Our very own Charlie Chaplin…

Mera Joota Hai Japani,

Yeh Patloon Hindustani, Sar pe Laal Topi Roosi,

Phir Bhi Dil Hai Hindustani…

The quintessential Indian-Charlie-Chaplin-tramp played by Raj Kapoor is simply put, unforgettable. It is said that this film (Shree 420) gained a huge fan following in then Soviet Union where he was said to be as famous as Nehru!

In THAT age, this film earner over 20 $mn. This record was eventually surpassed by the epic Mother India. At the time, (1955) India was a newly emerging Soveriegn and this particular song, with its patriotic tone, grew immensely popular amongst Indians everywhere.

Shatrughan Sinha also sung this song at a function under supervision of the music director. Fancy that.. I never thought Shatru ji could say, much less sing, anything apart from his “KHAMOSH!” 🙂

Check out the picture on the left.. Remember this classic scene? Two lovers standing under one umbrella in the rain, I remember this song as an integral part of every Antakshari game I have ever played 🙂

Pyaar Hua, Iqraar Hua Hai, Pyaar Se Phir Kyon Darta Hai Dil… Raj Kapoor and Nargis didn’t just sizzle on-screen, they were rumoured to have an affair off screen too. No wonder it translated so beautifully in the films they did together! They say she took to wearing white dresses and saris because it was his favourite colour. By the way, if you have seen the song, you might notice 3 kids in raincoats – they are all Raj Kapoor’s sons!

Talking about unforgettable songs, I can’t possibly forget to mention Ramaiya Vasta Vaiya, Ramaiya Vasta Vaiya, another favourite Antakshari number. The words Ramaiya Vasta Vaiya mean “Oh Rama, will you come to me?” It is said that the lyricist Shailendra was walking under a building where there was construction work being done, and he heard the workers singing. He liked it and decided to use the words in this song.

Talk about finding inspiration in things around oneself, eh?

One last tidbit: The beautiful Nadira, who featured in the song Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh who played a negative role in this movie is a star in her own right. You may have seen her in another film called Dil Apna Preet Parayi. Still can’t place her? Remember the song Ajeeb Dastan Hai Yeh.. that featured Meena Kumari too.

She shot to fame because of her beautifully chiselled features and was quite a heartthrob then. Although she acted as a leading lady in several films, her portrayal of the negative character in Shree 420  was so convincing that she never received the role of a heroine. She went on to play other roles but never the leading lady again.

Reminds you of Helen who was stereotyped as a cabaret dancer in Bollywood. Funny how being good at something becomes more of a bane isn’t it?