I had the wonderful chance to catch Albela on television last weekend. The clean scrubbed sets of the 1950s clearly warm the heart. The songs of Albela are a real treasure. My friend didn’t seem to think too much of Bhagwan. He asked me (in all probability to annoy me) why all the men in the film were so “ugly”. He then theorized that it was probably because they couldn’t afford to have a support cast that was more good looking than the hero. I give up! Personally, I think it’s impossible to look bad on black and white film. There’s a reason people from our grandparents’ generation look so good – it’s the Black and White film. Seriously.
Anyhow, I think this song is delicately romantic, even if in a slightly comic, lighthearted way. The audio quality of the video is just fantastic.
For some reason, very frothy and appropriate for a mildly warm afternoon. One wonders though, how the music of the 50s, like the fabulous Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu from Howrah Bridge is so filled with influence of ragtime revival, Boogie Woogie and Honky Tonk! And the equally wonderful Ina Meena Deeka from Aasha, also from the late 50s. Where did all that disappear?
Oh, and the lovely lyrics. For instance from Mera Naam Chin Chin Chu
Baabuji main chin se aayi, chini jaisa dil laayi
Singaapur ka yauvan mera, shanghai ki angdaayi
Sometimes when you tune into these numbers from the 50s, you can almost imagine Bombay in that era. Art Deco and the crawling trams. If films are any indicator, Bombay became insular in the late 70s. And sometimes, it’s that pre-70s Bombay that I really yearn to see.