Whenever one thinks of the top ten songs from Hindi film music that have created much mirth amongst everyone, this is one song which will definitely be on every list. The movie is an eternal favourite, one of the truly mindless laugh riots made in Bollywood. Don’t look for any moral preaching, any quotes, any take home messages, but if you want to lighten your burden and have a hearty laugh, you could always rely on Padosan to do it for you.
Despite the movie allegedly having Sunil Dutt and Saira Banu as the notional lead pair, the two are eclipsed by Mehmood and Kishore Kumar, both truly irrepressible and sharing a lot in common. Both tried their hand at multiple facets of Bollywood. Both became famous as seriously funny actors in Bollywood but met lots of sadness and disappointments in their personal lives which did cast a shadow in their filmmaking, more in the case of Kishoreda but also seen with Mahmood.
The song has seen something of a revival in recent years on the TV channels with multiple music based “Reality Shows” (could there be a greater oxymoron) on different languages, with kids of either gender and age as well as adults are made by the “enterprising and original” content editors of the channels to sing this song as it is as much of a crowd puller to their channels 50+ years after the movie was made and released to a raucous and very enthusiastic reception by the audiences across theatres in India.
Padosan was actually a remake of a Bangla Film “Pasher Bari” and was directed by Jyoti Swaroop. It was made nearly 15 years after the Bangla original and had a great unforgettable musical score by Pancham.
I am sure this song must have been one of the toughest for Pancham to create and execute, not for the musical composition (he had oodles of creative talent to pull that part off successfully even in the middle of the night) part but due to the design of the song. It was meant to be a musical battle where both Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar were to face off for the onscreen musical Masterji/ Master Pillai (Mehmood) and the Country Bumpkin Bhola (Sunil Dutt) respectively as they try to win over Bindu (Saira Banu). The singing by both singers is zany madness at its rib tickling rip-roaring best in the history of Bollywood.
This song with Rajinder Krishan as the notional lyricist was improvised upon by Kishore Kumar (trust him to do that and not follow the script) at the time of recording and Manna Dey, who was the better classical singer, detested the idea that he was meant to lose in the “contest”. He was, on a personal plane, determined to show Kishore Kumar that he was the better singer for the genre (since Kishoreda had surprisingly never been trained to sing at all, an amazing fact as both his older brothers were actually trained in singing by their parents and the untrained Kishoreda achieved the maximum fame for his singing abilities). Both got into the mood of the song and with the vocal duelling and antics, truly immortalized ‘Ek Chatur Naar’. Manna Dey was upset by the fact that in the picturisation of the song, he was to be the loser. Mannada didn’t like the aspect that a classically trained singer (Mannada) would have to lose on-screen, to an un-trained singer (Kishoreda). Panchamda undoubtedly used the parallel of Mannada “triumphing” over Bhimsen Joshi and Rafisaab also doing the same to Bhimsen Joshi again, despite the latter being the far superior as a singer. In the song, Mehmood interjects a few times to say “sur gadbad jee” as Mannada refused to actually say that.
Manna Dey speaks of this song in his autobiography– “Memories Come Alive: An Autobiography” :
“I was especially cautious when asked to sing for Mehmood in Ek chatur naar with Kishore Kumar. The latter had a unique and unaffected style of singing which tended to eclipse the subtleties of classical music, and place his singing partner, in a duet, at a disadvantage. To be put in the shade by Kishore’s flamboyant style of singing was a distinct possibility and, to counter the risk, I decided to work with Pancham, striving to build on my strengths and find a way of holding my own.”
“On the day we were to record Ek chatur naar, the entire staff at the studio stood outside the glass-door to watch Kishore and me sing. For the two of us, the session had taken on the magnitude of a duel. It took us 12 hours – the recording started at 9 am and ended at 9 pm – to complete it, and I must admit, Kishore was in his element that day. Out of this tough battle to outshine one another, would emerge a new star in the world of music.”
I am sure while watching the video clip you aren’t looking at the buxom China Silk clad Saira Banu or the naive face of Sunil Dutt, but will definitely concentrate on Mehmood and Kishoreda. They just stole the scene and indeed, the whole movie. It is amazing the notional lead pair (Sunil Dutt and Saira Banu) actually agreed to do the roles that they did, because they knew very well they would be totally eclipsed by the two geniuses. To his credit, Sunil Dutt shows Bhola exactly as the character is supposed to be. He has brought in just the right amount of naïveté bordering on stupidity to make the character portrayal truly immortal. As for Saira, she is meant to be eye candy, a role she fulfils very well, only too well in the movie, bathtub bathing scene and all thrown in for the vicarious pleasure of the testosterone charged great Indian Public.
An eternal favourite and one of my go to movies whenever I need a hearty laugh . I am sure most of you will agree.
For those unfortunate minority who may not have seen the movie, please do see it before Taliban gets it banned on YouTube.
Stay safe, folks, stay happy, healthy and away from the Wuhan Virus. Take the jab. We have crossed humongous numbers and are crossing our own records every day admirably – and to the jealousy of the rest of the world and the useless CongiSickularLefties’ eternal angst and unceasing proctalgia.