Romantic Duets

The long serenade?Not quite..

Like most of my peers, I saw this movie in its second coming, so to speak. It had actually released nearly a quarter of a century before we saw it during the emergency years, when we were studying in Seth G S Medical College. Sholay had released in 1975 and every other release was laid low, such was the magic of Sholay. The only two movies which withstood it’s prolonged reign at the top in Mumbai were an unbelievable pair: Jai Santoshi Maa which was cinematically a pretty average movie but somehow caught the fancy of people, especially the womenfolk (some of them saw the movie for up to 16 weeks in a row), making them undertake vrats, dress in muted colours  and foregoing certain food items. How Anita Guha managed to get more fanatic following in the twilight of her career, is a mystery to me even now. The other one was this one, Albela. Bhagwan was the podgy faced , protruding eyed dancer, the master of the most simple style of dancing. He was the producer, director and the male lead of the movie which was a superhit when released. When I saw the movie, I couldn’t help but feel (& comment to my neighbour) that Bhagwan and Geeta Bali made a rather odd couple. Geeta Bali was such a lovely, truly vivacious actress who was good at all kinds of roles and would have certainly achieved so much more had it not been for a very premature demise thanks to Small Pox.

The movie was a true musical with some 17 songs (yes, you read it right) . You could look at the movie storyline as something introduced to ensure continuity between songs. And what a truly fantastic set of songs they were! A lot of the credit for the enormous amount of money it collected was surely due to the fabulous music. C Ramachandra , knowing his fantastic ability to churn out truly great melodies of diverse character faster than anyone else, deserves plenty of it.

Sadly Bhagwan was profligate in his fiscal habits and was beset with a bunch of parasites in human form. These guys pretty much shamelessly looted Bhagwan and left him  in a pitiful state of penury. The movie prints and rights were sold to a distributor for a song, one Ranjit Budhkar who raked in the moolah. None of that went to Bhagwan , poor guy. As a result of poor management, a man who had a 15 bedroom mansion by the sea was then so impoverished he spent his last days in a chawl and the saddest part is when he died, the neighbours and friends collected money for his funeral.

C’est la vie..

Stay safe folks as I return to a couple of days of work before the weekend..


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

6 replies on “The long serenade?Not quite..”

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