It was only yesterday that I posted on the song Azhagiya Mithilai Nagarinile, from the film Annai (1962). I had if you recollect mentioned that the movie was made in Hindi as Laadla with Nirupa Roy in place of Bhanumathi. This morning, I get an email from my dear friend Ramineni Bhaskarendra of Madanapalle, my go to man for all matters cinema and Telugu, that the same sequence was also shot for the Hindi film. And here it is:

What I was surprised to find was that this sequence, featuring Jagdeep and Kumud Chughani, had a slightly different set of buildings. Also while Azhagiya Mithilai was shot mostly on location, this song appears to have been shot in studio, with the couple seated in a stationary car and the hero twiddling a steering. The sequence, unlike its Tamil version is poorly shot and as for the music, I don’t expect anything from Laxmikant Pyarelal, two of the most mediocre music directors we have ever had. The song was sung by Mohammad Rafi and Asha Bhonsle.

But the backdrop, clearly shot independently, features some new discoveries:

 

  1. There was a U turn in front of Senate House in the 1960s and when the car swerves you get a clear view of the University Centenary Auditorium
  2. There is clear shot of Anderson’s church when the car moves down Esplanade.
  3. State Bank of Mysore building is also seen clearly.
  4. At 3.24, when the car sweeps in front of a Swasthik Tobacco signboard, there is a church in the background. Is that St Andrew’s Kirk? The same church appears in 4.02.
  5. At 2.54, there is a suburban train moving alongside. Is this shot where the RBI subway came up later?

Bhaskarendra also adds an analysis on why in his view Laadla flopped and it is interesting, giving you an idea of how dynamic the film industry was then:

When ‘Laadla’ was released in April 1966, majority of the Hindi films on show were in color.   Moreover many films had melodious songs when compared with the songs of Ladla .   Even the two hit movies in black and white released during this year ‘Yeh Raat Phir Na Ayegi’ and ‘Theesri Kasam’ had super hit songs.   When this film was released films like ‘Gumnaam’ and ‘Jab Jab Phool Khile’ (it was released in the summer of 1966 in Midland Talkies and had a good run, and was the first movie I saw in Madras) which were released in December 1965 were also showing all over India.  Apart from these two movies, Madras films like Venus Pictures ‘Suraj’  (in Technicolour),  L.V. Prsad’s ‘Daadi Maa’, Chitralaya’s ‘Pyar Kiye Jaa’  and Bombay’s production Manoj Kumar starrer ‘Do Badan’ were also released during the first half of  1966.   Dilip Kumar’s ‘Dil Diya Dard Liya’ and Joy Mukherjee’s ‘Love in Tokyo’ released in July 1966.   Two Bengal-based movies Charu Chitra’s  ‘Mamta’(Uttar Falguni in Bengali) and Satyen Bose’s ‘Mere Lal’ was also released before April.   When Mamta released in April in Andhra, the posters said the film (Uttar Falguni) ran for 700 days in Calcutta and when Mere Lal was released in Bombay they publicized that the original Bengali film ‘Badshah’ was running in it’s 58th week in Calcutta. Till 2000 the Hindi films used to be released in different circuits in different weeks.   So to be released all over India it used to take 6 to 8 weeks.  So all these movies gave stiff competition to Ladla and even if Bhanumathi had been there, the movie would not have been a hit.”Ladla has Balraj Sahni, that superlative actor in a key role as well. I guess that made no difference either.

Bhaskarendra sends numerous pics of posters of Ladla and its Telugu version. I feature the Hindi one in this post.

This article is part of a series I write on old film songs, mainly in Hindi and Tamil. You can read the earlier parts here