Tag Archives: Shammi Kapoor

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

Listening to: Professor (1962)

Wednesday evenings were special when I was growing up for it was Chitrahaar night on the telly. For half-an-hour I would happily watch the song-and-dance clips from Hindi films, both old and new. Over time I would see most of the songs from a given film and for films I hadn’t seen (i.e. most of them!) I would make up my own story to link the songs all together! Professor is one such film.

I remembered well Shammi Kapoor horsing about in an old man’s disguise in one song. Today at last I decided to find out why. I will leave reviewing to people better qualified to do so,  I just have a few messages to pass on to the cast & crew:

  • To the casting directors : Good choice, Shammi is a natural at comedy. No wonder he got a best actor nomination! You’ve done well with everyone else too.
  • To the  script writers : Good plot. BUT It is NOT funny to poke fun at the overweight, the short and middle-aged single woman who has soft feelings for a man. Have some taste for God’s sake!
  • To the script writers again: In a caper story, think carefully how to rescue your hero at the end. Muddled endings leave a bad taste. Going from comedy to melodrama leaves a worse taste.
  • To Shammi: blue eye-shadow? Really? And you let them do it to you?
  • To Shammi again: Looking a bit portly in some scenes, aren’t you? And you’re still quite young..Just a friendly warning: you are going to end up obese if you don’t do something now!
  • To Darjeeling: I want to see you too, you look a bit like where I live now but with an Indian touch !
  • To the music composers and lyricists : Shabaash!!! Bravo!!! You deserve your Filmfare award – lucky too, lots of good competition that year..

Shankar-Jaikishen, the composing duo have indeed done a wonderful job. The songs sound lovely even after the passing of nearly 50 years. You can hear the whole album here. These are the songs :

  • Hamare Gaon Koi Ayega – Asha Bhonsle & Lata Mangeshkar, Lovely lilting tune with the flavour of the hills of India. Beautiful scenery, pretty girls in colourful costumes dancing on the hillside…what else can one want? Smile
  • Yeh Umr Hai – Asha Bhonsle, Manna Dey, Usha Mangeshkar. Not bad. If you watch the clip, you can admire Shammi’s fantastic old-man-moves. I don't know smile
  • Main chali main chali – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi. A happy little tune. Rafi at his best can melt one’s bones. Open-mouthed smile
  • Aye Gulbadan – Mohammed Rafi. If bones not already melted, this can absolutely finish the job! Admire Rafi’s vocal range. Good lyrics by Hasrat Jaipuri. Open-mouthed smileRed heart
  • Khuli Palak Mein – Mohammed Rafi. Enjoyable. Smile
  • Awaaz deke – Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammed Rafi. Lovely song. Good lyrics too. Lata and Rafi at their best. But doesn’t suit the movie at all. The song has so much depth and emotion, doesn’t fit in this comic romp of a film.Open-mouthed smileRed heart

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Filed under Bollywood 60's Music, Lata Mangeshkar, Mohammad Rafi