Sunday, February 05, 2006


Where have the cheesy numbers disappeared?

This post by the 'One (and only)' got me thinking about the days when movies did roaring business despite non-existent storylines, by piggy-backing on 'cheesy' numbers.
Remember any of the following? (Then you get what I mean by 'cheesy' numbers)

Tu cheez badi hai mast mast...(Mohra)
Sexy, sexy, sexy mujhe log bole, hi sexy, hullo sexy kyun bole?! (Kudrat)
Chhatri na khol barsaat mein...bheeg jaane de aaj is raat mein (Gopikishen)
Gutar-gutar, gutar-gutar. Chad gaya oopar re, atariya pe lotan kabootar re. (Dalal)
Choli ke peeche kya hai (Khalnayak)

Said a lot without directly saying anything at all...ignited a 'naughty' thought and left the rest to your imagination! Ok, now I must get on with the point this post is trying to make.
In the early nineties (I think after the unprecedented success of 'ek do teen' and the film it belonged to - Tezaab), almost every moviemaker wanted to hire a music director who could give his movie that 'one, seeti-maar number'.

So you had every music director worth his salt churning out numbers with 'double meaning lyrics' (I love that phrase). And most of these songs thrived on the controversy they created. In fact many a time, the lyrics of these songs made every parent bristle with indignation over the corruption of their little ones. And then there would be the mandatory public outcry (sometimes even a suspicious PIL in court) following which the music company would change / modify the lyrics (with great fanfare) to ostensibly mollify hurt public sentiments. Let me explain what I mean by modification...

'Sexy, sexy, sexy mujhe log bole' became 'Baby, baby, baby mujhe log bole'
'Dinon mein leti hai, raat ko leti hai' became 'Dinon mein kehti hai, raat ko kehti hai'

But curiosity had been piqued by then. School kids to other curious parents (who wanted to know what they should guard their kids against) to roadside Romeos (another favorite term) were listening to, singing tunelessly or looking out for the songs in question.
And that brings me to the genesis of this post. I loved these numbers. They were peppy and it was fun to see how they could rile people into a moral frenzy. But more importantly, I think they worked perfectly as a 'safe and healthy' outlet for an entire generation of kids, adolescents and adults brought up in an environment of denial. Singing these songs gave people their CTs.
It was the most an eve teaser would do (I am talking from a Hyderbadi's perspective here) at a bus stop or outside an icecream parlor. Maybe a more adventurous eve teaser, in a sudden need to differentiate himself amidst the sea of similar-intentioned chaps, would substitute 'choli' with 'Tshirt' (one actually felt sorry for the chap trying desperately to make that rhyme with the rest of the song).

Adolescents would have private dance parties (dancing for 15 minutes with exactly 3 friends, with the doors and windows shut when the parents had stepped out of the house to buy veggies or some such) and feel the thrill of rebellion while dancing to this 'aiyyo vulgar' song.
Kids would pool in money to buy the poster of the heroine in the movie (in that song) and take turns hiding it in their respective homes (till the next such song came up).

And the gals? Oh, we too hummed these songs (under our breath) or loudly sang them when we had PJ parties and felt a queer thrill (much like trying on bhaiyya's cologne, dad's cigarette).
Over a period of time, these songs got more and more explicit and worse - their visual depiction moved from the fully-clad suggestive movements to barely-clothed make-out sessions. So today, there are several songs with more than suggestive lyrics since entertainment itself has become so 'in-your-face' (even a song like 'leke phela pehla pyaar' has 'Jism-like' movements), and there's no secret thrill to be experienced any more. It's all there - out in the open, more explicit than ever.

There's no premium on restraint anymore!

While I can get down to the negative repercussions of this development, I think I will stick to bemoaning what I miss the most...the fun of cheesy numbers.
Remember? Even the great Amul (that only covered issues of national / controversial interest) decided to accord the 'tu cheez badi hai mast mast' number the honor of being spoofed on!
And the final proof of how much these numbers added to our life can be guaged from the instant connection that was established on campus when you spontaneously broke into a dance while
'Sarkailiyo khatiya jaada lage, jaade mein balma pyaara lage' was playing!
Oh, I miss the cheesy numbers...I am tired of the surfeit of sexplicit videos and chiselled foreign models belting out inane English numbers.

16 Comments:

Blogger Pareshaan said...

Two favorites of mine were, the poetic "doodh ban jaaoongee, malaai ban jaaoongee...botlon main daal do sharaab ban jaaoongee", and the subtle "kal saiyyan ne aisee balling karee, ek over bhee main jhel payee nahee - chauthe hee gend pe out huee, paanchhwa gend main khel paayee nahee" - oh the days before Rahman and his Rukmini came and spoilt it all!

4:23 PM  
Blogger manuscrypts said...

the bhatt camp has gone one step further and started enacting those cheesy lyrics... :)

3:47 AM  
Blogger Vinil Menon said...

A small correction mademoiselle, the Karishma Kapoor number Sexy Sexy Sexy mujhe log bole is from Khuddar, not Kudrat :) She was the queen of the double meaning lyrics + song 'n dance genre! Not to be left behind, there was Mamta Kulkarni too, with 'Bholi bhali ladki, khol tere dil ki pyaar waali khidki' from 'Sabse bada khiladi', and 'Mujhko rana ji maaf karna' from Karan Arjun. Today, I fail to understand, what was the hulla about 'Ishq hain suhana' from 'Coolie No. 1'.

The entire era itself had a lot of such notorious numbers, and as you have pointed out, when such songs are heard now either on the radio or during 'Antakshari' among peers, there is a part of us that feels nostalgic! As one of my friends put it, "Payr apne aap thirak uthte hain!"

6:42 PM  
Anonymous tara said...

Pareshan: LOL. Love the name 'Pareshan'.

Manuscrypts: I think the Bhatt camp has gone several steps further. So much so, that now they have nowhere to go.

Vinil: Thanks for visiting. Seems like you are an avid Hindi movie / music buff yourself. Thanks for the correction on 'Khuddar'.
'Ishq hai suhana' remains one of my faves to date. Love the rhythm.

11:56 PM  
Blogger Jayesh said...

How could you forget the legendary epoch making 'Raja Babu'. It really started the vulgarity movement (pun intended). "aa ee" was the rage. I guess the vulgar raunchy phase roughly ten yrs back was a symbol of repressed sexuality in India. Now the avenues are more open. Good blog.

1:30 AM  
Blogger Roy said...

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And its very interesting post...


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12:06 AM  
Blogger Suji said...

Interesing post! Yes true that these so called vulgar songs were so much better than what we see today.

6:33 AM  
Blogger Manish said...

Yup these songs were popular but then not only becoz their lyrics but more so due to their superb catchy music.

I remember one song Jumma Chumma loge from movie Hum which was of the same league.

Then there was the era of Bappi Lahiri when songs of movies like Mawali & Himmatwala etc etc ruled the roost.

remember Saat Saheliyan ....
Uyi Amma Uyi Ammma....

But I hated that era then. I feel today there is lot of variety in music on offer. If u have those explicit item nos, u also have sufi music, and sweet melody of movies like Parineeta & Yahaan ..fusion music of Pak bands!
I don't understand why we need those kind of songs now?

6:44 AM  
Blogger Prasenjit Sarkar said...

Hey..u left out 1 HUGELY popular cheesy number from the film ANDAAZ (Anil Kapoor, Karisma, Juhi Chawla). The song went somethng lke this - "Khada hai, Khada hai, Khada Hai...tere bangle ke saamne mera gadi khada hai.. Bada Hai, Bada Hai, Bada Hai..Tere Bangle se mera Bangla Bada Hai"!!!

This number was not even EDITED/DELETED from the movie.

But, of course, with the onset of ITEM numbers and the SUPER BOLD item girls, Hindi Movies has lost it "double meaning" songs !!

Long Live Karisma and Shakti Kapoor !!

5:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Tara, I need to talk to you ASAP. Have been calling you but your phone's supposedly out of reach.

Great post BTW. One more new facet discovered ;)

Avi

3:51 AM  
Blogger the Monk said...

hey, I resent that allegation... ;)...Tu cheez badi hai was a great number...I totally rocked to it...and the movie did have something that vaguely resembled a storyline...And Raveena was awesome...

9:58 PM  
Blogger Reshma Anand said...

hi tara, how are you doing? just thought i'd stop by your blog and say hello....and tag you !!!!

so take a break from work and look forward to reading your post :)

9:59 AM  
Blogger AlterinG Abhishek said...

OH MY GAWD
from nusrat in previpous post to..
wah!
wah! ustad wah!

2:35 AM  
Blogger manuscrypts said...

more importantly, where have you disappeared ?

7:26 AM  
Anonymous Preshith said...

Loved your posts, about cheesy numbers, music.... You touch a chord with the reader....Keep more coming.

9:10 PM  
Anonymous Casinos Online said...

What nice answer

4:28 AM  

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