The Making of Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi
By Suguna Sundaram Kishore Kumar apparently made Chalti Ka Naam Gaadihoping it would flop. He wanted to show losses in his income and avoid paying a huge income tax to the authorities. So he made two films, Lookochuri in Bengali and Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi in Hindi, and waited eagerly for them to collapse. Both [...]
By Suguna Sundaram
Kishore Kumar apparently made Chalti Ka Naam Gaadihoping it would flop. He wanted to show losses in his income and avoid paying a huge income tax to the authorities. So he made two films, Lookochuri in Bengali and Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi in Hindi, and waited eagerly for them to collapse.
Both went on to be raging successes. Kishore was so disgusted with this that he gifted Chalti Ka Naam… and all its rights to his secretary Anoop Sharma, who retained the copyright.The income tax case on Kishore Kumar was not solved even after forty years. Two songs in the film were plagiarised on Kishore’s request. Hum the who thi…is a take-off on The Water MellonSong and Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi sion 16 Tons from the album 16 Tons of Tennessee Ernie.
Amit Kumar’s favourite song is Paanch rupaiya barah anna, the picturisation of which is the only memory he has from the days of the film’s production. The song was shot at Roopkala studio and also recorded there in the recording van they had in those days. R D Burman and Jaydev were assistants of music director S D Burman in the film.
The romance between Kishore Kumar and Madhubala started during the picturisation of the song Haal kaisa hai janab ka in Mahabaleshwar. It is believed that Kishore Kumar stood Madhubala up during their first date. He promised to meet her somewhere outside the hotel where she waited but didn’t turn up as he was busy with S D Burman and the music department.
After Mahabaleshwar, Aloke Dasgupta, the cameraman of the film, who was also the couple’s confidante, stopped going to Kishore’s house as he did not know how to face Kishore’s wife Ruma. Aloke advised Kishore to think twice before taking any step further with Madhubala, advice which Kishore obviously disregarded.
Madhubala and Kishore Kumar were first seen together in J K Nanda’s Dhake Ka Malmal (1956).
Chalti Ka Naam… was originally supposed to be directed by Kamal Mazumdar who had also made Looko Churi. On the day of the mahurat of Chalti…, Kamal Mazumdar panicked. He went to Kishore’s house just three hours before the event and confessed his under-confidence in directing the three brothers together. Kishore immediately thought of Bandi, a film which starred him and Ashok Kumar and decided to take its director Satyen Bose for this venture.
Just in time for the mahurat, a much-confused Satyen Bose was rushed to the sets where he was made to direct the mahurat as well. The story, characters and cast were fed to him much later.
The picturisation of the song Ek ladki bheegi bhaagi si… was the fire test for cameraman Aloke Dasgupta, who was just 23 years old. The director, Satyen Bose, had no faith in a new cameraman but Kishore Kumar insisted that he try Aloke out. Satyen Bose agreed to take him only on the basis of how he shot the song.
Madhubala did not want to do the scene in which the villain Sajjan proposes to her. She thought the dialogues were not proper and she would feel uncomfortable doing it. Director Satyen Bose had to employ various tactics for hours in order to convince her to do the scene.
While shooting for the song on a lake in Mahabaleshwar, cameraman Aloke Dasgupta fell off the boat into the water and almost drowned as he didn’t know how to swim. Madhubala was so scared by the incident that Kishore had to call for a pack-up.
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi was the first out-and-out comedy film to be a hit in the Indian film industry. Kishore was inspired by the art of Hollywood’s Marx brothers. It was also the first film that presented the titles in a comical style.
Chalti Ka Naam Gaadi was followed by another venture, Rukti Ka Naam Khatara. But like Kishore’s other ventures – Pyaar Ajnabi Hai, Suhana Geet and Band Master Chik Chik Boom – this one never saw the light of day.