Thursday, August 14, 2008

Line maaro!

Diamond Harbour, winter of ’91-’92. A lovely bungalow by the river, gentle breezes, a flowering garden and a huge verandah with rattan-seat armchairs (“easy chairs”) to sprawl in,. Yet my strongest memory of that idyll is … Tnuk-tu-tnu-tuk, tnuk-tu-tnu-tuk … dekha hai pahli baa-aa-aar / Saajan ke aankhon mein pyaar. The world may have forgotten Saajan - and Sanjay Dutt’s horrific mullet that claimed direct descent from Attila’s helmet - but it is seared into my memory. Thanks to the convoys of picnickers on every holiday, all of them playing that awful number as loud as they could. Strewth!

There should be a list of the Top 10 Bloody Awful Super Hits. How about Tu cheez badi hai mast mast from Mohra? Or more recently, Crazy kiya re, which is doubly loathsome because it is picturised on my Least Favourite Actress of All Time. In the dim and distant past, there was Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy and a series of ’80s atrocities by Bappi Lahiri and his clones (youngsters, think Anu Malik with fewer instruments). Nominations, anybody?

But this post was triggered by happier things. Bongo Pondit’s take on memorable Hindi film “dialogues”, which somehow appeared on my sitemeter this morning. Do Hindi films still have separate credits for “Dialogues”? The taali seeti line seems to be a thing of the past, it’s been replaced by camera angles and the heroine’s navel. Sad. I appreciate Shilpa Shetty’s .. errr… acting as much as the next man, but I’d trade in the entire crop (down to Sherlyn Chopra and Geeta Basra) for one line like “Dawar Sahab, main ab bhi phNeke huey paise nahin uthata hoon” Taaliyaan!

OK, before we start, let’s leave out Sholay. That was the film that started “dialogue karaoke”, with the entire audience murmuring the lines as they were spoken on-screen. Take a look at the others from the ’70s. Before the Amitabh era, there was Anand and Rajesh Khanna’s Zindagi aur maut toh upar waale ke haath mein hain jahanpanah. The repeat in the last scene (remember Maut, tum ek kavita ho ?), the sudden Babumoshaaaai as Dr. Bhaskar Banerjee sobs over Anand’s corpse, still sends chills down my spine. Another isspessul Kaka line was Pushpaa, Pushpaaa, I hate tears in Amar Prem, but that is remembered (and caricatured) more for his delivery than the line itself. How about “Understand? You better understand!” from Seeta aur Geeta? This line – recycled by Sridevi in Laadla (?) - was Salim-Javed writing for Ramesh Sippy before Deewaar happened and they became THE Salim-Javed.

After that, of course, the deluge. That great line from Deewaar quoted above. I prefer that to the jatra sequences of Jaao us aadmi se likhwake laao or Mere paas Maa hai. Zanjeer gave us Jab tak baithne ko kaha nahin jaaye, sharafat se khade raho. Special appeal because my SP once did something very similar with an MLA in the face of a 2000-strong mob. Amar Akbar Anthony had a couple of great exchanges between Vinod Khanna and Amitabh Bachchan, my favourite being Haan saab, bahut phemus hain … bade bade akhbaaron mein chhoti chhoti tasweerein chhapte hain. And that drunk scene in front of the mirror (lifted from Charlie Chaplin), Eeydiut lagta hai tu, pakka eeydiut … SRK has now made the Don lines his own, but pliss to remember that they originally gathered chauwannis in 1978. (The multiplex crowd have never seen sweepers fighting to be the first to clean up after a show. People really used to throw coins at the screen.).

The ’70s were also a great period for comedies. Golmaal, Chupke Chupke (Dharmendra wasn’t even nominated for an award for that superb performance!), Rang Birangi, Angoor –they all had their lines, but mostly in context. Utpal Dutt made the most of that late scene in Golmaal – Main tumhe Benaras ke pede khilaoonga, Kalkatte ka rasgulla khilaoonga, Dilli ke laddoo khilaoonga … nahin toh police ke dande kaise khaoge betaaa? He also had one of the best last lines in Indian cinema, when – as the sublimely named Inspector Dhurandhar Bhataodekar in Rang Birangi – he leaped from his chair roaring BR Chopra ko pakad ke laao! Some years later Chashme Buddoor took forward the self-referential humour. When Farooque Shaikh started a motorcycle (a Yezdi. How many of these kids have SEEN one?) that Rakesh Bedi and Ravi Vaswani couldn’t, they shrugged it off with Tu toh is film ka hero hai.

Slipping into the ’80s, there was the I can waak Ingliss I can taak Ingliss sequence in Namak Halaal, but that was really about The Amitabh Show rather than the script. And of course Rishtey se tera baap lagta hoon in the Second Coming crafted by Tinnu Anand, or the Vijay Deenanath Chauhan line from Agneepath (OK, that was 1990, so what?) Dammit, weren’t there any paisa wasool lines by any other actors during that period? Big B has wiped out an entire generation of leading men even in memory!

No no wait – there was ONE ’80s film that was a cult in itself. Who can forget the Mahabharat cheer haran sequence in Jaane bhi do yaaron! The gloriously misplaced Bhaiyya, main iska zubaan khNeech loon?! The plaintive refrain of Shaant, Gadadhari Bheem, shaant! And the sublime moment when Naseeruddin, having replaced the original Duryodhan, announces nonchalantly Humne cheer haran ka idea drop kar diya hai. JBDY deserves a post in itself, it’s still the acme of dark comedy in Hindi cinema and pretty much near the top 5 among all comedies (if not all Hindi films, but then what do I know).

The late ’80s also had Mogambo khush hua, something we oldies still trot out after a good meeting, but on the whole those years were a little arid in terms of GREAT lines. (What the ’80s had in trumps, really, was Names for Villains. Shakaal. Dang. Mogambo. Kanchha Cheena. I mean, what were they smoking?!)

I have some off-beat favourites from the ’90s onwards. Daud (1997) was a Ram Gopal Varma flop that I liked, especially for an exchange between Sanjay Dutt and Urmila Matondkar in the second half of the film (when they – and the audience - still don’t know each other’s names) –

SD – Toh teraa naam kya hai?

UM (after some Attitude) – Daya Shankar

SD (stunned look)

UM – Kyon? Kya kharaabi hai is naam mein?!

SD (hurriedly) – Nahin, koi nahin. Acchha naam hai.

UM – Toh teraa naam kya hai?

SD (deadpan, turning away) – Uma Parvati!

And Neeraj Vohra with Yeh mere shikaari the, jo bahaauuutt bade pitaji the. Silly to the point of perfection. Where have you gone Sanjay Chhel, a nation turns its lonely eyes to you (especially after horrors like Welcome). Chhel gave Sanjay Dutt another good throw-away in Khoobsurat, again opposite Urmila - Par tu toh maal hai naa Shivani?

There were some heavyweight moments in the ’90s, like Ye dhaai kilo kaa haath jab kisi pe uthtaa hai and Judge order order chillata rahega aur tu pit-taa rahega in Damini. The real line in that film, however, was Taareeqh pe taareeqh, which has echoes of “And the oranges must rot, must be forced to rot” from The Grapes of Wrath (the book – I don’t think it’s in the film).

Then there was Jhankaar Beats, with Shayan Munshi threatening Rahul Bose – Tumhe maloom nahin mera papa kaun hai? And getting his come-uppance with Nahin. Kyon, tumhe nahin maloom tumhara papa kaun hai? There were moments of divine inanity in some David Dhawan films, my favourite being Govinda’s obviously ad-libbed Hum toh bas underwyaar underwyaar khel rahe the in Jodi No. 1.

All in all, it’s the gags that stay in the mind these days. Cheat Update - Yes, I loved Rangeela, Aamir was superb, but the good lines were gags rather than the de taali high drama types. I vaguely remember Andaz Apna Apna and my surprise that Hindi cinema could come up with such throw-away gags, but I also had the impression that the lines were better than the Khans' timing could do justice to. Maybe I was wrong, I shall try and rent it over this long weekend. I like SRK’s line Kaun kambaqht bardaasht karne ko peeta hai, but this, like Don, is a direct lift from the earlier version. Where are the movie lines that resonate in the memory, that stay alive long after the movie has sunk? Is it because the scripts don’t value the big dramatic moments, or is it because actors try to Be Cool rather than heroic?

I’d love to get some feedback on this. Before I’m reduced to googling for “Great Lines By Harman Baweja” or “Mohit Ahlawat – the Director’s Cut”. And hey – how many women in Hindi cinema have had great lines? Forget Meena Kumari, leave out Basanti – what are we left with? Sharmila Tagore in Mausam with Yeh bilayati sharaab saala bahut haraami hai? C’mon, I’m an old MC. Show me the great lines from women.


Szerelem said...

Such an awesome post - I need to go dig out my DVDs of Jaane and Rang Birangi now...

But you forgot Andaaz Apna Apna! Or do you not like it at all?

Vivek Kumar said...

I am so overwhelmed with nostalgia (particularly for Amitabh's roles, but also for everything else, including Yezdi - I remember!) right now that I can't recall any lines. I didn't think it was possible.. but right now, the only lines I can think of are the ones that you've already quoted. Damn it, you even remembered Damini!

austere said...

"Iyer. Mr and Mrs. Iyer."


Chilling that was.

Ron said...

Speaking of annoying you by any chance remember this song that went "aami kolkata roshogolla..oh aami kolkata roshogooolllaaaaa..." ? It was played by the local Kali Pujo organizers from 4.30 am to 2.30 a.m. To this day it forms the background music to my nightmares *shudder*

??! said...

I second Szer here - how couldyou forget Andaaz Apna Apna?

And Rangeela? Apun ka bad luck hi kharab hain?

Also, terrific villain names - Chhappan Tikli.

Tania said...

Awesome-brought back some good old memories.I watched Shahrukh's Don last week and based on the hype"It was better than older one", I was dissappointed just like the ridiculous Devdas.
Aamir in Rangila-"Jara AC is taraf ghuma na"
Will research some heroine dialogues and get back soon.

Partho said...

Chashme Buddoor : Watching Farooq Shaikh in an intimate conference with Deepti Naval, Rakesh Bedi and Ravi Baswani unleash a gem : Ghode ko nahin milti hai ghaas dekho....
Gadhe kha rahe Chawanprash dekho....
To this date I use it in conversation.

Andaz Apna Apna : Aap dayalu hain, aap mayalu hain, aap daata mahanubhav hain, balki main to kehta hoon ki aap purush hi nahin hain...
(Mahapurush hain mahapurush)

Sougata said...

You kinda lost me after the 80's; I gave up on Hindi movies in the 90's. But everything you said before that was very evocative. Great post. Ok, my contribution:

How about that scene in Naram Garam when the fifty-something Bhavani Shankar Bajpai (Utpal Dutt) visits the twenty-something Kusum (Swaroop Sampat) to put the moves on her. He enters her home, sits down on the offered chair, forgets himself for a moment, and with a spontaneity that would completely vindicate Freud, goes: "Suno Kusi beti..."

Yeah, the line doesn't stand on its own, but the situation was comedy gold. Time to dig up some VHS tapes.

P.S. Here's a line that might stand on its own (unless you've taken Sholay off the table): "Mujhe to har police-waale ki surat ek jaisi lagti hai." [Amitabh Bachchan as Jai, in Sholay.]

Sougata said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Sougata said...

Songs that put nails-on-chalkboard to shame:

1. Ande ka fanda
2. What is your style number.

Oh, and the first vehicle that needed petrol I ever owned was a Yezdi. When you started that motherf***er in the morning, everybody in a three-mile radius knew you were going to work. The bike itself was older than I was, I kid you not.

Rimi said...

Thank you for making me drop by. If you'd only mentioned content, I'd have blinked myself here before you could spell Jeanie.

Vunn small point-out-type thing, however. I believe it was, "Kyoon, aapko nahin maloom aapke papa kaun hai?". Jhankar Beats.

Plumpernickel said...

1. WELL.... How can you possibly overlook - "Main tumhare bacche ki maan banane waali hoon" - right before the heros sister is popped off.

2. "Mujhse dosti karoge?" - Bobby

Women were busy crying, simpering, being raped and saved by heros. Where's the time for talking?

J. Alfred Prufrock said...

Szerelem, Interro, Tania, Partho - I agree about Rangeela. Shall edit to include it. Shall also get DVD of Andaaz Apna Apna , I seem to remember the lines were good but the delivery could have been better.

Vivek, there must be a hundred others. Exert yourself, can't be THAT busy in V'vostok.

Austere, very good film, but the lines haven't stayed in my memory.

Ron, yes. (Draws veil of time over wound of memory)

Sougata, I almost LIKED Ande ka funda.

Rimi, noted. (Nitpicker!) (And touche)


J. Alfred Prufrock said...

P'Nickel, you are such a sunny optimist.

Sougata again, I DID take Sholay "off the table". It has about two classic lines in each scene.
And thanks for the reminder, I shall go get both Naram Garam and Shaukeen


Vivek Kumar said...

Since nitpicking is allowed, it was Rishtey mein to hum tumhare baap lagte hain [pause] Naam hai, Shehanshah followed by the trademark exhalation of Amitabh, which can be rendered in quotes as "hain" but just can't convey the impact.

And promise that you'll delete comments which mention the Top Cliches rather than Top Dialogues. I am sick of those comments on other such posts elsewhere.

Szerelem said...

Ah you *have* to watch Andaaz Apna Apna again...there is so much brilliance in that movie...

Punster said...

Agneepath - "Mauth se appintment hai..hain..English bolta hai"

"Pura naam, Vijay Dinanath Chauhan, baap ka naam, Dinanath Chauhan, Maa ka naam, Suhasini Chauhan, Gaon Mandwa. Umar Chatiis saal, ...."

Vivek Kumar said...

@punster: the clip is here

Sucharita Sarkar said...

Well, that's almost like reading a national debate, but then, hindi movies are really our reason for living, aren't they??? at least, in mumbai, we talk hindi moveis, we see (obviously) hindi movies, we eat, dream,sleep, act, and create hindi movies....
AB is the Daddy of Dialogue-Delivery. NO CONTEST.
But I liked some of the exchanges between Aamir and Naseer in Sarfarosh (u r right, though, they are too realistically-penned to be remembered as dialogue).
BTW, my most annoying song award goes to the Prasenjit gem AAMRA AMARSANGI played ad infinitum during countless durga pujas.
Heroines...well, nobpdy could carry lines after SRIDEVI (re Chaalbaaz) they dropped the seeti-maaro lines along with their clothes (also seei-maro) somewhere in the nineties.

S said...

you know, these annoying songs you talk about...try singing them aloud, especially if you have close friends at home and are in the adda mode. we do it often...yes, the "amar sangi" and the "kotha hoyechilo tobu kotha holo na", or the kumar sanu songs. you won't believe how much fun it is!!

Anonymous said...

The following may or may not be the lines this post demands.. but here goes - "Ae Mister, dosti ka ek usool sorry no thank you..okay?" - Bhagyashree, Maine Pyar Kiya

eve's lungs said...

The song I remember most was from Laila Majnu sort of imprinted itself on my memory because it played endlessly when I was studying for my ICSE exams - Lata Mangeshkar shrilly screaming - Koi pathar se na(emphasis on na) maaro ..mere deewane ko .."
Oh yes I can never forget a bewda Amrish Puri fitting a wheel onto Satish Shah's coffin "itti chhoti gaadi? lagta hai japani make hai" and Dhritarashtra;s refrain at the mad cheerharan scene - Yeh sab kya ho raha hai "
Oh man you made my day .I shall hum all these abysmal grotty songs all day - BTW did you forget to include "yeh kaali kaali ankhen .. toorooroo toorooroo ....?"

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

Lovely... good Bollywood posts are so rare!

And great lines by women are indeed rare. Even in 'women-oriented' films like Damini, the men get to do all the blaring.

Dipta Chaudhuri said...

Wrote a post on the memorable dialogues by actresses in Hindi cinema. Care to take a look?

Anonymous said...

Do check out Nutan's great line from the movie Saudagar at

Anindya said...

good work...glad to see you still remember those immortal scenes (daaylox!)

nitpicking (or, "oops-wrong-sweet-deptt) - IIRC it was Benaras ka kalaajaand (not peDa)..

other priceles ones in Golmaal (there were so many):

"sir, moti kaal bhi hota hai.n" (reference to "Black Pearl" or Pele)

the dialogue about if everyone's kurtas' could be shortened by 6 inches it could improve India's GDP etc.

"Kya pavitra vaatavaran, kya pavitra x, y,z...aapka pavtira kaisa hai.n" (mildly funny as a dialogue but the way UD says them - unparalleled)

Jaan bhi... - my personal favourites were:

a) in the Mahabharat scene - where Om Puri (as Bheem) utters (in a way only *he* can): "Arre, Draupadi kya sirf baDe bhaiya ki hai.n kya....hum sab shareholders hai.n!)

b) in the sequence where Pankaj Kapur and team are looking (in the dark) for the light switch - Neea Gupta's sudden scream (' app kya kar rahe.n hai.s sir!)...repeated by his chamchas (kya kar rahe.n hai.n sir) - to which PK replies: "kuch nahi.n, hum switch dhhoondh rahe.n hai.n...tumbhi switch dhhoondho"

c) the sequence where a drunk Om Puri tries to fit a tyre on to the coffin: kaum sa model hai.n bhai, koi sports car lagta hai.n"

d) humaare desh mei.n hum khaate kum aur phekte zyaada hai.n
..I could go on

of the recent movies, I guess Munna and Circuits dialogue ("Ha mai.n chalaaoonga to bail kya karega?) deserve special mention

Anindya said...

just remembered another one - one that set new standards in crassness (those days - would be considered almost Shakespearan in the current generation):

from Suhaag:

Ye kay hai.n?

Kaun sa chappal?

Kaunsa number?
Saath number

The Hulk said...

Well .... Those unforgettable dialogues.... But then U have forgotten about Paresh Rawal .... That guy has belted out some of the best lines in Bollywood.... For Hera Pheri after Suniel Shetty and Akshay Kumar has beaten the hell out of each other and Paresh Rawal being at the unwitting end of some punches he says one of the gems....

" Aye baba .... Utha le re utha le..... Aei mujhko nahi ...inn dono ko utha le...."

and talking of Hera Pheri ... It has the most hilarious sequence of phone calls when Suniel Shetty would say in an almost pleading tone to Khulbhusan Kharbanda ... "Hello ....Kabira Speaking" and "Tumhare kutte ki boti boti karke teri poti ko khila dunga" or Paresh Rawal calculating the amount required and almost sayin Paune Baraah Lakh...

Awesome Movie.... Deserve a special mention....

the mad momma said...

oh yes. Daud. I completely forgot those memorable lines. terrific post!

Phantasmagoria said...

Two to go, he threatens.

Love the title? Good enough comment for you? :P

Niladri said...

How about that dialogue from Seeta and Geeta...
Manorama: neeche aa ja beti!
Hema: oopar aa ja moti!

And that big fat boy from Bombay to Goa screaming "amma pakoda!" throughout the film...

Or from Padosan where "Masterji" Mehmood is romancing "Bindu" in the garden...
Masterji : kal aam yek saphna deka..chidiya ka gosla...gosla mein tum aur maein...etc etc
Bindu : Masterji, aap ke liye to chidiye ka ghosla nahin, bhains ka tabela chahiye, tabela!
(laughter in the background)
Bindu : arre! yeh kaun hansa?!
Masterji: yeh aapke baat pe bagwaan hansa ji!

Leane said...

You write very well.