We’ll Always Have the Music

27 Apr


It’s hard not to find a soft spot in your heart for someone who worked as doggedly as Feroz Khan to entertain his audience even if you weren’t totally sure what to do with his work. Sometimes, it felt as though he’d had one hell of an acid trip and wanted the rest of us to experience what he’d seen when he was blitzed out of his mind. At others, it was as if he had an idea and deemed it too mundane to be worthy of his fans – and was thus obliged to amp it up, no matter what, to make it worth our while.

Whatever it was that drove him, his movies (the ones he made anyway) were always full of stuff that he appeared to like a lot. There were horses, cars, beautiful women in itty bitty clothes and outsize boobs, amazing music, and a macho sense of frontier justice. It didn’t matter if the movie was set in Afghanistan or in Bombay, the way FK told it, the world was a dangerous place where an outlaw cowboy was waiting to aid the righteous with nothing but his gun for company.

It was Disco Curry Western – a genre, as howlers like Prem Aggan and Janasheen conclusively proved, that was wholly invented and embodied by Feroz Khan alone. There wasn’t a single other person in Bollywood, past or present, who could step under that five gallon hat. [Well, Rajnikanth could do it, I guess, but then he can do anything.]

But while he’s appeared in a bunch of my favorite Hindi movies over the years (including Nagin and Geeta Mera Naam, two of the all-time greatest Hindi B-movies ever, with Sunil Dutt providing the WTF quotient), it’s the music from the movies he directed that have really left an impact on the Hindi movie-going public.

Not everybody might have seen Dayavan, for example (check out its Tamil original, Nayakan, today!), but chances are they’ve heard this song and been equally confused as to the proper reaction to it:

And maybe you can never bring yourself to sit through Dharmatma at one sitting because it’s so many movies in one long, long, long one, you’ve at least sat through a couple of its songs:

… and wanted a lavender convertible

… or an Afghani gypsy

Then, of course, there’s Jaanbaz, a  movie about spoiled rich kids, drugs, boundaries, S&M, teen pregnancy, the law and, um, love? It’s all very 80s fabulous in a way the 80s never actually were except in Feroz Khan’s imagination and thus totally worth the price of admission:

… with Sridevi in chiffon

… with Dimple in Anil Kapoor’s body hair

… with Rekha in a bondage club

But the soundtrack that really left its mark is Qurbani:

… because there’s no one like Zeenat or Nazia

… because Vinod Khanna loves her like two hilariously porny fisherfolk

… because Amjad Khan is awesome and even FK knows not to mess with him

So here’s to Feroz Khan. I hope Heaven’s a top notch ranch that hosts amazing poolside parties.

PS – Has nobody written a review of Nagin? I’m disappointed in you, blogworld! Shame!


Posted by on April 27, 2009 in Celebrity, Entertainment, Movies, Video


21 responses to “We’ll Always Have the Music

  1. Beth

    April 27, 2009 at 3:39 pm

    And shame on me for not knowing more about his work! I’ve only seen him as a snarling, whip-wielding jerk in Bahu Rani, but Todd over at Die Danger! Die Die Kill has had me intrigued forever. Plus who doesn’t want to see disco cowboy?

  2. memsaab

    April 27, 2009 at 3:53 pm

    This is better written than most of the stuff I’ve been reading about him today (misinformed stuff too)…He was a classic and I for one will miss him. I want to stand up and cheer every time he appears onscreen and he made one of the most STYLISH FILMS EVER in Apradh (even before Dharmatma).

    Where did you find that first photo? It makes me want to cry, it’s so sweet 🙂

  3. the post-punk cinema club

    April 27, 2009 at 5:36 pm

    Fab post! You have fably encapsulated FK. Janbaaz is very near to my heart, indeed. RIP, he was great.

  4. shweta

    April 27, 2009 at 5:56 pm

    “Sometimes, it felt as though he’d had one hell of an acid trip and wanted the rest of us to experience what he’d seen when he was blitzed out of his mind”- entirely true, and one of the reasons I love him so!

  5. Gradwolf

    April 27, 2009 at 10:53 pm

    OH, awesome compilation! RIP Feroze Khan.

    Aside – Nazia Hasan and Shahul Hameed(Tamil) are two singers I really miss. Wish they had a lengthier discography…

  6. Broom

    April 27, 2009 at 11:00 pm

    Beautifully written, as always.

  7. tanay

    April 28, 2009 at 12:07 am

    indiequill, did you know that in 2006. fk announced his intention of remaking ‘qurbani’, a few songs have already been rehashed by sanjay gupta… but don’t know what would happen to that now…

    also he was a paaka bangalorite at heart. ‘janbaaz’ was shot in coorg very near to b’lore. also if you remember in ‘yalgaar’ the police officer played the role of police commissioner of bangalore, very unlikely in hindi movies where all the police officers are deputed either in bombay or in some rural part of india.

    rip, fk, the splashy and flamboyant showman.

  8. Ramsu

    April 28, 2009 at 1:39 am

    In today’s Times of India supplement, Sridevi remembers her experience of working with FK on Jaanbaaz. Apparently, she felt a bit uncomfortable in the beginning but he spoke to her in Tamil and put her at ease.

    No matter what I think of his movies, I gotta give him brownie points for that 😀


  9. Prasanth

    April 28, 2009 at 1:42 am

    Awesome tribute and some eye-opener for B-grade movie fans like me…FK had never really occurred to me(some fan eh?).

    Plus he was also the brother of Sanjay Khan and Akbar Khan…who together made Tipu Sultan, Akbar the great, The Great Maratha and Jai Hanuman. Some family record!!!!


  10. sraboneyghose

    April 28, 2009 at 2:45 am

    Very well written…

    FK was truly the Disco Curry Cowboy of B-movies…A true entertainer…May he rest in peace…

  11. DewdropDream

    April 28, 2009 at 5:03 am

    I am so glad you wrote this… very well expressed 🙂

  12. Mom Gone Mad

    April 28, 2009 at 8:35 am

    *Lying prostrate before Goddess Amrita*

    Thank you for blessing me with the spunky disco beats of Aap Jaisa Koi on what was an awful day at work. Life is good with Zeenie babys shimmery, jiggly jugs and gyrating hips on my screen.

    Qurbani is joy in its purest, unadulterated, un-intellectualised form!

  13. Amey

    April 28, 2009 at 9:17 am

    He wanted to remake Qurbani… I am imagining how the remake of Dayavan (or for that matter, Jaanbaaz) would look like in the age of Mallika Shake Sherawat and Rakhi Sawant et al.

  14. M

    April 28, 2009 at 3:00 pm

    RIP certainly.

    hmm…one of the set of the older actors that never made much impression on me (barring the horrible clothes, that the others seem to have outgrown, while FK continued wearing them!) – he was fairly well known around B’lore and I went to school with a relative of his, surprising that I remember so little of him – apart from Qurbani, I can’t think of any of his movies that I want to watch again…


  15. the mad momma

    April 28, 2009 at 3:13 pm

    great post amrita…. i’m so glad to see so many tributes to him

  16. Amrita

    April 28, 2009 at 3:30 pm

    Beth – you have to see Jaanbaz! It’s totally trippy and full of interesting things. I’d really love to know what you think about it. Plus he’s done a bunch of chocolate boy movies early on in his career which were pretty good, but I personally think the movies he made himself are at the heart of the definitive FK experience.

    Memsaab – click on the pic and it’ll take you to the site. But that’s the best of the lot I think. Apradh is pretty fab. His first turn behind the camera and I think his best.

    Shweta – it could have been annoying the way Dev Anand’s later movies became but there was always a sense of fun about it that made it all palatable. For me at least.

    Adithya – (btw, do you prefer Gradwolf to Adithya? I can switch!) Re: nazia, I know! So sad. What songs did Shahul Hameed sing? Youtube is waiting!

    Tanay & Ramsu – that is actually pretty cool. I don’t know many Bollywood stars who can do that. Most of them tend to be the Lara Dutta variety: they’ll take the money but they’ll pull a face about it.

    Prasanth – lolz, I’d forgotten about that. And if you’re into the Bmovies, then you can’t do much better than those two to start you off. I’ll probably do a Nagin review tomorrow or something.

    PPCC, Broom, Bones & 3D – I’m glad I wrote it too. Quite a trip down memory lane.

    MGM – you’re quite welcome and I’m always happy to help! Zeenie cures all woes! I had quite a fun time on Youtube looking for videos for this one.

    Amey – did you just put Mallika Sherawat and Rakhi Sawant in the same class as Zeenie baby and Dimple? OH NO YOU DINT!! 😛

    M – I wouldn’t mind watching Jaanbaz from time to time 🙂 And I can watch Nagin anytime.

    MM – hey there! I didn’t know he was such an icon for people actually. It’s a pleasant surprise.

  17. Amey

    April 28, 2009 at 4:23 pm

    Well, in those movies, it is almost even comparison.

  18. Gradwolf

    April 28, 2009 at 10:28 pm


    Oh, and Adithya is alright!

  19. Nandini Vishwanath

    April 29, 2009 at 8:55 am

    Loved this 🙂 My uncle who is a die hard Bollywood fan spent all of yesterday sending me songs – some of which I’m not sure anyone has heard before! and talking about FK. He almost became dreamy 🙂

  20. pitu

    April 29, 2009 at 2:10 pm

    Yay! An FK post! Loved it and linked to it. I ADORE Janbaaz and actually have the dvd. I used to dance to ‘Pyar do pyar lo’ as a kid, much to the chagrin of my poor parents. Janbaaz was almost entirely shot at FK’s farmhouse in Bangalore- says so in the credits. Whatta gorgeous property! It’s so odd looking at Anil Kapoor and him together in the film coz FK was incredibly urbane and stylish. Anil K came across as an uncouth gavaar in comparison ;-)no offense to Anil fans 😉

    Qurbani was an awesome film as well.. his later fims were rly quite pathetic. He went the Raj Kapoor way. Shooting scantily clad women in sexy scenes is fine in your younger days but it’s just creepy later on. And films like that Janasheen were truly horrid 😦 So I am rly glad he never remade Qurbani!

    It was sad looking at FK’s funeral photos. There was a photo of poor Mumu (Mumtaz) weeping. She was his samdhan or whatever it’s called and they were one of the cutest romantic pairs eva!

  21. Buster

    April 15, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Guys,

    Went to his Ranch FK Estate once, Insider info is that he used to party with a lot of girls(Foreign) in the age group of 14-20.Wonder how he used to procure them….

    Now thats paedophilic tendency…..

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