Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Song of the Day: Ila Arun RULED: Payal Uthar Doongi - Mohabbat Ki Arzoo (1994)

In the early 90s, the grand-scale YRF movie Lamhe released and suddenly everyone everywhere was obsessed with Rajasthani songs. And it's no wonder with amazing songs like Morni Baga Ma (Chudiyan Khanak Gayi) and Megha Re Megha being so compelling. The 'Grand Dame' of Rajasthani folk/pop music Ila Arun was suddenly called upon to make special songs for every other movie. One of her most famous songs was the 1993 smash-hit Choli Ke Peeche from Khal Nayak which, despite it's notoriety, secured Madhuri Dixit's spot as the #1 Queen in Bollywood. Even recently she delivered the catchy Ringa Ringa from the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack (which sounds like a reprise to Choli Ke Peeche, if you ask me).

I loved many of her folk/pop songs, including Resham Ka Roomal, Nigodi Kaisi Jawani, Satoliya, Mera Assi Kali Ka Lehenga, Choodi Chamke, Chunari and Resham Ka Hai Kurta. There's also that song that no one ever remembers - Sarkaile Khatiya from Hum Hai Premi (1996) -- everyone always thinks I'm talking about the Govinda and Karishma song!

 But today's song of the day is from Mohabbat Ki Arzoo (1994) - a relatively unknown, flop movie that attempted to bank on the success of the 1991 movie Henna by casting the same trio - Rishi Kapoor, Ashwini Bhave and Zeba Bhaktiar. The movie's one reason for existence is this particular song - a slow and sexy number practically PURRED by Ila Arun and performed awkwardly by Ashwini Bhave in the film.

I couldn't help but think how even though Ashwini's dancing is stiff and uncomfortable looking, I still miss these kinds of actual girl dance numbers in Bollywood movies - versus the "club scene" dancing, gyrating and montage song sequences we get today. It just reaffirms my standing on why the 80s and 90s were better eras of Hindi films. Ok yes, they were cheesy and the clothes seem atrocious to us now (I can't wait to see what we say about this past decade in another 10 years), but they DANCED. They had actual steps and choreography. Some better than others (really now, I don't know why anyone believed that Madhoo, or Manisha Koirala for that matter, should have ever danced), but still. I cannot see a single leading lady from Bollywood today, save perhaps Anushka Sharma and of course, Aishwariya Rai, who can pull this off. They can pull off sexy, they can pull off slinky, and they can do some rocking model poses, but they just can't dance sala.

I even miss the background dancers.

And while Ashwini might be awkward, Rishi is doing something he does very well -- walking around while the girl sings and giving just the right amount of reserved interest that makes her keep performing. I don't know how he kept a straight face while Ashwini was singing at his crotch, honestly. And yes, this was the height of his "sweater-uncle" phase (though they swapped the sweaters for some truly hideous shirts), and yet when he does the little head toss and smiles to himself, I'm smitten. I admit it.

What language are those subtitles in? Inquiring minds want to know ...

But anyway, this song is amazing.

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