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Ringing Endorsement

Bollywood has made enough music around telephones and mobile phones...

Ringing Endorsement

Our film industry is often known to get inspired by a trifle. So does the film music. Take the simple object that started out as an important means of communication, slowly turned into a necessity and eventually grabbed the coveted spot of a status symbol. Who would have thought that Indian composers and lyricists could make music out of telephone sets and mobiles? But they have. At times lilting, at others sheer fun, the phone songs play on...

1) It all started with the adorable mere piyaa gaye Rangoon .

Shamshad Begum and C. Ramachandra wouldn’t have known back then that this song was destined for cult status. All thanks to the simplicity and humour that envelop it. Telephone plays the central character in the song and isn't just a prop.

2) The second song that comes rushing to mind is Jalte hain jiske liye from Sujata.

The entire song is very much ‘by the phone’. On hearing the song, you feel it is yet another gem from Talat Mahmood. Only when you see it do you understand the classic juxtaposition of feelings of Sunil Dutt and Nutan with the phone as the connecting link. While Sunil Dutt is ever so love struck, swinging with the phone imagining Nutan is smiling, Nutan has an aching heart and eyes full of tears.

3) Sunil Dutt made another appearance with the telephone.

This time he chose the beautiful Sadhana to speak to and describe a romantic dream he had woken up to. Much of Maine dekha haifrom Waqt was filmed away from the phone yet the device remained an integral part of the song, so much so that the two are shown sleeping with their respective phone sets by the side. Something most of us have done at least once in our lives if not more.

4) Remember the old days when kids used to attach cans/matchboxes at the two ends of a chord and talk on the toy phone? Well, in Dil e betaab ko seene se lagana hoga from Palki, Rajendra ‘Silver Jubilee’ Kumar uses the same to communicate with Waheeda Rehman:

The ‘smart’ phone in this song is a mere prop which Rajendra Kumar uses shrewdly to get closer to Waheeda. That said, this also remains one of the best ghazals ever sung in Hindi films. Not surprising what with Mohd. Rafi and Suman Kalyanpur at the helm of things.

5) Just having a telephone connection isn’t enough. How will you call anyone if you don’t have their number? Govinda and Karishma Kapoor taught us how to do that in Haseena Maan Jaayegi. By being very direct and to the point in and asking: What is mobile number?

6) Staying on with telephone numbers, in what would be a witty request to his beloved for keeping his number in her heart, Sunny Deol, with ample help from Mohd. Aziz gave us a gem from the film Kshatriya: Hello mera telephone number:

Of course, the awareness about not using your phone while driving was still years away, as we can see in the way the song is picturised.

7) Aaja shaam honay aayee in Maine Pyaar Kiya showed how one can use a telephone as intercom to communicate within the same house and sometimes even within the same room as aptly demonstrated by Salman Bhai Khan and Bhagyashree:

8) AR Rahman has tried his hand at this instrument too. Remember Telephone dhun mein from Hindustani?

Agreed, the song didn’t even have a flashing image of a telephone but its mention did raise the ‘cool’ quotient of the film. It is melodiously ironic that AR Rahman has given a ‘telephone dhun’ (ringtone), the iconic Airtel music piece that has gone way beyond telephones and can be heard even as the ‘reverse gear tune’ in a lot of vehicles in India!

9) Just to come to the present state of phones in Hindi film songs, it would be criminal not to mention Maa ka phone aaya from Khoobsurat released earlier this year. Yet again, phone plays the central vehicle around which the song is built:

The best party song of the year so far.


Telephones are not just a preserve of Bollywood. They thrive in southern cinema too.

1) The 1966 Tamil movie Chithi that got remade into Hindi as Aurat the next year, had a song Santhippoma that shows one of the basic uses that the phone had in movies—separated lovers expressing their pining for each other (there is even a heart symbol around the actors at one point to confirm this.

2) From the Priyadarshan movie, Hello My Dear Wrong Number, that had the phone as a central element of its story itself (as can be guessed from the movie's title), the song Neeyen Kinaavo, probably has featured more phones than any song ever in the history of Indian, nay world, cinema!

3) The song, Rari Rariram Raro, too comes from a Malayalam movie, Onnu Muthal, Poojyam Vare, that revolved around a phone (as evidenced by the title that translates to "From 1 to 0", inspired by yesteryear's phone dial). It explored the relation between a fatherless child and a "telephone uncle". Interesting trivia: the child you see in the film is Geetu Mohandas who wrote and directed Liar's Dice , India's official entry to the Oscars this year:

4) What better way to pull off an all nighter than a lovey-dovey chat over phone? The best thing about the song Sangeetha Swarangal from Tamil film Azhagan, however, is the way Doordarshan is used as a reference point for time, the song ending with the legendary opening theme of Doordarshan. K Balachander's genius at play:

5) Salala Mobiles is another movie that has phone as a main plot device (albeit in a slightly creepy way). The song, Eeran Kaattin, is a brilliantly clean Malayalam rendition from Shreya Ghoshal:

6) Lastly, how can a phone-related discussion be complete without a mention of the phenomenon called 'selfies'? Fortunately for us, that too has been covered in a brand new song titled Let's Take A Selfie Pulla, from the upcoming Tamil film, the Vijay starrer Kaththi:

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