Sunshine Songs

A playlist of happiness

Written by Shantanu David | Published: September 29, 2013 6:12:25 am

A playlist of happiness

Sar jo tera chakraye (Pyaasa): A park,a pretty girl and a man with a bottle of oil. Johnny Walker stars in this masterpiece of a song whose happy lilt can dispel even the gloom of a Guru Dutt film. Aaja pyaare paas humaare,kaahe ghabraye?

Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai (Guide): This classic SD Burman track by Lata Mangeshkar is a song of hope,promise and freedom. Waheeda Rehman hurls a pot from the truck and dances with abandon,and the song goes from being plain happy to wonderfully uplifting. A song determined to be happy: Phool hi phool zindagi bahaar hain/Tay kar liya…

Ek chatur naar badi hoshiyaar (Padosan): A track that always puts a grin on your face and which pulses with the glee of a prankster. An avalanche of talent was involved in it: Sunil Dutt, Kishore Kumar and Mehmood on screen; Manna Dey,Kishore and RD Burman in the studio. A happy-making song for all seasons.

Jaane kahaan mera jigar gaya ji (Mr and Mrs 55): The witty repartee of two lovers,in the magical voices of Geeta Dutt and Mohd Rafi,the words of Majrooh Sultanpuri and the happy clip-clop-clip-clop of OP Nayyar’s music. Plain delight.

Dil hai chhota sa (Roja): The song through which we discovered AR Rahman is a fresh-as-a-waterfall ditty on the wonderful promise of life. Chitra’s dulcet voice is the sound of happiness.

Uthe sabke qadam (Baaton Baaton Mein): Basu Chatterjee’s gem of a film about a Bombay family gave us this anthem of homeliness. A song that makes happy feet break into a slight jig,even in the middle of a crowd. Lata Mangeshkar,again,with a message that we need: Kabhi khushi kabhi gham,ta ra rum pam pam/Aji aise geet gaya karo.


Feeling Good by Michael Buble: “It’s a new dawn,it’s a new day,it’s a new life,for me,and I’m feeling good”. Buble’s claret-like voice singing about feeling good,and lyrics which are about birds,bees and the breeze among trees. Can we tune this as the background music to our life please?

I will Survive by Gloria Gaynor: The world’s favourite non-gender-specific song (despite Gloria Gaynor’s stridently feminine tones) to play while recovering from a break-up,this track has assuaged many aching hearts and generally been a musical pick-me-up for other caterpillars that drop into the great salad that is life.

Clint Eastwood by Gorillaz: A trip-hop pick-me-up with lyrics like “I’m happy,I’m feeling glad,I got sunshine in a bag”,this one’s a great morning track. So go ahead,make my day.

Don’t worry,be happy by Bobby McFerrin: The first a cappella to reach number one on the US Billboard,McFerrin’s 1988 feel-good anthem has an Indian connect,with mystic Meher Baba’s informal philosophy of “don’t worry,be happy” serving as the song’s inspiration. The video which features a singing McFerrin flanked by a young Robin Williams and legendary clown Bill Irwin endures till today as a reminder to,well,not worry and be happy.

Jamming by Bob Marley: “Ain’t no rules,ain’t no vow,we can do it anyhow”,Marley’s lyrics punctuate a peppy reggae sound. The perfect song to channel your inner Rasta in the time of credit crunch and capitalist woes.

Let Go by Frou Frou: One of the most haunting tracks of the celebrated indie flick Garden State,Frou Frou’s electronic track is all about letting go and finding solace in the midst of sorrow,“cause there’s beauty in the breakdown”.

what a wonderful world by louis armstrong Written as a musical cure for the racial tensions in the US in the 1960s and rendered in Armstrong’s “voice of jazz”,this song became an anthem for optimism,a sort of auditory endorphin.

Any Song by The Beatles: Come on,it’s The Beatles. Need we say more?

Khooni Dracula Khush Hua

A list of films so trashy,they are fun

Down and out? Your mood lower than the rupee? Watch a film instead. Not just any feel-good candyfloss film that will cost you a multiplex ticket and expensive popcorn. But one with absolutely no sense or sensibility,abundant cleavage,terrible lighting and draculas who insist on virgin-only meals. Welcome to the cinema paradiso of B-,C- and D-grade films,which can even make Ramsay Brothers look spiffy. We got Aseem Chandaver,a movie buff with a collection of over 400 such films,to curate five films which are so bad they are hilarious. Go on,LOL.

Khooni Dracula (1992)

The ultimate D-grade film (as distinct from B- and C- ones which manage to have a budget,at least for costumes),with no familiar face or storyline,Khooni Dracula is perhaps the cheapest film ever made. The producers couldn’t even afford a coffin for the dracula,who can be seen lying in an open park where most of the movie was shot. The film is about an evil mama who rapes a servant and kills her in his bungalow’s garden. The blood seeps underground and resurrects the dracula buried underneath. It may seem against logic,but the mama then controls the dracula,bringing him nubile virgins. He even has minions to do his bidding,one of which is a bear. In one scene,while this bear is assaulting a woman,his mask falls off,revealing the face of the actor. The victim gives him time to put the mask back on and the scene continues.

Hatyarin (1990)

Hatyarin has a host of known faces,including Ajit Vachani,Amita Nangia,Raza Murad,Deepak Parashar and Javed Khan. The dracula in this film has feet which resemble gobi manchurian. The story is of a murdered bride who has returned from the dead as hatyarin to seek revenge. She enters the house of her killer on his wedding night. The fight that ensues includes a sequence with a telephone that can kill and a statue of the Laughing Buddha that molests the baddies.

Khoonkhar Darinde (1999)

Teerat Singh is one of my favourite directors in this genre. What sets his films apart is the fact that the first half usually has no connection with the second. Singh’s Khoonkhar Darinde has Shakti Kapoor playing a key role. He hides a stash of drugs in the dead body of a hardened criminal. In the second half,the corpse comes alive and turns into a demonic baby that starts to chase a woman,telling her it wants to be born to her.

Qatil Chudail (2001)

The list would be incomplete without a mention of Kanti Shah. The director made a series of films in the same location with the same cast in the same costumes — all perhaps shot on the same night too. Qatil Chudail is one of this series. Those who are aware of Shah’s cinema will also know of his undying love for his wife,actress Sapna Tanveer. Like in most of his films,Sapna has been cast in this too,not in one or two but three roles. Her key part is as Kamini,the woman who has no hold on her jawani ki pyaas and is killed by the moral police only to turn into the qatil chudail. The film’s shoot was probably halfway through when Shah realised he is left with very little reel. The climax has to be the quickest and most abrupt,merely nine minutes long. (For those who tire of her repeated appearances,the film has a duplicate Shakti Kapoor.)

Pyasa Shaitan (1984)

Even if you’ve never watched a B-grade film before,chances are you’ll know Joginder Shelly when you see him,from his bit roles in Heer Ranjha,Amaanat and Betaab,among others. Apparently,Bollywood kept its distance from Shelly for the man’s eccentric ways,which you get a glimpse of in the movies he directed and also acted in,such as Pyasa Shaitan. His most acclaimed work to date — although Ranga Khush remains his biggest box-office hit — it has Kamal Haasan in a key role and has not one boring moment. The director plays Satan or shaitaan. As his follower,Haasan’s job is to lure and trap virgins and bring them to him. But the true USP of Shelly’s films is his far-out visual sense. In one scene,it isn’t a man or the dracula but a tree — also played by Shelly — that is having his way with a woman.

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