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The sizzling songs of Parveen Babi – 70th birth anniversary special


On Parveen Babi's 70th birth anniversary (she was born on this day in 1949), we look back at some memorable dance tracks of the disco queen.

Parveen Babi

Mayur Lookhar

The 1980s witnessed the increasing use of disco music in Hindi cinema. Singer-composer Bappi Lahiri and actor Mithun Chakraborty became the kings of the new musical form and its representation on the Hindi screen, respectively.

As for the on-screen disco queen, there were just two contenders for the title, Zeenat Aman and Parveen Babi. Trendsetters in Hindi cinema, they refused to play the archetypal reticent sanskari woman. Instead, they often wore Western attire, smoked, drank and danced in discos.

While Zeenat Aman had a few iconic dance tracks to her credits, Parveen Babi, too, had her share of memorable dance numbers, most of them sung by Asha Bhosle.

4 April 2019. Parveen Babi would have been 70 today. On the occasion, we revisit some sizzling dance numbers picturized on her.

'Uljhan Hazaar Koi Daale' — Chandi Sona (1977)

The location looks more like a wild-themed disco than some cave. Parveen Babi’s jovial show, wearing a simple T-shirt and shorts, entertains both the hero Sanjay Khan and the supporting cast.

Parveen Babi has a childlike expression throughout the song. It especially comes through when she is lip-synching the words 'ni na ni na'. And it's not just her. Everybody else around starts dancing like playful kids.

'Mara Thumka' — Kranti (1981)

This was one of those rare occasions when Parveen Babi donned a conventional look. The poor mujra number was a hit only because Parveen Babi looked like a dream in her desi avatar. The latkas and thumkas kept the desi 'British' actors distracted long enough for the krantikaris (revolutionaries) to save the day.

'Jawani Janeman' — Namak Halaal (1982)

Arguably one of the most popular chartbusters of all time, the track brought out the seductress in Parveen Babi to the fullest. Before Disco Dancer (1982), Bappi Lahiri burst on to the scene with this disco track. And who else but Asha Bhosle could croon this riveting disco song? 

'Raat Baaki' — Namak Halaal (1982)

Though Bappi Lahiri was inspired by Donna Summer, he gave 'Raat Baaki' his own tweak. Yet another chartbuster, this track saw Parveen Babi don a vampish look. Legend has it that her make-up artiste had a hard time getting the perfect look desired by the actress.

Disco tracks require easygoing, smooth groovy moves. Parveen Babi kills it here with her opening moves. This was another Asha Bhosle-Bappi Lahiri classic but Shashi Kapoor, too, lent addtional vocals.

'Yeh Din Toh Aata Hai' — Mahaan  (1983)

A foot-tapping number from the 1983 blockbuster Mahaan, this track saw RD Burman use both Western and Indian musical instruments. Some of these disco songs would see the heroine wooing an aggrieved boyfriend or otherwise seeking his attention. In Namak Halaal (1982), it was Shashi Kapoor. Here it was Amitabh Bachchan. Parveen Babi was her usual vibrant self while Amitabh Bachchan looked great with a moustache.

'No Parking' — Mangal Pandey (1983)

For the first time, Sharon Prabhakar lent her voice to a Parveen Babi film song. The silly lyrics notwithstanding, 'No Parking' was a visual treat. 'No Parking' was no melody but a classic 'Bollywood' disco track from the 1980s. Draped in a golden dress, Parveen Babi dazzled as the disco queen. Looking at the choreography, it is clear Parveen Babi had an air of confidence that was never seen before.

'Yaaron Mere Yaar Se Milo' — Gehri Chot (1983)

The film was called Gehri Chot but this track had the power to heal even the deepest wounds. If it was a disco club, then there was but one woman whom everyone had their eyes on. Parveen Babi. A relatively unheralded track by Asha Bhosle, it is Parveen Babi who keeps the memory of this disco number alive. This, by the way, was not Bappi Lahiri's work. It was an Usha Khanna composition.