The monsoons are finally here! But what’s monsoon without some piping hot chai, bhajias and some Kishore Kumar melodies playing in the background.
I am sure you may have heard of these iconic Kishoreda songs, but did you know the interesting tidbits behind these unforgettable monsoon songs?
Possibly one of the first songs which pop up in our mind when it rains, ‘Rim Jhim Gire Sawan’ is the ultimate homage to Mumbai’s monsoons. There are two versions of this timeless musical gem. Kishoreda’s soulful rendition and Lata Mangeshkar’s up-tempo one. It’s the latter which plays in the background as Amitabh Bachchan and Moushumi Chatterjee frolic in the rains near the famous Queen's Necklace and Oval Maidan.
To lend authenticity to the song, director Basu Chatterjee chose not to use a rain machine, but instead filmed the song during the Mumbai rains. There was no choreography involved, so the relatively newbie actors did whatever they felt was best, adding to the authenticity. This improvisation is evident from Moushumi’s running eyeliner (this was before waterproof eyeliners were a thing) and the pair’s natural mannerisms!
We can all agree that ‘Ek Ladki Bheegi Bhaagi Si’ is one of the most iconic rain songs in Bollywood. But did you know that this song is a recreation of the song Sixteen Tons by Tennessee Ernie Ford? Kishoreda was a great fan of country music (as is attested by his yodeling skills) and it is said that S.D. Burman recreated this song on Kishoreda’s express request!
And what a recreation this is! The genius of S.D. Burman and the singing prowess of Kishore Kumar managed to turn this relatively simple melody into a peppy tune that barely sounds like the original but is hummable, nonetheless. What’s especially notable is the way Kishoreda’s playful voice alternates in tempo throughout this lively tune. The mischief in his voice perfectly complementing his impish antics on screen!
‘Roop Tera Mastana’ signaled many changes that would take place in Bollywood in the 70s. It made the film’s hero Rajesh Khanna the nation’s heartthrob. It also brought Kishoreda back into the limelight after being overshadowed by Mohd. Rafi, earning him his first Filmfare award for playback singing.
An interesting fact about the song is that it was shot in just one take! The reason wasn’t aesthetics, but practicality. The crew was pressed for time as the set was committed to somebody else. So, the lead pair rehearsed extensively beforehand and director Shakti Samanta broke new ground by shooting the song in one go!
Even though S.D. Burman has been credited with composing the film’s soundtrack, he was hospitalized when this song was recorded. So, it is only the tune that is his. It was his son, R.D. Burman, who finished the song. By adding notes of jazz and samba to his father’s original tune, R.D. Burman managed to lend this song his own distinct style!
A popular rain number, ‘Bheegi Bheegi Raaton Mein’ brought together the nation’s heartthrobs Rajesh Khanna and Zeenat Aman. With legends like Lata Mangeshkar and Kishoreda lending their vocals to this song, the song was an instant hit! It remains popular even today and has spawned more than a few remix versions. The most recent one was just a few months ago!
The highlight of this evergreen song is the use of the African musical instrument reso-reso. The sharp notes from this instrument add a distinct treble to an otherwise gentle melody. A favourite of the music director, R.D. Burman, you may recall hearing the reso-reso’s distinct chikkchikk sound in another famous R. D. Burman composition, Mere Saamnewali Khidki Mein from the movie Padosan!
Here’s an interesting fact about the iconic song ‘Kaante Nahi Katate’. The film’s director Shekhar Kapur wanted to recreate the magic created by a saree clad Sridevi in ‘Har Kissiko Nahi Milta’ from Feroze Khan’s hit film Jaanbaaz. So he got Sridevi to wear the ‘now iconic’ blue chiffon sari and directed the crew to use a big fan to mimic a breezy environment.
But shooting the song was anything but breezy. The song was shot in the rains over several days and Sridevi was running a high fever during the shoot. Thankfully, she managed to power through. Kaante Nahi Katate remained one of Sridevi’s favourite songs. However, after that incident, during all the script readings of her future films, she would hope that there was no rain sequence!