Romancing the dunce or ‘Mahamoorkhon Ke Gaane’

March 27, 2013

Mahamoorkh SammelanIn an interesting Holi tradition in many parts of North India, important personalities of the town get together to play the fool, and vie with each other to get the coveted best fool awards. The next day’s papers carry colourful reports of these proceedings with profile of the winners of Mahamoorkh or Moorkhshiromani awards.

‘Playing the fool’ must be prevalent in other cultures also. One such tradition is ‘roasting’ in the US where a person is subjected to comic insults, outlandish stories and heart-warming tributes. To be roasted is supposed to be a matter of honour. One of the most eagerly awaited events in the US is the White House Correspondents Association Annual Dinner when the President makes fun of himself and other senior officials of the Administration. The Presidents tear themselves mercilessly and outdo the worst that the media would do to them. In the campaign years, the Presidential candidates, after their heated round of debates, traditionally stop by at the Alfred Smith Memorial Foundation Dinner  where they trade one-liners and comic insults to their opponents and themselves. Here is a report in the Washington Post on Obama and Mitt Romney roasting each other in the dinner.  Our politicians are quite boring in his regard. Except Laloo Prasad, I can’t think of anyone playing the fool with such élan – I am not including those who make a fool of themselves by their actions.  Among Indian parliamentarians, Piloo Mody was a byword for whacky humor in the olden days.  Those were the days when CIA was responsible for all our ills, and one day the irrepressible Piloo came to the House wearing a placard, “I am a CIA agent”.

The humour in the British Parliament is now the stuff of the legend.  This MP’s one-liner holds good for our situation also – “The trouble with political jokes is that half of them get re-elected”.  Then there was this tough lady MP who harangued Churchill that if he were her husband, she would put poison in his coffee, to which Churchill replied, “Madam, if you were my wife, I would happily drink it.”

In Hindi films two actors that immediately come to mind are Shammi Kapoor and Kishore Kumar, who have played the fool in a number of movies in order to get out of a sticky situation or avoid an unwanted marriage proposal. Holi and thandhai (laced with bhaang) gave license to Amitabh Bachchan in Silsila to stretch the boundaries of decorum with Rekha, and sing Khaye gori ka yaar balam tarase, Rang barse, to some bewilderment of Sanjeev Kumar and consternation of Jaya Bahduri. Talking of Amitabh Bachchan, perhaps the best ‘playing the fool’ has been done by him and Dharmendra in Chupke Chupke to put the smart Om Prakash in his place and get Sharmila Tagore out of her Jijjajee spell.

But Hindi films are also replete with characters who are too stupid to ‘play the fool’. They are quite dunce, or less pejoratively, innocent and simpletons in the matters of heart. They are very patiently wooed by their lovers and tutored in the matters of the birds and the bees. Raj Kapoor is the leading star of this genre, with Guru Dutt a distant second. This post is about songs of romancing the dunce, or in other words Mahmoorkhon Ke Gaane, if you wish.

1. Begaani shaadi mein Abdullah deewana by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar from Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahti Hai (1960), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan

You can’t be more dunce than Raj Kapoor who insists on calling the sizzling Padmini, Kammoji. The most overt hints fail to stir him. Finally she suggests that she might be married to some guy, to make him jealous. He is thrilled that he would get a chance to dance and sing at her wedding. What can you do to such a person except break into this lovely song?


2. Bhanwra bada nadaan haye by Asha Bhosle from Sahib Bibi Aur Ghulam (1962), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Hemant Kumar

There are smart alecs and there are nadaan bhanwras. The whole demeanour of Bhootnath (they also pick up very appropriate names) is so amusing, Jaba (Waheeda Rahman) can’t help singing this song.


3. O mora nadaan balma na jane ji ki baat by Lata Mangeshkar from Ujala (1959), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar Jaikishan

Any sane girl would choose Shammi Kappor. With Mala Sinha paired with him, poor Kumkum must have been left with Rajkumar, but why is he nadaan in this film? But never mind. The girls find nadaan balma absolutely charming. I have never seen Kumkum dancing more joyously.


4. Balma anaari manga de ghoda gaadi by Lata Mangeshkar from Pocketmar (1956), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Madan Mohan

Even though Geeta Bali asks her anaari balma to fetch her a ghoda gadi as she no longer enjoys his company, her joyous expression tells otherwise.


5. Wo chand khila wo taare hanse by Mukesh and Lata Mangeshkar from Anaari (1959), lyrics Hasrat Jaipuri, music Shankar Jaikishan

Raj Kapoor is the best at being anaari. When the moon is shining bright and stars are smiling, the one who does not understand is a dunce. This was Mukesh’s grand come back after he strayed from RK camp for a few years, foraying into acting and making films.


6. Bhola anari mora balma na jane by Lata Mangeshkar from Anokha Pyar (1948), lyrics Zia Sarhadi, music Anil Biswas

I thought writers are romantic at heart. One understands writing requires solitude. But would you send away a beautiful Nalini Jaiwant? I expected better from Dilip Kumar. Asked to go away to sell her flowers somewhere else, she does not move far from him and sings within his hearing भोला अनाड़ी मोरा बलमा न जाने, प्रीत भरे मन के इशारे. One of the early hidden gems of Lata Mangeshkar composed by the doyen, Anil Biswas.


7. Preet nahi jane balam more bhole by Miss Iqbal (?), from Sister (1941), lyrics Safdar ‘Aah’, music Anil Biswas

First you see a married couple who hear this song in the background. Is it reflecting what is going on in the mind of the lady? Then you see the singer in all her finery and oversized nose-ring, lamenting that her innocent balam does not understand preet even if ऊंची अटरिया पे सेजा बिछाई. Her unconcerned balam is still busy with his silbatta (grinding chandan for his pooja?). The singer credited in Hindi Film Geet Kosh is Miss Iqbal. This is amazing; I would have bet 100% that it was Amirbai Karnataki. Anyway, enjoy this throwback to the vintage era when you had enormous variety of female singers.


8. Paan khaye saiyan hamaro by Asha Bhosle from Teesri Qasam (1966), lyrics Shailendra, music Shankar Jaikishan

Raj Kapoor again in the dunce role. Whenever some interesting situation arose, he would bite his finger and say with a shy smile, Hiss, aap to mazaak karti hain. He was impossible. Any girl would fall for him. She had given him VIP pass for her dance show in the evening. The pass gives him access to the front, but he is not used to the ways of the VIP gallery. He gawks at Waheeda Rahman awkwardly, who sings about her betel-chewing saiyan with red lips who, when asked to bring surmedani, brings Banaras ka zarda.


9. Ja re kare badra balmu ke paas wo hai aise budhu na samjhe re pyar by Lata Mnageshkar from Dharti Kahe Pukar Ke (1969), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Laxmikant Pyarelal

Balma is so budhu that he does not understand love. Nanda asks the dark clouds to go before him to cry.


10. O more bhole balam by Kishore Kumar from Padosan (1968), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music RD Burman

The ultimate bhole balam song. The eponymous Bhola (Sunil Dutt) is quite unique from the general type of bhole balams. Once he realises from the book that having turned 26 now he is past the age of brahmacharya, he sets upon to win the heart of Bindu. Guru (Kishore Kumar) tells him how to express his feelings to her.


Some Padosan trivia

Padosan is a treasure trove of trivia. Here are some quizzes.

1. When Bhola asks Guru what should he reply to her, Guru tells him, “Arrey baangru (an endearing term for ‘dunce’), pyar mein jawab apne aap aa jata hai, aur kahnaa”, and then demonstrates in a very stylised tone Anuradha, O Anuradha! He is corrected by another jewel of Panchratna Natak Mandali immediately that her name was not Anuradha, but Bindu. Then he starts singing Meri pyari Bindu. His slipping into Anuradha O Anuradha was not inadvertent. It was another example of Kishore Kumar’s penchant for spoofing classic themes and songs. Which classic film is it taken from?

2. If Kishore Kumar was Guru and Sunil Dutt was Bhola, who were the remaining jewels of the Panchratna Natak Mandali?

3. Guru realised that Bindu’s attraction was not for the buffoonish Gaana Master, Mahmood, but his art (dance and music). Therefore, to have any chance with her, Bhola had to be taught music. But all attempts to teach a tone-deaf Bhola failed. The last straw was when his alaap brought in a donkey (a spoof on Tansen’s singing attracting a deer?). Then a song coming from the radio gave Guru the idea that the solution lay in the playback mode, i.e. Bhola lip-synching Guru’s singing. Which song from the radio gave this flash?

4. After the flash, Guru asks Bhola if he knew the words of any song.  Bhola mentions a song,  and Guru demonstrates how he would sing and Bhola had to lip-synch.  Which song Bhola mentioned?

5. Which book Bhola was reading, which mentioned that on turning 26, a man was fit to marry?

6. This one I do not know myself, but it is my strong hunch that this song also must be a parody of some classic song, like Ek chatur naar in this film was of Ashok Kumar’s from Jhoola. In any case his alaap, Bindu re, towards the end of the song is a perfect Bhatiyali – an example of the genius of Kishore Kumar to glide effortlessly from Baul to Bhatiyali, from clowning to serious and vice versa.

7. Now a general question: Why are all dunces male? (Be careful! The question is not ‘Why are all males dunce?’)

Prizes for the winners

Had I been Dustedoff (Madhu) I would have at least promised to give my autographed book. I do not remember what Harvey offered in his quizzes, I was nowhere near winning any. Mercifully Anu Warrier and Richard do not post quizzes (or do they?). The whole purpose of posting these quizzes is to do to you what the US Immigration does to Shahrukh Khan. The only prize I can offer is what the sympathetic cop Mohanlal offered to Vivek Oberoi in the last scene of Company – Tumne wo kaam kiya jo police ko karnaa chahiye tha. Aur iske badle main tumhe jail ki sazaa aur shukriya ke do shabd ke siwa aur kuchh nahi de paungaa. The first is not relevant here; I would substitute that by Badhaai. So the winner gets congratulations and thanks from me!


This theme was suggested by Subodh. When I asked him why did he not write it himself, he said with a smile that I would do a better job of Mahamoorkhon Ke Gaane. I do not know what he meant by that, but I found his smile intriguing. OK Subodh, you write on classical music, so? Then I remembered we are lucky to have some decent people like Mr Arunkumar Deshmukh, Mr Ashok Vaishnav and Mr N Venkatraman (and now Mr Gaddeswarup and several others), who make us bloggers feel very profound and learned by adding ‘Ji’ to our names.

Subodh also sent me a list from which I have taken most of the songs. Therefore, you may also read the title of this post as Subodh Ke Gaane, which I am delighted to present to the Mahachaturs of the SoY family.

Happy Holi to all. Smile

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Subodh Agrawal March 27, 2013 at 10:09 am

Thanks AK for doing this post and for your left-handed compliment. I am very happy I motivated you to do it, as you have done a great job – as ever.

I will try my luck with your quiz later. Right now I would like to present a profound philosophical question for SoY family. Dating counselors are unanimous that women are attracted to men who are TDH and ‘Intelligent’. These songs, on the other hand, suggest that there is nothing like being a dunce to attract female attention. We men can only speculate on this question but I do hope Dustedoff, Anu and other gracious ladies would favour us with their expert views on this matter.

One exhibit I would like to present in favour of the pro-dunce thesis is the closing scene of the movie ‘Gods Must Be Crazy’. The hero has done everything a brave man should do. Fought wild animals, wilder men and saved lives of the heroine and several children. Yet, what makes the heroine flip for him in the end is when he makes a total ass of himself in trying to convey his feelings to her.

2 ASHOK M VAISHNAV March 27, 2013 at 10:14 am

Holi is indeed one of the most popular, across all classes of the society, festival, in North India. Hence, it is no surprise that Hindi Films have, at least till 90s, have been expressing different moods of Holi celebrations.
But, certainly, AKji has outsmarted any of the best of such representations by thinking up of so ‘unique ‘practice. To all those, who may not be appreciate this practice with celebration of Holi, 1st of April is also not too far. So whichever, one looks at, it does make sense to accept what we are and enjoy it…..
And, there is no prize for guessing that the quiz has stumped me…. Neck and crop. So I am off to take lessons of ‘minutely’ reading between the lines (or is it scenes) form my Padosan ……… VCD…..

3 AK March 27, 2013 at 11:45 am

I am happy that you enjoyed the post even though you were subjected to some special ‘roasting’. You have raised a very interesting question, and reference to Gods Must Be Crazy is so apt. Another one that springs to my mind is Katharine Hepburn falling for Cary Grant in Bringing Up Baby. Let us hope, Madhu and Anu and other ladies, who are regular visitors to SoY, throw some light on the contradiction between what counselors suggest and the general experience.

Just to reassure you, in the Padosan quiz, #2,3,4 and 5 are matter of fact, and is simply a question of watching the movie carefully. Since Zee Classic has been repeating this movie ad infinitum, I have watched it a number of times in snatches, and noticed these interesting trivia. As far as #1 is concerned, I happened to see a 1930s m0vie on Doodrdarshan long back, in which the special intonation by which the actor called the lead actress, “Anuradha, Anuradha“, got etched in my memory. When I saw Kishore Kumar doing the same thing as an apparent error in Padosan, I was sure it was not inadvertent, but, given his penchant for such spoofing of the great artistes of the vintage era, it was a creative masterstroke. Please watch Padosan now with a view to noticing this part and other clever trivia thrown around in the movie. I would later post the clippings of the 30s movie I am talking about – I believe it is on YT.

As for #6, it is just my presumption, or as a mathematician would say, a hypothesis. Until it is proven, it would remain a wild shot.

Number 7, to borrow Subodh’s words, is a profound philosophical question. I prefer to use Holi for some serious contemplative thinking. 🙂

4 Naresh P. Mankad March 27, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Talking about Churchill, another well-known anecdote comes to mind: Bressie Braddock once told Churchill, “Winston, you are drunk.” Pat came Churchill’s response, ” “And you, madam, are ugly. But I shall be sober in the morning.”

I guess Ay meri topi palat ke aa, na apne fantoosh ko sata ( film Fantoosh)can be considered for this post.

5 gaddeswarup March 29, 2013 at 10:07 am

It seems that the characters in song 7 are brother and sister.

6 gaddeswarup March 29, 2013 at 11:30 am

I meant the second couple who seem to be Nalini Jayawant and Sheik Mukhtar.
I wonder whether the singer was Iqbal Begum Lyallpuri, there seem to be a few with the name Iqbal Begum.
I liked all the songs

7 AK March 29, 2013 at 4:31 pm

I went by the picturisation of the song no. 7. But you may very well be right going by the title of the movie. If so, the first part of my description is inappropriate. The singer’s name mentioned in many sources is Miss Iqbal. The reason for putting a question mark was that she is one of the unfamiliar singers of vintage era. The voice sounded to me as Amirbai Karnataki.

8 n.venkataraman March 29, 2013 at 8:45 pm

An interesting ‘out of the box’ subject you have selected for this years’ Holi. Last week, I came across the article on ‘Jhumka’ written by you during last year’s ‘Holi’. You write something different (Zara hatke) during Holi. It reveals your versatile style. I enjoyed your article and liked the songs. Thank you.

‘It is always advantageous to play the dunce. Before marriage when one is amidst two or more damsels, one has no other alternative but to play the dunce, else the other damsel gets peeved. After marriage, when your wife is with you, it is prudent to act dunce, to avoid turbulence in the domestic weather. Patience is the best virtue in those circumstances.

Experienced veterans tell us that most of these damsels prefer to lure the dunce. I do not know the exact reasons. According to them, playing the dunce is gainful.’ So either way playing the dunce is always advantageous. So does this song written by R D Davies and rendered by ‘The Kinks’ says

Who’s the fool with the cross-eyed stare,
The turned up nose and moronic glare?
Who’s that simpleton standing over there?
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.
Who’s that dumb-looking freckle-faced runt?
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.
He walks like his feet are on back to front,
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.

When he waddles down the street he looks kind of queer,
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce,
‘Cos he’s got two left feet and taxi-door ears,
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.
And when we laugh at the clothes he wears,
Jack just smiles ‘cos he don’t care.
He’s a fool! He’s a ninny!
He’s a twit! He’s a chump!
The Idiot Dunce, the Idiot Dunce.

Who is always the bottom of the class?
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.
Who’s a fool? Who’s a boob?
Who’s a kook and an ass?
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.

When we take examinations he never gets a pass,
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.
And we all put him down ‘cos he can’t think fast,
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.
We ridicule him and punch him around,
But Jack just laughs and stands his ground,
The Idiot Dunce, the Idiot Dunce.

Yeah, he’s so uncoordinated.
Whoa, and so disorientated,
And when we have a High School Hop
You ought to see that idiot bop
And his arms and his legs
Seem to have minds of their own,
And you don’t need brains
To have educated muscles and bones.

Yeah, you ought to see him dance
He moves like he’s in a trance,
And when we have a High School Hop
You ought to see that idiot rock,
And he’s finally proved
That you don’t need a high I.Q.
To make your body move.
Now he’s created a dance that everybody’s trying to do.
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.

Do the Idiot Dunce.
All right put your finger on your nose,
Now cross those eyes.
Put your hands on your hips,
Now wriggle your backside.
Yes, we got you dancing
To the Idiot Jack
From your head to the tips of your toes.

Now the whole world’s doing it and everybody knows,
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.
He’s a real cool cat and a real gone groove,
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.
And the girls go crazy when he starts to move,
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce
Now Jack’s a success he’s got nothing to prove,
Jack, Jack the Idiot Dunce.

Even though Jack is dim
His mother is so proud of him.
Hey, who’s that groovy looking dude
Dancing with all the chicks?
The Idiot Dunce, the Idiot Dunce.

9 n.venkataraman March 29, 2013 at 11:05 pm

Let me continue from where I left. Those, who are not playing the dunce, but really the dunce in the matters of heart, are not affected. They are blissfully ignorant and free from the pain and turbulence that accompanies romance but enjoy the attention they get, for reasons best known to them only.

As you have correctly pointed out, Raj Kapoor is the proverbial dunce and you have presented three songs (#1, #5 and #8), all composed by Shanker Jaikishan. But what was the ‘Awara’ trying to do with the flower in song #5? In song #2 Bhoothnath’s demeanour may be amusing, but he does not really look like a dunce, may be playing the dunce. All the four songs are wonderful compositions.

Raaj Kumar is too preoccupied in song #3 to share the joy of Kumkum and in Song #4 Devanand seems to be very disturbed to enjoy Geeta Bali’s joyous company. But both are cases of temporary affliction.

In the song #6, Dilip Kumar does not understand, not because he is a ‘Bhola Anari’ as thought by Nalini Jaywant, but his mind is elsewhere or in the process of loosing himself to somebody else (Nargis).

Song #7- This is a good example of a classic ‘Mahamoork’. Oblivious to the full throated singing of his beloved, he goes on to ‘Peesing away to glory’ the chandan on the ‘silbatta’. A wonderful song from the vintage era

Song #9- Here the Balma after all is not that naive as the lady thinks/ wants to believe. Something must have stirred the inside of the Balma, else he would not have ran back as soon as he heard his beloved’s voice. Actually all the damsels like to believe that their Balmas are ‘Buddhus’.

Song #10- This is, as you have said, a unique case where the ‘Bhole Balam’ is aware of his ‘Avasthan’ and has discovered his ‘Gantavyasthan’ also. But he doenot not know how to traverse this route and reach the destination. Only the Guru knows his ‘Baangru chela’s Aadhar’ and guides him towards his destiny. As you have rightly said the ultimate’ Bhole Balam’ song.
Thoroughly enjoyed the article and all the songs

Thanks Akji. And thanks to Subodhji too. Else we would not have got this ‘Anmol Ratan’ from Akji.

May be after this two part lengthy comment AKji will no longer like to accept me among the august company of other decent ‘Mahachaturs’ of the SoY family.

10 Anu Warrier March 30, 2013 at 3:00 am

Ak, perhaps we love men who are not afraid to laugh at themselves. : ) Or perhaps, it is because we like to know that he has a sense of humour under his (usual) pompousness. Or even that, perfection is not as attractive as a little bit of klutziness. *Grin* (Other than that, I plead the Fifth Amendment.)

I would definitely put this song here, since he seems to be searching for his jigar outside his body:

This one may fit (I hope?):
(He gets his own back later.)

From the 90s comes this purple horror:

I caught that part about not posting quizzes; must say my single existing brain cell doesn’t allow me to even think of them! 🙁

11 AK March 30, 2013 at 7:40 am

I loved the RD Davies/The Kinks dunce song. So true. It was the lament of all the geeks and bookworms that the girls fell for footballers and cricketers, who completed 3 years of college in 5 years, and sometimes never.

You have given some interesting theory about duncehood. The problem is that the wives do not differentiate between ‘playing the dunce’ and ‘being dunce’. I guess every married man’s eternal tragedy is that his wife thinks there is no bigger dunce in the world than her husband.

Your analysis of all the songs is excellent. Your comments are very short, because you have not yet commented on the Padosan quiz.

Among the SoY readers, who is Mahachatur or otherwise, I would leave for the person to decide for himself. Since I am a happily married person I have no illusions about myself.

12 AK March 30, 2013 at 7:54 am

I would refer to my response to Mr Venkataraman. As long as the lady is able to differentiate between ‘playing’ and ‘being’ the dunce, everything is fine.

I am travelling in a part of the world where YT is blocked, but thankfully internet is working fine. Could you please give the ‘mukhada’ and other co-ordinates of the songs, so that I could enjoy them in my mind?

You have not posted quizzes, but now I remember you have been torturing us in a different way. In many of your posts, when readers submitted a song, you often rejected it saying that it did not fit your category or theme. Looking at a success rate of one in ten, I was always scared to suggest a song in your superfine themes. 🙂

At least my Padosan quiz is fun. Would you like to say something on them?

13 Anu Warrier March 30, 2013 at 8:02 am

Then I must be unique, AK; I have a very healthy respect for my husband’s intelligence. 🙂 In fact, he’s my go-to person for mostly anything I want some quick info on – not for nothing is he called the walking encyclopaedia (not just by his friends, but mine too).

I must confess I’m picky about my theme definitions. 🙂 Is that why you never post your contributions on my blog, preferring to send them to me by email? *Grin*

What Padosan quiz? Where? *looking around bewildered*

The songs were (in order): 1. Jaane kahan mera jigar gaye ji
2. Ye mard bada bedard
3. (Don’t kill me for this, please!) Didi tera devar diwana

14 AK March 30, 2013 at 8:53 am

I envy your husband, he is the luckiest man in the world! I am going to show your comment to my wife.

All the songs you have mentioned are very good, including Didi tera diwana. Who am I to crib when the whole world went crazy over the marriage video?

I thought I was very regular on your blog, and posted comments whenever I did not fear summary rejection. 🙂

How could you miss the Padosan quiz? After the last song, there is a long portion on Padosan trivia. Do try them.

15 Anu Warrier March 30, 2013 at 9:48 am

🙂 I’ll be sure to tell my husband he’s the luckiest man in the world because he’s married to me. After he falls over laughing, he may or may not agree.

Ah, but the summary rejection posts are the ones you email me on.

And the Padosan quiz – would you believe I completely skipped that part? I’m afraid I don’t even have one brain cell left. 🙁
Anyway, here goes nothing.

1. From Anuradha itself? (Not sure about this one.)
2. Mukri (Banarsi), Keshto (Kolkatiya) and Raj Kishore (Lahoriya).
3. Aanchal mein saja lena kaliyan from Phir Wohi Dil Laya Hoon
4. Jaanewale balamwa laut ke aa (from Ratan)
5. Sansar Shastr (I think; I’m not sure if there is another name for that book.)
6. I have no idea which song this is parodying.
7. Perhaps because the word ‘Dunce’ is derived from a man? 🙂 (Scottish philosopher John Duns Scotus – when his followers vehemently opposed the learning of the King James Bible, they were referred to as ‘dunces’. 🙂 Can’t blame that on us women!)

16 ASHOK M VAISHNAV March 30, 2013 at 10:27 am

Well, I dare not the million dollar question – Why are all dunces male? – with a barge pole, for I fear all well-kept secrets may just tumble out.

However, there are few other situations where the protagonist plays ‘dunce’.

The first one is : The poor chap is presumed to have a single track mind, so far. As a result, he is lovingly subjected to taunt of Dhoondho Dhoondho Re Sajna Mere Kaan Ka Bala’ whereas the poor chap is carrying ‘it’ (or can we say, the monkey, of monkey management modern culture) on his back, all the time. But when we listen to his loud thinking, preceding the song in this clip, we are left to decide whether the chap has been ‘dunce’d is on account of really being a simpleton or is it forced by the circumstances.

In second situation, the poor chap is simply relegated as ‘dunce’, but the fellow seems to know what he is – as in ‘Na Main Bhagwan Hun, Na Main Shaitan Hun’ – . The one who was considered ‘useless’ goes on to become the one who dares to revolt against the system. OR, take the case of a simpleton who is not able to decipher simple riddles in Ichak Dana Bichak Dana does have so deep a philosophy – Dil Ka Haal Sune Dilwala embedded within, in spite of being outwardly forced to practice dubious things so as to be branded as “Shree 420”.

In the third situation, it might be a case of causing a ‘deliberate’ slow mental growth, as in Ital Ghal Me Tital (Bahurani) or as in the case of a “Chhote Nawab” (Aam Chhum Taam Chhum ) because the issue involved is of inheritance. ‘Raam Aur Shyam’ or “Dil Diya Dard Liya” or probably “Khilonna” too had this theme.

And then, there was a time when ‘बहू आ के उसे ठीक कर देगी’ was considered a panacea pill for all that was wrong with the ‘boy’!

17 AK March 30, 2013 at 1:22 pm

Anu, you are a genius. #2, 3, 4 and 5 you are bang on. This must be the only movie in which the three major characters are named after cities. Another subtle point made in the movie is that they speak in a heavy accent representing these cities.

As for #1, I can only post the YT link on my return from travel after a week for you to judge.

#6 is just my conjecture.

Very interesting insight on #7.

Isn’t your husband eternally grateful that he married you? 🙂

18 AK March 30, 2013 at 1:32 pm

You have given a serious treatise on duncehood. Never knew there is so much theory behind it. Let me try to understand it.

19 AK March 30, 2013 at 1:38 pm

@Naresh Mankad,
In browsing on a mobile phone, I missed your comment. You have given a fantastic Churchilliana. My guess is that most of these stories are apocryphal, and creation of wordsmiths.

20 Anu Warrier March 30, 2013 at 10:38 pm

Isn’t your husband eternally grateful that he married you? 🙂

I said he was intelligent. [Intelligent enough to pretend gratitude that he is married to me. :)]

21 jignesh kotadia March 31, 2013 at 2:23 am

Akji, now this straggler looking post has gained enough rhythm with some masterpiece comments esp. comment no. 16 by Ashokji.

With the word ‘dunce’ the very 1st person comes in my mind is none other than Rajendranath. He lived the real dunce on screen.

This one is a hilarious song of him and the other dunce samrat Dhumaal.

22 n.venkataraman March 31, 2013 at 10:53 am

Your Padosan quiz was no doubt fun!

Anuji has answers to all the questions/ quiz posed by you.

‘Why all dunces are male?’ – Ashokji has rightly said that this is a million dollar question.
May be women are smarter than men in every way. Just listen to the calypso by Harry Belafonte, ‘Men Smart Women Smarter’

23 AK April 1, 2013 at 8:01 pm

In the Padosan quiz, the game is still open for #1.

Is there some substance in my conjecture#6?

24 n.venkataraman April 1, 2013 at 9:55 pm

My wife helped me to dig out the answer for your question #1. She told me that Kanan Devi played the role of Anuradha in the film Vidyapati.

Then it was easy. I could locate the song sung by Krishna Chandra Dey from YT. I will wait for you to return from your vacation and post the song.

As regards the#6, I have no idea, but I would be on the lookout for an answer.

25 AK April 2, 2013 at 2:14 pm

Kya baat hai! KC Dey calling Kanan Devi, “Anuradha, O Anuradha!”. And Kishore Kumar, thirty years later, conveniently mixing up Bindu with Anuradha in a stylised accent – your wife is a genius!

Earlier Kishore Kumar had parodied KC Dey’s Teri gathari mein laga chor in one of the interludes of Paanch rupaiya barah aana.

This reminds me, there is another common reference point between Paanch rupaiya and Padosan. Do you know which one I am talking about?

26 n.venkataraman April 2, 2013 at 8:50 pm

This at least for the time being proves that women are smarter.
At this moment I cannot recollect any common reference point between Paanch Rupaiya and Padosan. Moreover my wife is not around to help me.
Incidentally Kishore Kumar plays the role of Guru Vidyapathi in Padosan.

27 AK April 3, 2013 at 4:34 am

Now this is amazing! I had not noticed Guru Vidyapati. Therefore, KC Dey. Now everything falls into place. Brilliant.

The common connection I was referring to is the Laila-Majnu legend. In another interlude in Paanch rupaiya, Kishore Kumar does a Laila-Majnu act. And in Padosan again, there is an elaborate Laila-Majnu act in which the Guru’s chelaas make a mess of the dialogues. This is the scene in which you also have the exaggerated accents of Lahori, Kalkatia and Banarasi.

Now talking of references, if I stretch a little further, in the third interlude of Paanch rupaiya, Kishore Kumar parodies SD Burman’s Dheere se jana bagiyan mein, who gave music for Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, whose son RD Burman gave music for Padosan.

My head is eating in circles. 🙂

28 Naresh P. Mankad April 3, 2013 at 8:45 am

Interestingly, Kishor Kumar parodies SD Burman’s Dheere se jaana bagiyan men in the movie with SD’s own music: Chhupa Rustam:

29 arvind April 3, 2013 at 11:41 am (…bahurani (1963)…)

when the lady herself is saying …”balma anari man bhaye”…..
why blame the hero..!!??

30 AK April 3, 2013 at 1:45 pm

@Naresh Mankad
Except that in this case Dev Anand lip synchs, which does not have the same impact as Kishore Kumar doing it. Plus the khatmal is hardly funny.

That gives a definitive answer to our queries.

31 Naresh P. Mankad April 3, 2013 at 2:05 pm

I would fully agree about Kishor Kumar’s acting making the huge difference in its effect.; nobody would act as effectively funny as Kishor Kumar. Still it is hilarious to listen to his mimicking his mentor SD’s style as well as voice particularly at the end. He is equally hilarious in ‘Ek roz hamari bhi daal galegi. He was unmatched due to his versatility. You can see that he lets himself go completely in his acting and singing. We can rightly call his style “bindaas”.

32 AK April 3, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Talking of Ek roz hamari bhi daal galegi, I am sure you remember that in this song Kishore Kumar parodied KL Saigal’s Panchhi kahe hot udas. He also laments that his bade bhaiya is MA BA pass. And later in the song he parodies Ashok Kumar-Devika Rani’s legendary song as Main ban ke saheb git git English bolun re. And then, as I have mentioned, Padosan‘s Ek chatur naar is itself a parody of Ashok Kumar’s bathroom song from Jhoola. Oh! These circles again.

Only Kishore Kumar could traverse from the profound to the funny in three minutes seamlessly.

33 ASHOK M VAISHNAV April 3, 2013 at 5:23 pm

We bring in one more level of looping – your promised consideration for an article on parodies, as a specific catgegory of Multiple Version of Songs.
And now we have likely sub-categories – taking serious things lightly and taking light things seriously.

34 Naresh P. Mankad April 3, 2013 at 8:21 pm

I remember how much I loved as a kid to watch the antics of Kishor Kumar. I guess he must have been favourite of kids of those days. His uninhibited style of acting and mischievously funny style of singing were the main reasons why I enjoyed watching him on screen and what is more, he could act tough in the typical hero’s mould as he did in Bhai-Bhai.

35 n.venkataraman April 3, 2013 at 9:03 pm

I should have noticed the common connection you were referring to. Fantastic.

Thank you for reminding us that Kishore Kumar parodied the songs ‘Panchhi kahe hot udas’ and ‘Main ban ke Chidiya’ in the song ‘Ek roz hamari bhi daal galegi’. You are simply outstanding. The entire exercise is turning out to be very exciting.

There is another song in the movie ‘Aansoo Aur Muskaan’ (1970). The song ‘Guni Jano Bhakt Jano’ which is in the form of a Bhajan,is picturised on Kishore Kumar in an ashram which is called Swami Kishore Aanandam Kirtan Ashram. Here Kishore Kumar parodies Pankaj Kumar Mullick’s song ‘Sundar Nari Preetam Payari” from the film Manzil (1936).

36 AK April 4, 2013 at 5:42 am

I was not aware of this. So, this completes Kishore Kumar’s spoofs of the great trio – Saigal, KC Dey and Pankaj Mullick.

Now when we see more deeply, we find that behind Kishore Kumar’s mad acts was hidden a brilliant mind. Switching from reel to real to reel brother required a genius. Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi must have been a boon for him which allowed ample opportunities to take an endearing dig at the bade bhaiya – Marega bhaiya na na na na.

Talking of Ashok Kumar, let me make another wild leap. In Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi, Ashok Kumar’s character is of a misogynist – of course, with a reason. I recently read Saadat Hasan Manto’s ‘Stars from another sky’, which contains profiles of some film personalities whom Manto knew closely. In Manto’s film world everyone was sleeping around with every other person, often with multiple partners around the same time. One exception was his dear friend Ashok (Kumar). Not because he was a misogynist or of chaste character, but because he was too timid to do it. But, in thoughts he was as smutty as any normal man. I do not know whether Ashok Kumar would have been flattered or embarrassed to read this profile.

37 Naresh P. Mankad April 4, 2013 at 10:13 am

Memoirs by Ashok Kumar would have provided a load of interesting material on Hindi film industry, and also about his younger brother Kishor Kumar. According to Kishor Kumar, Ashok Kumar discouraged the two younger brothers from joining films saying they were a pair of donkeys. Ashok Kumar talking about Kishor says he never missed a note while singing, he was so perfectly in tune. Who can deny that?

38 gaddeswarup April 4, 2013 at 6:08 pm

I just noticed the P.S. I was never keen about Ji or Garu (in Telugu) but noticed that once Mr. Arun Kumar Deshmukh was upset when somebody addressed him using only initials and said that he would prefer to be called Arun Kumar Ji. So I thought why not and started addressing everybody in Hindi related blogs in the same way. I do not have any preferences. When I came west the first time, it was very difficult to call a senior professor who had an F.R.S. by his first name Terry. Now it is other way but if somebody like Mr. Arun Kumar who is freely sharing his knowledge prefers to be addressed one way, why not? Then I started addressing others also the same way so that they would not feel slighted.

39 AK April 11, 2013 at 2:06 pm

I have to complete the discussion by giving the YT link of KC Dey’s song from Vidyapati (1937), in which he calls “Anuradha, O Anuradha” (for Kanan Devi). I saw this film at least thirty years ago, but somehow “Anuradha, O Anuradha” stuck in my mind, and its similarity to Kishore Kumar’s stylized intonation (pretending that he got Bindu mixed up with Anuradha), is obviously one of his subtle parodies.

Gokul se gaye Giridhari by KC Dey from Vidyapati, music RC Boral

While at this, I thank Venkataramanji for refreshing our memory of the song Guni jano bhakt jano. I knew this song very well, but had completely missed the spoof of Pankaj Mullick. It is done so imperceptibly. But there is also the over-the-top side of Kishore Kumar in this song. In the later part, he mentions the stars on the earth led by, who else but his Bade bhaiya, Ashok Kumar. He includes the comic actors IS Johar, Mehmood and Rajendranath too. But the finale is that they are being hounded by the Income Tax, but Kishore Kumar is free (bam, bam) from all these troubles. With Kishore Kumar it is difficult to tell apart reel from real, and mad from serious.

Jignesh has also given a very good song.

Finally my general question, “Why are all dunces male?” Hon’ble Justice (retd) Markandey Katju has given the final obiter dicta on this that 90% of Indians are fools. This caused some furore, and when the media confronted him thinking that it might be a slip, he stood his ground. You can’t argue with a judge. Therefore, ladies need not be smug, 90% means that most of the ladies too have to be dunces. Thank you Justice Katju!

40 n.venkataraman April 11, 2013 at 7:43 pm

Mind it, Hon’ble Justice (retd) Markandey Katju, is a male. Will his judgement, in this case, be accepted by everybody.
Even for argument sake we accept that most of the ladies too have to be dunces, but it can have slightly different interpretation. 100% of the men folk and 80% of the women folk can be dunces.

Justice Katju’s views on Mamata Banerjee are well known. In May 2012 he was all praise for Mamata Banerjee and in Nov 2012 he slammed her by saying that she was whimsical and intolerant etc. Either Mamata Banerjee could not live upto his expectation or Justice Katju passed his judgement a bit too early in May 2012. What conclusion can we draw out of this?

I hope I will get an answer before I land up in jail for taking up this topic.

41 gaddeswarup April 12, 2013 at 5:54 am

Another intriguing observation “Now a general question: Why are all dunces male? (Be careful! The question is not ‘Why are all males dunce?’)” like the one in twin songs. Traditionally ‘vidushaka’, ‘courst jester’ are men I think. I wonder whether there are any Tun Tun songs which fit the dunce description. Even if there are, they may be exceptions to the rule. My apologies for these comments. It surprises me that I participate in these forums, knowing so little about songs or music. But I like to learn and do not mind making a dunce of myself.

42 AK April 12, 2013 at 9:13 am

There could be a Tun Tun song. But she was presented as a dunce because of her physical proportions. That might not fit with the tenor of this post. What an irony here that one who could sing the everlasting Afsana likh rahi hoon was reduced to this!

43 Canasya April 12, 2013 at 11:43 am

Just started discovering the joys of following innovative and knowledgeable blogs such as this and the one by Harveypam. Your proposition # 7 in this blog is a given. You provide ample proof, but one could add more. Here is Master Bhagawan being labeled “Balma bada nadaan” (Albela, 1951, Manoj Kumar would have given good fight to Raj Kapoor for multiple entries in your list (“Jogi hum to lut gaye tere pyar men”, Shaheed, 1965,; Woh pari kahan se laoon”, Pehchan, 1970,; and “Sun bal brahmachari” , Sanyasi, 1975,

But these are all titles bestowed by the female protagonists. How about a confession by the hero himself (Dharmendra in “Main jat yemla pagala deewaana”, Pratigyaa, 1975, And recall the scene in Gopi (1970) in which Dilip Kumar, a devotee of Hanuman, has to be ordered by the deity to get married (

The question is, where would you place Jaya Bhaduri in Guddi (1971) and Upahar (1971) , Rajni in Balika Vadhu (1976), Asha Parekh in Ziddi (1964) and Hemamalini in Sholay (1975) (the sequence in which she is getting shooting lessons — the grapevine has it that Dharmendra had tipped the camera boy to purposely ruin the shot so that there would be more retakes!)

44 AK April 12, 2013 at 4:22 pm

Welcome to the SoY family. You have given another set of some fantastic songs. I am a huge fan of Balma bada nadaan and Jogi hum to lut gaye tere pyar mein. I had forgotten about Manoj Kumar. But Dharmendra and Dilip Kumar are too good and could have made entry here had I decided not to take more than one example for one actor. Thanks for the addition to the pantheon of great dunces.

The females you have mentioned are all lovely. I am not sure whether ‘dunce’ is the right word for them. The problem, or rather the advantage they have is that what would label a man as dunce would qualify women as ‘shy’, ‘cute’, ‘modest’, ‘sweet’ etc. Even ‘bimbo’ or ‘dumb blonde’ has a different connotation. Interestingly Wikipedia mentions that the first usage of the term ‘bimbo’ was for unintelligent male. Now, of course, it is exclusively used for females. But I am not able to think of a female dunce who could be the counterpart of Dilip Kumar in Gopi or Raj Kapoor in Jis Desh Mein Ganga Bahti hai

45 Naresh P. Mankad April 12, 2013 at 8:53 pm

About “Hon’ble Justice (retd) Markandey Katju has given the final obiter dicta on this that 90% of Indians are fools.”

After facing fire from the opposition on the Government’s west Asia policy during the Sinai desert debacle of Egypt in 1967, Minister for External Affairs Mr M. C. Chagla remarked that it was a pity that we could not live amicably and in peace, Pilu Modi, the inveterate interrupter, quipped, “He is talking of the Ministry.”

46 mumbaikar8 April 12, 2013 at 10:29 pm

The only dunce female character sensibly presented ( I recollect ) is of Maushami Chatterji in Angoor. Though the hero is frustated in the movie in reel life, but in real life, I think, male prefer dunce wives.
They can get away with many things if their wives are dunces.But its the opposite with females, in reel life dunces are preferred, but in real life they are the most frustated lot.

Justice Katjoo,I do not give much weight to what he says because the dictionary discribes him as an idiot (defination for a person who does not vote)

47 AK April 12, 2013 at 11:13 pm

Maushmi Chatterjee in Angoor is indeed a very good example of female dunce. I do not remember if she had any songs in the movie.

48 Canasya April 13, 2013 at 1:15 am

An ingenious post, Mumbaikar8ji. Just for completeness, here is Mousami Chatterjee singing Hoton pe beeti baat in Angoor (1982).

By the way, AKji is doubly right. ‘Dunce’, almost by definition, is male, as has been pointed out by Anuji earlier. And Jaya Bhaduri in Guddi and Upahaar, Rajni in Balika Vadhu, and Hemamalini in Sholay are not female counterparts of ‘dunce’. The closest term for them would perhaps be ‘ingenue’ — “a stock character in literature, film, and a role type in the theatre; generally a girl or a young woman who is endearingly innocent and wholesome” (Wikipedia). I did not include Asha Parekh (Ziddi) in this list because that role had shades of tomboy and shrew in it, if my memory serves me right.

49 jignesh kotadia April 19, 2013 at 11:59 am

this is also plagiarized !!!! Heartbreaking really !! Kishoreda tagged his name behind saraswatidevi’s song !! Teasing to mind. Akji, u should create a category as ‘Plagiarised songs’ on SOY.

50 Subodh Agrawal May 2, 2013 at 9:00 am

AK, you mentioned about US Presidents playing the fool. Here is a wonderful example. For a moment it had me foxed, until I realized what was going on!

51 naras May 3, 2013 at 3:08 am

I thought I knew quite a few things about hindi film songs. OMG, I am the biggest dunce here. I never knew all the things that you out-of-this-world guys and gals unearthed about Kishore Da’s parodies and inspirations. I knew that KK parodied SDB’s Dheere se jaana bagiyan mein but .. those K.C. Dey clips (Anuradha… and teri gathari mein laga chor), and the Ashok Kumar original! I am speechless. And of course, that new look at the endlessly watched Padosan, eye-popping.

52 AK May 4, 2013 at 4:32 pm

Each of us knows only a tiny bit of what is out there, and we are constantly learning from others. For example, I was not aware of KK’s parody of Pankaj Mullick’s Sundar nari preetam pyari, which Venkataramanji pointed out in his comment (in Guni jano bhakt jano).

Who knows how many more are hidden in Padosan? For example, I remember he had effortlessly weaved in the traditional thumri Maine lakho ke bol sahe sanwariya tere liye in one of the scenes. The beauty of Kishore Kumar is that he does it without any logic, and makes it endearing. And some of his references are too clever, such as Anuradha, O Anuradh from Vidyapati. His screen name Vidyapati leaves no doubt that it was a smart parody. I could connect only because I had seen Vidyapati long back and this got embedded in my memory. Those days Doordarshan used to show such movies, now you can’t see them for love or money.

53 D P Rangan October 6, 2015 at 12:47 am

I am not equal to experts above in digging out songs to fit this category. I can give a few more of British Parliament jokes:

Gladstone and Disareli were noted rivals. Disraeli remarked ‘ If Gladstone were to fall into Thames, it would be a disaster. But if someone were to rescue him it would be a calamity.

Two Parliamentarians were confronting each other in the muddy road in London. The belligerent one remarked – I never give way to fools. The other stepped down with the remark – I always do.

The late Kennedy remarked : If Republicans stop telling lies about us we agree not to tell truth about them.

54 AK October 6, 2015 at 10:40 pm

DP Rangan,
There are many great examples of humour. Since we are at it, let me cite too:
1. Reagan was on the operating table having been shot in an attempted assassination. He asked the doctors, I hope you guys are not democrats.
2. Churchill on Attlee when told he is a very modest person: He has much to be modest about.

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