15 comments on “There Is a Lot of Fun to be Found In Singapore! (With a lot of similarties to another good movie, Howrah Bridge.)

  1. This is a really good movie, although I had to wait about two years to see the end (my first DVD of it conked out halfway through). But I love Shammi as you probably have figured out by now. I’ll need to watch it again and concentrate more on Padmini, I don’t remember much about her in this.

  2. Padmini does a couple of really fun cabaret dances in this, in addition some good dancing-in-the-streets numbers, and of course I always like her acting… I think her dancing was even more outstanding in Amar Deep, which has some of my favorite song-and-dance sequences anywhere.

    I’m getting to like Shammi a lot too.

    And by the way, my Singapore DVD was not working all that well either, at least not on my computer, which is how I’m playing them right now. The picture was beautiful, but the sound was a bit crappy, which is too bad because the music is very good.

  3. Hi-

    Just stumbled across this blog where I found my name mentioned (as tommydan1 from YouTube). Interesting that I uploaded the Mannathi Mannan videos right after you mentioned that dance competition song. Interesting, but just a coincidence as I had never read your stuff until about 20 minutes ago. Singapore and Howrah Bridge are 2 of my favorite movies. Both have strong Film Noir elements and Film Noir is my favorite film genre. And although I’ve never seen it mentioned as having one of the all-time great soundtracks, the songs in Howrah Bridge are my favorites. I have several songs from both movies at YouTube.

    I’m glad you’re promoting Singapore, as it’s not very well known, for reasons that escape me. It also must have been one of the first films to be shot outside of India, paving the way for the better known movies set outside the country as the 60s wore on. I just wish the DVD was of better quality. As mentioned, the audio is pretty bad. DVDs of Indian films are generally pretty awful, but the Singapore one is worse than usual.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

  4. Tom, thank you for stopping by, and for the encouraging words. It’s good to hear that you like what I’m doing, since I am using so many of your clips. You do seem to be posting many of my favorite scenes (especially song/dances) – and sometimes I discover new favorite scenes from your posts.

    Howrah Bridge does seem to have a couple of songs that a lot of people know, like, cover: “Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu” and “Aaiye Meharbaan,” and the film does have fans, from what I can tell.

    But Singapore seems more underappreciated…

    And it would be nice if there were a better DVD floating around too. It is pretty bad – but still so good. :)

  5. I personally find Padmini much more irresistible to watch than Madhubala. (OK, I know a few people would disagree with me on that point, but never mind.)

    I have to admit to being one of those people who disagree! :-) Madhubala is nowhere near as good a dancer as Padmini but she has more charm and beauty.

    For the Howrah Bridge vs Singapore debate, I must say that apart from preferring Madhubala, I think Ashok Kumar suits a noir-ish hero better than Shammi Kapoor whom I prefer more in his multicolored flamboyance. Anyhoo… saw this one in my local DVD store and will get round to it as soon as I finish my current stock which includes Amardeep (picked it up after reading your review).

  6. Hi, Bollyviewer. Personally, I would have to say, I think that Padmini had more beauty and charm. But from my point of view, no one on the screen surpasses Padmini (especially in mid-’50s to early ’70s) – she is Adhiparasakthi ! :)

    I agree that Ashok Kumar is better suited for film noir (and horror) than Shammi Kapoor. But Singapore is less film noir than Howrah Bridge, more comic in many places. Shammi is convincing enough in the serious parts, though (except, maybe, when he’s hanging by one hand from a helicopter).

    I’m delighted that my posts are influencing your film chocies in this way. I am still a relative newby in this area (even if I have watched a whole lot of Indian movies this past year), so it’s very nice to get this kind of encouragement for my Bollywood bogging!

  7. HI Richard, and once again, thank you for the link! Singapore is on my shopping cart now, especially because I liked Howrah Bridge, and the songs and your discussion seem very encouraging.


    PS: Adding you to my blog roll. You have a lot of good stuff here that I’ll be checking out regularly! :)

  8. Thank you, BollywoodFan, I am glad that I’ve encuoraged you to get this movie. I am also pleased to see that you are adding me to your blogroll, and I will be happy to return the favor.

  9. Your clips have been removed….boo hoo. I have the video of Singapore I think I will have to watch it again. by the way I do Kuchipudi

  10. Thanks for calling my attention to this. I’ve now replaced two of the three clips that were up there with better versions, and the first one even has subtitles! I deleted the remaining clip so nobody would have to deal with that annoying “no longer available” screen. I’m also replacing the Helen dance in the other post.

    So you do Kuchipudi? That’s great. Any dancing clips on YouTube? :)

  11. No dancing clips on YouTube, sorry. I took the trek to India to study a while ago for a solid chunk of time. But I haven’t performed publicly. Just privately. I just wanted to learn it because I loved it so much. Lucky you to be in NYC with so many nice Indian classical programs around!

  12. That’s great that you did that.

    Regarding the many classical programs in New York, if you mean programs where one could watch dancing… I’m sorry to say that though I’ve taken full advantage of the greater availability of Indian DVDs, most of the classical dance shows have eluded me. Part of the problem is that some of them are a bit expensive for someone in my present siutation. But then there are some cheaper shows that come along and free performances that I always manage to miss. I’m trying to keep my eyes more open for that.

    (By the way, I had a longer comment here but I’ve edited it. If anybody saw it, that’s all right; I just thought I was going on a little…)

  13. Actually there are a LOT of free Arangetram programs in NYC. These are people who have learnt to dance and are presenting themselves for the first time in a public offering. The programs are free and there is usually a lot of food after. Usually the artists wants the blessings of the patrons so the set up is one of a spiritual offering. I am sure you can find these around.

    Very interesting about your history of loving Indian dance and Hindi movies.

    I find your fascination with Padmini and her sisters very interesing. You must have known them in a previous life!

    I did see Dance Like a Man and it had Anoushka Shankar and a very handsome Sonu Sood in it. I thought it was interesting. It is not true that dance is taboo for male dancers. My first teacher Madhavapeddi Murthy is male. Raja Reddy is the most famous Kuchipudi male dancer in India. So if one feels the calling, one goes for it.

    Look at Rudolph Nureyev and Mikhael Baryshnikov. Not that dance is something you should start. Just commenting on male dancer syndrome. Being a fan is just as much work.

  14. Hema, I guess you saw my comment before I edited it! So, I’ll go back over some of what I said…

    [Readers note: I’m getting into a lot of autobiographical stuff here; what follows has nothing to do with the movie Singapore – except brief reference at the end to beloved Travancore Sisters…]

    I mentioned this idea that maybe my enthusiasm for dance is related to my upbringing, since I had a sister (5 1/2 years older) who seriously studied ballet into her teens and I met quite a few friends of hers from ballet class, etc. I’ve mentioned that idea before, but it really doesn’t hold up because, you know what, I don’t really like western ballet that much! :) Well, I guess it could be a partial transference of that influence, or it could be something in the genes…

    Anyway, I certainly think dance is more associated with women than with men and the obstacles to getting appreciated are greater for male dancers. This is what Dance Like a Man is about, to some extent.

    Also, a lot of people get into dance as children. I’ve read about so many bharatanatyam dancers who started at three or four, etc. You know better than I do about this, but maybe it is much better to start as a child or at least as an adolescent or young adult.

    I would say doing something like classical dance is certainly taboo to some extent for boys in the culture that I grew up in. I grew up in The Bronx, and it was bad enough that I didn’t like sports much and wasn’t that concerned about looking tough – I can imagine what would have happened to me if I’d taken up ballet! (Not that I wanted to. And I didn’t exactly see a lot of bharatanatyam in those days either, but never mind…) I could get more into this, but it’s not a topic I want to get into too much in this blog. Suffice to say, our society has big hangups about masculinity, etc. And, certainly, the same problem exists in India… I remember that Dance Like A Man dealt with that issue – it’s reflected even in the title.

    I didn’t really think about taking up any formal dance when I was younger, so that wasn’t really an issue for me. But I did love to dance on the dancefloor at the new wave club or those early sort of techno parties, and I was told I was very good. I was extremely shy in other respects for the most part, so I think it was a form of expression and also a release of energies and a way of responding to something I liked a lot (music) that didn’t create the same social tensions for me as other routes to initiating relationships. I guess there was also a certain joy that I experienced from being able to transfer love of music and rhythm to a directly physical response. So, anyway, these are signs that I could appreciate dance of one kind or another as a participant as well as a fan. But now I’m a fairly out of shape “white guy” well into his 40s, so I don’t think I could just suddenly start taking up bharatanatyam. :) Though as I said in an earlier version of my prior comment, I do think about those Indian dances when, now and then, I am working to get through a yoga class. (And by the way, even yoga classes are mostly a women’s activity in the U.S., at least from what I’ve seen. And this is something I didn’t even expect until I started looking into them… I think male attendance at these things must range between about 10 and 20 percent. I would bet dance classes are more lopsided.)

    So… Is being a fan just as much work? I don’t know, but maybe it can take up as much time.

    Yes, I just adore these Travancore Sisters, I have become a big fan, and I can’t really figure out a full explanation for why that happened, at least not from my day-to-day experiences and background. So maybe I should consider a supernatural explanation instead. :)

  15. Thank you for pointing me to this post, Richard! I’m one of those who’d disagree on the Madhubala question, but I do agree that Howrah Bridge is certainly more noir than Singapore. Of the three films, my favourite is certainly China Town – when it comes to Bollywood noir, I think that genre is best represented in China Town, as opposed to Howrah Bridge or Singapore, mainly because it’s well-scripted. And Shammi Kapoor gets to really show off his skills as an actor in it. :-)

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