Listening to: An Evening in Paris (1967)

An Evening in ParisI was on holiday in USA when Shammi Kapoor passed away. I’ve waited to come back home to acknowledge it properly. On my return, I rummaged through my recent purchase of 40 odd golden oldies known for their music but to my astonishment, I haven’t selected even one film of Shammi’s! But why? I am puzzled! There are so many entertainers with good music amongst his films…

In my teenage years, I didn’t quite enjoy his films. I think I found his buffoonery annoying.  Plus I registered him in my mind as an overweight middle aged man who acted with women much too young for him – an off-putter for any teenager! I realise now that he wasn’t really old at all. I remember it was my sister who urged me to watch Teesri Manzil in the late eighties. ‘You’ll like it, its fun’ she said. And I did. And it was.

After that I saw many more of his films, all of the masala-entertainer category, with Shammi’s unique touch of exuberant wildness! I never saw him as an actor, merely as a star who acted out a lot. Yet there was an actor within the over-actor, and an attractive man within the I-have-let-myself-go physique.

As an apology to overlooking the value of films which are just fun and nothing more, and in appreciation of all the fun Shammi has provided, I dedicate this post to him. My own in-memoriam to this memorable star of Bollywood. As I live in Switzerland, An Evening in Paris is the appropriate choice for today’s post – it was one of the pioneers of ‘Bollywood in Switzerland’. This brochure issued by Swiss Tourism would be an interesting read for Bollywood fans.

This film  is everything a Shammi entertainer should be and more. Evidently big money was spent on its making – it has been shot in France, Switzerland, Beirut and around the Niagara Falls. There are descents from helicopters, motor boat chases and water-skiing displays. There is much to entertain & please the discerning viewer – Shammi in colourful shirts and colour-coordinated hats, Sharmila in (very) skimpy clothes, Pran with bright orange hair, a dilettante who becomes a nurse at the drop of a hat, Sharmila pretend-waterskiing with beehive hair, Shammi hanging from a helicopter in a striped dressing gown(!), Shetty in a wig, Rajendranath as a madcap Sardar and well-brought up goons who say please and thank you!! And if all that doesn’t tempt you, there are some really good songs too! The music is well composed by Shankar Jaikishen and even though the lyrics by Shailendra & Hasrat Jaipuri don’t stand out and say ‘quote me’, they are quite adequate.

  • Aisa Mauka Phir Kab Milega – Mohammad Rafi. Just the song for Shammi’s shimmying, I noticed that the firangi girls just strut about doing much of nothing. Today’s firangis contribute a lot more, don’t they? Smile
  • Deewane Ka Naam To Poocho – Mohammad Rafi. Rafi’s magnificent voice makes the best of any song ! Smile
  • Hoga Tumse Kal Bhi Samna – Mohammad Rafi. I didn’t remember this song, perhaps it wasn’t played much on the radio? Didn’t quite take to it..Thinking smile
  • Akele Akele – Mohammad Rafi. Now this is a classic, good lyrics, great music and fantastic singing by Rafi. I was excited to see the Mürren sign, I’ve been hiking there! Open-mouthed smile
  • My Name is Suzy – Asha Bhonsle. Never heard this one before, and won’t again.Sad smile
  • Aasman Se Aaya Farishta – Mohammad Rafi. Another unforgettable classic. How did Rafi do it, sounding more like Shammi than Shammi himself? Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Mera Dil Hai Tera – Mohammad Rafi. I had forgotten this song; another upbeat song, its so-so. Thinking smile
  • Raat ka Humsafar – Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhonsle. This is the only duet in the film. Its a lovely song to which both Asha & Rafi add lustre. Plus its shot in Paris at night, what could be more romantic? Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Zuby Zuby – Asha Bhonsle. An item number by Sharmila, its refrain is melodious but the rest of the song doesn’t hold it for me. Thinking smile

To listen to the whole album, click here. My choice for today is Aasman Se Aaya Farishta as it is, to me, the iconic song of this film.

Enjoyed the song? Now watch Shammi Kapoor talking about his experience of shooting this – he is a showman incarnate !

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Filed under Bollywood 60's Music, Mohammad Rafi

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