Stories in a song

Redemption song: ‘Laila O Laila’ by Kanchan

The singer’s breakout number from 1980 is returning to the big screen this year.

Kumari Kanchan Dinkerao Mail sang one of the biggest disco hits of the 1980s, “Laila O Laila” (Qurbani, 1980), but not under that long-winded name. She is better known as Kanchan of the Babla & Kanchan Orchestra, which she formed with her husband.

Born in 1950, Kanchan’s career as a playback singer began in 1974, when music composers Kalyanji-Anandji gave her a break in the devotional film Har Har Mahadev. She sang the bhajan “Paiyan Pade Parvati.”

The next year, Kanchan sang the romantic duet “Tumko Mere Dil Ne Pukara Hai” by Kalyanji-Anandji in Rafoo Chakkar. Shot with Rishi Kapoor and Neetu Singh, the song gained popularity and familiarised listeners with her voice. In 1975, Kanchan followed the hit trail with “Kya Khoob Lagti Ho” in Dharmatma for the same composer duo. She sang exclusively for them in the films Chori Mera Kaam (1975), Kalicharan (1976) and Atithee (1978).

In 1980, Kalyanji-Anandji composed the music for Qurbani, but their soundtrack was nearly usurped by guest composer Biddu, who introduced the Pakistani singer Nazia Hassan in the song “Aap Jaisa Koi.”

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‘Laila O Laila’ from the film ‘Qurbani’.

Although “Laila O Laila” was plagiarised from “Chicano” by the African funk band Black Blood, it gave Kanchan a boost as a stage performer. She earned a Filmfare Best Playback Singer nomination, which she lost out to Nazia Hassan. Yet, the success of the song set into motion extensive tours across the world with Babla. They met record producer Rohit Jaggesar and released an album called Kuch Gadbad Hai (1984), mixing Indian dholaks with Caribbean drums. It was very popular in the West Indies and was considered a milestone in the chutney music genre, which blends Caribbean, Bhojpuri and Western sounds.

Kanchan had a string of hits such as “Kaise Bani”, “Tiny Winy” and “Leggo Me Na Raja” in the Caribbean. While fame followed her elsewhere, she lost out in Bollywood. After Qurbani, she sang for only two films, one of which was “Sapno Ki Duniya Hai” in Hero Hiralal (1988), in which she makes an appearance.

Kanchan died in 2004. “Laila O Laila” is being remixed for the upcoming film Raees, and will feature Shah Rukh Khan and Sunny Leone. A fitting tribute, perhaps.

Singer Kanchan.
Singer Kanchan.
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Advice from an ex-robber on how to keep your home safe

Tips on a more hands-on approach of keeping your house secure.

Home, a space that is entirely ours, holds together our entire world. Where our children grow-up, parents grow old and we collect a lifetime of memories, home is a feeling as much as it’s a place. So, what do you do when your home is eyed by miscreants who prowl the neighbourhood night and day, plotting to break in? Here are a few pre-emptive measures you can take to make your home safe from burglars:

1. Get inside the mind of a burglar

Before I break the lock of a home, first I bolt the doors of the neighbouring homes. So that, even if someone hears some noise, they can’t come to help.

— Som Pashar, committed nearly 100 robberies.

Burglars study the neighbourhood to keep a check on the ins and outs of residents and target homes that can be easily accessed. Understanding how the mind of a burglar works might give insights that can be used to ward off such danger. For instance, burglars judge a house by its front doors. A house with a sturdy door, secured by an alarm system or an intimidating lock, doesn’t end up on the burglar’s target list. Upgrade the locks on your doors to the latest technology to leave a strong impression.

Here are the videos of 3 reformed robbers talking about their modus operandi and what discouraged them from robbing a house, to give you some ideas on reinforcing your home.

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2. Survey your house from inside out to scout out weaknesses

Whether it’s a dodgy back door, a misaligned window in your parent’s room or the easily accessible balcony of your kid’s room, identify signs of weakness in your home and fix them. Any sign of neglect can give burglars the idea that the house can be easily robbed because of lax internal security.

3. Think like Kevin McCallister from Home Alone

You don’t need to plant intricate booby traps like the ones in the Home Alone movies, but try to stay one step ahead of thieves. Keep your car keys on your bed-stand in the night so that you can activate the car alarm in case of unwanted visitors. When out on a vacation, convince the burglars that the house is not empty by using smart light bulbs that can be remotely controlled and switched on at night. Make sure that your newspapers don’t pile up in front of the main-door (a clear indication that the house is empty).

4. Protect your home from the outside

Collaborate with your neighbours to increase the lighting around your house and on the street – a well-lit neighbourhood makes it difficult for burglars to get-away, deterring them from targeting the area. Make sure that the police verification of your hired help is done and that he/she is trustworthy.

While many of us take home security for granted, it’s important to be proactive to eliminate even the slight chance of a robbery. As the above videos show, robbers come up with ingenious ways to break in to homes. So, take their advice and invest in a good set of locks to protect your doors. Godrej Locks offer a range of innovative locks that are un-pickable and un-duplicable. To secure your house, see here.

The article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of Godrej Locks and not by the Scroll editorial team.