Cycle trails of Bollywood

June 19, 2017

Guest article by DP Rangan

(It is ironic that while bicycle is being crowded out by scooters, motorcycles and cars in the developing world, it is the developed world where bicycle riding is being promoted in a big way as a means of transport to commute to work or pleasure. A time may come when bicycle may become a distant memory to be savoured from old film songs in India.  Not too long ago, it was the main mode of transport. It also has a fascinating history going back to about three centuries, but, surprising as it may sound, the modern pedal-bicycle evolved later than trains.

After taking us through horses, tongas and steam engine, our indefatigable DP Rangan now logically takes us on a joy-ride of cycle songs. Along the way, he also writes a dissertation on its history. Blog readers have a short attention span, but SoY has a number of readers who would find this part interesting and useful. I must thank Mr Rangan profusely again for his great effort. – AK)

Cycle songI started my first post on a thematic subject – ‘horse’ – because my knowledge of Bollywood in its various aspects is next to nothing. I even admit to some muted feeling of jealousy on my part at the multi-faceted genius of the blog founder AK who can turn out post after post of a bewildering variety with aplomb and rapidity. Theme writing has already been established and I adopted it conveniently to suit my needs. Dinesh K. Jain, a keen and punctilious commentator of the blog made an observation on my first post:

The other bright side to the current trend is that now we can also expect dog-songs, elephant- songs, and so on!

Till now I felt low in not being able to fulfil his simple wish. Songs available on animal theme are very scarce and I apologise for my inability to build a post with significant contribution on my part. Since I could not do anything useful on animate subjects, my attention was diverted to the inanimate. My better half suggested songs based on bicycle riding. I immediately jumped on the band wagon, put on my thinking cap and started the post.

The habit ingrained in me would not allow me to proceed directly. I have to digress to some extent to cover the history of development of bicycle, which is quite fascinating. I will try to be as brief as possible touching on important milestones in the development of bicycle as we know today.

Credit for the first inventor of the bicycle design cannot be given to anyone as it is shrouded in mystery. The feeling of jingoism makes every country claim its citizen as the pioneer. Leonardo da Vinci is supposed to have sketched the first cycle. It is only an unsubstantiated claim.

Horses used to be major vehicle of transportation in those days. Tamboro, a 14100 feet high volcano located in Sumbawa, Indonesia erupted on a massive scale in April 1815. Volcanic ash spread over the entire stratosphere triggering ‘volcanic winter’. Famine gripped Europe and America and horses were a heavy casualty. Failure to feed surviving horses led to a vacuum in transportation sector and this probably led to the invention of mechanical transportation. The first authentic claim to the development of a practically usable bicycle, Laufmaschine, in 1817, is attributed to German Baron Karl von Drais. The press called it draisine (English). It was the first successful two-wheeled human steerable contraption which was also commercially viable. It went by its popular name – velocipede and also nick named hobby horse or dandy horse. On his first reported ride from Mannheim, he covered thirteen miles in an hour, an astonishing record for the period. It is pertinent to note that people had to keep their feet firmly on the ground and move forward by pushing against on the ground forward. A sketch of the vehicle is reproduced below.

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The velocipede spread rapidly over Western Europe and America. Being accident prone, several city authorities confined its plying on the sidewalks as the main street with its vehicle-rutted surface was unsuitable. The model was improved in England. The delicate art of balancing while riding these cycles made it impossible for ladies to take up the hobby. Between 1820-50, new vehicles in the form of tricycles and quadracycles were put in the market making driving a much simpler affair.

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The next progress around 1860s was invention of rotary cranks and pedals mounted to the front wheel, thereby obviating the necessity to kick the ground for locomotion. Substitution by metal frames made it lighter and mass production could be achieved. Ernest Michaus and Pierre Lallement of France are credited with attachment of pedals to the front wheel by the International Cycling History Conferences in 1863/64. Michaux et Cie (‘Michaux and company’) was floated in 1868 in France to mass produce these cycles replacing the wooden frame by metal ones. Because of the tremendous exertion involved in navigating on the cycle, it was initially called ‘bone shaker’. There were brief periods of velocipede craze and riding clubs and riding rinks developed all over. Due to Franco-Prussian war of 1870, industry collapsed in France and in the USA outrageous demands of royalty on patents led to a similar result. In the UK, cycle market remained unruffled.

From 1870s front wheel grew in dimension while rear wheel shrank to keep the balance. This high wheel bicycle was retronymed ‘ordinary’ and was popularly known as ‘penny farthing’. Big front wheel is of penny size, and farthing, one fourth in value, is represented by a proportionate small rear wheel.

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These were highly unstable and even hitting a pebble on the road would throw up the rider causing grievous injury. This became a dangerous sport indulged in by adventurous young gentlemen.

Across the Atlantic, Albert Augustus Pope bought out all competition and started production of Columbia brand high wheelers in 1878. He introduced modern concepts of manufacturing as mechanization, mass production and vertical integration, subsequently copied by Henry Ford in his motor car production industry, and brought down costs significantly. Hitherto machining and die costs kept the price of cycles quite high. Western Wheel Company of Chicago introduced “stamping” technique, drastically lowering the cost of manufacture. Bicycle producers adopted annual model change (deridingly called planned obsolescence) to retain their hold in the market. Cycle was beyond the reach of the average citizen in 1890.

The last major development of the industry was fabrication of “safety bicycles”, a throwback to the original design of two same sized wheels. John Kemp Starley, nephew of the British producer James Starley constructed the first successful safety bicycle in 1885. One Dr. Dunlop, an Irish Veterinarian, invented pneumatic tyre to make the rides of his sickly son comfortable on the tricycle in 1888. Bicycle boom started in the 1890s. Till now this sport was a male preserve. With strict dress code as long skirts, women were confined to tricycle rides around the park. With the birth of safety bicycles, women experienced a great sense of freedom and could ride on their own like their male counterparts. Feminists and suffragists got a boost. Bicycle-riding women became the new symbol of New Women of the late nineteenth century in Britain and United States. Betty Bloomer bloomers simplified the dress mode of ladies and did away with “bustle and corset”. Annie Londonderry, a Latvian Jewish immigrant of Boston, USA, started on her world circumnavigation in June 1894 from Boston and finished it at Chicago in June 1895, a first instance of its kind.

Thomas Stevens completed the first successful transcontinental cycling in the USA. He started in San Francisco in April 1884 and reached Boston in August 1884. Continuing on his global trot beyond, he travelled round the world and reached San Francisco in December 1886. Details of the journey are available in the book titled Around the World by Bicycle, 2000. Bicycle playing cards were introduced in America and were very popular. Recently I read the account of a Parsi gentleman from Gujarat who went around the world on his bicycle in the 1930s after obtaining an introduction from Viceroy. Till the 1960s, cycle was a major means of cheap urban transportation for Indians. This has now been relegated as a hobby for children because of the introduction of environment damaging motor industry which has invaded all nooks and corners of the country. In Western countries there is encouragement to shift to cycle riding. I do not think it will ever be done in our Bharat.

Bicycle racing is a major national sport and it forms part of Olympics. The most prominent sport is Tour de Force of France where cyclists ride down France from north to south over a number of days. It is an annual event, held in July, which commenced in 1903. Here is a you tube version of the 1974 race won by Eddy Merckx.

Even though I could ramble on and on, keeping up the interest of readers in mind, I conclude the history of the bicycle development abruptly.

Film producers in India incorporated the cycle scene in their movies since time immemorial. The variety presented is mind boggling. There are solo rides, love-stricken couple in a single or pair of bicycles, two males or two females riding in unison, and, lastly, the usual chorus headed either by the heroine or the hero with their own gender companions. Where hero and heroine are riding a single bicycle, the directors could have used a little more imagination. I would have introduced a fat paunchy short- wearing dafadar of Mumbai, chasing the couple on foot, full of perspiration and giving up after some time. Usually I present the songs in a chronological order. Because of the sub divisions prevalent, I will codify the songs suitably and present for the enjoyment of readers.

I will start with songs of couple in love riding a single bicycle or separately.

1. Kaise bheege bheege from Apna Ghar (1960) by Mohammad Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur, lyrics Prem Dhawan, music Ravi

Shyama and Premnath head the roles supported by others as Nanda, Moti Sagar. Here Nanda and Moti Sagar are out enjoying a nice day. Ravi has composed a tune to suit the occasion.

2. Mere peeche ek diwana from Nazrana (1961) by Asha Bhonsle and Mukesh, lyrist Rajendra Krishna, music Ravi

Raj Kapoor and Vijayantimala are the couple in love riding their own bicycles. Other major actors are Usha Kiran and Agha. This is a retake of the successful Tamil movie Kalyana Parisu. It is the usual Ravi song.

3. Chale bajate seeti from Zamana (1957) by Asha Bhonsle and Anil Biswas, lyrics Indeevar, music Salil Chaudhary

Kamaljeet and Ameeta are merrily riding together. One music director singing for music set by another. In those days they were a close knit fraternity with no jealousies.

4. Michael ho to cycle hai from Bewaquoof (1960) by Kishore Kumar and Geeta Dutt, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music by S D Burman

With casts as Kishore Kumar, Mala Sinha, Pran, I S Johar this must be a semi serious movie. Kishore Kumar is upto his usual tricks and yet maintains cycle balance with Mala Sinha sitting in the cross bar. S D Burman has given appropriate music.

5. Sanwle salone aaye din from Ek Hi Raasta (1956) by Hemant Kumar and Lata Mangeshkar, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Hemant Kumar

Sunil Dutt and Meena Kumari play lead roles. The pair are riding a double-pedaled bicycle with a precocious Daisy Irani seated in the basket. A delectable and smooth flowing song, has not been forgotten even now. Look at the laughing countenance of Meena Kumari. She looks like an 18-year old girl, even though she crossed it in 1950. It is a family song outright conveying the right Indian values.

Here is a lone cyclist journeying through the streets of Delhi. This is the only song I came across of this category.

6. Chal mere dil lehra ke chal from Ishara (1964) by Mukesh, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Kalyanji-Anandji

Joy Mukherjee and Vyjayanthimala play lead roles. Here he is merrily cycling through various localities of Delhi. This is a typical tune from this pair with their trademark beat.

Now I will present a few songs where the hero/heroine is accompanied on bicycles by their coterie.

7. Saawan ke nazaaren hain from Khazanchi (1941) by Shamshad Begum & chorus, lyrics Wali Saheb, music by Ghulam Haider

This film was made in 1941 in Lahore. Actors were Ramola, M. Ismail, Jagirdar and Manorama and others. We get a view of Lahore of those days. If someone can identify the male singer I would be much obliged. Ghulam Haider has composed a simple chorus in line with the leisurely life style of the early 1940s.

8. Yeh zindagi ka mausam from Ghunghat (1960) by Asha Bhosle, Mohammad Rafi & chorus, lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ravi

This is a Gemini production with lead actors as Pradeep Kumar, Bharat Bhushan and Asha Parekh. A standard tune from Ravi.

9. Ban ke panchi from Anari (1959) by Lata Mangeshkar & chorus, lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar-Jaikishan

Raj Kapoor, Nutan and Lalaita Pawar are the main actors. Shankar-Jaikishan gave great music and each song will stand by itself. Here Nutan is leading a cycle brigade of girls in the countryside. Raj Kapoor wobbling on his cycle dashes against Nutan towards the close of the song.

10. Jab din haseen from Adalat (1958) by Mohammad Rafi, Asha Bhosle & chorus, lyrics Rajendra Krishna, Music Madan Mohan

A great movie of 1958 with a serious theme, describing the travails of a chaste woman forced into the flesh trade. Pradeep Kumar and Nargis are the leading pair and Pran as a pimp put up a good performance. Madan Mohan gave top notch music and all songs are hits.

11. Anchal ko udane do from Picnic (1966) by Asha Bhosle & chorus, lyrics Anand Bakshi, music S. Mohinder

Manoj Kumar, Kalpana, Shubha Khote and others act in this film. The song is quite fast paced and a good tune from S Mohinder. It appears this film was not released.

12. Main chali main chali dekho pyar ki gali from Padosan (1968) by Lata Mangeshkar & chorus, lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music R D Burman

A movie from south and retake of the popular film Aduttha Veettu Penn. It is a rip roaring comedy. The central plot is the hero (Sunil Dutt) trying to put over the heroine (Saira Banu) he is a great singer, when he does not know ABC of music. He is helped in this piece of deception by his friend (Kishore Kumar). It strains belief that the heroine could be fooled like this. Ultimately everything is exposed and as expected it has a happy ending. R D Burman has composed great tunes for the film like Manna Dey and Kishore Kumar duet – Ek chatur naar kar ke singar.

I came across many songs of this genre with Johnny Walker as the singer. I have always had great admiration for him and I am reproducing a few of his songs.

13. Zara ruk ja pyare ruk ja from Sitaron se Agey (1958) by Mohammad Rafi, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music S D Burman

A very popular song of 1958. Look at the acrobatic management of the cycle by Johnny Walker. It will take one’s breath away. S D Burman has captured the mood very well.

14. Bachke balam from Johnny Walker (1957) by Geeta Dutt and Mohammad Rafi, lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music by O P Nayyar

A song of fantasy. Johnny Walker in his dream sequence takes the heroine on a round tour of India. A very nice composition by O P Nayyar.

15. Suno suno Miss Chatterjee from Baharein Phir Bhi Aayengi by Mohammad Rafi & Asha Bhonsle, lyrics Anjaan, music by O P Nayyar

Johnny Walker puts up a credible performance of a man in love. O P Nayyar, the master he is, can always be expected to rise to the occasion and give a fast paced song.

16. Suno suno re bhaiya from Paigham (1959) by Mohammad Rafi, lyrics Pradeep, music C Ramchandra

A social drama from the banners of Gemini Studios. Dilip Kumar, Raaj Kumar and Vyjayanthimala are the main actors. Johnny Walker plays his usual role as a comedian. A good music composition from C Ramchandra.

I now conclude my post and leave to the veterans the full field.

{ 62 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Pushpendra Kumar June 19, 2017 at 5:35 am

Great article and heart warming to see Rafi Saab dominating the list. He indeed was the one with Jovial songs

2 N Venkataraman June 19, 2017 at 6:05 am

In keeping with your reputation and to our delight, you have come out with one more thematic article, now on cycle. That adds one more feather to your cap.

I am handicapped by the absence of my laptop and dongle. And my desktop has gone into a coma, due to prolonged inattention. I am not very comfortable commenting through my cell phone.
I will be back after getting a new laptop.

3 N.S.Rajan June 19, 2017 at 6:15 am

A great article. The theme has obviously needed considerable research which is very ably and interestingly woven and put together. Once again, “Bull’s Eye”. One delightful song deserving of a place here is ” Maana Janaab ne pukara nahin, Kya mera saath bhi ganwaara nahin”. Kishore Kumar/ Paying Guest/S.D.Burman. And, while I do not rate this song very highly, “Dil mera ek aas ka panchi” Aas ka Panchi”/ Subir Sen/ SJ was also a very popular number in its days.

4 Uma Maheswar June 19, 2017 at 7:04 am
5 Shekhar June 19, 2017 at 7:10 am

Not much of bicycles in it – in fact, seen only at the very end of the clip. But given its musical quality, I would like to commend the immortal Lata-Karan Dewan duet on Nargis and Karan Dewan himself in Lahore (1949): “Duniya hamaare pyaar ki haram jawa.n rahe” – penned by Rajinder Krishan and tuned by Shyam Sundar. It is on YouTube at https://youtu.be/iLtBz6sc65M.

6 ksbhatia June 19, 2017 at 8:46 am

D P Rangan ji ;

Wow ! what a lovely article ! Your passion for wheels reflects in this article too . The masterly crafted and researched article is a pleasure and a great recall of every one’s childhood ……how we used to cry ….begging for a ride or asking mom to spare two annas for renting a mini bike…..a learner drive for every child during mid 50s and getting self promoted gradually from stick driven single tyreless uni cycle , then to tricycles and finally the mini bicycle . Not reaching your foot on the peddle , I used to master it driving it scissors way […in hindi we used to call it …crenchi ] .

I too was a passionate follower of wheels and perhaps the technical explorations oriented me to become engineer . As of now , I am reliving my past watching my three year old grandson plying and growing with every other wheeled toy .

The songs chosen are fantastic and famous .

In Bollywood there has been atleast three actors who actually were great cyclist and cycle racers . The old character actor Jankidas was the one is stated to have competed in some Asian/ international racing games . Shoba Khote is another who was champion cycle racer . If one remember she was shown catching thief in Seema while following him on fast cycling . Johny Walker was a tricky bicycle rider . He too was shown riding reverse while impressing his heroine in one or two movies [ Mere Mehboob etc.]

As far as songs are concerned , here are two songs which are fav. of mine for their richness of composition . A few more will follow as and when mind strikes.

Awara Hoon…..Mukesh…..Awara……SJ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0kY0ffAaCk8

Mere Ghoongar wale baal…..Shamshad….Ghulam Mohd.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nBQz6TXClCk

7 Ravindra Kelkar June 19, 2017 at 9:36 am

DP Rangan Ji,
Top class article, I wasn’t aware of the interesting Bicycle history. I am adding three songs –
1) Hey Maine Kasam Li from Tere Mere Sapne
2)Pukarata Chalan Hoon Mai from Mere Sanam
3)Akela Hoon Main from Baat Ek Raat Ki

8 Uma Maheswar June 19, 2017 at 9:54 am

Good Afternoon Dear Shekhar,

You made my day by refreshing the song,

film lahore 1949.. lata mangeshkar & karan diwan..dunya hamare pyar ki yunhi jawan rahe

What a lyric and what a wonderful song. Really the present generation is missing those good olden days of noble culture and art.
And what a natural acting and expressions by the performers. Nargis, was an ethereal beauty.
Thanks a million for sharing this valuable treasure, which can neither be counted, estimated or calculated.
regards,
Uma

9 Shalan Lal June 19, 2017 at 12:04 pm

As usual D P Rangan has similar travel in his previous posts. This time he is riding on a bike. All the good information is there about Cycle and all the very good songs.

Praise must be bestowed on this rider of many posts. But he is the master of words and restrain myself.

it is my conviction that Khazanchi of 1941 film started the craze of using bicycle in the films. Women using bicycle was a Taboo.

But the films helped them to go for them. In the City of Poona there was a crowded with the bicycles. Perhaps the city of Poona was the first city of Bicycles. It was also a city with film studios and many colleges and women were encouraged to go to schools and colleges they were also bought cycles by their parents.

The cycle accident in the Annadi and Khazanchi are very similar.

The hero of Khzanchi was S.D.Narang. He was a science graduate and later on return to another profession. But his wife went on becoming a film producer.
Ramola appeared with Dev Anand in the film “Hum Bhi Insan Hai” but before the beginning of the fifties she seemed to have disappeared.

Cycle is very much alive in England and continent.

The great Italian film “Bicycle Thieves” brought the realism as a new way of making films became idealized and Indian film makers were rushed to make “Do Bigha Zamin” and “Boot Polish” etc.

Shalan

10 Shekhar June 19, 2017 at 12:37 pm

Dear Umaji @8,

Thanks for your kind comment.

Glad to have refreshed your memories of the Lahore (1949) classic “Duniya hamaare pyaar ki hardam jawa.n rahe” which, like me, you like so much.

Shekhar/Singapore

11 KB June 19, 2017 at 3:46 pm

Fine collection. I think there was one good song on cycle from Paying Guest also.

12 Arunkumar Deshmukh June 19, 2017 at 4:16 pm

D.P.Rangan ji,

The male singer in Khazanchi-41 song in No 7 is Ghulam Haider himself.
Your post reminds me of a similar post I had done elsewhere. here is the link,in case anyone is interested to go through the different Cycle songs-
https://harveypam.wordpress.com/2012/10/02/arunkumar-deshmukhs-10-favourite-cycle-songs/#more-1365
-AD

13 ksbhatia June 19, 2017 at 5:29 pm

D P Rangan ji ;

One more song from the oldie starring Goldie and Shakila….

Unse riipi tiipi ho gayi…..Rafi, Geeta….Agra Road….Roshan.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0wRpbuqyTcE

14 ksbhatia June 19, 2017 at 6:23 pm

Ms. Shalan Lal @9;

Bicycle Thief was really a great motivator for indian film makers of the 50s . Raj Kapoor and Bimal Da came with quite true to realm in their movies …Boot Polish and Do Bigha zamin . Europe cinema still are coming up with some realm films . The Italian movie …..Life Is Beautiful ….is really a treat to watch . Incidently this movie have a number of cycle ride scenes as well .

Remembring The famous bicycle ride and the song…..Rain drops falling on my head…..from …..Butch Cassidy and the sundance kid …….starring Handsome Paul Newman and beautiful Katharine Ross.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S2OdPDEG6aQ

London, Vancuver , New York and many other cities do have annual bicycle day rides where many of the citizens join for such fun rides . Some of such carnivals do have options to ride bicycle in any whatsoever appearence .

15 D P Rangan June 20, 2017 at 10:26 am

Let me apologise for my late response. I was horror struck on finding out I had committed a faux pas in the post and was waiting for someone to point out. Nothing occurred and I decided to do a confession myself like a penitent criminal unburdening before judicial authorities. No. 12 has been repeated twice and if correction is done as 12 to 13, we will end up with 16 songs. I am sure blog master would be able to do this simple thing. Next introduction to Johnny walker should appear just above the song “Zara rukh ja”. I request big boss to carry out this too. Let me confess I am chaffed none noticed this so far.

16 AK June 20, 2017 at 3:21 pm

DP Rangan,
I hope now the errors are fixed.

17 D P Rangan June 20, 2017 at 3:40 pm

Pushpendra Kumarji
Thanks for the appreciation rendered for the post
Venkataramanji
Thanks for the kind words. Will await your further comments.
Rajanji
Thanks for the generous words on the post. I tried to avoid very popular songs and hunted for obscure ones to post.
Uma Maheshwarji
What a splendid collection you have added while I was struggling to compile my list for the post. Thanks for the same.
Shekharji
I saw the clip of Lahore. A sweet song indeed. Hero and heroine pick up their cycle only at the end of the song.
K S Bhatia
Glad to note you relived your childhood. You seem to have enjoyed all that is usually available to small town chaps like me at the capital as a school going boy. Your scissors way of pedaling a big cycle is called monkey pedaling in south India i.e. Tamilnadu. Will listen to all that you will shower.
Ravindraji
I am overwhelmed at your giving such a high mark for my post.Delighted to note you found history of bicycle development quite interesting. Songs added are apt.
Shalan Lal
True to my expectations you have added lot of useful material on the subject covering your part of the world. Very grateful of your appreciation of the post.
KBji
Thanks for the kind words. The song you mentioned from Paying Guest has already been mentioned by other member of the club.

18 D P Rangan June 20, 2017 at 4:08 pm

Arunkumarji
Thanks for completing the singer gap in the song. Read your excellent blog of 2012 on cycles. Really great. Hoping for some top class article from you for SOY. It is my request on behalf of AK. I consider you as Bheeshmapithaji (Note: Not for age as you are too young but for your encyclopedic knowledge on Hindi films) on whom all puzzles can be passed on and a reply would be guaranteed. You must have a library of books like a lawyer’s chamber.

19 D P Rangan June 20, 2017 at 4:14 pm

AK
What a quick repair from an ex bureaucrat. You must have been a workaholic in your active service days and I can imagine the groans from your perspiring subordinates whenever they were called to your presence to render accounts. I also was in a similar position but as the subject I was handling was quite technical I could befuddle the higher authorities and get away with it. Your observation about railways preceding cycle development was quite perspicacious. As usual your erudite introduction has bowled me over.

20 AK June 20, 2017 at 5:00 pm

DP Rangan,
That hardly deserves such high praise. Fortunately, I had access to Internet and devices. When travelling or devoid of the facilities, it is not so quick.

I have never made any reference to my professional backgroun on this blog. But since you have made some speculation, I think my staff enjoyed working with me even if I drove them hard.

21 ksbhatia June 20, 2017 at 5:54 pm

D P Rangan ji ;

Two additions more……

Main hun aadmi sadak ka…..Rafi….Aadmi sadak ka….Ravi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMNiiB9qi74

Pehli nazar mein….Rafi, Kishore, Asha, ….The Burning Train…RDB

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ0ObUHIFSM

22 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 20, 2017 at 6:42 pm

‘Bicycle Race’ by Queen (Lyrics/Lead Vocal – our very own Freddie Mercury):

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GugsCdLHm-Q

23 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 20, 2017 at 6:51 pm

‘Pehli nazar mein humne’ from ‘The Burning Train’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aslzCZHs7WA

24 SSW June 20, 2017 at 6:55 pm

Mr.Bhatia @14. Not very sure that I go along with the idea that Bimal Roy came up with Do Bigha Zameen after seeing Bicycle Thieves. The story of Do Bigha Zameen was penned as Rickshawalla by Salil Chowdhury sometime in the 40’s and it was loosely based on a Tagore poem. Ritwik Ghatak and Salil Chowdhury were planning a film based on the story when Ghatak introduced (not sure about this) Roy to Salilda and he heard about their plans. Roy became interested in making the film himself and got Salilda to come to Bombay for it. The Bengali version of Salilda’s story was made in 1955 directed by Satyen Bose. Funnily when the three did work together it was for Madhumati, Ritwik Ghatak’s story, Salilda’s music and Bimal Roy’s direction.
And if we want to delve into realism in cinema Chetan Anand’s Neecha Nagar was made two years before De Sica’s Bicycle Thieves and it won the best film at the first Cannes Film Festival.

25 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 20, 2017 at 7:00 pm

Check out the segment from 3:00 to 3:25 from ‘Do re mi’ from ‘The Sound of Music’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VMufOx8viD0

Apologies for the poor quality of the video.

26 SSW June 20, 2017 at 7:10 pm

Mr. Rangan , all the hindi songs that I know seem to be covered but we used to sing this song in school.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cLlF-fkC2Os

27 Subodh Agrawal June 21, 2017 at 1:20 am

Once again Mr Rangan has presented us with an absolute gem relying on his immense knowledge and painstaking research. This one too is an article worth preserving as a work of reference. The selection of songs is equally good and everything adds up to make a wonderful reading and listening experience.

My favourite in the list is ‘Sanwale salone aaye din bahar ke’. I love the way Hemant and Lata sing the first part of the refrain together, then Lata sings ‘Nadi kinare’ followed by ‘Koyal pukare’ in Hemant’s rich voice.

28 ksbhatia June 21, 2017 at 7:13 am

S S W @24;
I entirely agree with you. What I was impressing is that not many had courage to adopt the rustic realism of the likes of Bicycle Thief . With everyone sticking to popular cinema ; such true to life films did a great impact in serious cinema popularising them as well .. Achhut Kanya made early , brought limelight , gearing up for such daring subject and ; later on ; the series of Satyajit Rays films made a lasting impact world over.

Bimal Roy and Salilda did a great job again in Parakh ;[ again a rustic realism.]…..Salilda as story teller , supplementing the beautiful songs and Bimal roy for his fine crafted direction . The movie had funny character Rashid Khan playing a ” doctor on bicycle ” role .

29 ksbhatia June 21, 2017 at 7:20 am

D P Rangan ji;

In continuation two more songs on the theme..

Cycle pe haseenoan ki toli….Rafi, Asha, Mannadey…Amaanat…Ravi

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBG8f9v9KPg

Yeh cycle ka chakkar [ song without cycle]……Rafi Asha….Akeli mat jayiyo…..MM

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WzqBvz_mGlE

30 AK June 21, 2017 at 8:33 am

SSW (#24)
Your comments are always enlightening, but I was also perplexed. I always seemed to have read or heard Vittorio De Sica and Bicylcle Thieves mentioned in the context of Bimal Roy-Do Bigha Zameen. After reading your comment, I searched again and I found this in an interview of Shyam Benegal.

Which is the first foreign language film that you watched?
It was Bicycle Thieves directed by Vittorio De Sica. I watched it in 1952 at the International Film Festival. The film had great impact on many Indian directors. Satyajit Ray, Bimal Roy were all inspired by it. Bimal Roy even went on to make Do Bigha Zameen which was heavily inspired by Bicycle Thieves……”

If the story of DBZ was written before 1948, that would settle the question one way. However, its converse may not be true. Satyajit Ray’s open admiration and acknowledgement of being influenced by De Sica-Bicycle Thieves is well documented. But as a lay viewer, I find greater similarity between DBZ and BT than PP-BT. The father-son duo in a harsh metropolis struggling out for a living, the similarity between the two kids, their bonding with the father, and their bewilderment at the fate of the father are etched out in my memory. Even if incorrect, I instinctively think of DBZ with BT. But what about experts like Shyam Benegal? Were they also committing a mistake?

I have to thank you for another thing. Some Googling of De Sica led me to the answer of something I had been desperately looking for over 25 years. I had seen another beautiful De Sica film, The Roof long ago. My earlier searches always drew a blank. Now I find loads of references. In Italian it was called Il Tetto. I believe you have some influence over the renowned film expert Anurdha Warrier. Could you please pass on my request to her to review this film in conjunction with BT. If you could write a joint post with her that would be superb.

By the way, a trite question: Why was the film released in some countries as The Bicycle Thief and in some other countries in the plural?

31 SSW June 21, 2017 at 12:21 pm

Mr. Bhatia you are very correct .

Ashwin, no I’m not denying that BT had an effect on Bimal Roy and other Indian film makers. It definitely did , I funnily equate the last scene of BT with DBZ. I’m just trying to say that people other than Bimal Roy who were equally enamoured of European cinema had an effect on DBZ. I also wonder why Neecha Nagar never gets mentioned.

I remember Il Tetto. When I was a small boy I saw a film on Bombay DD “Shehar aur Sapna” that was inspired a lot by Il Tetto. The same problem of housing etc and here the Indian couple live in an unused water pipe instead of a single room brick house.

I don’t think my wife will review BT or Il Tetto soon. The last time we saw BT she was so emotionally caught up in the last scene that she swore she would only watch happy masala films again. No realism thank you very much.

Lastly I don’t know when Salilda wrote Rickshawallah (I have heard it was in the forties) but I have asked a friend who knew Salilda well if he would be in a position to find out. He said he would reply in a bit.

Here is a link to Tagore’s poem which inspired Rickshawallah.
https://drishtighuri.wordpress.com/2009/11/13/103/
It is very realistic.

Funny isn’t it that when Bob Dylan won the Nobel Prize this year everybody said that it was the first time a song writer had won the prize.
People forget that all the poems in Gitanjali were actually songs that were set to music by Rabindranath. The translations never carried the musical notation (swaralipi) . He was really the first song writer to win the Nobel Prize. 🙂

32 SSW June 21, 2017 at 12:32 pm

Oh and I forgot the Italian title “Ladri de biciclette” could be The Bicycle Thief but since there is no definite article “Ladri” can be plural so becomes “thieves”, and hence the laissea-faire attitude to translation. If it had been “Il Ladri de biciclette” then it would have been unambiguously “The bicycle thief”.

33 AK June 21, 2017 at 1:30 pm

SSW,
Thanks a lot for explaining the different translations. Hope Anu is not going to remain on masala tip for ever. 🙂

34 Shalan Lal June 21, 2017 at 1:39 pm

KSbhatia, SWW, AK, Ashwin B and rest of the great readers

Thanks for your various opinions about the Italian neo-realism.
In one talk Satyajit Ray said he belonged to the Film Society that liked to watch the Italian Films prior to his making of Aparajito.

Roberto Rossellini made his film “Rome-An open City” with live scenes when the defeated German army was going back and so many violent scenes were broken in the streets. He put a number cameras at the vantage points and later on added scenes made by ordinary people about the German occupation.

Using untrained people in his films became his trade mark.

Roberto’s technique impressed Indian documentary makers and was invited to India to make films on the Indian subjects. But he had an affair with the Indian married woman and public got mad and he was “Gheraoed by them in the “Taj Mahal Hotel. Nehru influenced Moraji to see that he would go back to Rome without harm. Nehru was in London in the company of Roberto’s ex-wife Ingrid Bergman. No one has made a film about this Italian Realism. This is the other side of realism.

About “Geetanjali” granted that it was written in songs. But it was read by WB Yeats and other English poets in plain English before recommending it to the newly founded Nobel Prize Society.

According to one of the scholars of Tagore and she is from the house of Tagore that the Bengali revolutionaries were creating havoc in Bengal and other parts of India so to silence the Bengali violence British influenced the Nobel Committee to give it to Tagore. it did not matter if it was in songs, poetry or essays.

How about that?

35 SSW June 21, 2017 at 2:10 pm

Shalan Lal
Yes I know that Rossellini was probably the first well known neo-realist in film.
As for the Nobel prize I was just comparing a songwriter past and a songwriter present. No doubt the Nobel prize committee looked at Dylan’s lyrics not his music (Dylan’s tunes as are all folk songs are simplistic and in my opinion he can’t sing. Best if Joan Baez sang his songs).
As for the Nobel prize I will simply put Richard Feynman’s words here
“I don’t see that it makes any point that someone in the Swedish Academy decides that the work is noble enough to receive a prize… The prize is the pleasure of finding the thing out, kick in the discovery, the observation that other people use it, those are the real things. The honors are unreal.”

36 SSW June 21, 2017 at 2:12 pm

I must add to correct myself that all folk songs are not simplistic. I should not make stupid statements like that. But I am sure I will over and over.

37 D P Rangan June 21, 2017 at 3:10 pm

Subodhji
Thanks for the sky high praise you had showered on the post. I am happy you found song selection was to your satisfaction. I believe historical facts of the theme are equally important and hence devote a few lines for it before approaching the music part. I am sure some one would find it useful and may even induce them to do further research. Once again I thank you for the kind words uttered.

38 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 21, 2017 at 4:44 pm

A lesser known song from “Pyaasa’ featuring a cycle ride:

‘Ho lakh museebat’
https://youtu.be/COCgjv4i51k

39 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 21, 2017 at 4:52 pm

‘Nainon mein darpan hai’ from ‘Aarop’. I reckon that not many would know that the MD was Bhupen Hazarika.

https://youtu.be/ZCdiMzEDyFs

40 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 21, 2017 at 5:01 pm

‘Pukaarta chala hun main’ from ‘Mere sanam’:

https://youtu.be/24d0fCfnJhw

41 ksbhatia June 21, 2017 at 5:42 pm

Ashwin Bhandarkar ji ;
Nice addition of songs . Two more songs from my side….

Bol Saach Sach Bol…..Rafi….Laxmi….Avinash Vyas

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YYnogyCxQOM&index=56&list=PL1C3DA868320D8E88

Akela hun mein…..Rafi….Baat ek raat ki …….SDB

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQVQ2C-B6ms

42 ksbhatia June 21, 2017 at 5:50 pm

D P Rangan ji;

A clip of Buster Keaton riding a velocipede cycle….

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6gC7ykhs2cg

43 Gaddeswarup June 22, 2017 at 5:11 am

Just wondering whether Shubha Khote should get a special mention in bicycle Songs.

44 ksbhatia June 22, 2017 at 7:54 am

Jankidas and Johny Walker too should find their place in recognition of their achievements. While Jankidas and Shobha Khote were the champion in fast cycling , johny walker was a champion of slow cycling as also a tricky crazy rider .

45 ksbhatia June 22, 2017 at 8:25 am

Shalan Lal , SSW, AK, Ashwin…..;

The mere mention of Bicycle thief and Roberto Rossellini brought to me the memory of other great masters of fine craftsmen realm makers who did spllended jobs that made an ever lasting impressions on the viewers including myself . The excellent black and white textured photography adding to the narration of …Women in Dunes …and …Hirishoma man a mor…really worth watching even in this cyber time . Same is true for swedish director Ingmar Bergeman for his half a dozen of movies he made during 50s thru mid 60s . Realm was a call for such directors and skills were their passions . In bollywood of that time Guru Dutt came very close in making his Pyassa ….a class apart from his other crime oriented films .

46 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 22, 2017 at 4:33 pm

Was reminded of this parody of ‘Jai jai shivshankar’ from ‘Aap ki kasam’:

Jai jai shivshankar
Mera cycle tyre puncture

47 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 22, 2017 at 4:41 pm

This song would also qualify for inclusion in this post since it is a bicycle wheel that the boy is rolling along:

‘Udan khatole pe ud jaaun’ from ‘Anmol Ghadi’:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NVgCt3cDHyk

48 Ashwin Bhandarkar June 22, 2017 at 4:43 pm

Yet another cycle song:

‘Daakiya daak laaya’ from ‘Palkon ki chaaon mein’

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3rOmrDdPz0

49 D P Rangan June 23, 2017 at 3:19 am

Ashwin
Thanks for introducing a few delightful songs. The one from Anmol Gadi is unique. A horse cart song doubling as a single wheel song. Had I been aware of it in video form would have included in the original presentation. Continue in this vein and bring out more treasures.

50 ksbhatia June 23, 2017 at 10:29 am

Two more of the cycle songs ….one without cycle ride .

guzar jaye din ….Kishore …Aandaata…..Salilda

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrNLSVvdGOY

Ladki cycle wali…..MK , Asha….Pati Patni Aur Woh….Ravinder Jain

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cWcClaVv_ns

51 Shalan Lal June 23, 2017 at 11:24 am

ksbhatia @45

Your understanding of the genre Italian neo realism is very good and you brought other countries in the continent. The French had started with difference of lighter or funny aspect of making film which had songs not necessarily sang our mouthed by the characters but used as the background like the song in the film “Man & Woman. But they had very rich list of very good film makers from fifties onwards. The film you mentioned “Hiroshima “Mon Amour” was interesting but too much individualistic. But became famous.

As you and others are piling up many more songs on the Cycle Ride if this song is not mentioned so far I would like to mention it.
It is ” Hamse Haste Dekh Zamana Jalata Hai” from Hum Sub Chore Hain.

The song is not so much riding on the cycle but towards the end both I.S. Johar and Majnu sit on a bicycle made for two and disappear.

Shalan

52 Shalan Lal June 23, 2017 at 12:12 pm

SSW @ 35
Dylan’s Nobel was very belated as he is now nearly at the end of his creativity and life and the period that made him famous “the Anti-Vietnam” has become a history. However some of his songs as they were originally in the format of poems and there is some quality of poetry remained in his folkish songs and he influenced the period very much.

Nobel society themselves were not sure if he should be given it for the literature or for music. But whatever the reason was I feel good that pop culture or the aspect of the Pop is recognized by the Establishment.

As for your liking of the songs sung not by him but by Joan Baez and that kind of the statement is your personal choice. And what kind of music influenced you in your early development and if you have allowance to accept spoken songs, noise and other factors that have come into music especially in American music from the 19th century. It seems that you have very rigid kind of frame of understanding of music. Ignoring things of hostile or unfamiliar colour or putting them out of doors is not much a part of modernity. But then why should you care about modernity and other people’s existence?

His last performance in London was some 15 years ago and that was sold out within a week. he earned five million dollars from it. The Nobel prize made him more respectable but if he or John Lennon would have been given it during their hey days they would have rejected it. Remember Lennon made a gaff” We are more famous than Jesus Christ.”
Shalan

53 AK June 23, 2017 at 2:37 pm

Shalan,
I refer to “And what kind of music…It seems to me that you have very rigid kind of…” It seems to me that besides attacking SSW’s views, you are also attacking him personally. Whenever I find such a situation, I raise my red flag.

54 SSW June 23, 2017 at 9:41 pm

AK that’s fine, I’m sure Ms. Lal isn’t being personal. Ms.Lal,

I find Dylan’s lyrics very good, but his music simple and his singing voice average. That’s my opinion and because I am quite rigid as you put it , I cannot change. 🙂

I do listen to music, even odd stuff, for example I like Terje Rydpal and Bjork who are quite modern (they are younger than Dylan).

I’m not sure if Charlie Parker earned 5 million dollars in his entire life.

But it seems funny to me that you seem to think Tagore’s Nobel prize is only a sop but Dylan’s is not.

55 Shalan Lal June 24, 2017 at 11:46 am

AK, SSW, and others
This is an “Edict for me and others ” I never attack personally any one” The thoughts and statements and understandings if they are not logical and create an impression that pinches me then I come with my protest.

Showing your “Red Flag” is the part of your editorial skills and understanding of how your blog readers should act. I think you have to leave the commentator to defend if your blog is used for personal war. Yet I accept your overall control of it. If my attack has created any misunderstanding in you or SSW I beg apology your and SSW. I have deep respect for both of you and all the great readers of the blog. I shall never use my writing to harm their own personality.
But equally I think the commentators should be free from any pressure about making the opinion expressed.

SSW has shown correct understanding about the point I was making.

Now about his understanding about my Tagore’s Nobel.
I think there is some misunderstanding. The Tagore’s Nobel is very right act that the Nobel Committee did and by doing so they had raised their own standard. Tagore too used it far better than any other Nobel winner. I do not think Dylan had that much time as Tagore had and did not have Tagore’s intentions and culture of spreading the understanding of the “answers that are blowing in the wind”

Tagore family was extremely rich and the reward of the money was just a hair on the dog for him. But with the “Nobel” he spread Indian literature not only in India but all over the world. Individually he was an accomplished writer, painter, composer, educator and literarily a multi-person without malice to any one. The other Tagores in his family too were culturally accomplished and Shantiniketan is an ideal for all the Nobel winners how to use their Nobel. If there would not have been Tagore Indian films would have been very poor in their quality in the music.
But Individually I am against the mysticism in the Hindu religion. I think mysticism and love for the mysticism hold Indians from being logical, scientific and progressive humnity.

Geetanjali promotes mysticism yet it has high literary, humanistic and creative qualities. Dylan’s qualities should not be compared with Tagore’s.

Shalan

56 SSW June 24, 2017 at 1:12 pm

Ms.Lal, there is no need to apologize I didn’t think you were out of line and my opinions are just that , there is no need to take them as gospel.

I don’t have issues with mysticism, it’s a strange world after all, I do have some issues with organized religions, social mores become religious dogma.

And while trying not to be parochial(I can only use the philosophy of the religion that I was born into) the great Austrian physicist Erwin Schrodinger said on page 21 and 22 in his book Mein Weltanischt
“This life of yours which you are living is not merely a piece of this entire existence, but in a certain sense the whole; only this whole is not so constituted that it can be surveyed in one single glance. This, as we know, is what the Brahmins expresss in that sacred, mystic formula which is yet really so simple and so clear; tat tvam asi, this is you. Or, again, in such words as “I am in the east and the west, I am above and below, I am this entire world.”.

Incidentally Bob Dylan though raised Jewish , his family were Lithuanian and Ukrainian Jews also became a born again Christian. That’s mysticism though the Abrahamic religions have been more social than Hindusism. I tried listening to many Dylan songs yesterday and finally while “Listening to time out of mind” my convictions were not shaken.

There were many wonderful folk poets in the 60s and earlier Woody Guthrie and Pete Seeger spring to mind but one person who I have always been in love with over the years , who to me embodies voice , musical composition and poetry is Joni Mitchell. I can listen to her any time. I’m not saying she is the best I’m just saying she is my favourite.

She can go from this

Yesterday a child came out to wonder
Caught a dragonfly inside a jar
Fearful when the sky was full of thunder
And tearful at the falling of a star
And the seasons they go round and round
And the painted ponies go up and down
We’re captive on the carousel of time
We can’t return we can only look behind
From where we came
And go round and round and round
In the circle game

to this

All these jack-offs at the office
The rapist in the pool
Oh, and the tragedies in the nurseries
Little kids packin’ guns to school
The ulcerated ozone
These tumors of the skin
This hostile sun beating down on
Massive mess we’re in
And the gas leaks
And the oil spills
And sex sells everything
And sex kills
Sex kills
Sex kills
Oh, sex kills
Sex kills

57 Shalan Lal June 25, 2017 at 12:47 pm

SSW @ 56
I thank you for your understanding of my remarks. I think that’s how readers should see each other and not on the personal anvil.

I too enjoy the songs and singings of Woody Guthrie, Pete Seeger, Joni Mitchell and many other of the period of sixties American folk songs. They were easy on the ears and sing along as well. They too had social statements in their songs. Pete Seeger’s were very rich with tunes and Guitar music quality.
But Bob’s Tambourine Man” still jingles in my ears.

Thanks again for your comment.

Shalan La

58 Anup June 26, 2017 at 9:21 am

Hello AK ji,
I am too late to join the conversation.
Let me first congratulate you, for copleting 7 years!
This blog has been a heaven of songs for me!

A nice post, very well written,
and so much songs already suggested by the readers!
I am not been able to remember any song to add to it!
May b later, i can add at least one!

59 AK June 26, 2017 at 11:45 am

Anup,
Welcome to SoY and thanks a lot for your appreciation. I know you have been struggling to post your comments, but the WordPress was perhaps doing weird things to you. You should have no problems now.

60 Anup June 26, 2017 at 5:27 pm

thanx AKji

61 Anup July 2, 2017 at 2:36 pm

hi, i want to add two songs…
pyase panchhi neel gagan mein
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jfb6Q6FsgDM

dil mera ek aas ka panchhi
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dlz_jVD5a3s

has anyone posted these songs already?

62 Anup July 2, 2017 at 2:37 pm

oh
this time, comment got posted!
a rare thing to occur for me at SOY
🙂

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