same song of 3 minutes. The man who started in 1948 in the KL Saigal mould under the baton of Khemchand Prakash with Marne ki duayen kyun maangun (Ziddi) and Jagmag karta nikla (Rimjhim) carried on for twenty years trailing behind Rafi, Mukesh etc, when suddenly post-Aradhana he zoomed off like a rocket redefining playback singing as the voice of Rajesh Khanna and later, Amitabh Bachchan and everyone else, leaving the great singers far behind. But singing was only one part of his multifarious talents. He was an actor, writer, producer, director and composer. It is the mad, crazy, wild and funny Kishore Kumar singing for himself on the screen that was absolutely adorable.

8. Sar Jo Tera Chakraaye - Pyaasa (1957)
The song "Sar Jo Tera Chakraye" was developed during a visit by Guru Dutt and Johnny Waskar to Kolkata (Calcutta) before the filming of Pyaasa. While once having breakfast at a roadside joint, they happened to watch a local masseur apply his talents to a gentleman's head, and Guru Dutt asked Johnny to keep that scene in mind. Even after more than five decades the legendary comedy song from the classic movie is rhymed and is an inspiration to many lyricist and composers.

Johnny Walker
Anyone who’s seen Hindi movies of the ‘50s and ‘60s would remember Johnny Walker in several films enacting a particular scene. His dialog during the sequence, his expressions and his andaaz make him a scene stealer and it must be very few people who cannot remember Johnny Walker for his ability to evoke a laugh in us. However, the man we knew as Johnny Walker is not really so. That’s just his screen name, given to him by famous film actor and director, Guru Dutt, who first gave him a break in his film Baazi. After Baazi, he acted in several films such as Aar Paar (1954), Mr. & Mrs. ’55 (1955) and in 1956, he starred in Guru Dutt’s C.I.D. From his entire career, Johnny is remembered most of all for his role in C.I.D in which he sang the famous song, Yeh Hai Bombay Meri Jaan, a tribute to the citizens of this city. In the 1950s, film producers always had a song picturized on Johnny because he was the audience’s darling. All in all, he acted in 300 films and won many awards as a comedian or supporting actor.

9. Hum Kale Hain To Kya Hua Dilwale Hain - Gumnaam (1965)
A phenomenally popular song sung by Rafi and picturized on Mahmood and Helen in a dream sequence (of Mahmood). This is an out and out tapori song that became an out and out evergreen classic song. In fact, Mehmood’s comedy and Rafi’s this song made this movie a huge success. And let us not forget the contributions of the lyricist (Shailendra), the music directors ( Shankar Jaikishan) and, of course, Helen too, who dances along with Mahmood in this song, and does a great job as always.

10. Ek Chatur Naar - Padosan (1968)
In the film, Kishore Kumar has graduated into a love guru. But his task is now immensely more difficult. He has to help his protégé, the village idiot Bhola (Sunil Dutt) wean away the next window neighbour Bindu (Saira Bano), to whom he has got infatuated, from the influence of Mehmood. The only reason why she should have any tolerance for the clownish Mehmood is his music capability which has helped him get into her proximity as her music and dance teacher. Teaching music to the tone deaf Bhola was impossible, so the Guru KK sets up this duel with Mehmood, with Bhola lip-synching while KK and his team sing in playback mode. Padosan was a Mehmood film, but an understated, cerebral Kishore Kumar holds his own against over-the-top mannerisms and slapstick of Mehmood.

After Paravrish, Mehmood came to be recognized for his comic talent. He landed himself meatier roles in films like Gumnam, Pyar Kiye Jaa and Pyar Hi Pyar. In 1961, he played the lead comedian in Sasural. He was paired with a character actress named Shobha Khote. Their zany combination was so successful, that they went on to become a “comedy pair” in many hit films thereafter – hits like Love in Tokyo and Ziddi. Later, Aruna Irani replaced her in the comedy team. As the 60s progressed, Mehmood kept expanding the role of the comedian in Hindi movies and a time came, when he was so much “in demand” that producers approached him, offering him full-length comedy films. By the early 70s, Mehmood was at the peak of his comic career. He exhibited a rare ability to gauge the moods of the cinema-going audience – especially the front-benchers! This was the time when Mehmood decided to concentrate on his own production house. He had already started his company in the early 60s, with his first production called Chhote Nawab (1961). This had been followed by a suspense-comedy–thriller called Bhoot Bangla, in which Mehmood had taken the director’s chair for the first time. His company’s Padosan – in which Mehmood locked horns with Kishore Kumar in a South-Indian-versus-North-Indian war – became a massive hit in the 70s. At that time, Mehmood’s star was at its zenith. By the time the 90s set in, Mehmood had played his entire hand -- as actor, director, storywriter and producer. But Mehmood will forever be remembered as he appeared in his heydays – as the King of Comedy.

The rise of item numbers after the phenomenal popularity of 'Munni badnam hui' and 'Sheila ki jawani' and their increasing popularity has a damaging effect on comedy songs in films. But thanks to some of the present day filmmakers like David Dhawan, Priyadarshan, Rajkumar Hirani etc., who distinguish with their blockbuster comedies filled with the innovative vigor and creativity of the classic comedy, we still have an occasional comedy song, that comes quite close to hilarious hits of comedy icons.


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