Bollywood has had some lovely musical scores and some really wonderful songs condemned to oblivion and relative anonymity due to the movies faring poorly at the box office. Songs which make great listening, but no one remembers the movie or actors or sometimes, even the composer.
This movie, Cha cha cha was conceived by an actor who thought his many talents deserved showcasing more prominently. Chandrashekhar Vaidya who has been seen in many a movie thought of this as a vehicle for self propagation. He wrote the story, dialogues, produced and directed it and even gave the most famous danseuse Helen Ann Richardson her break as a female lead. This remained her only such role, sadly. The role was ideal for her, as a glamorous fun loving society girl who loves to party and dance , after her return from (the ubiquitous) Vilayat. The suicidal move by the producer-director of the movie to cast himself as the male lead proved to be the undoing of the project. Pretty much Titanic-esque. The maiden voyage, launched with much fanfare, met grief at the box office and sank without a ripple. I remember having seen the movie while Dad was at Hakimpet before the 2nd Pakistan war. That would put this in 1964/early 65.
Why could Chandrashekhar not think straight and look at the mirror with a modicum of clarity of vision beats me. Such an effort would surely have been worth the trouble and the movie would have certainly fared better.
The songs in this blighted project are uniformly good. The movie is the very first for the amazing poet Gopaldas Saxena, “Neeraj” in Bollywood. We studied a number of his poems in school.
The wonderful Rafisaab number is truly unforgettable. Iqbal Qureshi was the composer. The movie has 3 lovely Rafisaab solos and 2 duets with Ashatai, one of which “Ek chameli ke mandwe tale” which includes Makhdoom Mohiuddin’s poem Chara gar is remembered to this day.
Iqbal Qureshi was the Aurangabad born composer who sadly got only 25 films over more than 3 decades. Despite working with the top lyricists and singers, dame luck didn’t quite favour him. This song would probably be his most famous creation.
Have fun folks, enjoy this amazing Rafisaab number, try and blank out the visuals when our man Flint hogs the screenspace. Stay safe, stay away from the Wuhan Virus and take the jab