Thursday, July 21, 2011

हमारे ज़माने में तो....

You'd often hear people saying that these are such bad times and that "हमारे ज़माने में तो...." - in our times, everything was hunky-dory. I always try explaining that it is not greatly so but mostly to no avail. Few days back, I again got in a similar argument with a senior. And that was when I decided to put it straight on record. Since the argument was about indecency in Hindi films these days, here is what I had to say:

Kissing - The latest kissing scene in 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' or cheap 'chumma-chaati' of Imran Hashmi, from where it all originated? Take a guess - 2005? 1995? 1980s? What about 1929??

The first Indian film to have a kissing scene is from the pre-talkies era. Here is what it looked like - Seeta devi and Charu Roy in "Prapancha Pash" of 1929
And how many Indian films have a four-minute long kissing scene? Well, I don't know how many but I know the first one - Devika Rani and Himanshu Ray in "Karma" (1933) had a 4-minute long kissing sequence.

hmmm.... so that was about kissing. What about short dresses - Mallika Sherawat or Mamta Kulkarni? Zeenat Aman or Parveen Babi or Dimple Kapadia? The first bikini in Indian films was from graceful, sophisticated, and established star - Sharmila Tagore, who sported a bikini in 1967 for "An Evening In Paris" and later, posed in a bikini for Filmfare magazine also.

Need I get started on 'nudism'? Besides all the lovable great flicks (like Awara, Anari, Shree 420, and Jaagte Raho), Raj Kapoor is also credited with actively promoting nudism in Indian Cinema. For example, near-nude Simi Garewal in "Mera Naam Joker" and Mandakini in "Ram Teri Ganga Maili"or semi-clad Dimple Kapadia in "Bobby" and Vyjayanthimala in "Sangam".

Enough about scenic beauty... next crib is always about music and songs. I guess there is no denying that the old Hindi film music and lyrics were different. But that is that. Purists raised their voices then upon mixing Hindi and Urdu, much the same way they do today upon mixing Hindi and English. Although I am no great fan of contemporary Hindi film songs, I cannot accept a blanket conclusion like all the new songs are bad and all the old ones are really poetic beauty. But since these old-ass "हमारे ज़माने में तो...." -walas won't accept it, let me quote some examples.

C-A-T CAT, CAT Maane billi - Dilli Ka Thug (1958) must be a real poetical voyage, isn't it? What about the song that goes like - Aana meri jaan meri jaan Sunday ke Sunday (Shehnai, 1947) and has lines like "aao haathon me haath le walk karen hum, aao sweet sweet aapas me talk kare hum" (read / watch full song here). So unnecessary mixing of English in Hindi songs cannot be blamed upon the Hinglish generation, right?

Further, Aarambh Hai Prachand - Gulaal (2009) or Goonje Gagan Goonje - Godmother (1999) is really deprived of any valor, isn't it? The real poetic songs were written by Kavivar Pradeep only. Let's see what he wrote for Nastik (1954) - "Dekh tere sansaar ki haalat kya ho gayi bhagwan". What a beautiful composition... the only problem is, it goes on like - "aaya samay bada bedhanga / aaj aadmi bana lafanga / kahin pe jhagda, kahin pe danga / naach raha nar hokar nanga". If this is not 'tukbandi' of lowest order, then what else is?

Simply put, there are as much rotten apples now as were back then. Over time, we have weeded out the junk and happily forgot about that, whereas all that is latest is yet to be weeded out. If you still don't appreciate the difference, let's listen to few more songs (click for youtube links) and then judge for oneself!!

Meri bhains ko danda kyon mara - Pagla Kahin Ka (1970)
Cheel Cheel Chillake - Half Ticket (1962)
bekaraan - 7 Khoon Maaf (2011)
Tere Sawalon Ke Wo Jawab - Manorama 6 Feet Under (2007)


Nidhi said...

Excellent thought!

Anand Agrawal said...

I read your blog and was convinced upto some extent. Then, thought what logic/conclusion a research thinking will generate. The problem is of proportion here. Examples from handful of old movies may not make convincing case. So called 'Cheap and vulgar scenes' in movies and songs (not like graceful acts by Helen in her songs) are increasing in proportion in modern movies. We cannot ignore this fact. This is not an issue of mere 'humare jamaane mein'. This is an issue of changing trend in cinema and art in India. Focusing on proportions will give a better perspective.


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