21 comments on “Dolls and puppets, child-like(?) dances, sprightly singing by Lata, Shankar Jaikishan…

  1. What an interesting theme, Richard! I’d never seen the first two songs before (and Kamini Kaushal looks pretty creepy at the start of that second song… those goggly ‘eyes’ and all). Offhand, I can’t think of any other songs that fit the ‘puppet-y dance’ look, but there must be. :-)

  2. Thanks for the quick comment, Madhu! I have already thought of a fourth one (going up as soon as i post this answer). It isn’t as similar as the other three, but it certainly fits the title of the post, so why not?

    And, yes, Kamini Kaushal does look creepy in that second song! I had never seen that one before I saw the post from Ajay earlier tonight. I had known about the other two for quite a while, and they immediately sprang to mind.

  3. These were all successful films at their release, but only Chori-Chori is entertaining today.It was the last of 17 films of the pair of Raj Kapoor and Nargis and based on “It happened one night” .The total package of songs in this film puts in top ten all time in Hindi film music. I know it is high praise out of tens of thousands films, but the songs stand out even today. At the time of release they were a total rage. Kali Ghata introduced Bina Rai and Asha Mathur both of whom made great impact on the male public as beauties. Bina Rai had a good career and Asha Mathur did come in some films. I remember my mother telling me that Asha Mathur was evil in the film. She loved Kishore Sahu but deserted him for his richer older brother. I saw on DVD some years ago and I did not like it though I make allowances for the times. Yes, Bina Rai and Asha Mathur are beauties. Excellent clips, Richard.

  4. In the Kali Ghata Clip it is Cuckoo as dancer, Kishore Sahu (Star, producer, Director) in white tuxedo and Asha Mathur, the woman he walks away with. Some of you may laugh, because standards of beauty have changed but Asha Mathur was considered most beautiful actress and by extension most beautiful female in India. I was going to say more, but don’t want to wade in deep waters. Just check the names of the top female stars of 1951

  5. Kumar, I am glad that you like the selections, and thank you for all this good information. I knew the Kali Ghata clip as a fun Cuckoo dance, didn’t really know about the stars of the film, etc. I know Chori Chori is a great classic (which I think I watched all the way through twice), and I also am very fond of the soundtrack. I think Kathputli deserves a lot of credit for the fine dance performances by Vyjayanthimala and a great one by Kamala Lakshman (though it was not quite as great as her dance in Chori Chori :) ). Also, there is high-quality acting by Balraj Sahni (as we would expect). Some people think it came up short plot-wise, etc., but I liked watching it quite a bit (and may have watched this one twice also – as well as watching a couple of the dances many times). I guess Aas is the least known or recognized… I was unaware of it before, but it does look interesting!

  6. Richard,
    This is a wonderful connection! I was not aware of the second song. Mr Gaddeswarup’s last song obviously fits, but it is C Ramchnadra’s. Did SJ have any special fascination for puppets?

  7. Long time since I’ve commented, Richard, but I’ve been reading. :)

    What an unusual theme, and like Madhu, I wasn’t aware of the Aassong at all. You know what it reminds me of? The old fairy tale of the Tin Soldier and the toy ballerina who would dance when she’s wound up.

    Here’s one that fits your theme – from a new film.

  8. Anu, I am glad that you are commenting here again, but unfortunately, your suggestion doesn’t fit on a couple of counts: No singing by Lata and no Shankar Jaikishan. Same with Swarup’s suggestions – except one of them did contain singing by Lata.

    When I wrote this post, I had in mind that all of the videos contained all of the above (not just “any”), except I guess that “Dolls and puppets” could have meant either dolls or puppets, since the first clip is not really very puppet-like (but Cuckoo certainly is a doll there LOL). (Is there a way that I can punctuate that headline better to convey exactly what I was looking for without making the heading even more awkward? :) )

    This post started when I saw the Aas video, which Ajay had just posted, and I thought right away about the Kali Ghata clip, which I had stored in my mind for some time. I thought that they were somehow very similar in sound and spirit, though not exactly alike… I didn’t even specifically remember that the Kali Ghata song was Shankar Jaikishan but I thought it likely that it was, and when I checked it again, I saw that I was right. The Chori Chori one was the next that came to mind, because of the puppet theme and, once again, the cheery or sprightly singing by Lata (though this time accompanied by Manna Dey). I posted it as just three songs before Madhu commented, then I wondered if any others might fit and I thought, of course, that song from Kathputli!

    Wanting to say more about what I said re. the “progression” from the oldest one to the newest… The second one is most similar to the first, the third one is more similar to the second but not as much to the first, and the last one is really most similar to the third… And this progression exactly matched the chronology.

    I don’t know if anything else might fit the criteria here. :) I can’t imagine anything else will fit in with that strangely coincidental chronological progression, but maybe there is something that could fit all the things I mentioned in the headline…

    AK, I don’t see how the similarities could have come from a fascination by S-J for puppets, unless they actually determined or created the scenes for which their music was used. (Did that sort of thing ever happen?) Maybe somebody saw how well their music went with a puppet act and decided that it they would be the best ones to compose music for another film with puppet acts… Maybe the most famous one, the Chori Chori scene, somehow contributed to their getting role as music directors for Kathputli. (But I am not going to try to figure out who made these decisions and when in order to see whether this was possible – but it is a nice thought. ;) )

    By the way, I think I’ve participated in discussions of the use of dolls and/or puppets in theme posts of other blogs that we’ve known… But this is something a little different and obviously more complicated. :)

  9. Thanks for those two, Siddharth! By the way, I removed the numbers before the YouTube clips because it prevented them from being embedded. (When I can solve it simply, I do that. I couldn’t with Swarup’s (maybe I’ll get back to those), but here the solution was very quick.)

    Anyway, the Seema song could really fit in as part of the progression, couldn’t it? She doesn’t move in a very doll-like way, but uses a doll to represent herself. It’s sad, not light in the same way as the others. But I think I would be willing to expand the post to accept it :) , especially since it goes well after the song in Kathputli.

    I actually wrote a sort-of review of Seema in which I compared it to Kathputli. It’s one of the older writeups in this blog, posted six years and 11 days ago:


    I will have to consider the other clip later because I really have to go offline for now. (It looks promising. :) ) But I wanted to explain what happened with your links and at least talk a little about the song from Seema.

  10. Ah, talk about a lack of reading comprehension. My eye saw the ‘puppet/child-like dances’ and my mind jumped to fill the blanks. :)

    Now I’m curious – I wonder if SJ had any other such songs; it seems quite a coincidence that they had four that fit the theme so well.

  11. Anu, that’s OK, the song you sent was a nice one anyway. :)

    I am not sure, really, if any others seem to fit the theme as well as the four I posted – or seem to fit together as well. Siddharth’s clips are the closest in the comments (so far) (and I did say I want to “make room” for “Suno Chhoti Si Gudiya Ki”), but they still don’t fit quite as well…

  12. I thought I had commented on Siddharth’s second clip, the song from Poonam, but now the comment seems to have disappeared. Well, anyway, it’s a nice one and it certainly has the Lata and S-J ingredients, but the scene belongs more in a children’s party thread (which wouldn’t be too difficult to put together)… There isn’t a prominently featured, adult performer (or a teenage one) who looks or acts like a doll or puppet. So, it seems a bit different to me. But it’s got some of the ingredients, certainly, and I don’t have to be the ultimate judge. If someone else thinks it fits, that’s fine, too. :)

  13. Richard,
    I agree with you, the first clip is closer. Would have been perfect if there was a dance component.

  14. Amiya Chakravarti, producer of Kathputli had SJ as Music Directors in Daag, Patita and Seema.He died during production of Kathputli and Nitin Bose completed it. “Kali Ghata” means “Dark Clouds” and the release of this film was a bolt of lightening. Rare occasion that 2 Hindu beauties from North India were shown in one film. (Bina Rai and Asha Mathur). Prior to that was Kamini Kaushal, whose Navy husband was stationed in Bombay and local Maharashtrian actresses like Leela Chitnis and Nalini Jaywant. the rest were Muslim. Suraiya,Madhubala,Nargis, Munawar Sultana, Nigar Sultana , Meena and Rehana. Bombay was too far for North Indian upper class families to allow their daughters. Somehow Kishore Sahu managed to obtain parental permission to get these two in his film, possibly because he was an established director of 7-8 films. The males were repeat audience for this film.

  15. Kumar, you have sent interesting information as usual.

    I had noticed before that Amiya Chakrabarty (which I saw spelled with a “b” in the middle) was listed as director of both Seema and Kathputli. I mentioned that in the post that I linked to above, where I compared the two films.

    Regarding your comment:

    “Rare occasion that 2 Hindu beauties from North India were shown in one film. (Bina Rai and Asha Mathur). Prior to that was Kamini Kaushal, whose Navy husband was stationed in Bombay and local Maharashtrian actresses like Leela Chitnis and Nalini Jaywant. the rest were Muslim. Suraiya,Madhubala,Nargis, Munawar Sultana, Nigar Sultana , Meena and Rehana”

    Not all the rest… Sulochana, Parmila, Azurie, and Latika (all appearing in the ’40s and/or earlier) were Jews. :) (And a few years later, of course, there was Nadira.)

    And Mala Sinha is Christian.

    I think there have been quite a few Christian actress-dancers, too – so many Anglo-Indians: Cuckoo in the ’40s, then Helen, etc.

    Actually, most of the actress-dancers that I can think of are Hindu, starting with Sitara Devi, and then, by the late ’40s to early ’50s, all our favorites who came up from the South…

  16. Richard

    All good points. Ramola is one of my favorites. She was in the original Khazanchi and was the star in Kishore Sahu’s “Sawan Aaya Re” which is a good film with excellent songs. She was Jewish and my wife is American Jewish. With that, I have affection for Jewish causes and Israel and I am a member of the JCC here in Cleveland. I grew up in Bombay. Yes I have read your mini bio which you have posted on this website and I am pleasantly amazed at the knowledge you have of the Indian film industry. Thanks for the wonderful information.
    Upper class North Indian actresses and women were and still are very high on the “Hottie” scale in the caste conscious India. Any other group of women just cannot compete.
    Rough analogy is Maria Sharapova makes twice the money in endorsements of Serena Williams, though she has won far fewer tournaments.

  17. Thank you again, Kumar.

    I had forgotten about Ramola in Khazanchi… When I think of Khazanchi, the first actress I think of is Manorama, and I also think of that wonderful singing by Shamshad Begum. (I downloaded the soundtrack several years ago; if I remember correctly, it was from a site belonging to Surjit Singh.)

    I mentioned the Jewish actresses mainly because they’ve been somewhat on my mind due to discussion here and on Facebook in the past couple of years related to the film project Shalom Bollywood. (There have been so many articles about this film, but I have no idea if it’s ever actually come out or has ever been shown.)

    If you read my bios, you know that I don’t really have all that much connection to Judaism. :) I suppose I can reflect some mostly lost ethnic pride when I see Jewish participation in places that many people would think unlikely – such as Bollywood. But I have had no religion in my life and I can’t even remember the times of Jewish holidays (or the names of most). And I never was even Bar Mitzvah’ed. (I didn’t want to be, and my parents were perfectly fine with that, because they, too, were agnostic/atheist. It may have been different if my Jewish-Ukrainian grandmother who’d died a couple of years earlier were still alive. )

    Anyway, those small and unlikely moments of “Jewish pride” comprise the extent of my involvement in “Jewish causes.”

    Regarding the (touchy) issue of sympathy for Israel, I don’t think I can claim that. I am certainly not sympathetic to the government of Israel, and I recognize that official Israel has a history of atrocity against Palestinians (which has gotten considerably worse in recent times). Though I feel no great fondness for what passes for Palestinian leadership, either… And I am generally not as knowledgeable about the subject as many other people. It’s actually a subject I try to steer clear from in political discussions, because such discussions bring out too much ugliness and stupidity on both sides. But if pressed, I am sympathetic to the plight of the Palestinians. Though by being so, I guess I also fall into a good tradition of Jewish leftists.

    Well, anyway, it is interesting that you have a Jewish American wife. Sometimes people get more of a connection to a culture through a spousal link or love affair than they would if they were naturally raised in it.

    I’ve tried to blame :) some of my own affinities on the Urdu-speaking woman from Pakistan whom I was involved with for under half a year in the mid-late ’90s. Well, she certainly was a catalyst for the growth of my interests, especially in music and dance, and I think she caused me to start loving the sound of Urdu and Hindi (though my actual interest in the films would come much later). But that relationship was far too long ago and short-lived to continue getting credit here. :) (I’ve had much, much longer relationships, and also much more time alone.)

    So, anyway, if you liked my autobiography…there’s some more! (I have been thinking of doing a new “About” page sometime.)

    Regarding your “amazement” about my knowledge of Indian film industry, etc., well, I appreciate the compliment, but as I said during a thread at Songs Of Yore, I am certainly not the only one. (You’ll even see a few other very non-Indian people with at least equal knowledge commenting on the posts in this blog. )

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