Wet and wild

Who can forget the iconic scene of Raj Kapoor and Nargis frolicking in the rain in Shree 420? That may have set the ball rolling for rain songs in Bollywood,but after that there was no turning back.

Written by Anjuly Mathai | Published: July 4, 2009 1:20 am

Who can forget the iconic scene of Raj Kapoor and Nargis frolicking in the rain in Shree 420? That may have set the ball rolling for rain songs in Bollywood,but after that there was no turning back. Raj Kapoor pioneered the trend of rain songs in Hindi cinema and his heroines from Nargis to Mandakini were all drenched to the bone singing love ditties.

While in Western cultures,the rain is used to connote pathos and gloom,rain for our poets and lyricists has always been a harbinger of good times,a symbol of hope and strength. The songs of the love play between Radha and Krishna in the rain on the banks of Yamuna have carved the cornerstone of our folk songs and classical music traditions.

Could something that so effectively epitomised romantic reunions fail to seep into the love-hungry landscape of Bollywood? Ever since filmmakers in Bollywood got a firm clutch of the rain theme,they haven’t let it drip away. “How could they when rain provides the perfect opportunity to get the heroines wet and voluptuous?” asks ad filmmaker Adi Pocha.

He might have a point there. Those eternal images of Zeenat Aman in Roti Kapda Aur Makan or Smita Patil in

Namak Halal gyrating and crooning love songs in their wet and clinging saris will forever be etched into the memories of Bollywood lovers.

“Monsoon is when the land grows fertile. Therefore it is a symbol of fertility and by extension—sex,” says ad man Prahlad Kakar as he attempts to unravel Bollywood’s fascination with rain. “Even among animals,it is the mating season.”

But he feels rain songs might be losing their power in Bollywood.

“Today actresses are blatantly showing skin and no longer need the excuse of rain to do so. But it was so much better in the old days when nothing was overtly on display and much was left to the imagination. What could be sexier than Mandakini’s breasts peeking through that white transparent sari molding to her figure?” Kakar chuckles.

India being primarily an agrarian society,in the Manoj Kumar era of the ’50s and ’60s,rain symbolised a season of harvest when you reaped the benefits of your hard work. But has that innocence evaporated from the scene? Today,is rain merely being used as a tool of titillation? Director Aziz Mirza begs to differ. “Rain is something that’s so exceptionally romantic. There is nothing artificial or manufactured about it. Even in nature everything blooms during the monsoon. For me,rain is best summarised by these fantastic lyrics in Roti Kapda Aur Makan. “Hai hai yeh majboori,yeh mausam aur yeh doori,mujhe pal pal hai tadpaaye,teri do take ki naukri mein mera lakhon kaa saawan jaaye re.”

We agree Mr Mirza. Who cares about two-penny jobs when you can splash around in the rains?

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