Happy First day of Winter! Some Seasonal Songs

It’s been a little bit since I did one of these song posts (although I have put songs up in my birthday messages).  I like doing them, because I hope they fill the gap that I filled with songs DVDs.  Back in the early 2000s, I bought and rented a bunch, and I would see random songs and think “Hey!  That’s cool!  I should check out this movie/actor/actress/choreographer.” Or at least I would think “Hey!  Now I can picture that actor/song sequence/actress the next time he/it/she is mentioned.”  Hopefully this collection of loosely connected song sequences can have a similar effect for some of you!

Today, winter themed!  If you are in North America, like me, you probably don’t need any more winter.  But for my friends in the southern hemisphere, maybe this will be a nice change.  And the rest of us can come back to it in the middle of July when we are ready to fantasize about snow. (and if you want to fantasize about warm weather, here is a summer songs post I did last May when it felt like summer would never arrive)

First, you ready for the cutest snowball fight in the history of the world?

 

And speaking of adorable newlyweds (well, “newlyweds”.  Anamika is complicated), there’s also Roja!

 

Both those songs are less actual winter, and more just going up to the mountains.  Let’s see if I can think of a song that was filmed in winter in an actual temperate climate…..Oh!  I have it!

 

Oh!  Here’s another one!  I know it doesn’t seem like winter based on how Katrina is dressed (or not dressed) but look!  There’s snow at the end!

 

You know, the mountain songs feel more wintery than the actual winter songs!  Maybe because they are more reliable?  I mean, you know there will be snow on the mountain, so you can plan for it, but you can’t be sure what the weather will be like in the streets of London (or wherever).  Like this all time classic:

 

If we are talking classics, probably only right to end on Amitabh.  And one of Sudhir Ludhianvi’s last great poems.

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15 thoughts on “Happy First day of Winter! Some Seasonal Songs

  1. That song from Roja is fantastic. I’ll have to try to track that film down. Mani Ratnam feels like one of those directors whose aesthetics, style and ways of telling a story really suits my own sensibilities. This would also mean that I’d be watching his ‘trilogy’ backwards, but oh well. I really wish that a Criterion Collection or similar company would put together a box set of his important films. I’ll bet the art-house/international crowd could get into these in a big way.

    I’ve been thinking of revisiting Jab Tak Hai Jaan sometime soon. That song is great. I watched it early on and was rather lukewarm on it. I really did not like Katrina in it at the time (I’ve since enjoyed her in Mere Brother Ki Dulhan, Bang Bang, and Ek Tha Tiger.) But I really love Anushka, and she was so good in this, that I wonder if it skewed my vision. I hoped that Anushka and Shah Rukh’s characters ended up together and when they didn’t, damn it, I was salty about it.

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    • Roja is amazing. It was Ratnam’s big break out all India hit (although Nayakan a few years earlier also made some waves). I’ve read that it was the first southern film to be dubbed into Hindi and become a national hit (this kind of data is hard to track, so that’s why I am qualifying it with “I’ve read”).

      It also features a phenomenal performance by Pankaj Kapur, Shahid’s father, who play’s Alia’s Dad in Shaandaar. And it is the “happiest” of Ratnam’s terrorism trilogy, if you are looking for something a little less sob inducing than Bombay and Dil Se.

      Roja was also an early introduction to the national scene for AR Rahman (his “Bharat Humko” song in particular is now an all India classic). And the choreographer turned dancer turned movie star turned director Prabhudeva, you can spot him as one of the random dancers in the Rukmani song I think (it’s kind of like seeing Fosse in Kiss Me Kate, he is so clearly “other” compared to the dancers around him).

      Jab Tak may not be worth your second look. I had the same feeling as you when I saw it, with some added frustration because I know what Yash Chopra is capable of as a director, and this was a waste of his talents. Or rather, a sad sign of how his talents have fallen in old age. The music is great though, I think it is the only collaboration between AR Rahman and the lyricist Gulzar (but I could be wrong on that).

      I would recommend, rather than taking a second look at Jab Tak, take a first look at Chandni or Silsila or Kabhi Kabhi or Aaina, they deal with similar themes, but are better Yash Chopra films. And Darr is definitely the greatest Shahrukh-Yash Chopra collaboration.

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      • Thanks for the recommendations. I appreciate the guidance and I have enjoyed all of the films you’ve suggested so far. I actually just watched Chandni last night. I liked it a lot. The songs were so good, I keyed in on a few of the references from Ae Dil Hai Mushkil (loved the ‘cognac is not liquor’ bit) and thought the performances were great. I still had the title track playing in my head this morning. I thought the ending was slightly abrupt, but that’s if I’m nitpicking. I loved Kabhi Kabhi, as well as Darr. And I seem to recall that you aren’t a fan, but Dil to Pagal Hai is one of my favorites. I see that Spuul has both Silsila and Aaina so I will definitely watch those. I can always use more of Juhi Chawla’s beautiful smile in my life, so maybe I’ll go with Aaina first.

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        • I’m glad you liked Chandni! And yeah, Dil To Pagal Hai is just too slow for me. I can appreciate the Shahrukh-Madhuri chemistry, but I just wish that more would actually HAPPEN. Kabhi Kabhi, of course, it’s almost the opposite problem!

          Aaina is fun, but not a “great Yash Chopra”. Which I feel like I have to mention, if your other Yashes have been Lamhe and Darr and Chandni and Kabhi Kabhi, you are going to notice a slight quality difference with Aaina. But Juhi is great in it, and so is Amrita Singh.

          Silsila is an all time classic for all sorts of reasons, definitely worth watching. And after you see it, you can come back to the blog and tells us if you are “team Rekha” or “team Jaya” 🙂

          Also, thank you for letting me make recommendations and then reporting back! I love hearing how they turned out.

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          • So I watched Silsila. I LOVED it! It is such an interesting and well executed piece of filmmaking. I found the pacing to be masterful. It did not, at all, feel its length. It was one of the most easy, breezy three-hour films I have ever seen (pacing and editing-wise, definitely not in its subject matter). It seamlessly weaved through the scenes, with hardly any extra fat. And there was a lot of meat on that bone! I really liked Chandni a lot but it felt like a three-hour movie. Dil to Pagal Hai is a three-hour movie that feels like a six-hour movie (not that there’s anything wrong with that)!

            The performances are tremendous. Other than the fiery climax and the drunk brother scenes early on, I found the acting to be a bit more naturalistic than other Hindi films. Perhaps that is characteristic of that era, which I am not at all familiar with other than Sadma from 1983, but I definitely recognized a stylistic difference. Even some of the staging and camera shots reminded me of Satyajit Ray’s work. I mean, it still had the extreme zoom close-ups with orchestra stabs for effect and other similarly filmi shots, but it struck a nice stylistic balance.

            I would have to say that I am Team Jaya, all the way. Her performance in this broke my heart a little. Her quiet, yet impassioned plea to Amit just before he leaves for Simla, was a thing to behold. I was quite taken with her understated beauty as a young woman. She exudes certain dignity and elegance. It’s not difficult to imagine her drawing from real life for the performance. And if their real-life relationship was as tumultuous as this, it’s easy to see how she became so dour. I thought Amitabh was great as well in the difficult, somewhat unlikeable, role. I can’t imagine anyone else pulling off the fur coat, pants tucked into riding boots look! Rekha played her role well and I really enjoyed Shashi’s brief time on screen. I also thought Sanjeev Kumar was excellent as the jilted doctor.

            I suppose that a romantic heart should feel that they’re all just victims of fate and circumstance and that true love can not be quelled. I may be unromantic because I couldn’t really view it in that light. Amit’s brother died, sure, and that was a tragedy. He agreed to marry Shobha because it was the honorable thing to do; the way he carried on was anything but. I almost laughed during his speech near the end when he said something like: “I left all that behind when we got married. I forgot everything. I didn’t even think of her once. I thought she was gone from my life but time made me face her once again.” Wait, what? Seriously? He married her while she was pregnant with his brother’s baby. He moped and sulked for a few months, got into a car accident and Shobha miscarried. Then, he met Chandni again a couple days later at the hospital and poked and prodded until she couldn’t resist any more. Then he started sneaking around, in his many coats and cheatin’ sunglasses with the dark lenses. How much time had really passed? When did he even give the marriage a chance? He had one foot out the whole time, and while you can’t really blame him… wait, yes you can because he signed up for it! A promise is a promise. He should never have agreed to marry Shobha if it wasn’t wholeheartedly. It’s similar to people that have children and then constantly gripe and complain about all the sacrifices that they’ve made. They’re aware of what they’re getting into ahead of time. They signed up for it!

            Maybe that all makes it seem like I didn’t enjoy the movie but I really did! My favorite Bergman film is Scenes from a Marriage. This film is similar, perhaps not in construction, certainly in tone. It is messy, uncomfortable to watch, but it captivates you. The characters are flawed people but you can find something in each of them to relate to or sympathize with. It is like real life. And at the end, I was glad to turn off the television, and go back to my happy, little world.

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          • I am so glad you watched Silsila! And came back to tell us about it! Let’s see, what all can I add to what you have already said?

            First of all, the style of Silsila was very much not the standard for that time. The 70s-80s were the era of the big action movies. Although, I should say that there were always some slightly more character study films going on as well. Not in mainstream Hindi films, but in the “parallel” cinema films, the 80s was a real golden era. If you ever want to see some truly Bergmann-esk Indian films, check out Arth or Ankur. And even in mainstream, there were always some smaller films of this type. Doosra Aadmi (which supposedly was the partial inspiration for ADHM) is surprisingly good, Blackmail is kind of interesting combination of character drama and action. It was also the era of Hrishikesh Mukherjee, who only had a few really big hit movies but made consistently popular sort of middle-class social comedies. Chupke Chupke and Guddi are particularly good, and Anand is the movie that helped make people realize Amitabh Bachchan was going to be a star.

            Guddi is also the movie that launched Jaya, wasn’t she amazing? She was trained at the Indian Institute of Film, which is a big deal, it means she had a lot of raw talent to even get in, and got way more actual “acting” training than a lot of the other actresses. Guddi made her India’s sweetheart and when she started dating Amitabh, she was a much bigger star than he was. And then they got married and he quickly surpassed her in fame. Silsila was kind of her “come back” post marriage and babies. It was rumored at the time that she only came back because Amitabh’s career had hit a rough patch and she was using her fame to “help” him. If you want to see more Jaya movies, Anamika (the one with the snowball song above), Guddi, and Zanjeer are really nice. And Abhimanyu has Amitabh and her kind of playing out their real life love story, but with the genders reversed (it’s an “A Star is Born” film).

            The other big rumors about this movie were that Jaya only agreed to let Amitabh co-star with Rekha again (she had supposedly given him an ultimatum about it a few years back after the rumors got really hot) if she was also in the film. That the two women never spoke while on set. And that it was the final death knell for their affair, Jaya couldn’t handle the public humiliation of being forced to play out her real life onscreen and put her foot down.

            I love your take on the relationships! See, that’s where I think Yash Chopra really shines, when he makes you think about and argue about the right and wrong of human relationships and social bonds. And that’s where I think his nephew Karan is his true heir as a filmmaker, his movies are all about relationships and emotions and the right and wrong of it all.

            What’s also great about this movie is that, every time I watch it, I come away with a slightly different take on how it all plays out. For instance, one thing I noticed on a repeat viewing is that Amitabh and Jaya really hit it off even before Shashi died. Not like he was inappropriate with his friend’s girlfriend, but he also wasn’t agreeing to marry a woman who repulsed him. He’d flirted plenty, and danced, and joked with her already. So the seeds were always there, the love story didn’t just come out of no where just because they had to get married.

            Another thing I noticed on repeat viewings, Yash puts in little hints that Amitabh’s relationship outside of marriage with Rekha is moving along at the same pace as his relationship with Jaya. They go from being strangers united in grief, to clearly sharing a bedroom and a bathroom and going out for dinner and dancing and so on. It’s not just that he is checked out of his marriage and checked into his affair, he is keeping both of them going at once for a while there, like maybe the excitement of the affair is somehow feeding into greater energy for his marriage, at least a little.

            Also, I used to joke about how Jaya in this movie was the “most fertile woman in the world” since she was always getting pregnant. But maybe that was based on life! Their first child was born EXACTLY 9 and a half months after their honeymoon.

            On Fri, Dec 23, 2016 at 9:37 AM, dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • All of those films you mentioned sound great, and right up my alley. Doosra Aadmi has been on my Spuul list for awhile, and I find young Neetu to be absolutely adorable, so I will jump on that one. My wife really likes Rishi, so it may be an older one that I can talk her into. I have heard so much about Shabana Azmi but I have only watched her more recent work. I will have to remedy that with Arth and Ankur. I am also very interested in seeing more of Jaya’s early work. She was just so good!

            Thanks for sharing all of your thoughts and background information. It really helps to understand the film in its proper context. It’s fun to go into these films kind of cold, then afterwards, learn of the circumstances surrounding the production, audience reception, etc. I had no idea that Jaya was a bigger star than Amitabh when they met. I find that whole situation so fascinating.

            It was another excellent recommendation. It’s definitely on my to-buy list. I can see myself revisiting this quite often. I think I would have received it differently ten years ago, and I’m sure that I’ll view it in a new light ten years down the road.

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  2. I can’t even explain what it is about Dil to Pagal Hai that I love so much. I mean, I adore the songs and the dancing is so well done. But I can feel that it drags, that nothing really happens for ages and ages. They chat, they go clothes shopping, go watermelon shopping, they’re producing a musical but never seem to really work all that hard on it- it’s ridiculous. I know that. For some reason, though, I don’t find it boring at all. It’s like comfort food for me. It’s the movie I put on if I’ve had a terrible day. I’ve watched it at least six times through (in roughly one year.) Another weird thing is that my two boys (six and three) love it. They have sat with me and watched the entire movie three times. They like the songs but they don’t get up and play when the dialogue starts back up. Every so often they ask what the characters are saying, but that’s it. They’re spellbound by it, much like I am. My wife thinks it’s so strange. Every night at bed time, we each pick a song to listen to before we read stories. It’s not uncommon for them to choose “The Ladder Song” (Bholi Si Surat) or “Boom Boom Chuck” (Koi Ladki Hai- the rain song.)

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    • Firstly, that is the cutest story ever!!!!!

      Second, you are not the first person I have talked to who feels like that about Dil To Pagal Hai. I don’t think I’ve had someone try to sell me on it as a great artistic achievement with a deep moral lesson or anything. But I’ve had several people describe it as a movie they just love watching and can watch over and over again.

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