Lollywood Flashback

Sound of Lollywood: The delectably named ‘Ding Dong Ding Dong’ from ‘Deewar’ (not that one)

M Ashraf’s song is edgy, liquid and puts the listener on notice: ‘You’re about to have some fun!’

Deewar was released in 1976. It achieved flop status and sank like a stone.

The film starred Babra Sharif, who had debuted in films two years earlier. Though her dominance of the industry was still some years in the future she had received very good reviews, won a Special Nigar Award (Pakistan’s Academy Awards) and had starred in some very successful movies by this point. Sadly, Deewar, in which she shared the limelight with Ghulam Mohiuddin, was a disaster.

The music was composed by M Ashraf and as such is always worth investigating. Ashraf loved to experiment with rhythms, styles and sounds. One of his favorite signatures was a steely electric guitar riff such as the one that opens the number Ding Dong Ding Dong. It’s edgy, it’s liquid and when mixed with a snappy snare drum puts the listener on notice: “You’re about to have some fun!”

You don’t need to watch the film to know what is going on in this scene. We are witnessing a wild dance party of hip people who are busy flirting and being silly. The title of the song is repeated like a nonsense nursery rhyme by Ahmed Rushdi by way of welcoming Mehnaz who tells us the best thing in the world is L.O.V.E.

From this point on we are off to the races. Manic accordion solos swirl around repeated choruses of “Ding Dong Ding Dong”, an early Moog keeps the bass line bubbling while that electric guitar makes strategic stabs into the sound-osphere.

This track is not exactly an item number and should rightly be classified as a dance or disco song. And as the whole concept of co-educational partying and dancing is deemed to be a Western innovation, it is important for lyrics, at least in part, to be sung in English. And so about two-and-a-half minutes into the proceedings Ashraf changes things up by incorporating the melody lines of the famous Punjabi ditty Balle Balle. Instead of shouting Balle Balle (Punjabi for hooray, from the Persian word baleh, meaning “yes”) the English words, hello hello are substituted.

Hello Hello/You know it is I love you
I will sing with you, my sweety
And I die with you/Hello Hello I miss you
Hello Hello/You know it is I love you

Ahmed Rushdi was a regular partner of M Ashraf and the most successful male playback singer of the era. He modelled his singing style on that of Mohammad Rafi, which is especially noticeable on more subdued tracks. But Rushdi was an expert rocker as well. He could sing with gusto and as he demonstrates here could make suitably lusty grunts when required.

As for Mehnaz, she turns in a very credible somewhat raunchy performance that matches the mood perfectly. Mehnaz was from a famous music family (her mother was Kajjan Begum) whose reputation was made with a light classical repertoire of ghazal, dadra and thumri. Songs such as this inane piece must have made her squeamish, but if so, she hides it very well.

The last part of the song is a riot of English love banter that sort of brings the song to a shambolic climax six minutes later.

A version of this story appeared on the bloghttps://dailylollyblog.wordpress.com/ and has been reproduced here with permission.

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Changing the conversation around mental health in rural India

Insights that emerged from discussions around mental health at a village this World Mental Health Day.

Questioning is the art of learning. For an illness as debilitating as depression, asking the right questions is an important step in social acceptance and understanding. How do I open-up about my depression to my parents? Can meditation be counted as a treatment for depression? Should heartbreak be considered as a trigger for deep depression? These were some of the questions addressed by a panel consisting of the trustees and the founder of The Live Love Lough Foundation (TLLLF), a platform that seeks to champion the cause of mental health. The panel discussion was a part of an event organised by TLLLF to commemorate World Mental Health Day.

According to a National Mental Health Survey of India 2015-16, conducted by the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS), common mental disorders including depression, anxiety disorders and substance use disorders affect nearly 10% of the population, with 1 in 20 people in India suffering from depression. The survey reported a huge treatment gap, a problem that is spread far and wide across urban and rural parts of the country.

On 10th of October, trustees of the foundation, Anna Chandy, Dr. Shyam Bhat and Nina Nair, along with its founder, Deepika Padukone, made a visit to a community health project centre in Devangere, Karnataka. The project, started by The Association of People with Disability (APD) in 2010, got a much-needed boost after partnering with TLLLF 2 years ago, helping them reach 819 people suffering from mental illnesses and spreading its program to 6 Taluks, making a difference at a larger scale.

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During the visit, the TLLLF team met patients and their families to gain insights into the program’s effectiveness and impact. Basavaraja, a beneficiary of the program, spoke about the issues he faced because of his illness. He shared how people used to call him mad and would threaten to beat him up. Other patients expressed their difficulty in getting access to medical aid for which they had to travel to the next biggest city, Shivmoga which is about 2 hours away from Davangere. A marked difference from when TLLLF joined the project two years ago was the level of openness and awareness present amongst the villagers. Individuals and families were more expressive about their issues and challenges leading to a more evolved and helpful conversation.

The process of de-stigmatizing mental illnesses in a community and providing treatment to those who are suffering requires a strong nexus of partners to make progress in a holistic manner. Initially, getting different stakeholders together was difficult because of the lack of awareness and resources in the field of mental healthcare. But the project found its footing once it established a network of support from NIMHANS doctors who treated the patients at health camps, Primary Healthcare Centre doctors and the ASHA workers. On their visit, the TLLLF team along with APD and the project partners discussed the impact that was made by the program. Were beneficiaries able to access the free psychiatric drugs? Did the program help in reducing the distance patients had to travel to get treatment? During these discussions, the TLLLF team observed that even amongst the partners, there was an increased sense of support and responsiveness towards mental health aid.

The next leg of the visit took the TLLLF team to the village of Bilichodu where they met a support group that included 15 patients and caregivers. Ujjala Padukone, Deepika Padukone’s mother, being a caregiver herself, was also present in the discussion to share her experiences with the group and encouraged others to share their stories and concerns about their family members. While the discussion revolved around the importance of opening up and seeking help, the team brought about a forward-looking attitude within the group by discussing future possibilities in employment and livelihood options available for the patients.

As the TLLLF team honoured World Mental Health day, 2017 by visiting families, engaging with support groups and reviewing the successes and the challenges in rural mental healthcare, they noticed how the conversation, that was once difficult to start, now had characteristics of support, openness and a positive outlook towards the future. To continue this momentum, the organisation charted out the next steps that will further enrich the dialogue surrounding mental health, in both urban and rural areas. The steps include increasing research on mental health, enhancing the role of social media to drive awareness and decrease stigma and expanding their current programs. To know more, see here.

This article was produced by the Scroll marketing team on behalf of The Live Love Laugh Foundation and not by the Scroll editorial team.