Eating is an agricultural act - Wendell Berry

Thursday, May 28, 2009

bollywood expert on the expressway

a certain Mr. S Khan plies his taxi up and down the mumbai-pune route.
this is his drive for basic sustenance.

i had the good fortune of using his services on both legs of my pune trip yesterday.
we got warmed up on the way to pune when he played some very nice classic songs.

on the return, since he had run out of cassettes (yes there are people who still use them), i created a playlist of around 30 songs and played them from my laptop.

this got his juices flowing and for the next 2.5 hours, i was amazed by his bollywood bhakti:
1. for almost every song, he knew the movie, the producer, the director, the lyricist, the story writer and for some even the year of release!
2. i even tested him with a very old song from shehnai (aana meri jaan sunday ke sunday). he guessed from the tune and rhythm that it was by C Ramachandra. on which, i said, gotcha! the singer was a certain chitalkar as recorded in my playlist. turns out that they are the same :-)

some exciting tidbits from the exchange:
1. dil hai ki maanta nahin is a remake of chori chori. raja hindustani is a remake of jab jab phool khile. these 2 are well known facts. but he also insisted that lagaan is fully inspired by naya daur.
2. his four most respected bollywood people/families are: naushad, majrooh sultanpuri, rafi and pran. his criteria were simpicity, how they treated others (including rivals) and how they raised their kids. here is a great piece on naushad and rafi combo.
3. zeenat aman's father was a co-writer of mughal-e-azam.
4. kishore kumar and lata mangeshkar almost formed a coterie/monopoly in the late 70s and early 80s not allowing new singers to breakthrough.
5. hrishikesh mukherjee could not afford kishore kumar for rajesh khanna in anand and hence plumped for manna dey to come up with the classic - zindagi kaisi hai paheli.

2.5 hours which made my month.

No comments: