Sometimes you realize they really don’t make ‘em like that anymore (though in Bollywood maybe they still do...)
Thanks to pal Colin Walker for the YouTube tip on Mohammed Rafi’s ultra-exuberant “Jaan Pehechaan Ho,” taken from the 1966 Bollywood picture Gumnaam-- which is not strictly a musical, believe it or not, but instead a loose adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Ten Little Indians! If this little bit of craziness rings a bell with you, it may be because you’ve seen the movie Ghost World (2001), in which the clip was featured:
But as I listened to Mohammed Rafi, a popular artist and playback singer on a staggering 712 Bollywood productions dating from 1944, and watched the singers and dancers on film getting down with their bad selves, it reminded me of another similar scene featuring an equally exuberant and jiggly dancer paired with a similarly suave and sexy singer, and I began to wonder how many times director Raja Nawathe had seen Ann-Margret and Elvis Presley do their thing in Viva Las Vegas (1964), directed by George Sidney:
Whoever saw who first, whether it was George Sidney grokking Bollywood, or Nawathe and Rafi getting their Ann and Elvis on, I’m glad both of these cinematic moments exist, if for no other reason than to spread a smile over the appearance of apparent giddy and joyful innocence mixed with the only slightly subterranean sexuality with which these moments are infused. (Thankfully, in the case of Ms. Ann-Margret, the thin layer covering that sexuality gets thrown off pretty much right away, long before Elvis takes the stage.) Nice way to kick off a weekend, I’d say. Thanks, Colin! And a tip of the hat to Mohammed and Ann and Elvis too.