A Definitive Ranking of Men’s Facial Hair in Classic Bollywood Films

Raj Kapoor in a promotional photograph for Dil Hi To Hai sporting an 'm' mustache.

Raj Kapoor in a promotional photograph for Dil Hi To Hai (1963) sporting a suave ‘m’ mustache.

Happy Movember! This lovely time of year is a month when men around the world grow out their mustaches to change the face of men’s healthcare–such as through raising awareness for prostate and testicular cancer. Read more about the Movember Foundation here!

Inspired by this movement, today we present a definitive ranking of men’s facial hair in classic Bollywood films, a photographic indulgence of every important mustache and beard that hit the silver screens of Bombay and then bounced straight into our souls. And God knows we needed something this in our lives after that f*$&ing insane apocalypse difficult election week. But be forewarned, some of these manes can bite–and others might make you suddenly feel itchy. Most of all, that fluttering sensation in your chest like a fluffy mustache tickling your heart–that’s called love.

A Definitive Ranking of Men’s Facial Hair in Classic Bollywood Films

15. Kishore Kumar’s waxed perfection in Padosan (1968)

kishore-kumar-padosan-mustache

His mustache is basically a pair of angel wings.

14. Shashi Kapoor’s deadly combo in Chor Sipahee (1979)

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Shashi shines in a shaggy beard and a full-bodied mustache with just a hint of delicate curl. Looking bad never looked so good.

13. Amitabh Bachhan’s full coverage in Do Anjaane (1976)

Amitabh Bachhan beard Do Anjaane.jpg

Amitabh goes incognito behind a blanket of his generous wool.

12. Pradeep Kumar’s Mughal-style beard in Taj Mahal (1963)

Pradeep Kumar beard taj mahal.jpg

The Mughals were champions of many things including the artistry of a man’s face. Note the paintbrush side-burns that complete this regal look.

11. Rishi Kapoor’s bad boy scruff in Laila Manju (1979)

Rishi Kapoor scruff Laila Majnu.jpg

Rishi may be dying of thirst, but his scruff is on fleek right now.

10. Pran’s proud Pathan mane in Zanjeer (1973)

Pran Zanjeer beard.jpg

Pran is a class act as a Pathan sporting a well-tamed auburn fur coating.

9. Vinod Khanna’s caterpillar mustache in Amar, Akbar, Anthony (1977)

Vinod Khanna Amar Akbar Anthony mustache.jpg

Something alive might actually be crawling on his face. Something beautiful and shimmering.

8. Shammi Kapoor’s fluffy goatee in Professor (1962)

Shammi Kapoor Professor goatee.jpg

While this look should never be tried at home, Shammi’s iconic goatee made men of boys.

7. Jeetendra’s provocative chevron mustache in Parichay (1972)

Jeetendra Parichay.jpg

The only thing fuzzier than the tuft of fur nestled in the dimple of Jeetendra’s upper lip is his vision through those thick hipster lenses.

6. Dev Anand’s curly mustache in Hum Dono (1961)

Dev Anand Hum Dono mustache.jpg

Thoughtful, courteous, and deadly–the curly mustache of Dev Anand is nothing short of a war hero.

5. Manoj Kumar’s patriotic handlebar in Shaheed (1965)

Manoj Kumar Shaheed.jpg

Because nothing quite says “Inquilab Zindabad” like a well-trimmed mustache.

4. Raj Kapoor’s pyramidal mustache in Awaara (1951)

Raj Kapoor Awaara mustache.jpg

Once a classic, always a classic. The Egyptians building Giza had no idea what they were inspiring.

3. Rajesh Khanna’s hipster beard in Do Raaste (1969)

Rajesh Khanna Do raaste beard.jpg

Be still my beating heart. I bet there’s a dozen plaid shirts in his closet, and that he listens to actual CDs on his walkman because he just wants to be authentic.

2. Guru Dutt’s emotional mustache in Pyaasa (1957)

Guru Dutt pyaasa mustache.jpg

The only thing quivering more than Guru Dutt’s voice is the 4 mm diameter patch of heaven resting on his upper lip

1. WINNER: Rajkumar’s devastating pencil mustache in Pakeezah (1972)

rajkumar-pencil-mustache-pakeezah

I DIE THE SWEET DEATH BY LOVE OF A MUSTACHE. There are few things in life greater than this show-stealing masterpiece of men’s grooming.

Men, time to take a hard look in the mirror and evaluate if you’re really bringing your full potential to the world. And remember, just because we all love to see a little facial hair in November, it is NEVER OK to flash your chest hair in public in broad daylight à la Amitabh Bachhan, even if it’s just an unsightly tuft from your too-many-buttons-unbuttoned polo shirt. The 70s are over. These things are not equivocal. I just felt like that had to be said.

You’re welcome.

– Mrs. 55

Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar Lyrics and Translation: Let’s Learn Urdu-Hindi

Rajesh Khanna regret aap ki qasam

Rajesh Khanna reflects on the choices he made and the love he lost in Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Happy New Year’s to all our fans and lovers of classic Bollywood! In the spirit of the holiday, we present the lyrics and full English translation to the thought-provoking “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974). In this song, lyricist Anand Bakshi explores the regret of one man who loses his chance to spend time with the people he loves. Rajesh Khanna plays a successful businessman who neglects and mistrusts his loving wife Mumtaz, ultimately costing him his marriage and family. Wanting desperately to make amends, Khanna soon realizes he is unable to change the past. For anyone still thinking of a New Year’s Resolution, this Kishore Kumar hit is sure to inspire!

happier times with mumtaz in aap ki kasam

Ignoring the eyesore of Delhi that is Mumtaz’s horrendous puffy orange sari blouse, happier times once reigned for the estranged couple in Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Like time itself, linear movement is the emphasis of director J. Om Prakash’s gorgeous mis-en-scène. From symbolic train tracks or plodding footsteps to fantasy-pixie Mumtaz’s unidirectional trajectory through the woods, Kishore Kumar’s rich vocals are underlined by a feeling of racing forward with no way of turning back. “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein” shines in stark contrast to the romantic “Karvaten Badalte Rahe” duet sung during a high-key moment of the film. Of equal importance, the song is also a textbook example of the Bollywood cliche demonstrating a strong correlation between despondency of the hero’s love life with the length of the hero’s beard.

rajesh khanna beard aap ki qasam

By the time “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein” finishes, Rajesh Khanna has spiraled into total despondency as evidenced by his increasing length of beard.

We hope that listening to this song may inspire you to appreciate the moments you have with your loved ones over the holidays. So take a break from the daily grind and let those people know how much you care–don’t be a Rajesh Khanna! You’ll find the lyrics and our English translation of the sentimental hit “Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar Jaate Hai” from Aap Ki Kasam (1974) below. Follow along with the video on youtube and let us know YOUR New Year’s resolution in the comments!

Zindagi Ke Safar Mein Guzar Jaate Hai Lyrics and Translation:

Zindagii ke safar mei.N guzar jaate hai.N jo maqaam
Those places you pass in the journey of life
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return

Phuul khilte hai.N, log milte hai.N
Flowers bloom, people meet
Magar patjhaD mei.N jo phuul muDjhaa jaate hai.N
But that flower which dies in Autumn
Woh bahaaro.N ke aane se khilte nahii.N
It does not bloom with the coming of Spring
Kuch log ek roz jo bichhaD jaate hai.N
Those people from whom you are separated one day
Woh hazaaro.N ke aane se milte nahii.N
A thousand others may come, but you will not meet them again
Umr bhar chahe koi pukaaraa kare unkaa naam
Even though you may call their names the rest of your life
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return

rajesh khanna wanders aimlessly in aap ki qasam

Overcome with regret, Rajesh Khanna wanders aimlessly in Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Aa.Nkh dhokaa hai, kya bharosaa hai?
Your eye deceives you, what is the truth?
Suno, dosto.N, shak dostii kaa dushman hai
Listen, friends, doubt is the enemy of friendship
Apne dil mei.N ise ghar banaane na do
Do not let doubt reside in your heart
Kal tadapnaa paDe yaad mei.N jinkii
Those people whose memories will torment you tomorrow
Rok lo rooThkar, unko jaane na do
Stop them when they are upset, do not let them leave
Baad mei.N pyaar ke chahe bhejo hazaaro.N salaam
For later, even though you may wish to greet them with love a thousand times
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return

mumtaz fantasy

In epic slow-motion, Mumtaz prances through the forest of Rajesh Khanna’s fantasy, chunni billowing in the wind.

Subaah aatii hai, raat jaatii hai
Morning comes, the night departs
Yuu.n hii waqt chaltaa hii rehtaa hai, ruktaa nahii.N
In this manner, time marches on, it does not stop
Ek pal mei.N yeh aage nikal jaata hai
In a single moment, time moves forward
Aadmi Theek se dekh paataa nahii.N
Man is unable to see this well
Aur parde pe manzar badal jaata hai
And the view continues to change
Ek baar chale jaate hai jo din raat subaah shaam
But once those days and nights, and those mornings and evenings pass
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return
Woh phir nahii.N aate
They never return

Zindagii ke safar mei.N guzar jaate hai.N jo maqaam
Those places you pass in the journey of life
Woh phir nahin aate
They never return
Woh phir nahin aate
They never return

Glossary:

zindagii: life; safar: journey; guzar jaanaa: to pass, maqaam: place, landmark, milestone; phuul: flower; log: people; patjhaD: Autumn; muDjhaanaa: to become destroyed; bahaar: Spring; khilnaa: to bloom; ek roz: one day; bichhaD jaanaa: to become separated; hazaar: a thousand; umr bhar: whole life; pukaarnaa: to call; naam: name; aa.Nkh: eye; dhokaa: deception, trick; bharosaa: trust; shak: doubt; dostii: friendship; dushman: enemy; ghar: home; taDapnaa: to torment, to flutter; yaad: memory; roknaa: to stop; rooThna: to be upset; jaanaa dena: to let someone leave; baad mei.N: later on, bhejnaa: to send; salaam: greeting; subaah: morning; raat: night; yuu.N hii: in this manner, like this; waqt: time; pal: moment; aadmi: man; thiik se: properly, well; pardaa: veil, [in this case, a movie screen]; manzar: view; badal jaanaa: to change; ek baar: once, one time; din: day; shaam: evening

Rajesh Khanna walks away from the camera

In my favorite shot of the film, Rajesh Khanna walks away from the camera, leaving the viewer alone in the cold Winter morning in Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

For the Urdu snobs, you may note that the plural of the multi-layered term maqaam is technically maqaamaat. The suffix –aat is necessary to denote plurality of certain vocabulary with an Arabic origin, however modern Hindustani often omits this mark of purist pretension–particularly when it would throw off a song’s rhyming scheme! But if you’re quick, you’ll still hear it used in classic film dialogues. Other examples include:

kaaghazaat (pieces of paper)
zevaraat (jewels)
makaanaat (stores)
jawaharaat (rubies)
ma’luumaat (information)

Zindagi Ke Safar Mei.N” was requested by fan Agar Raheem. Our resolution for the New Year is to keep up quicker with requests from fans! If you haven’t seen your request in one of our blog posts yet, don’t worry–it’s coming! Thank you for the fantastic year we’ve had together, and our best wishes for a joyful and prosperous 2014!

Old Classic Bollywood Save the Date!

2014 is going to be a particularly memorable year for us because Mrs. 55 is getting married! Get ready because, you guessed correctly, it’s going to be a classic Bollywood-themed wedding!

-Mrs. 55

Classic Bollywood for Dummies: 15 Hidden Signs, Tricks, and Clichés

Classic Bollywood for Dummies

Scenes from classic Bollywood often make zero sense when taken out of context. In fact, much of classic Bollywood makes no sense even in context.

Do you remember your first old Bollywood film? Or worse, when you forced your previously uninitiated friend to watch a classic Hindi film with you? What about that game-changing moment when you realized you could predict the film’s outcome based solely on the simple fact that Lata Mangeshkar only sang for the real heroine and Asha Bhonsle always sang for the vamp?

We at Mr. and Mrs. 55 know how it goes. We understand the mass confusion that can ensue during a naive viewing party. The recovery can take years. You see, classic Bollywood movies have a secret language of their own. So we’ve put together a guide to old Bollywood films: a compilation of hidden signs, tricks, and cliches that make understanding any classic Hindi film WAY easier. Think of our list of 15 key cinematic tropes of Bollywood as a translation for what the director is really trying to tell you. Welcome to Classic Bollywood for Dummies.

1. A woman faints in the middle of a public gathering.

mother india faint pregnant

In her starring role as Mother India (1959), Nargis collapses after an agricultural celebration into a pile of hay. There can be only one explanation.

She’s pregnant. Is there a valid physiological explanation for this? Questionable. Did it happen to every single Indian woman who ever became pregnant in the 1950s-70s? Obviously. As far as the director is concerned, it sure beats filming an episode of morning sickness.

2. The camera pans from a couple making eyes at each other to the mountainside.

RK

Mumtaz and Rajesh Khanna start to get uncomfortably close before the camera hurriedly pans away from the threatened PG moment in Aap Ki Kasam (1974).

Expect a baby soon. The scenic pan is one of the most classic tropes of Hindi cinema. When a camera pans away to nature’s beauty just before the money, it’s the director’s way of letting the audience know that everything we dreamed of happening is happening…only they can’t let you watch because of censorship law. The baby always shows up on cue a few scenes later.

3. If there are two (or three!) possible love interests, but only one is wearing traditional Indian clothes.

Nanda teen devian indian clothes

Framed by rural imagery with a white chunni billowing the wind, is it any surprise that corn-fed Nanda is the chosen one in Teen Devian (1965)?

He’s going to pick the more Indian one. Despite our hero’s love of the wild wild West, when it comes down to marrying someone he can proudly introduce to his mother, he picks the girl who consistently wears traditional Indian clothing. Equally ridiculous is the director’s oh-so-subtle hint that the film vamp has morally reformed when she at last dons a sari in place of her miniskirt.

4. The camera pans to a candle by the bed and the flame blows out.

aradhana saphal hogi teri

Sharmila Tagore comforts her ill father by convenient candlelight in Aradhana (1971).

Don’t expect that character to return in act II. I don’t know what it is about filming a death scene, that classic Bollywood actors and directors balked at the thought. They’ll usually cover you up until that very last breath–and then the camera will suddenly zoom-in on the candle by the bedside. When the candle blows out, it’s game over for our sick friend.

5. Fog enters the scene.

ghar aayaa mera pardesi fog awaara

In a sequence famously choreographed by French artist Madame Simki, Nargis appears in the moonlight shrouded by fog in Awaara (1951).

There is a 50/50 chance this is all just a dream sequence. Fog indicates that this scene is taking place inside someone’s (or a collective) imagination, but may have never really happened. Song sequences are particularly notorious for this maneuver, portraying fantasies that are not congruent with everyone’s real relationships in the scene immediately following. Take everything you see enhanced by a fog machine with a generous grain of salt.

6. A woman’s sindoor gets smudged.

sindoor smudge amar akbar anothony

Nirupa Roy’s sindoor gets smudged in the opening sequence of Amar, Akbar, Anthony (1977). By the look on her face, it is clear she understands the cinematic implications.

Her husband is as good as dead now. The symbolism of the red sindoor (not to be confused with any old party bindi!) is well-understood by native audiences to denote that a woman is married. If you didn’t know that, and further didn’t know that the director likes to take artistic leaps of judgement, you would probably not understand the horrors of accidentally smearing your sindoor in a classic Bollywood film.

7. A male lead has distinctive shoeware.

dev anand shoe jewel thief

The integrity of Dev Anand’s feet is questioned in Jewel Thief (1967), demanding removal of his shoes at what is about to become a much more interesting house party.

He’s the secret villain. From having feet of two different sizes in Yaadon Ki Baarat (1973), missing toes in Jewel Thief (1967), or the white shoes of death in Humraaz (1967), footware has an important and sinister role in classic Bollywood. Beware the man who draws attention to his shoes. It may mean he has something hidden up his sleeve.

8. Someone’s photo suddenly has a garland around it and they’re nowhere to be seen.

nanda ek pyar ka nagma hai

Manoj Kumar keeps a garlanded photo of his deceased wife in Shor (1972).

That character is now dead. This subtle Indian custom has tricked many a naïve Bollywood viewer. Look specifically for a garland around the frame–it’s no mere decoration! A garland around someone’s photograph indicates that this beloved member of the troop has passed on to greater things. The director assumes you take this for granted as he does, so don’t let this prevent you from following the rest of the film, awaiting that character’s overdue return.

9. When anyone goes to touch an elder’s feet and they try to stop them.

kati patang touching elder's feet

Nasir Hussain awkwardly attempts to block Asha Parekh from touching his feet in their first encounter in Kati Patang (1971). He will prove solid from this point on.

That elder is a good person. We can count on them. The custom generally goes that when someone younger meets or takes leave of an elder, he or she bows down and touches their feet out of respect. You’ll only rarely see this formality taken to completion because if the elder is a good guy, they try to block you halfway, as if to indicate that they are not worthy of such a show of deference. Of course, even the elaborate blockage itself is a formality, but both parties have to give it their best shot. And if the elder successfully intercepts the feet-touching, he or she is officially going to be your friend for life.

10. A miracle occurs. Mom gets her eyesight back after a freak accident, or the lover you thought was dead returns to life.

Rishi Kapoor Amar Akbar Anthony

No matter what your faith, Rishi Kapoor proves devotion pays in Bollywood by divinely igniting the temple lamps using nothing more than his boyish good looks in Amar Akbar Anthony (1977).

Someone has recently prayed. I dare you to point out a Hindi film in which the hero or heroine prays and God doesn’t listen. Usually, the opening line goes something like this, “Bhagwan, main ne tujhe aaj tak kuch nahin manga.” [God, until today I have not asked you for anything.] You would think miracles were a dime a dozen in the ’70s.

11. The nightclub has white people in it.

bramachari white people in nightclub

Mumtaz dazzles her fan-base with grooves even the white folk can’t keep up with in Brahmachari (1968). How many can you count boosting the decor of this hep cat joint?

This is a really, really fancy joint. The director is trying to let you know that hero must be super cool and this place is really fashionable. You get extra points if there is a white woman in the heroine’s posse of girlfriends. I don’t like it either, but these are just the rules of the game.

12. A woman is dressed in all white and sings.

Sadhana2_WohKaunThi

With sari white as snow, the mysterious femme fatale Sadhana creeps on Manoj Kumar in Woh Kaun Thi? (1964)

She might be dead. An all-white sari means she’s either a widow or dead, but you can narrow it down that if she’s singing a Lata song, she’s probably dead. The ghostly femme fatale is a hallmark of the Indian film noir genre.

13. Pran walks onto the set.

pran bhramachari

Oh, Pran. Did you never get your day in the sun?

Despite his obvious game, Pran will never get the girl. So don’t be too worried. I don’t care if he’s the richest, the suavest, or even the best looking guy in the film. His matrimonial prospects are always foiled. On a related note, if you see “And…Pran!” flash at the end of the opening titles, you know the film is going to be good.

14. Lymphosarcoma of the intestine is diagnosed.

amitabh bachan rajesh Khanna anand

Amitabh Bachhan diagnoses Rajesh Khanna with the dreaded lymphosarcoma of the intestine, sealing his fate in Anand (1971).

They will die. Kiss this character goodbye right now for death is inevitable. We dedicated an entire post to this bizarre Bollywood trade secret.

15. The hero grows a beard.

Rajkumar beard heer ranjha

Rajkumar’s suffering is so much more believable once he sprouts more hair in Heer-Ranjha (1970).

Things have really gotten bad. Tragedy has hit a new low. Young Indian men who have no place among the clergy do not grow beards without a reason. In classic Bollywood, that logical reason is misfired love. Once you spot the hero shirking his daily man-scaping duties, his romantic prospects have hit rock bottom.

Feeling like you’ve been struck by lightening? Our all-inclusive Classic Bollywood for Dummies is the first step toward enlightenment! Did we miss a key clue to classic Bollywood films you wish you had known? Add to our list in the comments!

– Mrs. 55