Dev Anand in ‘Kalabaz’ (1977)
Remembering random Hindi movie songs without any provocation has become such a routine part of my life that I have stopped being amused by it. It is just one of those things that happens. The latest in this series is this song from the 1977 Dev Anand-Zeenat Aman film ‘Kalabaaz.’ The song was composed by Kalyanji Anandji. “Arey ruthey hai to maan jayege’ (If she is upset, she will be mollified) playing unprompted in my mind yesterday. A YouTube search inevitably led me to its video. I had a vague recollection that it featured Dev Anand. It does indeed feature him and how?!
I would have loved to be part of the production meeting for this song, especially when Anand and the film’s director Ashok Roy talked about what situation appropriate clothes the former should wear. Here is my imaginary exchange between Anand (DA) and Roy (AR).*
AR: देव साब, सिचुएशन यह है की आप लड़की को माना रहें हैं I हम लोग फ़्लोरा फाउंटेन में शूट करेंगेI (Devsaab, the situation is that you are trying to mollify the girl. We will shoot in Flora Fountain)
DA: अशोक, ऐसा करते हैं एक हाथी का बच्चा ले आते हैंI (Ashok, let’s get a baby elephant).
Ashok being a Hindi movie director is completely unfazed by this strange suggestion. The line producer , also a veteran of Hindi movies, mumbles under his breath, “अरे गनीमत है गैंडे का पिल्ला नहीं माँगाI (Grateful, they are not asking for a baby rhino).
AR: Devsaab, In the song you are riding this baby elephant and chasing madam (Zeenat Aman). You are wooing her क्यूंकि वो रूठी हुईं हैंI गाने के बोल यही है “रूठे हैं तो मान जायेंगे”I (Because she is upset. The lyrics also say “If she is upset, she will be mollified”.
DA: I like it Ashooook, I like it. Now what about clothes? What am I wearing?”
Before Ashok could answer Anand answers his own question: ऐसा करते हैं (Let’s do this) I will wear a parrot green overalls, pinkish red sweater and black flappy collared shirt. जब हवा चलेगी और कोलर ऊपर नीचे होगा सेक्सी लगेगा I (When the breeze blows and the collar flaps up and down, it would look sexy).
With some trepidation the director ventures, “But sir, we are in Bombay and at Fountain. Are you sure you want to wear dungarees and sweater? You are also going to ride the baby elephant. गर्मी बहुत होगी देव साबI” (It will be very hot)
DA: "करेंगे करेंगे, मोशन पिक्चर के लिए वोह भी करेंगे I ज़ीनत को क्या पेहेनायेंगे? (Will do it for the sake of motion picture. What are we making Zeenat wear?”
Before Roy could answer, Anand says, गुलाबी पंजाबी सूट कर लेते हैंI मेरा स्वेटर और ज़ीनी बेबी का सब मैच हो जायेगा I (Let’s go with a Pink Punjabi suit. My sweater and her clothes will match).
I even managed to track down the original design sketch for Anand’s costume for the song. (See above).
* In case you don’t catch on, all this is imagined and hence fake except the movie and the song which are real.