Speaking of ‘vamps’ in Indian cinema’s “golden era”, I can’t help but think of Helen… the epitome of verve and pizzazz! It will be hard to extoll virtues about this most elegant lady — a contradiction, eh? But I only saw her on the Hindi cinema screen, usually in the role of the “other woman” – who would be held solely responsible for the itinerant ways of the ‘virtuous’ male hero/protagonist represented not unlikeย  “Ram” – epitome of the perfect Indian male. Her goal in life (in the film) would be to seduce this hero. If he was wayward, she was to be blamed, wholly and solely. Holey moley… but that’s baloney. You bet! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Here are a few songs I enjoy thoroughly… many of these I may have seen in more recent years. I’m sure, I’d watched these films with my parents – oops, sorry, correction, father never watched Hindi movies with us. Beyond the nineteen fifties he had little interest in them. As for why I was with Maa, obviously she would have wanted to go to the movies and with no one to baby-sit us – the kids – we all must have often tagged along when she (with her friends and their kids) all went together for the afternoon show, or for a 6-9 p.m. I would have shut my eyes – aghast, or asleep – eyes covered with Maa’s pallu… to this day, I often fall asleep towards the end of a film. ๐Ÿ™‚

Aghast! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But after all it’s a story of revenge! “Intaqam” (1969) Aa jaane jaa (seduction personified, but would it be politically correct to depict thus today, I wonder). ๐Ÿ˜‰

Lyricist: Rajinder Kishen; Music Director: Laxmikant-Pyarelal; Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar ๐Ÿ™‚ Oddly so ๐Ÿ˜‰

How vivacious is Helen here – prancing, pouting, perhaps in collusion with Pran – the villain who seemed to feature in every film, it seemed to my kiddie brain then. Much later, I learned that this ‘sly’, ‘devious’ character was in reality a man of immense class. Alas… he too is now away… remaining as a memory, visible only on the silver screen.

Lyricist: Hasrat Jaipuri; Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishan; Playback Singer: Lata Mangeshkar yet again. ๐Ÿ™‚ Based on Agatha Christie’s novel, “And then there were none“, the Film: Gumnaam (1965) directed by Raja Nawathe.

Helen’s version of a “loving feeling” — “Rassa Sayang Re” from the Hindi film “Singapore” (1960)… truly endearing, especially the outfit goes well with her semi-oriental (Burmese) genes.ย  ๐Ÿ™‚

Music Director: Shankar-Jaikishan; Playback Singers: Lata Mangeshkar & Mohommad Rafi; Actor: Shammi Kapoor

Now, going forward, backwards, upwards or below…ย  if this is a drunken ‘awara badal’ – Helen… I’ll take her. ๐Ÿ™‚ Adorable. But here are some surprise elements! Wow… Lyricist: Anand Bakshi; Film: Awara Badal (1964);ย  Music Director: Usha Khanna; Playback: Asha Bhosle

We all have our favorite “Helen” songs… overtly or kept a close, closet secret! ๐Ÿ˜‰ But here’s one easy to share… just lovely. Ooi Maa… (I could not have slept through this one unless I never did see the film!) Filled with energy… and ‘love’ is hard to keep as secret for long!

Film: Parasmani (1963); Playback: Lata Mangeshkar; Music Composers: Laxmikant-Pyarelal; Lyricist: Farooq Qaisar

Sources: YouTube, Hindi Geetmala, Wikipedia, and of course… Google.

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2 thoughts on “A bundle of verve, pizzazz… Helen!

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