Maalish! Tel Maalish!

Ok, now if you do not know what THAT meant, you aren’t ALLOWED to read this post! Johnny Walker, or Badruddin Kaizi (his real name) is the most phenomenal comedian the Hindi film industry has ever had apart from ofcourse, Mehmood. There have been other notable comedians too, but somehow, when you think old Hindi film comedian, you think either Mehmood or Johnny Walker.

Remember when I talked about the movie Pyaasa? (Scroll down if you don’t) Well it is known that Guru Dutt was obsessed with Kolkata and every film of his would have something or the other do with the city. He loved puchkas and jhalmuri and would sit in the lawns of Victoria Memorial and enjoy them.

On one such occasion, he happened to see a maalishwala, dressed in checkered lungi and vest, and a cap perched atop his head and ofcourse – the assorted oil bottles on his cart and WHAM! The idea struck and materialized in the form of Johnny being cast as a tel maalish wala.

And so came the song Sar jo tera chakraye, ya dil dooba jaye,  aja pyare paas hamare, kahe ghabraye, kahe ghabraye! Brilliant. Guru Dutt was “inspired” by a tune from an English flick Harry Black and the Tiger which he asked S.D Burman to use for this song. Sachin Da’s responded by saying that if people ever found out, they would eat him up alive.

Because Abrar Alvi, the scriptwriter, was close to Dutt, Sachin Da asked him to talk to Dutt to persuade him to change the tune a slight bit and not copy the entire thing, but Dutt wouldn’t budge.

Smart man that he was, Burman composed the song and blended his own tune into the song so well that the change went unnoticed.

The funny bit? When the producer of the film Harry Black and the Tiger came to India and heard the song, he not only failed to recognize that the song was copied, but even congratulated Burman for having composed the hit that it is even today.

P.S: I finished reading a beautiful book about Abrar Alvi’s decade long journey with Guru Dutt so the credit goes to the author Sathya Saran. And there are a lot of interesting facts about Johnny Walker coming up later in the blog, so keep an eye out !

P.P.S: Have a listen to the song too! It’s right there on the blog roll. Go ahead, you won’t leave without a smile on your face at the end of it. Promise.

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One thought on “Maalish! Tel Maalish!

  1. I THINK THAT JOHNY WALKER WAS AN SPECIAL CREATION OF GOD……HE HAS AN SPONTANEOUS APPROACH TOWARDS HIS ACTING STYLE AND COMIC GESTURES ……MAY HIS SOUL REST IN PEACE….. WITH LOVE …..

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