Sunday, August 19, 2007
Kashmir Ki Kali (1964)
A history of the male playback singer in Hindi Cinema has as it's backbone the 'Big Three' - Mukesh, Kishore Kumar & Mohammed Rafi. There were great singers both before and after their reign at the top of the charts but few would argue that these 3 artists were the gold standard and were the biggest singers of their day bar none. The marquee actors of the day would be paired up with a respective singer and audiences went to a movie to see not just the stars - but to see how their favorite songs were picturised on the big screen. Shammi Kapoor burst onto the Bollywood scene shortly after his elder brother Raj & around the same time as his younger brother Shashi. His foray into Bollywood in the early 60's coincided with the time that rock & roll was hitting the West and Indian music directors wasted no time integrating this new musical style into classic Indian song compositions. The result was almost tailor made for the Elvis-like Shammi who shimmied & shaked in the song sequences while still displaying some pretty good acting chops.
One of his biggest hits was 'Kashmir Ki Kali' and although it has been too long since I have seen the movie to give a meaningful review, Carla & I have once again collaborated on a joint review so please go check out her always insightful musings at Filmigeek. It was a fun movie because of the aforementioned great songs, chemistry between the two stars (Kapoor & Sharmila Tagore) and breathtaking scenery. The lovely vale of Kashmir was a favorite of Bollywood directors but has now sadly become too much of a war zone to do so anymore. Regardless, it's beauty still remains both in real life and on celluloid and this movie showcases the beauty like few others.
The first song is Isharon Isharon Mein, a duet sung by Rafi & Asha Bhonsle following the obligatory rainstorm with the lovers taking shelter in the home of an old peasant woman. She provides them with cute local outfits - a scene that led to god-knows-how-many honeymooners in hill stations dressing up as “Kashmiri” couples for keepsake photos :) The music for this song is exquisitely layered and the singers hit every note just perfectly - it remains one of my wife's favorites to this day after she heard it (multiple times) on her most recent plane ride to India - see the video here. The second song is Taarif Karoon, a solo performed by Rafi praising Sharmila's beauty and picturised on the breathtaking Dal Lake - see the video here.