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Those were the songs

Whatever happened to those rambunctious Ganpati, Gokulashthami and Holi songs in the movies? Roshmila Bhattacharya and Vajir Singh check out the scenario.

entertainment Updated: Aug 27, 2008 17:45 IST

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In less than a week, Ganpati Bappa returns to the city. Mohalla boys are sorting out CDs to play during the 10-day festival starting September 3. The ones which will be blared will surely include Deva ho deva Ganpati deva (Hum Se Badhkar Kaun), Mere man mandir mein tum Bhagwan rahe (Dard ka Rishta), Sindoor lal chadhayo (Vastav) and Ek dantaya (Viruddh).

The last festival song in praise of Lord Ganpati was picturised on Shah Rukh Khan in Farhan Akhtar’s Don,Bappa moriya, two years ago. Since then, surprisingly, usually god-fearing directors seem to have veered away from such devotional paeans. Even the final battle between the nayak and the khalnayak — at times picturised in the midst of a Ganpati immersion — has now moved to foreign shores.

Today, we’re only left with nostalgic memories of the Takkar between Sanjeev Kumar and Jeetendra back in 1980, or Mithun Chakraborty and Amitabh Bachchan’s trial by fire in Agneepath a decade later. And then there was the climax set against the Ganpati immersion at Chowpatty in Satya (1998).

Govinda aala re
Strangely, festivals seem to have vanished from the movies. Producer Pahlaj Nihalani blames television for this: “Today when serial makers are celebrating everything from Krishna janam and Ganpati visarjan to Diwali and Holi with so much pomp and show in every other soap. Why would they pay to watch the same thing in the movies?” he contends. “And some of the channels even show ‘live’ ceremonies from Mathura, Vrindavan and the ISKCON temple in Juhu.”

Still last Sunday, on the occasion of Gokulashtami, in the backs of our minds, a song played on. And that was Govinda aala re aala, zara matki sambhal brijbala sung by Mohammed Rafi for Bluff Master and picturised on the swinging star of the ’60s, Shammi Kapoor.

It started the trend of Janmashtami songs in the movies. Amitabh Bachchan went down that route in Khuddar with Mach gaya shor.. and Shatrughan Sinha in Badla got festive with Shor mach gaya shor, dekho aaya maakhan chor. Sunil Dutt in Muqabla went Teen patti wala, Govinda aala.

And Sanjay Dutt broke handi and hearts in Vaastav to the tune of Har taraf hai yeh shor aaya Gokul ka chor..

Past forward
Decades passed.. and the dahi handi ceased to be an integral part of movie convention. Salman Khan did break matkis in Hello Brother with Chandi ki daal par sone ka mor but that was nearly a decade ago. Shammi Kapoor misses the Gokulashtami gaanas.

“There were so many of them in the 1970s and ’80s but today I guess, filmmakers are keener on mast-mast cabaret songs and club item numbers which have 200 scantily clad girls instead of a masti se bhara Janmashtami street song with two dozen bandana boys,” he sighs.

Another reason for the disappearance of the Govinda song can be attributed to the Hollywood wave. Sanjay Gadvi who made the hip hop Dhoom and Dhoom 2 says frankly that he just doesn’t have a place for a festival song in his movies.

Even the colours of Holi have faded with time. The last Holi song that made an impact was Holi khela Raghuveera in Baghbaan five years ago. More recently, on March 21 this year, Gola gola, from Chamku, was released exclusively on radio to coincide with the festival of rang. It’s not just the Hindu festivals, even the Idd ka chand has vanished behind the clouds.

Only Salman Khan keeps the tradition alive. Remember Idd mubarak in Tumko Na Bhool Payenge (2002) and Dekho chand aaya in Saawariya (2007) Write on Sanjay Masoom, dialogue writer of Jannat, says, “Today very few films are rooted in our culture. TV has taken over the social dramas. Only the Barjatyas, Johars and the Chopras can weave an extravagantly shot festival song into their ghar ghar ki kahanis.”

Lyricist Sameer says that he’s been waiting to write festival songs. “But who’s making a Mother India today? We’ve moved ahead and unless we go back to dramas of strong family values, our festivals may not be celebrated in cinema any more.”