Listening to: Bobby (1973)

I was in grade 8 then. It was art class. As usual, most of the class was not serious about my very favourite subject but I was paying attention to my work and enjoying myself nonetheless. Then I overheard the boys in the next table discussing Bobby, talking about Dimple in her bikini scene, considered bold at that time. Their comments got more and more salacious. Like a ‘good girl’ I behaved as if I heard nothing;  that’s how I had been taught to behave. But inside I was upset and bewildered. I must say that I was very protected at home and quite young for my years. I didn’t know the term ‘objectification of women’ then. Even if I had known it, I would not have had the guts to turn and confront the boys.

That day left a mark in me. It was a growing up of sorts and not in a good way. Was this how all boys viewed girls? I was repulsed and became very wary of boys in general, never viewing them as friends but as some kind of danger. It got reinforced many times after that, the worst being when I went to university and had to put up with the treatment men gave young girls in crowded Delhi buses. It would be called molestation anywhere else in the world, in India it went by the misnomer ‘eve-teasing’ as if it were something to smile about. How did we come out of it without being psychologically crippled,  I don’t know. Or maybe I am psychologically crippled, who knows!

Perhaps it was that memory which made me encourage my artistic teenaged son to join  drawing classes with nude models. In answer to those teenaged boys all those years ago in one drawing class, my boy learnt to look at the female form with respect and with an artist’s eye in another drawing class.

But I digress. Bobby was just the same-ol’-same-ol’ love story – two youngsters in love against parental opposition. Shakespeare succeeded with Romeo & Juliet on that plot, so have many many other authors.   Bobby was not a tragedy; the kids get their way. And we youngsters loved it. Especially because very unusually for Indian cinema of that time, the lead characters were actually teenagers. Rishi Kapoor & Dimple Kapadia were both natural actors and did justice to their debut film. We could actually identify with them. The movie succeeded also on the strength of its excellent music. Laxmikant-Pyarelal’s music was young, fresh and very catchy. You can listen to the album here.

  • Hum tum ek kamare mein bandh ho – Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. The catchiest of them all, it was hummed by every self-respecting roadside romeo! Open-mouthed smile
  • Main Shair to Nahin – Shailendra Singh. The singer did an excellent job in this, his debut album. A lovely song with very meaningful lyrics. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Mujhe Kuch Kehna Hai – Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. Good duet. Smile
  • Beshak Masjid Mandir Todo – Narendra Chanchal. As I love ethnic sounds, this is very pleasing to my ears. Wonderful lyrics by the legendary Bulleh Shah (1680-1757) : ‘break temples and mosques if you wish, don’t break a heart filled with love for in it resides the beloved’ says he. The tune has the pathos needed to match the words. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Na Mango Sona Chandi – Shailendra Singh, Manna Dey. Good song. Smile
  • Jhoot Bolo Kauva Kate – Lata Mangeshkar, Shailendra Singh. Playful song with an energetic dance. Open-mouthed smile
  • Akhiyon ko rehne do – Lata Mangeshkar, Very beautifully sung song, it used to be my favourite track when the movie was released. I still like it but perhaps not my favourite. Open-mouthed smile
  • E Phasa – Lata Mangeshkar. A dance song to match Aruna Irani’s gyrations, it has a good beat and is well sung. Memorable because it was important to the story. Smile

I was going to pick Jhoot Bole for the nice dance but my heart wasn’t in it – Bulleh Shah’s words pull my heartstrings as does Chanchal’s singing, so here is Beshak Masjid Mandir Todo.


Filed under Bollywood 70's Music, Chanchal

2 responses to “Listening to: Bobby (1973)

  1. Wah! I love this post! 🙂 Ok, so I loved it because of your story in the beginning as I have yet to see the movie. But I will not listen to the music because Bobby is part of the package of old films that will get screened after IIFA in Toronto so after all this build-up, you bet I’m going to see it. 🙂 Saving the pleasure of discovering the music and young (unwrinkly) Rishi for July! Cannot wait! 🙂

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