Top 10 cringe-worthy songs from the 90s

For my generation born in the mid-80, 90’s were the true 80’s of Hindi music- loud kitsch music (with Jhankaar beats!!),  made-up lyrics (tururu, tururu, tururu turu kahan se karun main pyar shuru!!), some mad dance moves, of which some still survive in the southern movies, and really bad fashion sense.  And now that I’m thinking about it, not much seems to have changed in the last 2 decades- we still have kitschy music (thankfully without Jhankaar beats), made up lyrics (Haila Haila, Hua Hua!!), and mad dance moves (without shirts).

But the 90s were a totally different league altogether, the music induced cringe as it has never been induced before. I know that many of the 80’ers would argue that nothing beats Mithun shaking his biscuit on Bappi-Da in the cringe fight, and probably yes. But what the 80’ers didn’t to deal with was satellite television and Superhit Muqabla (peace be upon him), which would transmit these blaring cringe inducing sounds every day, every week to our home, and we would sit wide (glazed?) eyed, hum them, sing them, and even shake our biscuits (let’s admit it- who hasn’t danced or wanted to dance to “meri pant bhi sexy”…okay, me neither).

So here goes my list for the 10 most cringe inducing songs from the 90’s, that are still stored up in our head, creep up every now and then, and halfway through the song in your head you go “WTF!! Where did that come from!!”.

With so many to choose from I applied a few rules : a) apart from the cringe quotient, the song must have the great ability to get stuck in your head playing itself in a loop no matter how hard you try to get rid of it, b) one song per movie, otherwise the list has a danger of being overrun by tracks from epics like Mohra, and Gopi Kishan. Now Enjoy!!

10. A aa ee, U uu OO (Raja Babu)

No, I’m not constipated. This is just the phamous alphabet song from Raja Babu. I know it has another cringer called “sarkailo khatiya”, but it failed on rule one. No matter how much Karisma Kapoor or Govinda (yes, him too) lifted their kurtas, the song never got stuck in my head like this alphabet song did. With awesome lyrics written by Sameer (who else), sung by Abhijeet, a cringer-singer in his own right, it also features

–          the backdrop dancers doing a pelvic thrust wearing a saree

–          Govinda’s style, which still inspires doodhwallas, and politicians alike. Now that’s something for national integration

–          Shakti Kapoor- enough said

9. Hai Hukku Hai Hukku (Gopi Kishan)

“Hai hukku Hai hukku Hai Hai!! Hai hukku Hai hukku Hai Hai”..FTW, enough said.

P.S: If Kumar Sanu is sent to hell, it will be because of this song.

8.  Bol Bolle Bol Tujhko Kya Chahiye (Trimurti)

I’m absolutely sure that if the Joker was to be given an item number in the Dark Knight this would be it, with him singing “Bol tujhko kya chahiye” to Harvey Dent.  Mohan Agashe seems to be channeling the spirit of the Joker in his dancing (yes, he is shaking his biscuit too!!).

The song starts with Ila Arun blaring “aiiiyayayaaa aiiyaayaaaa” like a banshee. It gets better though with Mohan Agashe entering the fray and making a complete ass of himself, along with backup dancers, dressed as African tribals, who also are his henchman in the movie. I guess his recruitment ad must have gone like “the ability to shake your booty in sync with the boss is considered an important asset”.  Although even without the Mohan Agashe show, the song would have made it to the cringe list just because of its lyrics (Anand Bakshi), which apart from the irritating “Bol Bole Bol”, include “hero hai to joker hu main” (see the Joker effect here again), and SRKs tie. Also did I mention that they are doing it for an assembled crowd that includes Tinu Anand?

Confession. I loved this song when it came out. Confession over.

Mmmmm….I still love this song. Ok now confession over.

7. Aaye ho meri zindagi (Raja Hindustani)

This is the ultimate, sweet, mishti doi of a song, and for precisely this reason it is cringy (and yes, I love it too). Composed by the 90s cringe factory Nadeem Shravan, and written by the baap of all cringe factories, Sameer, this Raja Hindustani number is one song that I’m really apologetic about (what if my really cool friends find out?). I peep over my shoulder, make sure no one is in earshot, and then turn down the volume real low. Guilty Pleasure, “udta badal behta paani, bole rut mastani”..ssshhhh koi sun na le…

6. Sawarne Lage (Raaz)

I know Im cheating a bit, the movie came out in 2002. But the music had all the 90’s ingredient, by which I mean music by Nadeem Sharavan, lyrics by Sameer, and singer line up- Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik, Abhijeet, hell even, Jolly Mujherjee, and Bali Brahmbhatt. Now if that aint 90’s, nothing is.

It’s a good, melodious song, and very well sung. So what’s cringy about this? You might be the biggest Nadeem fan, and you might even be born with iron balls, but would you like your girlfriend/boyfriend to see this on your playlist? #iWin

5. In the night no control (Khiladiyon ka Khiladi)

Okay, enough of the sweet stuff, time to get the big boys out, or in this case the old aunties out. So Rekha and Akshay Kumar making out in the slime, in the washroom, in the car, okay making out everywhere. With poor Akshay looking stoned (he probably was), and having no clue what to do, and Rekha climbing all over him, ready to split the poor guys guts open. Add to this the amazing lyrics that go “In the night no control, kya karun kuch to bol”, and the epic “even naughty girls need love”, and we have a cringer on our hands!!

P.S: This is Anu Malik’s first entry on the list. Yay!!!? Ok no Yay,

4. Subah se le kar Shaam tak (Mohra)

If our nos. 5 and nos. 6 ever mated they would have produced an offspring like our nos. 4, who faces an identity crisis- whether to be a sweet song which is turning dirty, or to be a nymphomaniac in love. Well, it straddles both extremes, and ends up being cringy and on our list.

Make no mistakes guys; this song has really earned its place. It had to fight a really tough battle with “Tu cheez….”, and “tip tip barsa paani” from the same movie. I must admit that I cringe (and love) both these songs equally, AKs black bandana, and sunglasses in “Tu cheez..” (in a nightclub mind you!!) are matched at each step by Raveena’s wet yellow saree (in close up from all possible angles), and AKs crooning of “DDDDDDDdooba dariya mein….”. What finally tilted the cringe-balance in favor of “Subah se….” were the epic lines – “aise kaise ho sakta hai poora, poora pyaar, kuch shadi se pehle, aur kuch shaadi ek baad”. Well, in a single stroke, Mr. Sameer (yet again) has echoed the sentiments of a zillion boyfriends in India. We have a winner ladies and gentlemen.

3. Tu Mile- Criminal

This is one song that features on the list *ONLY* because of its video. The *ONLY* song that made me cringe even in the 90’s (I was happily indulgent of the others). Now it’s a good song, very good lyrics, and beautifully sung, but try watching Nagarjuna and Manisha trying to eat each other in front of your parents when you are barely 10. Especially, when it appears every week at nos. 2 (why the heck wasn’t it nos 1 beats me) on Superhit Muqabla (peace be upon him), and they insist on showing the entire video, where for other songs they were cut after 2 minutes. WHY!WHY!WHY!

So I used to look on the right, on the left, scratch my head, my toe, my hands (it’s not funny how much you itch when you are in an embarrassing situation), Im sure my parents did the same, poor souls they couldn’t even change channels (there was no option!! DD days)

2. Jumma Chumma- Hum

This was the song that defined manliness in the 90’s. The Big B, wearing an open chested shirt, black jacket, in a bucket, calling out his girlfriend Kimi Katkar (cringe 1) called Juma (cringe 2), for a Chumma (cringe 3), on a Jumma (cringe 4), and then just stopped short of molesting her (cringe 5,6,7,8…) but it seemed epic. Well, to be honest, even if AB was brushing his teeth in slow motion on that background score (remember that one!!!) that would have been epic too. In short, Epic Cringiness.

P.S: I always wanted to smash jugs containing soap foam (inna saara) like in the song.

1. Akhha India Jaanta Hai (Jaan Tere Naam)

All you mid-80ers, haven’t you ever wished you could grow balls enough to walk into your girlfriend’s wedding (against her wishes of course), dressed in the cool white bandwala’s dress, and sing in front of her parents “First time dekha tumhein hum kho gaya, Second time mein love ho gaya, Yeh Akhaa India jaanta hai hum tumpe marta hai”.

If Jumma was the manliness of the 90s, this song was probably the cool of the 90’s, and the cringe of today. Ronit Roy will not be featured in most of the lists, but for this 1991 (or was it 92) flick he would make it to the cringe inducing songs every time.

True story: One of my colleagues actually danced to this song on his sister’s sangeet ceremony. It was his childhood dream to do some kickassery like this. Hats off buddy!!

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ICC World Cup 2011- Team preview

Back to the blog after a long time, and with my pending marriage (22nd Feb, eat your heart out Girls!!!), occupying most of my mindspace, there really isn’t much time to watch some good ol’ movies.  But like a good patriotic India, there’s always time, mind and heart for cricket.  So unless you went on  a 10 year trip to Pluto  and have returned yesterday, or were struck in Guantanamo Bay, where I’m told are no Indians, and no TV, or are just dead, you would know that India is hosting the biggest marquee sporting event in the World!!!!  What do I hear now? FIFA? Olympics? Wimbledon?  Ohh come on….as an Indian you are not supposed to know or recognize that any other sport apart from Cricket exists, and Commonwealth game were simply a dress rehearsal for the greatest ever sporting event, so period.

Now, since THE IPL will be beginning only in April, and we have a long way to go there, so let’s just pretend that this is the pre-Lalit Modi era, and the shorter version of the game refers to the 50-over format.  This makes our lives much, much easier, because before the marquee event begins we will have 45 days of warm ups called the ICC Cricket World Cup starting in February.  So to make our dull lives, and more importantly office talks, much more exciting let’s just pretend that this is the 90’s when the World Cup actually mattered, which was the time when Australia had to do much more than just turn up to win.  Now, that’s another reason to pretend that it’s the 90’s- the Aussies are down, and this is probably the first World Cup after 1996 that any other team actually stands a chance.

Seven of the eight test playing nations can actually think about lifting the trophy (in case of Bangladesh and West Indies, only think).  I’m excluding New Zealand, who are playing so bad that they would rather fancy their chances reaching South Pole without a compass than lifting the cup.  So here are my thoughts on the 7 teams and their chances:

India: In spite of the fact that the best they have done in the home WCs is the semi-final spot (’87 & ’96), recent injuries to the top 3 batsman, injury to their first choice bowler Praveen Kumar, and a fragile spearhead Zaheer Khan, India starts as firm favorites, not only mine, but almost everyone’s.  The reason of course has been their performances over the last two years.  With seniors like Ganguly, Kumble, and Dravid retiring and Sachin picking and choosing his ODIs, the young guns have stood up in the shorter format.  Virat Kohli has matured into a stable middle order batsman,  Raina might be a joke on bouncy tracks, but will be dangerous on flat Indian pitches, Yusuf Pathan and Yuvraj are playing the crucial 5th bowler role to perfection, and Zaheer Khan, fitness permitting is one of the more dangerous bowlers in world cricket at present.  With the trinity of Sachin, Sehwag, and Gambhir ensuring a decent start almost always, Kohli at number four to stem any collapse, and Yuvraj, Dhoni, Pathan and increasingly Harbhajan providing the power at the end, India will be difficult to beat.  But difficult selection choices, possible injuries, poor record in ICC tournies off late, and enormous home pressure might just bust their party.

What’s right- Good team combination.

What’s wrong- Home pressure would be enormous

X-factor- Sachin’s last World Cup.  He wants to win it badly, and the team wants to gift him a farewell worth remembering.

Sri Lanka: Sri Lanka for me is India without the hype.  They have a terrific combination at the top of the order- Tharanga, and Dilshan in the sub-continental conditions are as good as Sachin and Sehwag, a beefy middle order with Jayawardene,  and the dangerous Sangakkara,  followed by an extremely useful  Angelo Matthews.  Sling’a   Mailinga provides fire at the top, and the wily Murli will look to repeat the exploits of ’96. The problem with Sri Lanka though is their back up bowlers; Kulasekera, and Fernando, are not match winners, and their key role is to support Malinga; batsmen all over the world have decoded both Mendis, and Herath, and they should pose little problem.  Even then Sri Lanka has the kind of slow spinners in their side that can choke the opposition in friendly conditions, and my bet is that they will play a crucial role in Lanka’s journey.

What’s right: Same as India, but will lesser hype and pressure.

What’s wrong: If Murli and Malinga do not start well, they will be chasing big totals.

X-factor:  Angelo Mathews- he is one of the more highly under-rated cricketers.  A dangerous batsman, and adds variety to Lanka bowling.

Australia: For the last 12 years, the key World cup question was never who was going to win it, but rather who would play Australia in the finals.  But this is the Aussie bashing season folks, the last time they had it this bad was when their leading fast bowler, and leading spinner had a combined age of 5. But then they had Allan Border, today they have Ricky Ponting, who in spite of all his bravado is struggling to manage a team that has lost all its key players in the last 4 years.  Add to this, the team selection has been puzzling- they have gone for Tait and Lee as premier fast bowlers, and there is a big question mark over both their fitness, and economy rates.  The selection of Jason Kreza as spinner was equally puzzling,  he is averaging more than 70 runs/wicket in India. However, I won’t write off Australia completely- their top order is set, with Shane Watson in blazing form, and I have a feeling that he will finally learn to convert his 50’s into 100’s in this tournament, Ricky Ponting, and Clark are proven performers, although their recent form is a major cause of concern.  With Hussey out, their failure will put massive pressure on players like White and Voge, who will be expected to do both damage control, and provide fire power at the end.  My bet- even with the key players down, Australia has enough fire power to reach the semi’s, but they will find it difficult to make it 4 in a row.

What’s right: As the recent England ODIs prove, even with limited resources, they can fight and win.

What’s wrong:  Indifferent form of key middle order, and a fragile bowling attack.  Especially with no decent spinners in their attacks they might become cannon fodder for the batsmen.

X-factor: Ricky Ponting- The man has seen it all over his 17 years in international cricket, and though is leading this Aussie side in their darkest times but he still has enough fight in him to turn things over, and most importantly has the respect of the team.  This would be his last world cup as well as his last assignment as Aussie captain and player; he would like to make a fist of it.

England: One month back I would have said that they are the strongest contender for the cup, but the recent 6-1 spanking that Australia gave them showed who’s still the Daddy.  Don’t get me wrong, England is an excellent Test side, and I have been cheering for them in the Ashes, but they have been absolutely mediocre when it comes to the ODIs.  Add to this the subcontinent factor, and the English jelly bellies, and the trophy seems further away.  However, this present team is the best that England have fielded since 1992; their batting lineup is heavy with traditional ‘see the ball’ players like Collingwood, Trott, and even Strauss, and the success will depend heavily on how KP shapes up, especially with Eoin Morgan out with injury.  The bowling enjoyed plenty of success in the Aussie conditions, but has been smacked in the ODIs; Graeme Swann has done a great job with lesser expectations on his back, but will be interesting to see how he takes the responsibility of a strike bowler in helpful conditions.  The fast bowling arsenal, although looks great on paper, but will be found wanting in conditions that favor batsman, this will be a long tour for Broad, Anderson, and Bresnan, especially if they don’t master the slower deliveries.

What’s right: This is the strongest English team to go for a World Cup since 1992, and apart from the Aussie ODI series, have tasted some big success in the last 2 years.

What’s wrong: Their bowlers have a terrible record in India.

X-Factor: Andrew Strauss.  Strauss, along with Dhoni has the ability to get his troops do something extraordinary for him.

South Africa: Keep the pretzels away, the chokers are here!!!  The Protean’s had spent the last 4 years, trying to keep away this tag, and just when it looked like the world has forgotten the nightmares of rain in’92, Lara in ’96, Donald in ’99, Sehwag’s bowling  in ’02, Boucher, Duckworth, and poor mathematics in ’03, Mcgrath, and ‘my mum could have done better’ batting in ’07, (gosh!! It’s a long list) they lost 2 straight matches to India, which should have been a cakewalk.  South Africa is probably the only team that has been favorites to win every world cup since 1992, and the closest they have come is choking in the semis, twice.  The present team is not very different than any other South African team to play in the World Cup, in fact all the South African teams across decades have looked the same with different names at the back of the jersey- they have attacking batsman at the top of the order, flanked by 2 (not more, not less) traditionalists to hold the batting in unlikely collapse (until they are playing a big game, when they all collapse), 2 fiery front line fast bowlers (140k+), 2 fiery back up fast bowler (140+), a solid wicket keeping batsman,  astounding fielders,  and one spinner just to make them 11. So nothing different about the Proteans this time, except they are bringing in a debutant spinner as a mystery weapon, and since he is not of South African descent, they are hoping that he could at least turn the ball.  My bet- they will win all the way to Quarter finals, to be beaten by a less fancy team.  Pakistan, anyone?

What’s right- A well oiled machine of a team.  Typical Protea.

What’s wrong- In absence of a good spinner, their bowling attack is predictable.

X-Factor- Dale Steyn.  The best bowler in the world by a long way, he can turn a match in one spell.  At present, perhaps the only fast bowler, who can make the state of the pitch irrelevant. If he’s on fire, South Africa can defend any total.

Pakistan: Pakistan is really a poster child of Murphy’s Law, everything that can go wrong from drug scandals, to infightings, to match fixing, to terrorist attacks on touring teams, to spot fixing has gone wrong with Pakistan.  Now does that make any difference to their world cup chances, I bet it doesn’t.  Consistency has never been Pakistan’s forte, this is a team that thrives on mercurial performances of outstandingly talented cricketers, and they have plenty such cricketers in their bags.  So much so that last week when ICC banned 3 of their best players, a former captain said, ‘this won’t affect Pakistan cricket in any way’, and sure it won’t because soon we will see some 19 year old bowlers bowling toe crushing in-swingers at 150+, and a 20 years old bashing the living daylight of the SG’s and the kookaburra’s.  Another thing that this team thrives on is revenge, and there’s plenty to play for them in 2011- IPL 2010 humiliation, World cup matches taken away, spot fixing, senior players rebelling, a Kookaburra that looked like an apple (which according to them was a RAW conspiracy to make their skipper look like an idiot!!!).  They also seem to have assembled a team that looks very dangerous, if it plays together- Misbah, Younis Khan, Umar Akmal, will form the batting core, and if Shahid Afridi doesn’t self destruct, his shots are sure to kill a few spectators, and kiss a few airhostesses.  Bowling is where Pakistan has been traditionally very strong- Umar Gul, and the wrong-footed Sohail Tanveer (hours after i wrote this, he was out with injury) know the sub continent conditions and could be more dangerous than someone more fancy like Morne Morkel, or James Anderson. Abdul Razaak is back with a bang, and will be the key player in close matches, both with bat and ball.

What’s right- WTF!!! This is Pakistan we are talking about.

What’s wrong-  Everything that can go wrong has already gone wrong.  Just, if they don’t kill their coach again….

X-Factor- The Pakistani’s love a  fight, they will come back hard. I wouldn’t want to be their opposition in a QF or a SF game.

West Indies and Bangladesh: They will be the giant killers, and are going to spoil the party for at least one of the above 5 teams.  Both these teams are good enough to reach QFs, but since both are in the tough group B, only 1 would go through the QFs (although it would be much fun if they both pass through, means one of India, SA, and England is out).  Whichever of these minnows make it to the knock outs, I’m pretty sure that they will be itching to play Pakistan, which gives them the best chance to reach the semis. Both these teams have pretty similar combinations, with Bangladesh a little ahead both in terms of home advantage, and recent form.

What’s right- Both the teams have game breakers in their side.

What’s wrong- Inconsistency

X-Factor- If the opposition takes them lightly, they will pounce and tear them limb by limb.


QFS Group A:  Pakistan, Australia, Sri Lanka, New Zealand

QFS Group B: India, South Africa, England, Bangladesh

QF 1: Australia vs Bangladesh

QF 2: Sri Lanka vs England

QF 3: India vs Pakistan

QF 4: New Zealand vs South Africa

SF 1: Australia vs India

SF 2: Sri Lanka vs South Africa

Finals: India vs Sri Lanka

P.S 1:  My prediction of QF 3 victory for India is solely based on my patriotism. Given that Pakistanis will be baying for Indian blood, and this match will be played in Bangladesh,  I fear the worst.

P.S 2: I hope India beats S Africa, and avoids a QF clash with Pakistan.

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Tehelka (1992)- Why Dharam is garam

I know it’s been a long long time since I updated this blog, and since the reasons demand a completely new post I won’t dwell on them. And yaa…I know the 10 comic Hindi movie list is still not complete, but I had to absolutely write about this movie after I read Memsaab’s review of Ajooba.

Now you might think there is no connection between a children’s fantasy tale with a masked hero, shaitan vazir, and a 50 feet stone monster, and a ‘garam spewing dharam’ starrer, blood bathed orgy of bad acting made by Anil Sharma, the then reigning badshah of bad ass ‘dishum dishum’ kicking movies (Elaan e Jung, Hukumat, Farishte, all starring our Dharam-man). But as you might have guessed by now- there is.

The first being that I had the privilege of watching both of them on video in a full family gathering!!  I always wondered why my dad allowed me to watch a blood splattered movie like Tehelka, but I guess he had no choice once my uncle got the cassette.  And remember those were the days when Madhuri was doing the “Choli” and the “Dhak dhak”, Karan Johar was in his nappies, Yash Chopra had made a yawner called ‘Lamhe’, and god knows what was Sooraj Barjatya doing after ‘Maine Pyar Kiya’.  Okay, I can see that you have got the point…there were no options!!!

The second, and the actual reason for the Ajooba connection, is that we kids (like all kids) used to play quite silly games, and one of the favorite was playing Ajooba.  After watching Tehelka that game was modified, so we had  Ajooba, and the Tehelka vigilante team fighting Vazir, and the Dong (who btw is never wrong).  And since it was the time before Harry came and taught everyone the actual use of a broom (to FLY!!!!) we simply used them as guns, and swords, and guns which Ajooba’s magic would turn into swords.  It not only was fun, but also convenient because that meant that more people can play the “heroes”, so it meant lesser fights among cousins.  Although I’m not sure if our parents ever appreciated our ingenuity, they thought we were not fighting because we are “all grown up”.

Tehelka starts off with an introduction to ‘Dong’, dictator of ‘Dongri-la’, a typical bollywood-ean ‘padosi mulk, jiski buri nazar Bharat pe hai’.  Dong, played maliciously by Amrish Puri (who else) is a blood-thirsty despot, who is given little touches to show that he is not Indian (hakka noodle, nudge nudge, wink wink). He kills his own men if they are two minutes late, smuggles drugs, arms, wants to destroy India, and basically is typical Amrish.  The only additional evil is smuggling Indian women, making the good looking ones prostitutes, and brainwashing the mediocre looking ones into becoming suicide bombers (inspired by Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination).

To make it more contemporary, ‘Gadar’ Sharma provides Dong with numerous look-alikes (ala Saddam Hussein), using whom he enters India, sits inside an Indian-army tank, enters the Army parade, and blows up India’s Army Chief (poor Parikshit Sahani), ala Anwar Saddat (nudge nudge, wink wink)

But why would he play the veena (or Sitar?), holds feasts for brahmins, keeps fasts, and above all speak fluent hindi, and sing “Shom shom shom shamo sha sha”? Ahhh…who cares as long as there’s Dharam to kick ass.

Now, coming to Dharam he plays a disgraced Army major Dharam Singh, who got suspended from the army after he killed a thousand (yups, 1000!!)  of Dong’s soldiers against the orders of his superior (and you thought his Sonny boy taking out a handpump was friggin’ awesome).  He is majorly pissed off,  which explains why he wants to put “ghunghroo on my feet”.

He is met by another pissed off major, Krishna Kant (hereafter KK), played by Mukesh Khanna.  Now Krishna Kant is pissed off at both the Dong (for first kicking his ass, and then taking away his daughter), and his boss Brigadier Kapoor (Shammi Kapoor, wasted) for not allowing him to attack Dong.  He persuades Kapoor to send a crack team of elite commandos that are best in India, and they include: Javed Jafrey, Naseeruddin Shah, Aditya Pancholi (seriously, commandos, India’s best!!!! I think Anil’s budget was exhausted on Dong and his Dongri-la), and Ekta (the mandatory siren, I had no idea who she was until I googled her).  Now, since apart from KK the team has no real men (the 3 idiots dress up in a drag), and he needs to increase the maa-cho quotient he hires the Dharam-man, who has one condition- he won’t take orders from anyone (WTF!).

Now allow me to do my arbit, and talk about Mukesh Khanna for a while.  The man was ruling Indian tele in those days as the grand ol’ daddy of all (Bhishm in Mahabharata), and possesses an amazing baritone perfect for maa-cho dialogues like “Badalnewali hum cheez nahin, arrey hum mard hain kameez nahin” (translated: Im not a thing to be changed, Im a maa-cho man not a shirt). His only fault was that his most popular role was a thousand years older than him, and he got typecast as daddy/grand daddy macho, so much so that in another 90’s kickasser “Yalgaar” he actually played Feroze Khan’s father (maa-cho father that is).  I wonder how many deaths he was dying when he called Feroze, who probably was older than his father “pyaare bête” (lovely sonny boy).  But Mukesh had his revenge, when at a ripe age he played a superhero in a televised serial “Shaktiman” that became all the craze.  (he produced it is a different matter altogether!)

So, here he was doing his Gandalf bit to lead his fellowship to Sauron’s den.  As usual, with such trips there are steep mountains to be climbed (during which KK is revealed to have a fake leg), thin ice to be walked on (during which the siren would fall down, and Aditya Pancholi would save her, but not before killing a green python, and then getting ‘some’ ), a hole up in a hospital, where the ‘ladies’ try to operate KKs legs (at least they were making themselves useful), an addition to the gang, a traitor in the gang, a traitor outside the gang, cute kids, cute kids dying, urine passed off as water, and drunk (by Dong’s men obviously), and all culminating in a grand finale where the team of Indian “crack” commandos kill and finish the entire Dongri-la army (and you thought you have seen it all in Gadar).

Dharam is in full blast, and he is the reason this movie was made- to show that Dharam can kick ass, and beat the crap out of anyone. In one of the scenes, when the traitor is holding them at gun point, and trash talking, Dharam shoots him and says “when you wanna shoot, shoot, don’t talk” (in Dharam-inglish) , Mukesh Khanna is awesome, but only if you can withstand the trite dialogues (and the movie is full of them).  Amrish as usual is all evil (so whats new?), it was cartoonish to have him play the veena (or Sitar? I can’t tell the difference), but he does that with such evil perfection, that you want Dharam and gang to kick his ass, and this is where Amrish was so good.

The movie was made at a time, when the producer’s were vary of naming Pakistan (i still don’t understand why), and almost all the spy movies either referred to ‘padosi mulk’, or simply made Chinese sounding noises like bum chiki chiki bum.

Its edge of the seat, extremely cheesy, extremely jingoistic with bombastic dialogues (KK, Dharam, and Dong are in full form), poor special effects (and they were ‘special’), and some great dhishum dhishum. In short full 90s kickassery!!


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Anita 1967- Mystery woman

Work and other stuff (mostly other stuff) has kept me away from blogging for about 2 weeks now. But for this week Arbitenthu is back with Anita. Ya, I know I promised to write about Angoor last time but my Arbit struck me again.

As I have aged to the ripe ol’ age of 24, I have realized that a lot of my old DD favorites have come from a man known as Raj Khosla.  He was single handedly responsible for delivering many lazy weekend afternoons, where me and my brother used to be glued to the idiot box watching movies like Mera Saya, Mera Gaon Mera Desh, CID, Solva Saal (the title may raise eyebrows today, but it’s a charming movie starring Dev Anand and Waheeda Rehman, remember “Hai apna dil to awara”). Anita (1967) is the third part of what is now called the “Sadhana Trilogy” by Raj Khosla, with Wo Kaun Thee (1964), and Mera Saya (1966) making up the other two.

With counter parts as illustrious as these two, it was surprising that Anita never caught on my radar. I chanced upon this relatively lesser known piece (atleast to me) at my local DVD store, and vaguely recalled reading about it somewhere at Memsaab’s, and then in a classic case of enthu getting the better of me, got the disc.

Anita stars the beautiful and mysterious Sadhana in the title role, with Manoj Kumar playing Neeraj, her love interest. The mysterious tone of the movie is set in the first scene itself with Anita’s father Seth Biharilal (Sajjan) visiting an astrologer with his daughter’s janamkundli (birth chart), and the astrologer making dire but vague (as usual!!) predictions about her. We then cut to her house where Neeraj is wooing her with a Mukesh classic “Gore Gore chand se”.

We learn that Neeraj is eager to marry Anita, although she is a bit vague about it and her father completely against it (as usual!!). After a tiff with her father she asks Neeraj to marry her the same day. While they are getting married at the registrar her father arrives and following a quite word she goes with her father leaving Neeraj high and dry.

Neeraj is obviously shattered, and when he goes to her house, he meets Anil (no idea who he is, not even on imdb but has a sight resemblance to Dharamender), who is all set to marry Anita. Even more bewildered Neeraj talks to her and she tells him to forget her. Neeraj, now completely depressed resigns from his job, but instead his manager transfers him to Delhi. There he receives a telegram from Anita saying her life and izzat are in danger. He rushes back to Bombay just to hear that she has committed suicide. Not only that but she was pregnant when her body was found. Whew!!!! and all that in less than 20 minutes……

Neeraj being the pious hindi movie hero could not have done this (obviously!!) so he starts the search for the person who did IT, and his search begins with Anil. Anil himself is in agony as he was about to get married to Anita, but tells Neeraj about her “other side”.

Anita was diagnosed with a “split personality disorder” while in Shimla a few years back. She was found dancing with nomads to a naughty number “Pichhware budhha khansta”.  When Neeraj refuses to believe this Anil shows him a portrait of Anita, and what a portrait it is!!! Sadhana is shown in orgasmic ecstasy, chewing her necklace, and almost topless, in what could be one of the most sensual portrays of a contemporary hindi movie heroine.

Neeraj, now shocked at how little he has known of Anita, meets the painter (IS Johar), whose favorite pastime is to kill flies (makhii maarna). He tells him of a story when he met Anita on board a ship, and she seduces him with the song “Kareeb aa”. Sadhana is looking smoking hot!!!

Neeraj is losing himself and is starting to see Anita everywhere, but on one such sighting he is convinced that he has seen Anita indeed. He follows her to a mansion (haunted obviously!!), and assigns the investigation to a private detective (Dhumal and Birbal). What follows is a compulsory and unnecessary side plot with Tuntun and Mukri also joining in the fray. I’m all for comic side plots, but the movie was running so tightly that the sight of Dhumal & Co is frustrating.

The story moves with Neeraj going to his brother’s house in Nainital, and no prizes for guessing that he will see Anita there again. This time he actually gets to talk to her, but she is not Anita but Jogan Maya, an ascetic. Neeraj wants to be with her, she agrees to meet him everyday but on the condition that he does not follow her (she even marks a tree as his boundary..phew!!!). One day she doesn’t appear, and Neeraj with his bro and sis-in-law crosses the boundary, and voila!!! we find that Jogan Maya had died 25 years ago.

By this time I’m completely zapped, Raj Khosla has done a wonderful job in catching your attention till this point, but then everything comes apart. Starting with Neeraj meeting Anita again, this time clad in a burqa in the train back to Bombay from Nainital. The revelations that follow are well, to say the least disappointing. It leaves more questions than answers, and everything seems made up just for the sake of creating suspense.

The direction is typical Raj Khosla, with lots of mirrors, and window shots. He has shot Sadhana in the most exquisite possible manner, and has bought out all shades of sensuality, vulnerability, and helplessness in her character. She fits the bill of a mystery woman to the core. Manoj Kumar is just about OK, although his character had to look confused and hurt all the time. I felt music was a major let down, which probably was the reason I hadn’t heard of Anita. Although “Gore gore chand se” is a must listen for Mukesh fans (been playing continuously on my playlist).

The movie grabs your attention from the first scene, and moves at a breath neck pace (the side plot is irritating though). What let the movie down is the climax, which was sudden, and hard to believe, and contradicted many of the previous events.

In spite of all the flaws Anita is a fine movie, but falls way short of classic thrillers like Mera Saaya, Ittefaq or Humraaz.

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Top 10 Hindi Comic Movies: Pyaar Kiye Ja

I remember watching this movie for the first time on Star Gold when I was in Class XII. Those in India would know that XII means the dreaded board exams (those in US, think SAT, add tonnes of parental and peer pressure, double it, double again if you have an over achieving family, and just for fun double it once more, then you might be close to what Im talking about!!!). It was a sunny morning in the middle of February, and the pre-boards were just over (pre-boards are like jumping from 100 ft, just so you know how it feels before you jump again), and I was expected to be deeply burrowed in my books, except I wasn’t. I was watching this classic of a movie, whose absolutely hilarious sequence between Mehmood, and Om Prakash I had seen on numerous Hindi movie shows, accompanied by Dad’s lavish praise had gotten me hooked. And I wasn’t disappointed. (although got an earful from mom which included her favorite “Watching movies all day…What do you wanna do when you grow up, cut Grass?”…..Yups, I too never got the connection.) Ok, enough arbit, now to the movie.

Pyar Kiye Ja begins with Ashok (a very young and thin Shashi Kapoor) who comes from a poor family, and has a job as an assistant manager at Ramlal’s estate (Om Prakash). Ramlal has two daughters, Malti (Kalpana) and Nirmala (Rajshree, not to be confused with the one in Janwar, this one is from Tollywood!!). It doesn’t take long for Ashok to fall for Rajshree, but before that in true 60’s hero style he completely pisses her off. She has him fired from the estate, and what follows is a hilarious song and dance sequence, where Ashok and a few extras camp in front of Ramlal’s bunglow and protest with the song “Kehne ki nahin baat”, and dance in gay abandon, including elvis-inspired pelvic thrusts.

The song that follows is hilarious, with lyrics like “Ye 420, nai ye 840”, and “Ramlal ye khaye maal”, and both daughters spraying buckets of water on the gang.

Ramlal also has a son Aatma (Mehmood), and all he wants to do is to produce a movie under his Wah-Wah Productions (which Mehmood would later reference in the cult hit Andaz Apna Apna). Aatma already has a heroine Meena (Mumtaz) signed up, and he keeps pestering the miser Ramlal to finance his movie, which leads to some of the funniest moments in the movie. Including my favorite sequence, where Aatma is describing a scary scene from his movie to Ramlal along with his own background music of creaking doors, blowing wind and chudail’s (witch’s) laugh, and their reactions are hysterically funny. The story goes that while filming that scene Mehmood asked OP to give his natural reaction to whatever he is saying, and the take was okayed at first go. I can’t vouch for its authenticity, but that sequence is one of the best in Hindi Cinema.

Eventually Nirmala also falls for Ashok, but all is still not well. Apparently it is easier to patao a pissed off girl, but not so easy with a pissed off father. So, while Ramlal is searching for a millionaire groom for his girls, Ashok calls his millionaire friend for help. Shyam (Kishore Kumar) arrives disguised as Ashok’s rich father, and the greedy Ramlal agrees to the match.  Now Shyam is romancing Malti in Bombay, but that doesn’t stop him from hitting on an oblivious Malti dressed as Ashok’s father in a brilliant song “Pyar kiye ja”. Malti obviously is not amused, but more fun ensues, when Shyam’s father Devraj (Chaman Puri) arrives, and it turns out that Ramlal and Devraj are chuddy-buddies, and arrange a match between Shyam and Malti (who still doesn’t know that Shyam and Devraj’ son are the same person). So much happening, along with the Mehmood sub-plot makes for a rollicking ride that culminates in a long climax, as truth tumbles out.

The movie has a lot going for it; crazy performances by both Kishore Kumar, and Shashi Kapoor, a brilliant Om Prakash, and a stand out performance by Mehmood. This has to be Mehmood at his finest. Also Mumtaz was an inspired choice, and she easily outshone the other two leading ladies, who looked too chubby, and too made up. Mumtaz on the other hand was charming, looked like a million bucks, and danced her way to “ai ai o, ai ai oo”.

Songs were another highpoint, not so much because they were classics, but because of their mad choreography, and lyrics. My favourite is “ai ai o”, which is hard to get out of your head inspite of lyrics like “mein bhar ke layi jholi, par chonch na tune kholi jaalima, ai ai o, ai ai ooo”. Somehow, whenever I hear this song I imagine it with Shammi instead of Mehmood doing the shimmy shimmy, and Rafi in the background. Although Mehmood was very funny in this song, but it sounds more like a Shammi-Mumtaz combo hit.

This was a remake of a telugu movie, and was unashamedly copied by David Dhawan for his 1999 hit Haseena Maan Jayegi, which wasn’t a patch on the original. Highly recommended for a lazy weekend afternoon.

Next up Angoor.

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10 Best Comic Hindi Movies : Chupke-Chupke

Well, lets get the most obvious one out early. Chupke Chupke was not the biggest of hits when it was released but like good wine has matured the best of all its contemporaries. I saw this movie for the first time on Door Darshan’s famous Friday night shows when I was around 10, and have lost the number of times I have seen it since then. It also happens to be one of only 3 movies that Dad allowed us to watch on Friday night (yups….lights went out at 10 for us).

The movie starts with Dr. Parimal Tripathi (Dharmender), and  Sulekha (Sharmila Tagore) meeting and falling in love at a Dak Bangla in Shimla. Sulekha is a botany student, who has come there with her fellow student on a study tour, and Parimal (how did they come up with such a kickass name!!) is a much revered botany professor. The movie keeps the courtship period short, but it’s much fun with Parimal playing the chowkidaar, and serving the girls. We then quickly move to Allahabad (beautifully pronounced as Illahabad), where a pandit-ji and Haripat Bhaiyya (another cool name!!!) played by David, fix the marriage. Now, Sulekha is in complete awe of her jeejaji (pronounced jijjajji rather cheekily by Parimal who gets a bit of a complex), but the jijjajji (Om Prakash) is not able to make it to the wedding. The fun begins when after marriage the couple gets an invite to jeejaji’s house in Bombay, and Parimal plays a practical joke in which he first arrives as a driver (PyaareMohan, really the names are such fun), who speaks pure Hindi because jijaji wants a cultured driver from Illahabad. Now the stage is set: A driver who speaks pure Hindi, and is then bent on learning English from the genius ji (mera matlab jijjaji), a flustered, frustrated jeeja who is driven to the brink by the driver’s antics, and later on is made to believe that her saali (Sulekha) is having an affair with that driver, another Parimal shows up (AB) and starts having an affair with jijiajis friends sister (JB), whole lot of confusion, hilarity and a satisfying conclusion.

The main leads Dharmender, and Om Prakash are top notch and have excellent support from Sharmila, AB, JB, Asrani, David and Kesto Mukherjee. Om Prakash was in the form of his career, from his initial reaction to Dharam asking his wife to call him Pyaare, to his frustration at Pyaare’s irreverent questions about language, to the point of a complete break down and then behaving almost non-chalantly is epic. Watch out for his lip movements when he is cursing Pyaare, but can’t actually make the words come out. Along with Pyaar Kiye Ja, this is Om Prakash at its best.

About Dharam, you can only marvel at the way he effortlessly portrays the role, how much fun he was having while essaying his character is evident in every scene. Starting from his interactions with Sulekha as the chowkidaar, to his banter with Jijjaji, to his flirting with Sulekha in front of the jijjaji as the driver, and as the mastermind of this elaborate scheme he is absolutely perfect. You would not believe this is the same person who a decade later be famous for the “Kutte” dialogue. I always wondered why he is better known for his action roles, rather than his more matured, romantic, and comic roles from Bandini, to Satyakam, and from Chupke Chupke to Dillagi. For all this he deserves a separate post altogether, may be some other day.

Back to the movie: Sharmila was adequate, although she did look a bit old to play a student (even a post-graduate one). AB was the surprise package, almost absent in the first half, he more than made up with his portrayal of a confused, flustered, always in a hurry Prof. Sukumar in the second half. I believe this was one of his earliest comic roles, and his fast-paced nervy dialogue delivery gave a new dimension to the movie. JB playing Asrani’s assured and bright sister Vasudha (“v.a.aSs.u.d.h.a, wo nai tu hai Ass,” this dialogue is etched in my memory) is a perfect foil for Sukumar who instantly falls for her. Every character is memorable, from James (Keshto), to Prashant (Asrani) to Haripat bhaiyya, all play characters that are enjoyable, but also easy to identify with.

All this is tied up with a simple, hummable score by Burman Sr. (Respect!!!). It never overshadows the movie, and at no time does it feel like an interruption (may be the JB song “Chupke Chupke” could have been edited, but minor complain in an otherwise perfect movie). Ab ke sajan saawan, is a nice ched-chaad song, whereas “Sa re ga ma” is joie de vivre. Dialogues by Shakeel Chandra are simple, contextual and he never tries too hard to make you laugh.

And of course for all this credit must go to the ultimate mastermind of this scheme: Hrishikesh Mukerjee.  He never loses his grip on the story, and even when towards the climax when so many things are happening at the same time he never let them fall apart. What is left when the credit rolls, or in this case Om Prakash says ‘Namaste’ is a sweet and a satisfying after-taste.

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Movies and me

I have been a hindi movie fan for as long as I could remember. It all started with watching every single weekend evening show on DD that came with one interval and no ad-breaks. I think it went on till 1992, after which commercial breaks between movies debuted. It mostly used to show black and white movies, and just to drive the message home, a scroll with “Black and White” and “Shweat Shyam” written used to run on the top of the screen. That was my introduction to Raj Kapur, Dev Anand, Dilip Kimar, Nargis, Madhubala, and a rare treat of a colored movie meant Dharmender, Sanjiv Kumar, Rajender Kumar, Shammi Kapoor, Sharmila Tagore, and Hema Malini.

Then DD Metro debuted and black and white movies became rarer. That was the time when Shashi Kapoor, Jeetender, Dharam in his Garam avatar, Rishi Kapoor, an occasional Shatrughan Sinha, an eagerly anticipated Amitabh Bachhan, and 80s vintage Mithun and Govinda began to appear more and more often. But it was all a treat, not more because they appeared only twice a week, but also because the movie, its action, story, suspense, the fights were all discussed on the way to school on a Monday morning. The excitement of grabbing the Sunday newspaper, turning on to the second page and finding which movie will play today was matched only by waking up at 6 o’ clock rubbing your eyes and running out to play gully cricket.

And then cable TV appeared, and it with its deluge of movies, all new and old, killed the romance. Your favorite movie might be playing on a channel, but an ad-break 2 minutes later will make you flick away and in 5 minutes you will forget about it. This was not the case when I was growing up; a movie had to be seen, a good movie had to be seen even if it meant studying late in the night for an exam next day, it was to be discussed, dissected, analysed, sometimes played out over and over in your mind.  The lack of choice was a good thing. It meant watching Mere Mehboob, and wondering why the hell are your mom and grandma shedding tears, it meant getting excited on a Shammi Kapoor movie because you know the first half would be funny no matter what, it meant eagerly waiting for AB to kick some ass.  It also meant (and Im confessing it now) stealing guilty glances at Sharmila Tagore in Kashmir ki Kali, getting lost in Madhubala’s smile in Kala Paani, and not being sure of what to do when Helen appears in a cabaret number (yaaa..those were the days!!!).

With so many memories associated with Hindi movies, they had to be a part of this blog. So I in my arbit induced enthusiasm began working on some of the best bolly movies I have seen. And I thought why not list and talk about the best comic Hindi movies? Why comic you ask, I don’t know it was an arbit decision. Could have been romantic, or suspense but comic it is for now. So after over 4 hrs of arguing with myself I came up with a list of 10 best comic movies I have seen. So starting from today I promise to myself that I will write about these 10 movies with the same passion that I have enjoyed them, and if I’m not able to keep that promise, then who cares it’s a promise to me and I can break it if my arbit desires.

P.S: I use arbit as both a noun and adjective. Go figure.

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