Monday, May 19, 2014

Sholay Songs: Koi haseena jab rooth jati hai...

A tried and tested template: Hero charms annoyed heroine. Both ride, walk or dance either into silhouette or a sunset as the song fades out...

Yes, it is a moment that can only occur in a Hindi film. The unmelodious, no-relation-to-music cast suddenly breaking into melodious song. We have no idea where the accompanying instruments are playing. We have long stopped thinking about it.  Our parents didn't think much about it, nor did our grandparents. The thoughtlessness gene has carried over, untouched, unquestioned. We are a patient, understanding Indian audience, cutting across generations, caste, creed, religion and race.

The making of film tradition 
Why do we still don't mind the 'song spouting from nowhere' thing? Because, popular Hindi cinema is still about people breaking into songs and we absolutely love the songs. No matter how false the movie may be, the songs are of the heart, as our favourite ones go.  

Where would music channels, radio FM chatter, redundant TV soaps and lately, even Indian news channels be without the mush of Hindi film songs. It was thus even remotely admirable that the main characters in the mammoth musical hit Aashiqui 2 (2013) were justifiably singers. That is the level of intelligence we have grown up to expect from most Hindi films. Redundancy is passe, an acceptable tradition.    

Koi haseena jab rooth jati hai...    
The song plays out post another scene that has been repeated in several Hindi films, again as a copy-paste template. The hero fools the naive heroine into believing that he is god's voice. Thus taking advantage of Basanti's religious beliefs, Veeru almost fools her to marrying him. Jai intervenes with a stoic face, leading Basanti to Veeru's ventriloquism exercise. Basanti walks out in a huff, and then the great Hindi film soundtrack takes over. Kishore Kumar is at his playful best and the train whistle touch is almost poetic. Almost. 

That little 'something' 
The Dharmendra - Hema Malini chemistry is sparkling here.The exaggerated tone of wooing, more than once hints at molestation and eve-teasing. Hindi film heroes are known to stalk and trouble heroines no end, that at times the villain seemed a man with ethics and principles.     

We see again in the song audio visual why Sholay is part of Indian film history. Accidentally or otherwise, something invariably has come together in Sholay. There are defining moments all over, things that have repeated in several films before and after 1975, but how Sholay is like a merging point, a high point, blueprint of what the term 'filmy' in the Hindi film context implies.         

The almost poetic train spouting smoke scene

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