the ghazal

When Danny Denzongpa sang ghazals

Apart from a flourishing film career, the actor sang in Hindi and Nepali.

When Tshering Phintso Denzongpa was auditioning for roles in the 1970s, the Film and Television Institute of Indian alumnus was told that he looked too exotic for Hindi cinema. The Sikkimese actor had already changed his first name to Danny, on the recommendation of his FTII classmate Jaya Bachchan, but he was an oddity in a world that was and still is hostile towards actors from the North-east.

Denzongpa started out with bit parts in Gulzar’s Mere Apne (1971) and Zaroorat (1972) before his break-out performance in BR Chopra’s Dhund (1973). Over the next three decades, Denzongpa played innumerable roles, including the iconic gangster Kancha Cheena in Mukul Anand’s Agneepath (1990), a role that was reprised by Sanjay Dutt in the 2012 remake.

The singing break came in the form of bait for a role. In Yeh Gulistan Hamara (1972), Denzongpa was initially cast as a Naga rebel, but the part went to Sujit Kumar. The movie’s director, Atma Ram, offered Denzongpa the role of a servant, tempting him with the added bonus of a song. Denzongpa recorded the duet “Mera Paas Aao” with Lata Mangeshkar for music composer Sachin Dev Burman, but he lost out on the role to Johnny Walker. Atma Ram wanted to dub Denzongpa’s song with Manna Dey, but Burman insisted that Walker be filmed in Denzongpa’s voice.

Play
‘Mera Paas Aao’ from ‘Yeh Gulistan Hamara’.

The slurring accent is meant to be a parody of how people from the North-east sound when they sing in Hindi. The track was dropped from the movie after protests by members of the Ao community from Nagaland, which seems to have been the inspiration for the unnamed tribe depicted in the plot.

Whatever the circumstances, Denzongpa’s brief singing career had kicked off. He was born in Sikkim in 1948 into a family of horse breeders. He played the flute and could hold a note while shepherding horses through the valley. When Denzongpa enrolled at FTII for the acting course, music was part of the curriculum.

The opportunity to sing came again in Kala Sona (1975) under the baton of Rahul Dev Burman. In “Sun Sun Kasam Se”, written by Majrooh Sultanpuri, Denzongpa’s co-singer was Asha Bhosle, with whom he would later collaborate for Nepali songs. The song was immensely popular, but Denzongpa wasn’t exactly flooded with singing offers.

Play
‘Suno Suno Kasam Se’ from ‘Kala Sona’.

In Mahesh Bhatt’s Naya Daur (1978), Denzongpa sang with Kishore Kumar and Mohammed Rafi. He did not get behind a microphone again until 1985, when Nadeem-Shravan released the album Star Ten in which actors like Anil Kapoor, Jackie Shroff, Mithun Chakraborty, Sachin and Danny Denzongpa sang songs alongside actresses like Kajal Kiran, Kalpana and Vijayta Pandit.

Play
‘Yun Dhoop Mein Na Jao’ from ‘Star Ten’.

Denzongpa’s intermittent singing career included the record Nazm, Geet and Ghazal under the EMI music label in 1979. In “Bagair Ishq Ke”, Denzongpa announces that he will pursue ghazal singing as a career. He sings from his heart, but the texture of his sonorous voice does not quite compliment the form. Nazm, Geet and Ghazal remains Denzongpa’s only excursion into the territory.

Play

Although Denzongpa’s Hindi film playback career did not take off, his fall-back option in the language in which he is fluent worked. Denzongpa has given voice to several hit Nepali songs. Watching him dance around Asha Bhosle in “Aage Aage Topai Ko Gola,” one of those rare occasions on which the disciplined actor lets his floppy hair down.

Play
‘Aage Aage Topai Ko Gola’.
Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Get ready for an 80-hour shopping marathon

Here are some tips that’ll help you take the lead.

Starting 16th July at 4:00pm, Flipkart will be hosting its Big Shopping Days sale over 3 days (till 19th July). This mega online shopping event is just what a sale should be, promising not just the best discounts but also buying options such as no cost EMIs, buyback guarantee and product exchanges. A shopping festival this big, packed with deals that you can’t get yourself to refuse, can get overwhelming. So don’t worry, we’re here to tell you why Big Shopping Days is the only sale you need, with these helpful hints and highlights.

Samsung Galaxy On Nxt (64 GB)

A host of entertainment options, latest security features and a 13 MP rear camera that has mastered light come packed in sleek metal unibody. The sale offers an almost 40% discount on the price. Moreover, there is a buyback guarantee which is part of the deal.

Original price: Rs. 17,900

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Samsung 32 inches HD Ready LED TV

Another blockbuster deal in the sale catalogue is this audio and visual delight. Apart from a discount of 41%, the deal promises no-cost EMIs up to 12 months.

Original price: Rs. 28,890

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 10,900

Intel Core I3 equipped laptops

These laptops will make a thoughtful college send-off gift or any gift for that matter. Since the festive season is around the corner, you might want to make use of this sale to bring your A-game to family festivities.

Original price: Rs. 25,590

Big Shopping Days price: Rs. 21,900

Fashion

If you’ve been planning a mid-year wardrobe refresh, Flipkart’s got you covered. The Big Shopping Days offer 50% to 80% discount on men’s clothing. You can pick from a host of top brands including Adidas and Wrangler.

With more sale hours, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days sale ensures we can spend more time perusing and purchasing these deals. Apart from the above-mentioned products, you can expect up to 80% discount across categories including mobiles, appliances, electronics, fashion, beauty, home and furniture.

Features like blockbuster deals that are refreshed every 8 hours along with a price crash, rush hour deals from 4-6 PM on the starting day and first-time product discounts makes this a shopping experience that will have you exclaiming “Sale ho to aisi! (warna na ho)”

Set your reminders and mark your calendar, Flipkart’s Big Shopping Days starts 16th July, 4 PM and end on 19th July. To participate in 80 hours of shopping madness, click here.

Play

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Flipkart and not by the Scroll editorial team.