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'Dhak Dhak' story: Remembering Madhuri's sensuous song on Beta's 25th birthday

Few know about the making of the song and the clever way in which the producers circumvented the objections of the censor board. 

Sukhpreet Kahlon

It is 25 years since the highest grossing Hindi film of 1992, Beta, created ripples with one of the most popular songs of the decade. 'Dhak Dhak Karne Laga' won for Anuradha Paudwal the Filmfare Award for Best Female Playback Singer and the award for Best Choreographer for Saroj Khan. The film won Madhuri Dixit the award for Best Actress and the title of 'Dhak Dhak girl'.

Although the sensuous number remains ingrained in memory, few know about the making of the song and the clever way in which the producers circumvented the objections of the Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC) to it.

How Anil Kapoor's Beta turned the filmy 'maa' stereotype upside down

The shooting of the song was planned over six days at Bombay's Raj Kamal Studio just 15 days before the scheduled release of the film. Owing to some issues with Madhuri Dixit’s dates, however, after two days of shooting, director Indra Kumar was told that it had to be wrapped up in a day. Kumar's first reaction was to scrap the song altogether, but cinematographer Baba Azmi offered to complete the shooting in a day if the director could ensure that there were no retakes. Thus, the song was wrapped up at night and everyone was happy with the results.

However, there was another, bigger impediment to cross — the censor board, as the CBFC is popularly known. When the film was sent for certification, the board wanted to delete the entire mukhada (introduction), effectively taking away the most crucial part of the song. The producers were petrified and asked Saroj Khan to come along for the meeting and help them out.

In a documentary on her career, titled The Saroj Khan Story, the ace choreographer recounted the incident. The board had objected to the fact that there was much heaving of the bosom and deliberate exaggeration of certain movements in the song.

Khan noticed that one woman member of the CBFC was wearing high heels. She requested her to get up and walk about the room. When the woman did so, her hips moved in a slightly exaggerated manner, which happens when one is trying to balance oneself while wearing high heels.

Khan pointed this out and argued that when dancing, one has to exaggerate such movements to demonstrate the lyrics. And as the lyrics of the song went 'dhak dhak', to signify the beating of the heart, one had to show the movement of the chest to indicate this.

Khan's argument convinced the woman member and, in a major victory for the producers, the song was left intact!