Seeing no new post from me on my blog, my readers got concerned about it. Pacifist just couldn’t tolerate this utter neglect and came again to my rescue. thank you, dear Pacifist. This is her third post on this blog and with it she is showing her business acumen. Bravo, Pacifist! More power to the small businessmen and -women!Pacifist’s choice of 10 songs of small business
Thank you Harvey. I’m quite pleased at having this opportunity of posting 10 songs on a subject I have often thought about. People selling stuff, doing business. It was a wonderful time of economic opportunity, letting the small fish survive. Today they have been eaten up by the big fish. I don’t mean to imply that they all sold stuff in the filmi manner, but sell, they did.
So in memory of those small dying/dead businesses, here are 10 such songs.
I do have more than 10 songs with a different product being sung and sold, but I’m such a sucker for melody, tunes which are pleasing to my ears that I left some and took some even though the product got repeated. Boot Polish was one such, Tel Maalish another
1. surma mera nirala – Kabhi Andhera Kabhi Ujala (1958)
MD: OP Nayyar, Lyrics: (?), Singer: Kishore Kumar
I didn’t find a video clip of it, but even without it, it sounds wonderful in Kishore’s voice, selling surma (kohl). Complete with his own style of yodelling, which only he could do.
Watch him, or rather hear him sing the line;
lelo surma le eee lo (buy o buy this kohl)
2. lelo lelo do phool jani lelo – Jadoo (1951)
MD: Naushad, Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni, Singers: Shamshad Begum, Zorabai
I debated whether or not to post songs sung on stage. Why not? So here’s a song with two lovely phoolwalis (flower sellers), selling phool (flowers), what else?.
I can’t imagine Shakeel Badayuni writing;
buyer sings: aji mol kiske loon (whose shall I buy)
phoolwali: mere (mine)
buyer: aji chhod kiske doon (whose shall I leave)
other girl: iske (hers)
Remember there are two phoolwalis. LOL!!
3. boot chappal sandal – Karigar (1958)
MD: C Ramchandra, Lyrics: Rajender Krishan, Singers: Asha Bhonsle and Usha Mangeshkar
I don’t approve of child labour, but if poverty made them work independently, it was much better than getting into trouble. Boot polishing seemed to be a common employment most young children managed. I find this song very musical, and the set of children performing seemed to be enjoying.
Lots of cuts, but remains musical, and melodious, especially when whistling, and repeating;
boot chappal sandal, janana ya mardana (shoes, flip flops sandals, for women or for men)
polish hai ek ek aana (it costs one anna to polish them)
4. sar jo tera chakraye – Film Pyaasa (1957)
MD: SD Burman, Lyrics: Sahir Ludhianvi, Singer: Mohammad Rafi
The list would be a fake one if I didn’t add this iconic song from Pyaasa picturized on none other than Johny Walker. And he isn’t lying when he says;
naukar ho ya malik, leader ho ya public, (whether a servant or the boss, a leader or public)
apne aage sabhi jhuke hain kya raja kya sainik (they’ve all bowed before me – king, soldier, all)
5. aaj ki taaza khabar – Son Of India (1962)
MD: Naushad, Lyrics: Shakeel Badayuni, Singer: Shanti Mathur
Sajid Khan selling newspaper. He looked so cute in Mother India doing that dance.
Bombay looks exquisite. There’s a scene with Sajid standing posed in front of Taj. What a great shot
I love the pieces of news he narrates to sell. Two examples;
aaj ik beimaan ne masjid se churaaya joota (a crook stole a shoe from the mosque)
ek ladka uda ek mem ka batua lekar (a boy snatched a woman’s purse, and ran)
6. zindagi hai kya – Maya (1961)
MD: Salil Choudhary, Lyrics: Majrooh Sultanpuri, Singer: Mohammad Rafi
Kya Khooob!!! Dev Anand selling ice cream!!! How delicious it must be, even if Mohammad Rafi makes him say;
hothon se meetha meetha ras tapkao ji (let juice trickle from your lips)
ice* kareem *wala aaya ji. (the ice cream man is here)
I would eat nothing but ice cream if he’d come round selling it.
7. lelo choodiyan main laya nirali – Ghar ki Laaj (1960)
MD: Ravi, Lyrics: Rajendra Krishan, Singer: Mohammad Rafi
Johny Walker as choodiwala, after being a telmaalishwala. Not bad. Seems to be slipping the choodis on quite professionally and singing;
neeli neeli kaali kaali peeli peeli gori gori – bahon ka singhar (blue blue, black black, yellow yellow, fair fair – arms’ adornment)
Disclaimer: Harvey insisted I translate. All I was allowed to say was, ‘Yes boss!!’
One is brought up short at the last ‘gori gori’, wondering at the gori gori colour of the choodis.
8. ek aana boot polish do aana tel maalish – Tel Maalish Boot Polish (1961)
MD: Chitragupt, Lyrics: Prem Dhawan, Singer: Mukesh
Well, we had a song of boot polish, and one of tel maalish. This song is a combination. ek anna for boot polish seems like the standard rate at that time.
LOL at Sheikh Mukhtar singing;
gaade pasine ki yeh apni kamai hai (it’s the fruit of hard labour)
na to ki kisi ki chori na koi seena zori (without stealing, or intimidating anyone)
But doing just that.
9. channa chor garam babu – Naya Andaaz (1956)
MD: OP Nayyar, Lyrics: Janisar Akhtar, Singer: Shamshad Begum and Kishore Kumar
Meena Kumari doing something different, Kishore Kumar – not!!
Here’s Kishore Kumar selling his product with;
jisne khaaya ek bhi daana, (whoever eats even one piece of this nut)
aaya usko dil ka lagaana (he’ll learn to love)
This reminds me of the mindless ads today to sell products. A bikini clad siren sitting on a beach. Ad for ..say….pyjamas, or Dalda ghee, or light bulbs, or a ski holiday in the snow. LOL
10. baman ho ya jaat – Karigar (1958)
MD: C Ramchandra, Lyrics: Rajendra Krishan, Singers: C. Ramchandra and Mohammad Rafi
I’ve put this song last because of very distracting stuff being sold;
badi atpati, badi chatpati chaat hai yeh chowpatty ki (very delicious and spicy chaat of Chowpatty)
teekha teekha pada masala swad hai khatta khatta (it’s hot and sourish)……. yummm
-Then there is;
-badi karamati hai bhaiyya yeh bambai ki bhel (this Bombay bhel is a miracle)
-pani puri jo khaye badle uske rang (the attitude changes of whoever eats pani puri)
So while you all listen to the song, and watch the people enjoying all that wonderful stuff, let me go and mourn the unavailability of it.
Enjoy the playlist.