Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year
Readers would recall that one favourite of our film heroines was the Dunce, who went by various names such as anari balma, naadan balma, bhole balam etc. Raj Kapoor was the leading light of the type, followed by Bharat Bhushan. They were clueless about the girls, which was a part of their charm. The girls would patiently woo them and teach them about the birds and bees. They would sing songs which we have seen in Romancing the Dunce.
But the more common is its converse, the rogue, who teases the girl, stalks her and makes her life hell. She is annoyed, angry and exasperated, but finally can’t resist his charm. There is another type – the insensitive, unfaithful rogue. But under the surface he has the heart of pure gold. You have far more songs of Beimaan balma, or Bedardi balma than Anari balma. We need not do hair-splitting on words; another commonly occurring type, Bairi balam/balma, I am putting in this broad category. The song that instantly comes to mind in this category is Suno bairi balam kuchh bol re. There are countless songs under this too: Mose chhal kiye jaay…Man ka hai bairi kala; Balma maane na…Bairi chup na rahe etc.
Hollywood had some heroes closer to our dunces, such as the innocent, bumbling and vulnerable Cary Grant (Bringing Up Baby) or James Stewart in romantic comedies, or Jack Lemmon in several films. Cary Grant also acted the rogue in several movies (His Girl Friday, Penny Serenade, Suspicion), but Hollywood didn’t have songs of ‘Beiman balma’. Did Gregory Peck or Elvis Presley, the counterparts of our Dev Anand and Shammi Kapoor, tease the hell out of their girls by stalking them from door to door and window to window singing (Pal bhar ke liye koi humein pyar kar le), or dropping down from a chopper in nothing more than a bathrobe (Aasmaan se aya farishta )? Howard Hawks also created the converse of Cary Grant, in his adventure films/Westerns. But the Western hero’s central pre-occupation was not the woman, but the outlaws who had to be finished. If there was a woman at all, she would be in the background, at times doing something useful, such as passing the gun to the hero, and, therefore, the hero might accept her in the end.
I must mention Dilip Kumar in Ram Aur Shyam, in which he is both the dunce (Ram) and the rogue (Shyam). Whom do you want to see more on the screen? The rogue Shyam, undoubtedly, who lits up the screen with his presence. Same with the other sex, Hema Malini (Seta Aur Geeta), Sridevi (Chaalbaaz) – in both, the whistles and yelling are reserved for the mean girls who beat the hell out of the villainous relations who had made the life of their simple twin sisters hell.
Subodh Agrawal puts it in a more colourful language. There are two types of men in the world: “Cads and Dads. Cads have fun with, and impregnate, a lot of women but don’t stick around to take care of the children; Dads settle down with one partner, father fewer children but look after them. Eventually the population stabilizes with a large majority of Dads and a fair sprinkling of Cads. If film songs are to be believed, women seem to have a special fondness for cads even when they know they would be left holding the baby – literally.”
Internet has many scholarly articles why girls fall for the bad boy, but you do not need PhDs in psychology to explain the phenomena. You just need to watch Dev Anand, Kishore Kumar, Shammi Kappor and their copycats, with their outlandish attires and manners. Which haughty and proper girl can resist their charm till the end? Here is my selection of songs of Beimaan Balma. (Note: For the academically oriented, I have given some links at the end, which explain why good girls fall for the bad boys.)
Let me wish all of you a very Happy New Year with songs of the rogue or the Beiman balma, or Bedardi balma which were once staple in our films.
1. Kajra na dekhe hoga zaroor naadan ya beiman balma by Lata Mangeshkar from Suhag Sindoor (1961), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Chitragupta
Naadan and beimaan seem to be mutually contradictory. If the balma is oblivious of both kajra and gajra adorned by the lady, he could be naadan, but here is a unique song in which the possibility of his being beiman is not ruled out either. A terrific composition by Chitragupta.
2. Balma maane na by Lata Mangeshkar from Opera House (1961), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Chitragupta
My great favourite Chitragupta again. In the previous song, the balma, like the Schrödinger’s cat could be in two states – dunce or rogue – but in this song there is no doubt that he is a pure bairi. Whenever he finds her alone, he catches her by her arm, and does not let it go. He has no concern for the lady’s sensitivities, he does as he wishes. Yet, he himself becomes restless, and also makes her restless. Look at the lyrics of Majrooh Sultanpuri. Each word – bairi, baankaa, rasiya, matwaala – describe his personal traits and you can have a good image of the cad in your mind. His actions consolidate his cad image, but at the core of it all, he has an irresistible charm making the lady pine for him. B Saroja Devi came as a flash in the pan from South to Hindi films, but she danced to some outstanding songs. Full credit to Chitragupa too for this wonderful composition. Lata Mangeshkar was at an unassailable peak those days.
बलमा माने ना
बैरी चुप ना रहे, लागी मन की कहे
हाय पा के अकेली मोरी बैंया गहे, बलमा माने ना
जब जब पलटूं गागर भर के
लट रह जाये मुख पे बिखर के
बात करे ऐसी दिलवाला
तड़पे और तड़पाये मोहे, बलमा माने ना
घूंघट डारूं नैन चुराऊं
घबराहट में राह न पाऊं
वो बांका रसिया मतवाला
सुने न मोरी अपनी ही कहे, बलमा माने ना
3. Baanke piya kaho haan dagabaaz ho by Lata Mangeshkar and Usha Mangeshkar from Burma Road (1962), lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri, music Chitragupta
Chitragupta’s music, especially his lilting songs for Lata Mangeshkar are infectious. His music towered over the B-grade films. This is a duet with her sister Usha Mangeshkar, the underrated singer, but extremely melodious who had to suffer because her voice was too similar to the more celebrated sister. The fast-paced dance of Kumkum and Vijaya Chowdhury to the exuberant duet is delightful. The Baanke piya here are the enemy soldiers who are enticed enough, regardless of being called dagabaaz, nirmohi, bedardi, while the patriots do their job.
4. Hai hai rasiya tu bada bedardi by Asha Bhosle from Dil Diya Dard Liya (1966), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Naushad
A mujra singer has no delusions about her status or her patrons’ feelings for her. Therefore, Shakeel Badayuni is even more blunt in his words. The drunk patrons enjoy every bit of it, though the words describe them as the meanest persons without any morals: ‘Bedardi, kapat, chhal, zulmi, jhhooti batiyaan, lobhi, manmaani, khoti marji, khudgarzi’. Asha Bhosle was not one of Naushad’s preferred singers, but here he composes an outstanding mujra in her voice. The lyrics are worth studying carefully.
हाय हाय रसिया तू बड़ा बेदर्दी
जियरा मोरा जाने कपट तोरे मन की, हाय हाय..
बतियां झूठी तोरी नैना छल से भरे
काहू ना प्रीत करे
लोभी तोरी नज़रें हैं खोटी तोरी मर्जी, हाय हाय…
जिया के बैन पिया कछहू जाने नहीं
ज़ुल्मी मोरा कहा एकहू माने नहीं
करे मनमानी दिखाये खुदगर्ज़ी, हाय हाय..
5. Bedardi mere saiyan shabnam hain kabhi shole by Asha Bhosle from Chadahvin Ka Chand (1960), lyrics Shakeel Badayuni, music Ravi
Shakeel Badayuni writes another ‘Bedardi sainya’ song, which is the same as the ‘Beimaan balma’, now joining with Ravi in this superhit film, which set Ravi on the path of great success. Mujra dancer is now Minoo Mumtaz who is playful, the comic aspect enhanced by the presence of the Jogi Johnny Walker. The words are appropriately milder than the previous song. The popular imagery of a good human being is, he may be hard as the coconut shell on the surface, but he is soft like the soft fruit inside. The Bedardi is reverse of that – he is heartless inside, but appears as innocent outside. I am borrowing from the excellent English subtitles:
Heartless is my love
He is at times the gentle dew, and at time a raging fire
He is cruel of heart, but he looks naïve
6. Chale jaiho bedarda main roye marungi by Rajkumari from Beqasoor (1950), lyrics Arzoo Lakhanavi, music Anil Biswas
Anil Biswas composed some immortal mujra songs for Rajkumari. Mujra is a hang-out for all the heartless and broken-hearted persons. Generally, love was a clear no-no for professional courtesans. However, in ‘courtesan films’ the patron and the courtesan did fall in love, but it didn’t have a smooth sailing.
7. Bas mein kar ke bebus kar gaye O balam harjai re by Zohrabai Ambalewali from Padmini (1948), lyrics Wali Saheb, music Ghulam Haider
All the Balam harjais, Bedardi balmas, Beimaan balmas have one common trait in our films – by their heartless behaviour, they capture the heart of the lady and make her helpless. This song perfectly captures the situation.
8. Qadar jane na bedardi ji mora baalam by Lata Mangeshkar film Bhai Bhai (1956), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Madan Mohan
The Baalam is heartless, and shows no respect or sensitivity towards the lady, yet look at the helplessness of Nimmi. Rajendra Krishna-Madan Mohan combo create magic with this song.
9. Mose chhal kiye jaye, haye re haye saiyan beiman by Lata Mangeshkar from Guide (1965), lyrics Shailendra, music SD Burman
Waheeda Rehman, trapped in a loveless marriage, breaks out of it with the help of Dev Anand and her suppressed soul finds its expression through her dance. But soon each feels betrayed by the other. The lyrics of Shailendra convey it beautifully. Since Waheeda has to convey her inner anguish through the dance at a public performance. ‘Man ka hai bairi kaala’ sets the tone of betrayal. It is another matter that Dev Anand, too, feels equally hurt which finds expression through Shailendra’s words in back-to-back song, Kya se kya ho gaya bewafa tere pyar mein.
10. Chale jana nahi nain mila ke saiyan bedardi by Lata Mangeshkar from Badi Bahan (1949), lyrics Rajendra Krishna, music Husnlal-Bhagatram
Geeta Bali has fallen in love with the rogue Pran, but she is not aware of his real intentions, and pleads with him not to leave her after professing love. Here Sainya bedardi is used in a playful way.
11. Zulmi sang aankh ladi re by Lata Mangeshkar and chorus from Madhumati (1958), lyrics Shailendra, music Salil Chowdhury
As it is a tribal dance song, the word ‘zulmi’ carries no negative connotation. The city dweller Dilip Kumar is inexorably getting smitten by Vyjayanthimala.
12. Beiman tore nainwa by Lata Mangeshkar from Tarana (1951), lyrics DN Madhok, music Anil Biswas
There are many love songs in which ‘Beimaan’ is used as an ‘endearing lover’. You would often find this song described as one of the most romantic songs, and the scene being mentioned as one of the most erotic. With Dilip Kumar, you didn’t need much words or overt melodrama or physicality to show the erotic.
13. Aa ja aa ja ki dil ko teri yaad ayi, jiya laage na mora harjai by Lata Mangeshkar from O Tera Kya Kahna (1959), lyrics Farooq Kaisar. music Kalyanji Virji Shah
Kalyanji Virji Shah, the elder brother of Kalyanji-Anandji duo debuted alone in 1958 with Samrat Chandragupt and composed music for six films, before his younger brother officially joined him in 1959 with Satta Bazar and Madari. Kalyanji by himself too gave us some of the sweetest and most melodious songs. This one is not among the very well-known, but what a melody. Harjai means a ‘betrayer’, or ‘bewafa’, but has been used here in a playful manner.
14. Bedardi sapne mein aa ja kuchh to bipatiya kam hoi jaye, Dadra by Begum Akhtar
I come back to the classical ‘bedardi’, whose heartlessness torments the lady no end. She has nevertheless surrendered hear heart to this cad. Begum Akhtar gives voice to this tormented woman in this beautiful Dadra, beseeching the bedardi to show up at least in her dreams which might mitigate her suffering to some extent. Pt. Jasraj’s regard for Begum Akhtar is well-known. His introduction has made the video extra enjoyable.
The readers interested in some literature about the women’s fascination for the bad man, may browse through these articles.
Acknowledgements and Disclaimer:
The song links have been embedded from the YouTube only for the listening pleasure of the music lovers. This blog does not claim any copyright over them, which rests with the respective owners of the rights.