I have covered her contemporaries (and frequent colleagues) Helen and Laxmi Chhaya; now it is beautiful Bela’s turn! Many of my favorite Bela musical moments are not part of an actual film song. CID 909, a film that makes Excellent Use of Bela, has a perfect example of that in a scene where she is teaching a dance class. Cha Cha Cha is another—she and Helen dance together in several scenes (one, two—can you spot a very young Mac Mohan grooving along?) but not to an actual song included in the movie’s official soundtrack. Those are often some of the best moments in her films, although she is no slouch at item numbers either. She clearly just loves to be moving and has a wonderfully natural sense of rhythm. Her beauty is exotic: high cheekbones to die for, slanting eyes and full lips, plus a figure to kill for make her unforgettable (she sometimes reminds me of Sophia Loren).
All the (very incomplete) filmographies I have found for her list the excellent Ek Phool Char Kante as her debut film, where she plays a friend of heroine Waheeda Rehman.
Update: Tom has discovered that she was also in the earlier (1959) Main Nashe Mein Hoon, where she has a dance and a small speaking part. He has added the video to his Dailymotion site. I’ve also since seen her in Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan from the same year—no song (at least that made it onto the dvd), but a fairly significant role.
Like Helen and Laxmi, when she has a larger role in a film her dancing skills sometimes go to waste. Casting those three in films and not giving them dances would be punishable by death in my country (by which I mean Memsaabistan, not the US of A). Unless they didn’t want to dance, which is another story. And also like Laxmi, there is almost no information about Bela Bose on the vast interwebs or anywhere else that I can find. I’m hoping that those who do know something will leave us a comment here so we can add to our storehouse of knowledge on this talented beauty! And do chime in with YOUR favorite Bela Bose songs too.
10. “Bujha Do Deepak” from Tarzan and King Kong (1965) (sung by Suman Kalyanpur; music by Robin Banerjee, lyrics by A Shamsheer). Excellent Use of Bela as she plays Shibani, Queen of the Jungle and plots and plans with my favorite King of Weird Outfits Shyam Kumar.
9. “Nadi Ka Kinara Ho” from CID 909 (1967) (sung by Asha; music by OP Nayyar, lyrics by Verma Malik). Bela had two songs in this (the other being “Tera Nikhra Nikhra Chehra“) as well as a sizable role as Rosie, a CID Agent colleague of Feroz Khan and sometime dance instructor, where we get to see her leading a bunch of girls in an energetic and fabulous (though short) sixties shimmy like no other. My other favorite is this song, a Hawaiian hula-flavored dance. See the film just for Bela, although there is no shortage of non-Bela related goodness in it too!
Update: new video with subtitles by Ava. Thank you Ava! As Tom says:
“The water should be naughty”…she translated as…”The waves are restless” which itself refers to the singer’s almost desperate search for a loved one. And the video reflects this as Bela first “interviews” and then rejects all the “applicants” or “suitors”. I love this song even more now that I have a better understanding of what it’s about.
Bringing the true poetry of Hindi song lyrics alive, one song at a time! (Take THAT, Indian dvd manufacturers!)
8. “Janoon Na Janoon” from Boxer (1966) (sung by Asha; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, lyrics by Anand Bakshi). This film just has great songs all the way around, and Bela’s is no exception. She channels a geisha (think “Mera Naam Chin Chin Choo”) and it’s all vaguely racist in that gleeful way of Hindi cinema of the time. I love it!
7. “Deep Jale Dekho” from Dil Daulat Duniya (1972) (sung by Asha, Usha Khanna and Rekha Jaykar; music by Shankar Jaikishan, lyrics by Verma Malik). A Diwali dance extravaganza with Helen and Bela doing the real dancing, and Sadhana trying to keep up! It’s a fun film too which makes Excellent Use of Helen and Bela.
6. “Zindagi Ka Nasha” from Wahan Ke Log (1967) (sung by Asha; music by C Ramchandra, lyrics by Shakeel Badayuni). This movie really really really needs to be subtitled and put on a DVD. It is crazy flying-saucers-meet-mod-sixties-Hindi-cinema, liberally populated with fabulous songs. Bela looks stunning (she is the villain NA Ansari’s henchwoman Sofia) and she’s backed up by a pantheon of pale-skinned extras. Goras represent!
5. “Lai Lai Maula Lai Lai” from Sinbad Alibaba Aur Aladin (1965) (sung by Asha, Usha Mangeshkar and Minoo Purshottam; music by Ravi). A fantastically fun Arabian Nights tale. Bela dances with two other girls whose identities escape me to distract the maharaja’s soldiers from finding our three heroes. Tom has uploaded the video (did the best he could with the abysmal source quality) with subtitles also by Ava!
4. “Uff Ye Beqarar Dil” from Dil Aur Mohabbat (1968) (sung by Asha; music by OP Nayyar, lyrics by Shewan Rizvi). Another film to make Excellent Use of Bela! She plays Kishori, a gambling club dancer who falls for Joy Mukherjee. She has three excellent songs in this, the other two being a mujra called “Bade Khoobsurat” and the short but eye-popping “My Name is Kishori“. This is my favorite though: sultry and seductive Bela at her best!
3. “Aaja O Zara Aaja” from Main Wohi Hoon (1966) (sung by Usha Khanna; music by Usha Khanna, lyrics by Asa Bhopali). Bela has two songs in this movie, one with IS Johar called “O Paricham Mere Hamdam” and this one, which I never get tired of watching. Feroz Khan wears a Beatles mop-top wig, and dances with Bela and, yes, a bunch of gori extras! It ends in headshaking convulsions which make my neck hurt to watch (but doesn’t stop me from doing so, over and over and over).
2. “Hai Nazar Ka Ishara” from Anita (1967) (sung by Lata and Usha Mangeshkar; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, lyrics by Anand Bakshi). Another Arabian Nights-flavored tune and another song I never tire of, especially the opening chords that accompany Bela and Madhumati in silhouette.
1. “Dhadkan Har Dil Ki” from Abhinetri (1970) (sung by Lata; music by Laxmikant Pyarelal, lyrics Majrooh Sultanpuri). This song is EXACTLY WHY I love Hindi cinema. That is all.
Bela, wherever you are, feel the love!
The videos at Dailymotion are remastered by and courtesy of my friend tommydan1, who deplores my taste in films but shares my love for these people (especially dancers) who are so underrepresented in Hindi cinema history. (He is looking for someone to help him with subtitle improvement—if you’d like to help out, let us know. He is very skilled at improving the audio and video and removing those awful omnipresent logos which is a great service to us all.) Thanks Tom!
I’ve put together a list of the films that I have seen Bela in (the ones I remember, anyway) plus what I’ve found on the internet (so may not be completely accurate and certainly is not comprehensive). If you’ve seen her in a movie not listed here, let me know and I’ll add it!
Bela Bose Filmography:
- Chirag Kahan Roshni Kahan (1959)
- Main Nashe Mein Hoon (1959) (“Ya Na Thi Hamari Kismat”)
- Sujata (1959)
- Ek Phool Char Kaante (1960) (no song)
- Mud Mud Ke Na Dekh (1960) (“Baghon Mein Kabutar Kale”)
- Mall Road (1961)
- Opera House (1961) (no song)
- Zabak (1961) (instrumental dance number)
- Aaya Toofan (1962)
- Anpadh (1962) (no song)
- Hawa Mahal (1962) (no song)
- Prem Patra (1962)
- Professor (1962) (“Yeh Umar Hai Kya”)
- Rashtraveer Shivaji (1962)
- Baghi Shahzada (1963)
- Bandini (1963)
- Bidesiya (1963)
- Sunheri Nagin (1963)
- Aaya Toofan (1964) (“Zara Sambhalna”)
- April Fool (1964) (no song)
- Cha Cha Cha (1964) (instrumental non-soundtrack dances)
- Challengej (1964)
- Chitralekha (1964) (“Ae Ri Jane Na Doongi”; “Kaahe Tarsaaye Jiyara”)
- Fariyad (1964)
- Khooni Khazana (1964)
- Magic Carpet (1964)
- Mujrim Kaun Khooni Kaun (1964)
- Sati Naari (1964)
- Ziddi (1964) (no song)
- Hub Saab Ustad Hain (1965) (“Bambai Ka Yeh Babu”)
- Lootera (1965) (“O Dilwalon Saaze Dil Pe”)
- Maharaja Vikram (1965)
- Poonam Ki Raat (1965) (“Kehdo Koi Bedardi”)
- Tarzan Comes to Delhi (1965) (“Kari Kari Ankhiyon Se”)
- Tarzan and King Kong (1965) (“Bujha Do Deepak Karo Andhera”)
- Shree Ram Bharat Milap (1965)
- Sinbad Alibaba Aur Aladin (1965) (“Lai Lai Maula Lai Lai”)
- Zindagi Aur Maut (1965)
- Aasra (1966) (“Sajana Kidhar Sari”)
- Amrapali (1966)
- Boxer (1966) “Janoon Na Janoon”)
- Devar (1966) (“Hay Roothe Saiyyan”)
- Daku Mangal Singh (1966) (“Pyar Kiya Hai”)
- Dillagi (1966) (“Dupatta Aodhe”)
- Dil Ne Phir Yaad Kiya (1966) (no song)
- Main Wohi Hoon (1966) (“O Paricham Mere Hamdam”; “Aaja O Zara Aaja”)
- Neend Hamari Khwab Tumhare (1966) (“Sakia Ek Jaam”)
- Anita (1967) (“Hai Nazar Ka Ishara”)
- C.I.D. 909 (1967) (“Nadi Ka Kinara Ho”; “Tera Nikhara Nikhara Chehra”)
- Baghdad Ki Raatein (1967)
- Baharon Ke Sapne (1967) (“Do Pal Jo Teri Aankhon”)
- Fareb (1967) (“Ae Zindagi Ke Saathi”; “Ban Jaao Tum Mehman”)
- Jab Yaad Kisike Aati Hai (1967)
- Lav-Kush (1967) (“Aao Re Pyaari”)
- Wahan Ke Log (1967) (“Zindagi Ka Nasha”)
- Dil Aur Mohabbat (1968) (“My Name Is Kishori”; “Uff Ye Beqarar Dil”; “Bade Khoobsurat”)
- Shikar (1968) (“Jab Se Laagi To Se Nazariya”)
- Chanda Aur Bijli (1969)
- Jeene Ki Raah (1969)
- Sapna (1969)
- Abhinetri (1970) (“Dhadkan Har Kil Ki”)
- Ilzam (1970) (“Hamari Aah Kab Tak”)
- Haseenon Ka Devata (1971)
- Murder in Circus (1971) (“Duniya Mein Raho”)
- Nadaan (1971) (“Chubh Gayi”)
- Purani Pehchaan (1971)
- Umang (1971)
- Bhai Ho To Aisa (1972) (instrumental non-soundtrack dances)
- Dil Daulat Duniya (1972) (“Deep Jale Dekho”)
- Dhamkee (1973)
- Rocky Mera Naam (1973)
- Jai Santoshi Maa (1975)
- Solah Shukrawar (1977)
- Raja Harishchandra (1979)
- Sau Din Saas Ke (1980)