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6-9-08 Aaj Mausam Bada Beimaan Hai

Posted by Sean on June 9, 2008

Well, this is a promise long in the fulfilling, but I’m glad I’ve finally done it.

Back on Feb. 12, I posted a kick-ass song by the Knockouts (MySpace here) of Luton, Bedfordshire, England called Nain Milakar Chain Churana. The Knockouts are an English-language band but, for whatever reason, they decided to record a number of Hindi songs. Since they don’t know Hindi, they had a friend translate a few songs phonetically and recorded the garage rock-y results on The Remarkable Sounds of India (available at Topplers here).

Well, I promised back on May 12 that I’d post another song from the Knockouts here, so here it is: Aaj Mausam Bada Beimaan Hai, playing over a promotional short for The Remarkable Sounds of India.  Courtesy of theselookgood.

Different from Nain Milakar Chain Churana, ain’t it? More angsty, but in a good way. If history had been a little different, and rock and roll had swept India in the 1950s instead of the United States, then you might have heard this playing out of the jukebox at the local soda stand in New Delhi.

Anyway, I typed “Aaj mausam bada beimaan hai” into YouTube’s search engine to get a line on where this came from, and came up with a video from Dr. K. Chaudhry (guy’s even got his own fan club) belting out the hits. He claims on his YouTube channel that he has over 1,000 songs, which would be about right for a Bollywood playback singer.

According to Dr. Chaudhry’s site, this song is from a 1973 Hindi-language film called Loafer which, believe it or not, is listed on here. Now, that’s impressive. If has even a significant fraction of Bollywood’s output, like Loafer, then their databases are about a hundred times bigger than I thought.

Anyway, the plot of Loafer is thusly and so:

Ranjit is the right-hand man of a gangster named “Uncle”. He has been working for him since he was a runaway child, and excels in all of kinds of criminal activities, currently managing a night-club called “Playboy”. He meets with beautiful Anju and both fall in love with each other. Then he finds out that Anju is not who she claims to be but someone hired by Pratap to be close to him, entrap him, and get him killed. But that does not happen, Ranjit survives, rescued by Anju, and he helps her free her brother, Rakesh, from Pratap’s clutches. Then some priceless jewelery is placed on display, and a number of gangsters decide to try and steal them, knowing fully well that there is a 24 hour police guard, as well as an alarm system. It is after this robbery that the past will be re-visited and it is then a number of people, on whom Ranjit has depended upon, will come to know of his real background, including the murder he committed before he started his career as a criminal.

Here’s a scene from Loafer in which Aaj Mausam Bada Beimaan Hai is sung. Turns out that it was sung by the legendary Mohammed Rafi, a Bollywood playback singer with almost 5,000 songs, and according to some fans 28,000, to his credit – including the song that the Knockouts’ Nain Milakar Chain Churana is based on.

You know, I’m starting to see a pattern with The Remarkable Sounds of India.

Courtesy of gangajamna87.

How legendary was Rafi? Take this sorta-synth, sorta-traditional take by Ameer Ali at this Rafi tribute. More importantly, watch the crowds. When they’re singing along, with silent lips and emotion in their eyes, like that, you know you’ve done something right as an artist. Aaj Mausam Bada Beimaan Hai isn’t just your average fill-in-the-silence song. This is a song that, at least in India, has real emotional legs. And that’s one hell of a big audience. Courtesy of saadalvi.

Rafi’s song has inspired more than the Knockouts. It turned up in Houston as the soundtrack for this strangely compelling little film about an open fire hydrant. Courtesy of austinhavican.

Here’s another nice little movie, courtesy of Nazishx. The sum and total description of this movie is “Watch Jimma cook whilst singing aaj mausam.” Poor Jimma… he looks like one of his family told him one day, “Oh, you sing so well, we’ve got to put that up on YouTube.” Jimma looks like he’s having second thoughts. But he relaxes, and you get an idea of what mealtime is like around Jimma’s house.

And here’s a short sequence sung by Jatin Bachheti on his cell phone for an entertainment news show. It’s a shame he’s singing into a dinky little phone mike; the guy’s got pipes. Courtesy of alwaysonmymind09.

I’m not sure what the point of this post is, beyond fulfilling a promise I once made. Maybe it’s this: the songs that the Knockouts are riffing on aren’t just some foreign guy caterwauling in this, like, language. There’s a history behind them, and a people, and fans who just can’t stop singing them.

Or… something like that.


One Response to “6-9-08 Aaj Mausam Bada Beimaan Hai”

  1. Gavortnik – It took me more than a year to find this, but again, fascinating stuff. All of us bar the singer preferred this song to Main Milarkar; but at the end of the day, a good song’s a good song. The fire hydrant version is moving.

    We had some scratchy minimalist vocals in French on our last album; but our sub-Continental capers are probably done now.

    thanks for the enlightenment

    Elliot P Smoke

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