The song is “Bole Re Papihara,” sung by Vani Jairam, composed by Vasant Desai, with lyrics by Gulzar. (Wish I could find subtitles for those lyrics sometime.)
I didn’t expect to enjoy this movie so much; I just watched it because it was there…and it took me by surprise. Actually, I think part of the reason is that it was written by Gulzar. (Yes, I’m even noticing the writers now.)
The director is Hrishikesh Mukherjee, and the movie features an ironically star-studded cast (with lots of cameos, including one by a famous actor who would marry Jaya in just a couple of years). I say ironically, because the overt message of the movie is not to worship movie stars.
It all starts when we learn that the main character, Kusum (played by Jaya) has star fever to an extreme, as she is hopelessly in love with the movie star (and actual other star of this movie) Dhamendra. (In love with a Bollywood movie star – imagine that!) Some members of her family must then set out to cure her of this ailment so that she might be able to fall in love with a young man named Navin (played by Samit Bhanja – and not to be confused with the actor named Navin, who also has a cameo appearance). Fortunately, her uncle (played by Utpal Dutt) is one Professor S. Gupta in “experimental psychology,” and he has some good ideas about curing her by exposing her to some realities about actors and film shoots that she isn’t quite aware of right now.
All a sweet and simple plot, and carried out nicely. But I particularly like the many references – penned by Gulzar in the dialogue – regarding the fact that the stars get the credit while so many people behind the scenes don’t – which goes along with another fact, that many people behind the scenes must struggle to get by. There are quite a few mentions of how the many must work for their “two square meals” while the few get all the wealth and recognition. In some work that Navin writes at some point (which is discovered by Kusum), the idea is taken well beyond the movie studio, to a comment on the whole country (which could be the whole world – and which certainly applies to America).
According to a very good article in Wikipedia, Gulzar started out with “leftist leanings.” And that certainly make sense. It’s probably part of why this movie viewer and blogger has gotten to appreciate a few things that he’s written. (Yes, for those who don’t know this – don’t be shocked, but I have leftist leanings too! I used to be a political blogger (and still have something of a political blog, which I’m not that energetic about pursuing these days). Blogging about Bollywood seemed like the ultimate departure. Ah, but maybe not so much – especially when we’re talking about old, “gold” Bollywood.)
P.S. By the way, so many of these movies that I’m watching are coming from the same mysterious source, at a couple of different YouTube sites. I haven’t had time to go to the library or do more shopping at the Bollywood DVD store – I’ve been too busy watching movies online!