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April 19, 2015 Sunday     

Sahir Ludhianvi

In the early decades of Hindi films post-independence, when lyricists and composers used to heartily appreciate the memorable works of their fellow artists, there was a rare instance when a socially relevant song in film Nastik (1954) was answered later in a comic-parody form in film Railway Platform (1955) by an entirely different team of known creative men in all good spirits.
The memorable, realistic song depicting the inhuman aftermath of partition and hypocrisy practiced in the society was both penned and sung by the respected Kavi Pradeep in the composition by C. Ramchandra (film directed by I. S. Johar) and is still remembered as one of the most iconic songs of Hindi cinema surprisingly relevant even today in the present scenario. And its true to life lyrics go as:
Dekh Tere Sansaar Ki Haalat Kya Ho Gayi Bhagwaan,
Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan….., Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan,
Sooraj Na Badla, Chaand  Na Badla, Na Badla Re Aasmaan
Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan….., Kitna Badal Gaya Insaan!
A quite bold poetic statement for those nation-building times, the song took the entire country by storm and was answered by Sahir Ludhianvi in the next year along with Mohd. Rafi, S. D. Batish (as singers) and Madan Mohan (as composer using the same tune of C. Ramchandra) in film Railway Platform (1955) directed by Ramesh Saigal (the first movie of actor-director-politician Sunil Dutt). The song was a funny parody also shot in a comic setting on screen, mocking at the hypocrite social standards revealing the wide gap between the rich and the poor in relation to the supreme Almighty. And its lyrics using the subjects in reverse order were:
Dekh Tere Bhagwaan Ki Haalat Kya Ho Gayi Insaan,
Kitna Badal Gaya Bhagwaan….., Kitna Badal Gaya Bhagwaan,
Bhookhon Ke Ghar Mein Phera Na Daaley, ‘Sethon’ Ka Ho Mehmaan,
Kitna Badal Gaya Bhagwaan….., Kitna Badal Gaya Bhagwaan!
No doubt the lyrics of the parody presented a much more sarcastic vision of our society as an answer, blaming it all on the supreme power only in return. But at the same time, using the exactly similar thought, meter and composition of another team, certainly gives us a clear idea of the healthy creative environment existing among the talented creators of those times who mutually had an honest wish to have a better and peaceful society ahead in the independent India and did believe in “Imitation as the sincerest form of flattery” complimenting each other.
Interestingly a few years later in 1958, Sahir came up with another introspective answer to two highly esteemed poetic expressions of the most respected Urdu poet and philosopher Muhammad Iqbal (also known as Allama Iqbal), titled Tarana-e-Hind’ or ‘Tarana-e-Hindi’ (Song of the nation Hindustan) and ‘Tarana-e-Milli’ (Song of the Religious community).

To simplify the terms, we know ‘Tarana-e-Hindi’ by the countrywide popular phrase of “Saarey Jahan Se Achha Hindustan Hamara” and its opening lines go as:
Saarey Jahan Se Achha, Hindustan Hamara,
Hum Bulbuley Hain Is Ki, Yeh Gulsitan Hamara!
Whereas ‘Tarana-e-Milli’ talked about the Islamic community alone beginning as:
Cheen-O-Arab Hamaara, Hindustan Hamaara,
Muslim Hain Hum, Vatan Hai Saara Jahaan Hamaara!
Taking the two expressions together, Sahir again came up with an exceptional, hard hitting parody using similar phrases in film Phir Subah Hogi (1958 – based on Dostoevysky’s Crime & Punishment) sung by Mukesh in the music direction of Khaiyyam (film directed by Ramesh Saigal). And the answer very daringly depicted the cynical realities of life simply rejecting the optimistic vision of Muhammad Iqbal in a rebellious manner as:
Cheen-O-Arab Hamaara, Hindustan Hamaara,
Rehney Ko Ghar Nahin Hai, Saara Jahaan Hamaara!

Jitni Bhi Buildingen Thi, ‘Sethon’ Ne Baant Li Hain
Footpath Bambai Ke Hain Aashiyaan Hamaara
Soney Ko Hum Qalandar, Aatey Hain Bori Bandar
Har Ek Coolie Yahaan Ka, Hai Raazdan Hamaara

Cheen-O-Arab Hamaara, Hindustan Hamaara,
Rehney Ko Ghar Nahin Hai, Saara Jahaan Hamaara!
It is said that the song became a youth anthem at that time, just a decade after the Indian independence when all educated unemployed youngsters had no clear directions of where to move ahead with their individual careers. Considered as ‘controversial lyrics’ it was well-noticed by the authorities too for its unpleasant but true representation of the times by the one and only Sahir Ludhianvi, who till date finds no parallel when it comes to such poetic-satirical comment on the sad state of our society and its changing mindsets. For instance just look at the word “Seth” (Capitalists) used in both the songs mentioned above painting an ugly picture of the wide divide, painfully exploiting the poor.
However the biggest irony is that the meaningful lyrics written by the blessed poet in the mid 50s are still equally relevant in the present, after more than half a century gone and many generations changed. In fact that’s what perfectly represents the introspective, futuristic vision of an extraordinary poet with incomparable writing skills fondly known as Sahir Ludhianvi.
Incidentally Sahir too got a sharp answer for his “Taj Mahal” nazm by another renowned poet-lyricist Shakeel Badayuni in film “Leader” (1964) directed by Ram Mukherjee with music composed by Naushad and the track beautifully sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Mohd. Rafi.
To give you the exact phrase, towards the end of his famous nazm Sahir wrote,
“Ik Shahenshah Ne Daulat Ka Sahaara Le Kar
Hum Gareebon Ki Mohabbat Ka Urhayaa Hai Mazaaq,
Meri Mehboob Kahin Aur Mila Kar Mujh Se!”
And in answer to that Shakeel expressed it in his lyrics as,
“Ik Shahenshah Ne Banwa Ke Hasin Tajmahal
Saari Duniyaa Ko Mohabbat Ki Nishaani Di Hai,
Iske Saaye Mein Sada Pyaar Ke Charchey Hongey
Khatm Jo Ho Na Sakegi Woh Kahaani Di Hai”
Again two exceptionally talented poets/lyricist of our ‘Golden Era’ at their creative best!

Bobby Sing
© Bobbytalkscinema.com April 2015 
Tags : Sahir Ludhianvi answers Kavi Pradeep and Allama Iqbal, Did You Know facts about Hindi Cinema at bobbytalkscinema, Unknown Hindi Films Facts by Bobby Sing, Lesser known facts about Hindi Cinema by Bobby Sing
09 April 2015 / bobbysing /
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The detective series of James Bond, Dick Tracy, Perry Mason, Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple and more have repeatedly featured in Hollywood projects since the last century and are also hugely famous in the Indian subcontinent. Plus works of Arthur Conan Doyle and Agatha Christie have been the basis of many famous Hindi classics of the golden era too such as Bees Saal Baad, Gumnam and more.
Interestingly films focusing on individual detectives (and not spies) have always been offered to the Hindi film audience in the past beginning from CID to the likes of Inspector Eagle, Gopichand Jasoos, Do Jasoos, Police Public, Baadshah and many more. But recently we have witnessed a new trend of making detective movies (possibly post the unexpected success of Kahaani) as seen in Mr. Joe B. Carvalho, Samrat & Co., Bobby Jasoos, Detective Byomkesh Bakshy or the upcoming Jagga Jasoos supported by many big known names and production houses.
However, what still remains widely ignored by filmmakers as their subjects for thrilling detective Hindi films are the pulp fiction writers and their respective characters having a huge fan following among the Hindi readership belt in pan India. These are the writers whose works were and are still largely published in a cheap paper material (known as ‘Lugdi Sahitya’) with glossy (read B grade) hand-painted covers (focusing on blood, girls and guns) having some catchy suspense titles. The low priced ‘literature’ (as many don’t like that to be referred as) is specifically written for the masses with quite simple language using the local slangs, phrases and conversational trends adding to the excitement value. Though in the present times the presentation, printing and marketing standards of such novels (books) has gone through a positive, trendy, upmarket change, still the genre largely receives the same kind of treatment from the so called elite class, even today.
If studied in details, the particular subject has enough material for an exclusive depiction of the era beginning from the 1960s, majorly from the city of Meerut, distributed by the A. H. Wheelers stands found at the railway stations. But to give you a fair idea, here is the list of those (top-most) exceptional prolific writers and their famous key characters/investigators who can easily lead a Hindi film from the front based on any of their hit, fast-paced, engrossing novels lying on the forgotten shelves waiting to be explored by some innovative producers and directors from decades.
Ibne SafiA. Beginning from the pre-independence era, when Saradindu Bandopadhyay’s Byomkesh Bakshi was getting famous in the Bengali readers, Ibne Safi was fast winning hearts in the Urdu circles with his entertaining detective stories & novels led by interesting, likable heroes as:
Imran Ali - a highly educated sleuth with a colourful but complex (eccentric) personality who acts like a fool as a cover to his sharp intelligence.
Colonel Faridi - a rich, well-built, handsome, learned man with a remarkable mind and sharp reflexes who enjoys his passion to solve hard mysteries.
Captain Hameed - the naughty-romantic chief assistant to Colonel Faridi, who turns into a brave and intelligent associate when needed, controlling his frequent mood swings.
Anwar/Rasheeda - the crime reporter/private investigator and his courageous colleague.
With an unbelievably strong fan following in the undivided India, Ibne Safi’s books (namely magazine Jasoosi Duniya) were widely read and sold in black too, both in Pakistan and India with translations being published in several regional languages in India. In fact renowned Hindi film lyricist-writer Javed Akhtar praised the impeccable style of Ibne Safi as an inspiring source for few of his own epic creations. And recently his Hindi & English translations have also been published by reputed names such as Random House India and Harper Collins reviving back the gone era.
Ved Prakash KambojB. In the 60s-70s when several social-romantic novels of Gulshan Nanda were being adapted as Hindi feature films and Satyajit Ray’s calm & cool investigator Feluda appeared in Bengali publications, the first few famous writers in the world of Hindi pulp fiction and their entertaining heroes were:
(i) Ved Prakash Kamboj, who wrote in the similar format as Ibne Safi following his entertaining lead character of Imran. His most famous heroes Vijay-Raghunath later inspired many known writers in the next decades.
Om Prakash Sharma(ii) ‘Janpriye Lekhak’ Om Prakash Sharma and his characters of:
RajeshThe honest, non-violent, idealistic senior detective from the secret services also known as “Bade Bhai”  
Jagat – The anti-hero, con-man but a friend and fan of Rajesh.
Chakram – An old age private detective along with his super-active dog.

(Here not many know that the reputed director Basu Chatterjee also made a film on his non-detective novel as Chameli Ki Shaadi for which Om Prakash Sharma was also credited for the dialogues along with the story.)
S.C. Bedi(iii) S. C. Bedi and his pocket-book series featuring:
Rajan-IqbalThe two young boys who were known to solve crime mysteries in their entertaining, playful style.
(And that would also remind many friends the whole mesmerizing world of comics and their famous lively detectives as Babloo, Bahadur, Ram-Rahim, Inspector Manoj, Crookbond and many more)
(iv) Parshuram Sharma's novels and Maqbul Jallandhari’s Colonel Ranjit series revolving around the middle aged Major Balwant dressed in urban style finding the real culprit.  
Ved Prakash Sharma(v) Ved Prakash Sharma and his hit investigators such as:
Vijay - Son of the IG and an undisclosed chief of Indian secret service acting as a private detective with many weird activities but extremely sharp crime solving skills.
Vijay’s nephew and his professional chela (disciple) personally trained by him as the secret agent.  
Keshav Pandit
A unique character using his mind as his major weapon, he doesn’t have any Law degree but even the court remains stunned with his logical arguments given, saving his innocent clients. (A TV Serial was recently made around this specific theme and character.)
Vibha Jindal – 
The head of a big industrial house, who begins her journey as a crime investigator from her husband’s murder only. She is a clever lady solving the peculiar cases with her critical intelligent analysis as a passionate hobby.

(Interestingly a few films were made based on Sharma’s chosen novels like Bahu Ki Aawaaz, Sabse Bada Khiladi & International Khiladi, but they unfortunately didn’t feature any of these specific detective characters.)
SMP(vi) Surendra Mohan Pathak and his immensely popular:
SunilA charming, witty investigative journalist working for the fictional newspaper Blast. He is romantic in nature and often finds himself fighting for the innocent with the help of his ‘youth club owner’ friend Ramakant.
Contradicting to Sunil’s character, Sudhir is a kind of ‘philosopher’ private detective of Delhi portrayed with the typical features of the city’s lingo, style and life patterns giving him the title of “Sudhir Kohli – The Lucky Bastard”.
Vivek Agashe – A retired military officer in the mid-50s is the elected president of the unique Crime-Club apart from working as a professional private detective solving the twisted cases.
(SMP – as the writer is popularly known among his big fan following, has another of his hugely famous notorious character Vimal aka Surender Singh Sohal who is not a detective but can easily lead a crime thriller movie with many fast paced, engrossing moments woven around an impossible heist.
To give the writer his long awaited due, SMP is one of the first Hindi pulp fiction writers to be translated in English and published by reputed names (in the new millennium) becoming the bestseller in this genre on major online portals. Plus he also has a super-active fan group at Facebook too, member of which even organize fan-meets and events in various cities on regular basis.)
C. The 80s witnessed a cut throat competition between two best sellers of this industry namely Surender Mohan Pathak and Ved Prakash Sharma with many more joining in the increasing demand like Anil Mohan & later Amit Khan including some ghost writers en-cashing the ongoing trend.
But post the mid-90s with the arrival of Cable TV and internet revolution, Hindi Pulp fiction began losing its passionate readers, only to be revived a few years back by reputed publishing houses like Harper Collins coming up with the latest novels of Surender Mohan Pathak (in Hindi only) and the earlier works of both SMP & Ved Prakash Sharma made available in the form of e-books at mobile platforms such as Newshunt.
Incidentally, the past decade has seen a substantial growth in crime-detective novels in English by Indian (or India based) writers too with many interesting detective characters such as Vish Puri, Inspector Lalli, Inspector Singh, Reema Ray and more. Besides, noted film-makers such as Piyush Jha and Neeraj Pandey also ventured into crime-writing coming up with a few appealing books featuring their own invented characters like Inspector Virkar and Ghalib Danger. Yet after reading them, one still finds the Hindi pulp fiction much more engaging, spicy and entertaining with equal dosage of suspense, crime, sex and humour, waiting to be adapted for many worth-watching films since decades.
However, with no news of any film project being made on these specific characters, all we can do is hope…. that these ready-made scripts soon find their way into the offices of big production houses and renowned stars giving a Sunil, Sudhir, Imran, Vijay, Vibha or a Rajesh an equal chance as given to Feluda and Byomkesh Bakshi in our Indian Cinema.
Bobby Sing
© April 2015 – Bobbytalkscinema.com

(Would love reading views and suggestions by all die-hard fans of Hindi pulp fiction reading this exclusive write-up at BTC. So waiting for your comments eagerly with HIS BLESSINGS)
Tags : From Ibne Safi to Surender Mohan Pathak, Hindi Pulp Fiction Writers ignored by Bollywood Filmmakers, Nostalgia, Hindi Crime Novels,
04 April 2015 / bobbysing /
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Mera Naam Joker and Hunterrr - Bobby Sing

The three phase story begins with the teenage kid exploring the sexual pleasures for the first time through some hidden experiences. It reaches the youth when the need becomes even stronger looking at the smiling girls leading to an amateur affair. And then features the years of mature freedom resulting in another intense relationship heading towards an emotional finale.
That’s the basic premise of the latest release HUNTERRR & its core subject certainly makes us recall a cult Hindi classic film that also dealt with an emotional biographical account of an adorable loving soul and the three beautiful ladies in the various phases of his lonely life craving for togetherness. But at the same time the thought also forces us to realise the huge difference between the contrasting visions of the two eras wherein perhaps Love has been replaced by Sex and ‘Emotional Trustworthy Affairs’ have been replaced by ‘Careless One Night Stands” quite evidently.
The film one recalls instantly while watching HUNTERRR is the showman Raj Kapoor’s MERA NAAM JOKER (1970) that remained completely focused on heartfelt emotions, trust & love including a worth praising, insightful depiction of the age of adolescence, that till date is considered as a benchmark achievement in our Indian cinema without any doubt.
Interestingly, revolving around the life of a sex maniac and his timely (sexual) encounters with three particular women (out of many), HUNTERRR exactly follows the same path as MERA NAAM JOKER but on a visibly much lower level relating its every single sequence with just Sex & Lust alone instead of Love.
Following a similar vision, it also begins with good 30 minutes devoted to the kids and their first sexual experiences that are enjoyable to watch. But the vision maestro Raj Kapoor displayed in his epic timeless creation, unarguably remains miles ahead having a deep psychological impact on the viewers of all age groups even today (after more than four decades). Moreover just like MERA NAAM JOKER, the most appreciable part of HUNTERRR too remains its opening section only dealing with adolescents.
However, the two films are not being discussed here in comparative terms at all in any manner. But they are being quoted in a single line together just to portray the similarities in concept and the vast differences in the vision within the two eras wherein probably we are fast losing the ability of feeling (valuing) selfless love to the timely acts of sex and mere bodily pleasures.
In other words, even after four decades, our cinema is still selling the same story of a man and three beautiful girls in his life, but now we need SEX in place of LOVE or titles like HUNTER in place of LOVER to make & sell our films in the market unfortunately.
(First published at Hindustan Times portal at the following link on 21st March 2015 – with few changes)
Tags : MERA NAAM JOKER (1970) & HUNTERRR (2015) From LOVE To SEX, Articles on cinema by Bobby Sing at bobbytalkscinema.com, Raj Kapoor's vision on adolescence, A person and three women, Films based on love and sex in Hindi Cinema,
24 March 2015 / bobbysing /
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