Express Checkout

You know the feeling. You are at a supermarket, have finished three-quarters of an hour of shopping, and your cart is full. Now you are tired and want to stop heaping the cart. You want to go sit down somewhere, recharge your batteries with some French fries and coffee. Or perhaps head home to quiet sanity. But look at this, there are long lines at the checkout counter! It will take you at least fifteen minutes to pay the bill. It’s painful to leave so much hard work behind, but what’s the alternative? Maybe come back the next day and hope there won’t be such queues? You are effectively faced with Hobson’s Choice, a clear ‘take it or leave it’ situation. But what’s that last counter you see over there, with very few people in the line? Oh no, that’s an Express Counter, for people who have bought ten things or less.

Figuratively speaking, such an ‘Express Counter’ also existed in Hindi cinema’s ‘supermarket’ for people who exited with ten credits or less to show for their score. Composers who scored in under ten Hindi films, like Dan Singh, or even one film, like Tushar Bhatia (Andaz Apna Apna). Even songwriters who wrote for just one film, as did Pervez Shamsi (Nausherwan-e-Adil). Such a metaphorical counter also existed for many people offering their singing voices on the run in Hindi cinema’s recording studios. These are people who recorded ten songs or less.

Some of these artistes may have arrived to become singers, but left without contributing too much in any area in Hindi films, like Anup Ghoshal, Kabban Mirza and Shivaji Chattopadhyay. There are people who came to become singers, but ended up as composers (Khayyam for instance), or composers who offered the odd rendition (like Anil Biswas, Husnlal and Ravi). It may have been a director (like Raj Khosla) who sang a bit. These could be classical vocalists like Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Bade Ghulam Ali Khan, Kishori Amonkar, Shobha Gurtu, Parveen Sultana or Pandit Pheroze Dastoor. These could be film stars who sang for themselves, in a quick honeymoon sort of way. Raj Kapoor, Dilip Kumar, Nalini Jaywant and Nutan come to mind right away. Of course there are many more.

Kuchh yaad inhen bhi kar lo

Yes, we need to give a thought to many artistes passing through such an ‘Express Checkout’ counter at one time. SN Tripathi, Chitragupt, PG Krishnaveni, Sridevi, Ghulam Mohammed, and the brothers Gope and Ram Kamlani, there were dozens more. Let’s see some who used the fast checkout, these songs showcasing them just once here:

  • Kaahe karta der baraati (Anil Biswas in Aurat, 1940)
  • Nanha sa dil deti hoon (SN Tripathi with Rajkumari in Chandan, 1941)
  • O jaane waale aaja (Motilal with Shamshad in Taqdeer, 1943)
  • Balam ji ye kya jaadu daara (Gope with Zohrabai in Aaina, 1944)
  • O varsha ke pehle baadal (Sursagar Jagmohan in Meghdoot, 1945)
  • Fariyaad karen kis se (Sushila Rani in Gwalan, 1946)
  • Haaye mori daiya (Manik Verma in Aage Badho, 1947)
  • O duniya ke rehne waalo bolo (Raj Kapoor in Dil Ki Rani, 1947)
  • Saawan beet gayo maayi ri (Meena Kumari in Duniya Ek Saraye, 1947)
  • Dekh chaand ki ore (Shailesh with Meena Kapoor in the film/Shamshad on 78s in Aag, 1948)
  • Sun lo sajan meri baat (Karan Dewan with Lata in Lahore, 1949)
  • Jamuna tat Natwar Girdhar (Pandit Feroz Dastur with Rajkumari in Neki Aur Badi, 1949)
  • Rail mein jiya mora (Raj Khosla in Aankhen, 1950)
  • Wafa ki thi, wafa ne maar daala (Khayyam in Biwi, 1950)
  • Utth to chale avdhoot (Bulo C. Rani with Geeta Roy in Jogan, 1950)
  • Aye chaand zara sun le (Husnlal with Lata in Pyaar Ki Manzil, 1950)
  • Teri haaye ke saath niklegi meri bhi (Snehal Bhatkar with Chitalkar in Sangeeta, 1950)
  • Tu jo dil leke mere peechhe-peechhe ayega (Devendra Mohan with Rajkumari in Daaman, 1951)
  • Din control ke aaye (PG Krishnaveni ‘Zikki’ with Geeta Roy in Mr. Sampat, 1952)
  • Aye ishq mujhe kuchh aur to yaad naheen hai (Begum Akhtar in Dana Paani, 1953)
  • Lo mil gayi degree pyaar ki (Ram Kamlani with Kishore Kumar in Maalkin, 1953)
  • Chhota sa ghar hoga (Shaila Bele with Kishore Kumar in Naukri, 1954)
  • Chaand sitaaron mein kaun bulaaye re (Shamindar Pal with Lata in Pilpili Saheb, 1954)
  • Lo aaye jhoom ke Pilpili (Meena Mangeshkar with Rafi in Pilpili Saheb, 1954)
  • Dekho maane naheen rootthi haseena (Jagmohan Bakshi with Asha in Taxi Driver, 1954)
  • Bahaar dekh ke dil aur (Moti Sagar with Sudha in Shikar, 1955)
  • Yoon hi chupke chupke (Ravi with Asha in Vachan, 1955)
  • Ketaki gulaab juhi champak ban phoole (Bhimsen Joshi with Manna Dey in Basant Bahar, 1956)
  • Hari Om tat sat (Chitragupt with Geeta Dutt in Sati Naagkanya, 1956)
  • Laagi naahi chhoote Rama chaahe jiya jaaye (Dilip Kumar with Lata in Musafir, 1957)
  • Hangama-e-gham se tang aa kar (Ghulam Mohammad in Paak Daaman, 1957)
  • Door gagan par chamke sitaare (Dilip Dholakia with Geeta Dutt in Ram Hanuman Yuddha, 1957)
  • Chalen baja ke seeti (Kanwaljit with Asha in Zamana, 1957)
  • Chhed diye mere dil ke taar (Amanat Ali and Fateh Ali in Raagini, 1958)
  • Kaviraja kavita ke mat ab kaan marodo (Bharat Vyas in Navrang, 1959)
  • Baat chalat nayi chunri rang daari (Krishna Rao Chonkar with Rafi in Rani Rupmati, 1959)
  • Tu har-ek musibat ka muqaabla kar re (Sudhir Phadke in Aanchal, 1960)
  • Aye mere humsafar (Nutan in Chhabili, 1960)
  • Aye dil kahaan teri manzil (Dwijen Mukherji in Maya, 1961)
  • Aaj ki taaza khabar (Shanti Mathur in Son Of India, 1962)
  • Ye kehdo tumhen humse kya chaahiye (Surinder Kohli with Asha in Gul-e-Bakawali, 1963)
  • Geet gaaya patharone (Kishori Amonkar in Geet Gaaya Patharone, 1964)
  • Baanke saiyaan ne kalaiyaan marod daali (Mehmood in Neela Akaash, 1965)
  • Vandana karo archana karo (Pandit Jasraj in Ladki Sahyadri Ki, 1966)
  • Suno suno kanyaon ka varnan (Mahesh Kumar with Rafi in Hasina Maan Jayegi, 1968)
  • Aayo kahaan se Ghanshyam (Archana with Manna Dey in Buddha Mil Gaya, 1971)
  • Mere mehboob meri baat tumhen kya maaloom (Mala Sinha with Manhar in Lalkaar, 1972)
  • Baagon mein bahaar aayi (Anand Bakshi with Lata in Mom Ki Gudiya, 1972)
  • More saiyaan bedardi ban gaye (Shobha Gurtu in Phagun, 1973)
  • Saala main to saahab ban gaya (Pankaj Mitra with Kishore in Sagina, 1974)
  • Aap ki yaad aati rahi raat bhar (Chhaya Ganguly in Gaman, 1978)
  • Ras ke bhare tore nain (Hiradevi Mishra in Gaman, 1978)
  • Humen tumse pyaar kitna (Parveen Sultana in Kudrat, 1981)
  • Tujhse naaraaz naheen zindagi (Anup Ghoshal in Masoom, 1982)
  • Khuda khair kare (Kabban Mirza in Razia Sultan, 1982)
  • Itni shakti humen dena maata (Pushpa Pagdhare in Ankush, 1986)
  • Rang bhare baadal se (Sridevi and Jolly Mukherji in Chaandni, 1989)
  • Ye safar bahut hai katthin magar (Shivaji Chattopadhyay in 1942—A Love Story, 1994)
  • Saanwariya dekh zara is ore (Shubha Joshi in Sardari Begum, 1997)
  • Ae kya bolti tu (Aamir Khan with Alka Yagnik in Ghulam, 1998)

In case you were wondering, Sandhya Mukherji, Ashok Kumar, Satish Batra, Manmohan Krishna, Usha Khanna, Kanchan, Bhupen Hazarika, PB Srinivasan, Jani Babu, Premlata, Subir Sen and many others were not allowed express checkout, since their cart was much fuller than ten. Others who went through the counter above with maybe a few songs over ten may have escaped this attendant’s attention!

Did everyone want to use filmdom’s Express Checkout? No. Unlike in our metaphorical supermarket, in films, most must have wanted their carts full. But each of us arrives with different talent, luck and networking skills. Being born to a successful parent helps only at the start, after which you are often compared unfavourably. In fact there seems to exist a reverse connection, with your luck in lineage often going against you. Plot the movements of sons and daughters of artistes whose metaphorical carts were full. You will find their children usually ended up dragging their feet out through the Express Checkout. If they entered the supermarket at all.

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(Photos: Top, O duniya ke rehne waalo bolo; middle, Motilal; above, Begum Akhtar at a concert)

Date published: 25th October 2015

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