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'Mogambo' gives playback for film
23rd Sept 2000  
By Tanuka Chakraverty  

There was a time when there was a clear demarcation between acting and singing in Bollywood.

After the concept of 'playback' arrived, actors did only acting while singers rendered songs for their lips on screen. Any actor who showed an inclination to sing for his films, never made it to the good books of the filmmakers. The actor's career invariably suffered.

Sulakshana Pandit was one artiste, for example, who insisted in singing her own songs in her films, and her career never really took off. Apart from a stray Uljhan or a Khandaan, Sulakshana is best remembered as Sanjeev Kumar's bride-in-waiting. Kishore Kumar was probably an exception but then he too gradually shifted focus on singing.

The reasons behind the producers' wariness to allow actors to sing were many. Firstly, if actors sang, the singer's job was in jeopardy. The singer in turn put the producer under pressure to dissuade the actor from singing. Secondly, the actor would be sailing in two boats, possibly not giving enough attention to any one vocation. Thirdly, the producers and directors wanted to have freedom in selecting actors and singers for their ventures.

These days, things are happening in the reverse though. Producers and directors are running after actors asking them to sing. When 'Aye Shivani' by Sanjay Dutt, 'Apan Bola' by Shah Rukh Khan, 'Aati Kya Khandala' by Aamir Khan scorched chartbusters, an item number by every star has almost become mandatory.

Popular villain and character actor Amrish Puri takes the current fad a step forward by lending his voice for forthcoming Badmaash No. 1. The producer is sure that a song by him will be an added attraction for the film. Puri as 'Mogambo' is still a rage with kids and they may enjoy his singing. Badmaash No.1, a comedy with a liberal dose of action, is expected to hit theatres by the year end.