Shola jo bhadke, dil mera dhadke!

The Hindi film industry has probably witnessed a  lot of rags-t0-riches tales but perhaps none that  began and ended as abruptly as that of Bhagwan  Dada, the protagonist of Albela.

The first of it’s kind with a leading man who looked  less ordinary than the most ordinary man on streets took cinema-goers by storm for the simple reason that they could identify themselves much better with a man that looked like him than the kinds of Dharmendra or Rajesh Khanna.

Although primarily an actor (mostly a comedian), he began producing films too, and made Albela in 1951. What’s interesting is that not a single actress at the time was willing to work in his venture, but fate stepped in, and so did Geeta Bali, the charming actress with a winning smile.

Sadly, despite giving a tremendous hit, Bhagwan couldn’t repeat his success again. This site talks about how he was eventually reduced to a poor man who had to give up all his possessions and live a life that he didn’t deserve.

Many say that Bhagwan was quite a mover-shaker, and I have found that to be true. You ought to check out the song, one of my favourites, Shola jo bhadke and you will see for yourself. And it’s also true that one particular step of his in this song seems to have been emulated by the Big B. The song in itself is really cute (for the lack of a better word) with a Hawaii-ian like dance! Quite the western touch, thanks to C. Ramachandran, the composer, who was evidently very impressed with western music. It was Bhagwan who gave the man a break as a composer in his film.

I am still searching for more trivia on this film, and if anyone wishes to contribute, you are most welcome 🙂

 

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13 thoughts on “Shola jo bhadke, dil mera dhadke!

  1. No trivia about Albela, but I did write a review of it some time back:

    http://dustedoff.wordpress.com/2010/12/15/albela-1951/

    Interestingly, my dad wanted to get hold of this DVD mainly because of the music, which is great. When I asked him about the film, he said, “If anyone except Bhagwaan had been the hero, it would have been a runaway hit!” And when I asked him, “Didn’t having him as the hero help the common man identify with him?”, my father retorted, “Who wanted to identify with a hero like Bhagwaan?!”

    P.S. Shola jo bhadke, dil mere dhadke (not tadpe). 😉

  2. EEpsss thanks for correcting that Madhulika! 🙂 Am reading through your review right now 🙂 I found him odd too in bhagwan’s role.. and maybe your father is right.. it may sound funny, but comparison-wise, at a point, govinda was one of the most popular heroes even though he’s nothing great to look at! But he tickled his audience.. maybe that worked for Bhagwan?

    • Yes, I’d think Govinda would be a close approximation to Bhagwan – except for the fact that (though I’ve seen only one Govinda film), I thought Govinda was actually very funny, and didn’t act as anything but the ‘funny hero’. Bhagwaan struck me more as a buffoon who later tried to conform to the more conventional role of the hero… in Albela, for example, when he arrives in a suit and Geeta Bali is all starry-eyed because ‘he looks so wonderful’!!! Or even in the latter half of the film, where he’s stopped the buffoonery. From what my dad told me, I got the impression that Albela owed its success as a superhit film because of its music and to a large extent Geeta Bali. Not Bhagwaan.

      • You are right, I think 🙂 Govinda actually is funny and I am sure Geeta Bali was the force behind the film, not he. Maybe that’s why his successive films bombed..

  3. Why is it that average/below average looking men get to be heros and the heroine has always to have good looks. I can’t think of a single one who wasn’t good looking (even if I didn’t care much for her looks).

    Poor Bhagwan. He tried really hard in this film….but I couldn’t accept him.
    I think films used to succeed on the basis of music alone those days, and this one had Geeta Bali in addition.

    Richard has the link to Tom’s page where an improved print can be downloaded.

    http://roughinhere.wordpress.com/2010/05/30/albela-1951/

    Scroll to the bottom of the page.

      • Hi Pacifist 🙂 Well I wouldn’t go so far as to say films succeeded on the strength of songs alone, though they were a necessary ingredient. But it may have played a more important role in this film. Btw, which other average-looking hero are you talking about, apart from Bhagwan? I think they all looked pretty good!

      • Even one is too many, I think 😀

        Well, as mentioned there was Govinda. Then there were these Ganeshans, Gemini and Sivaji (though perhaps the latter was marginally better).
        Kishore Kumar (not the same category as Bhagwan sure), but not on the same level of the beauty of the heroines.
        No, no. I didn’t mean to say that this film succeeded only on the strength of songs, that’s why I mentioned Geeta Bali.

        But I believe there were other films then which succeeded mainly on the strength of their music. I could be wrong though.

  4. Kishore Kumar – I definitely agree with you on that one. For that matter, I think all the three brothers fall in the category 🙂 I mean look at Madhubala and then at KK. That’s a HUGE gap. Govinda, yes, I suppose him too.
    You know, I daresay you are right about films that succeed only on the basis of music. I can’t put a finger on one movie right now, but i have read reviews of some on Memsaab’s page 🙂

  5. Neha, C Ramachandra was already a well known singer (as Chitalkar) in Marathi films before he debuted in Tamil films (Vanamohini) as a music director (as Anna). He did make his debut in Hindi under Bhagwan’s aegis, but that was not Albela, it was for a movie called Sukhi Jeevan (1942).

    If you want trivia for Albela, Bhagwan approached many top heroines for Albela; it was Geeta Bali who took pity on him and signed the movie for peanuts. Bhagwan has gone on record to express his gratitude to her.

    • Oh! Thank you for sharing that with me 🙂 I suppose she did end up a lucky charm for him in this film. Pity, though, that he couldn’t repeat it, eh?

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