Collectors of gramophone records of Hindi films find it extremely difficult to get the records of composer O.P.Nayyar . What we get are mostly overused ones with a lot of scratches. Recently I could get a LP record, in fairly good condition, of film HONGKONG(1962),starring Ashok Kumar, B.Saroja Devi,K.N.Singh and Helan for which music was composed by O.P. Nayyar. The film got the attention of film goers because of the presence of Ashok Kumar, the leading southern artist B. Saroja Devi and the music of O.P. Nayyar. Dance music and dance scenes were popular those days and the music of the film catered to this trend. The song, ‘Honolulu’ and ‘Kenya Uganda Tanganika’, ‘Hong Kong China meena’ and ‘Muhabbat karne wale muft mein’ by Asha Bhosle are catchy numbers of the film. In fact out of the eight songs seven are by Asha and the eighth a duet with Rafi. Though one of the lesser known albums of O.P. Nayyar, Hong Kong has still a place of its own on the shelf of the collector.
In fact the LP record of Hongkong is a duel album as on one side of it is the music of film SINGAPORE (1960) starring Shammi Kapur and the Southern leading lady Padmini . The film, shot in part in Singapore, with the story about a treasure hunt was a big hit . Beautiful music by Shankar jaikishen was an added attraction. The most popular songs of the film were the rare Mukesh song for Shammi Kapur, ‘ Yeh shahar bada albela’ and the typical Helen song, ‘Dekhoji dekho’by Lata. The song ‘Rassa sayung re’ in Malay language by Lata was also very popular on the campus.
While listening to this album my mind strayed towards a few films with titles of foreign locations/cities. Naming films like that was common to catch the imagination of viewers of the period fond of watching scenes from foreign locations and the films offered a rich feast of such scenes. Films Singapore and Hong Kong fell into this category. Two other films coming to mind are the Joy Mukherjee-Asha Parekh film LOVE IN TOKYO(1966) and the Shammi Kapur –Sharmila Tagore film AN EVENING IN PARIS(1967). Both films had lilting and rocking music by Shankar Jaikishen. The most popular song of the first film especially among college students was the sentiment filled ‘Sayonara’by Lata Mangeshkar. The semi classical number ‘Koi matwala’ by Lata was also a hit on the radio. Rafi’s ‘Oh mere shahe -khuban (There is also a version by Lata)was a typical Rafi song. The fast and energetic Rafi number ‘Aaja re aa zara’ was a huge hit. ‘Main tere pyar men’was also a very popular Manna Dey song.
The film AN EVENING IN PARIS has the team of Shankar-jaikishen, Muhammed Rafi and Shammi Kapur at their sizzling best.The chemistry among this trio is as well acknowleged and accepted by film lovers as the team of Dilip Kumar, Rafi and Naushad and/or Dev Anand, S.D.Burman and Kishore Kumar.The fast paced and melodious title song, ‘An evening in Paris’ , the rollicking ‘ Akele akele kahan jaa rahe ho’ and ‘Aasman se aaya farista’prove the point. In fact Shammi Kapur was probably the best for song situations with his delightful antics and flexibility! Shankar-Jaikishen and O.P.Nayyar had exploited this for many of their songs.
That again reminds me about the Shammi kapur-Shakila- Helen film CHINA TOWN (1962) having a similar theme with visuals of foreign locations. The film had outstanding music by Ravi. The song for Shammi Kapur’s club dance scene ‘Bar bar dekho’ was the most popular. The sweet and nostalgic title song ‘China town’ by Asha Bhosle for Helen remains as sweet as ever. There is also this song, ‘Yamma yamma yamma’ and the Rafi-Asha duet ‘Bada qatil hai’ both typical of films in this genre like Singapore. The pleasant, breezy duet ‘Hamsena poochho hum’ by Rafi and Asha is an added attraction.
The showman Raj Kapur’s mega film AROUND THE WORLD(1967) with Raj Kapur and Rajshree in the lead is another film coming to my mind.The picture was shot extensively on foreign locations including London, New York, Washington, Disneyland and so on offering a visual treat to the viewers. Music by Shankar jaikishen is another attraction of the film. The long title song ‘Duniya ki zair kar lo.....around the world in 8 Dollars’ by Mukesh and the then new singer Sharda was very popular. Sharda ,had made her debut as a whiff of fresh air in the Hindi film playback scene for Shankar Jaikishen,in film SURAJ (1966) with the super hit song ‘Titli udi ud jo chale’ and ‘ Dekho mera dil machal gaya’. In Around the world she rendered two more notable songs like ‘Chale jaana zara thehro’ and ‘Jaane bhi de sanam’ . Sharda with a distinctly soft voice and style of crooning was heard mainly for Shankar Jaikishens’ films like Duniya, Gumnaam and so on and soon disappeared from the scene in spite of the huge promise she showed in the beginning. It was said that Shankar’s preference for her voice led to the split of the great musical duo.
While typing these lines memories of two highly successful adventure films passed through my mind. One is PANIC IN BANKOK(1966) starring Kevin Mathews and Robert Hossen. The other is THAT MAN IN ISTAMBUL(1965) starring Horst Bucholz and Sylvia Koscina. My record player is playing the sweet nostalgic song “Mere piya gaye Rangoon’ by Shamshad Begum in her inimitable voice along with Chitalkar from film PATANGA with music by C.Ramachandra.