Chhalia Mera Naam. The trickster.


I was born to the sound of Indian music. Or so I imagine, my memories before the age of four tend to be scarce and scant. Also at that time Japanese audio technology had not yet invaded the globe. But I like to think I went to sleep as a baby to the sound of sitar and tablas. I also think those baby memories are not gone, just buried inside and ring a soundless, invisible bell. I left Pakistan at an early age (we “shifted” a lot) but later got reacquainted with the music in East africa. My parents played it often. I still have the one record:Β Indian film favourites.Β Bought in Holland of all places. Still play it from time to time. Preferably alone: western ears are not quite trained to the subtlety of one-twelth of tone of the sitar. Me? I do my best, and listening to Indian music transports me in time and space. (Beam me down Scotty!)


I know the songs in the record almost by heart, not the words, although the family lore says I spoke Urdu before French, I only remember a handful of Urdu words, though useful words: accha, thik hay…

The one song I like best in this record isΒ Chhalia mera nam. Trickster is my name. And my profession is to play tricks on people. (Or so the backcover says). I googled the name a while ago, and much to my surprise a clip came out. Images. Of an old B&W movie. A face to the words. I should’ve known there was a movie. The cover did say “Indian film favourites”. 1960. Only a breeze away. Look at the clip. it’s only 3 mins something. Watch closely, especially if you don’t speak Hindi (is it Hindi? Help me out there). There is such fun, such joy. It is worth it!

In these troubled days, let me make mine a few words from the song (and if you listen closely you will pick them up):

My salutations to all, Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians alike.

Till the next post, Peace be with you. (the following image (c) Time)


54 thoughts on “Chhalia Mera Naam. The trickster.

  1. yeah its Hindi .Not the pure Hindi but the ‘real’ Hindi … REAL Hindi is which has words from all the dialects of All regional and sub-regional Indian languages plus words from Urdu, English and even French, Mon ami πŸ˜›

  2. Thank you Brian πŸ™‚
    Yes it is Hindi. And the actor is Raj Kapoor. He tried hard throughout his career to emulate Charlie Chaplin! We are always amazed by the reach of his songs. One titled ‘Awara’ was apparently the rage at the time in Russia, and even after so many decades, we have had people in Greece, Turkey and the middle East proclaim their love for the song!

    • I love this song. It’s accompanied me throughout my childhood. Once i saw the clip it gave me more. The actor/singer actually looks like a dear mexican friend. And the production style ressembles the golden age of mexican movies! Weird ain’t it? And yes I thought when seeing for the first time that there was a ressemblance with Charlie Chaplin. 😊

    • Post-data: i sometimes wish i remembered more urdu/hindi. Accha tik-hay don’t get you far. As I am increasingly thinking of going “back” to India I’ll probably take a few lessons at the embassy! 😊

      • He isn’t the singer by the way. Strange that few Bollywood stars sing, considering nearly every single movie is a musical πŸ™‚

      • There is a Pakistani restaurant here in mexico held by friends from dacca/karachi. We go there once in a while. Salute each other in my rudimentary urdu. They play bollywood movies on a big flat screen. Tranports me. I once saw the villain hournalist of slumdog millionaire (whose name i forget) dancing and singing in a hindi movie. Fun! 😊

  3. Brian: I JUST found your blog. For some reason, I couldn’t access it from my own blog. Anyhow, re: “shifted a lot” I was just discussing this phrase the other day. It sounds so funny to my ears. What South Asians mean by this is moving around, going from one place to another, right?:) I recognize that logo from childhood: HMV.

    • Alaknanda o you of the mghty river. I am very glad you found your way into Equinoxio. 😊 “shifting” is a word I just learned from reading blogs by Indian friends. Love the word. Both correct and weird! Makes me smile every time I read it. 😊 hence the liberty I took of using it!

    • Dead serious. My parents were a bit weird. Loved India (in its pakistani guise) lived there 8 years. Spoke fluent Urdu. But did not bring back one single piece of Indian music. Until Holland in between two african postings where they bought that single record! You can imagine the contrast of hearing Chhalia meera nam and looking at the dutch rain outside the window. 😊 i bought Sargent Peppers. Original. Still have it! Be good. Brian

  4. They used to play indian movies at the cinemas out here, back in the day. ‘Yaadon ki baaraat’, ‘Awaara’ – for example – are well-known to our generation. Italian and french movies too, such as the Bud Spencer or Louis de FunΓ¨s series.
    Not anymore. American garbage is all over the place.

    I still hold ‘Jeux d’enfants’ and ‘Pyaar impossible’ as my favorite movies ever. In your face, Holly-freakin’-wood! πŸ˜‰

    • Indian movies? Colombian telenovelas? You sure you live in Romania and not in NeverNeverLand?
      (Or the twilight zone maybe?)
      Take care my friend!

      • Jeux d’enfants avec Marion Cotillard et Guillaume Canet. πŸ˜‰ It’s such an unusual love story and more so bearing the unique footprint of the french cinema. I probably relate to it due to my own (unfortunately unfulfilled) story.

        Same goes with ‘Pyaar impossible’ where the script and even the little girl Tanya resemble frighteningly much to events and people in my own life. Except that for me there were thirteen years, not seven. And obviously there was no happy end for me.

        I remember Fernandel from childhood movies, as well as Alain Delon or Jean-Paul Belmondo. It still moves me when I hear ‘A toi’ or ‘Et si tu n’existais pas’ with Joe Dassin. By the way, there’s a great digital mix of Helene Segara and Joe Dassin singing ‘Et si tu n’existais pas’ on YouTube.

        One of my rroma neighbors’ name is ‘Vandana’ – a character from an old indian movie and there’s many others around. Oh and Priyanka Chopra – starring in ‘Pyaar impossible’ – is born on July 18th, while I’m on 19th – how could I not love her… πŸ˜‰ You watch that movie and tell me it’s not saying things right! Watch for the symbols, such as the pictures on Abhay and his father’s doors when they wake up. πŸ˜‰

      • Wow Dragos! Looks like we’re in the same Twilight (time) zone! 😊 i’m in the street right now. Will get back to you. Anyone who still remembers Fernandel (don camillo?) has to be an alien!

      • I’ll keep that in mind. Especially in mexico. πŸš™πŸš˜πŸš—πŸš–πŸš›πŸššπŸš‹πŸšƒπŸšŽπŸšŒπŸš

    • Thank you Col(onel) (did you see you’ve been upgraded?) 😊 your comments are all the more appreciated as they show you read my ramblings closely. Have a nice week-end with your grand-dayghters in the last outpost of the Empire!

  5. A lovely film, Brian, well clip…I think I’ve been too traumatised by too many night trips on Indian video buses in the 1990s to ever truly appreciate Indian music or cinema. Must try harder.

  6. you have good instinct of music Brian, that song is from raj kapoor movie and he without doubt has left some magical (read a truckload) songs for us, his lyrics, tune everything was awesome.

    he used to harass the singers to no end, till they produced the right feeling, legends like Lata Mangeshkar share how he used to hover over them πŸ˜‰

    • Errr. I’ve been a bit under the weather. Bad back. 😦
      Plus a number of material issues to solve.
      Just a waste of time.
      Sorry. πŸ™‚
      Hope Hyderabad (of the Hind) is treating you well.

      • do take care of yourself! yeah Hyderabad of Hind is cool, absolutely cool! πŸ™‚

        waiting for your full hearted return! are you hurt? what happened to your back?

      • Thank you Sharmishtah. Not hurt just a permanent back pain which is very tiresome. πŸ˜” seeing a new doctor tomorrow. Let’s hope for the best. Cheers!

  7. too many hours on computer in a bad posture? I used to have it in Kolkata, but after shifting here I have sliced down my hours on computer considerably, with that the back-ache and stiffness in legs is gone.

    start doing yoga, good for spine.

  8. I remember Indian films from my youth. The plot was very predictable, but I enjoyed it at the time. Yes, the music takes some getting used to πŸ™‚

    I love your opening sentences; beautiful!

    • Hi Timi. How (and where) on earth were you “exposed” ton indian movies. Your last name could be from Nigeria, or maybe Luo or Kikuyu, which would make more sense. πŸ™‚
      Thank you for your kind comment on my “opening sentences”. A lifetime in Marketing and Advertising has taught me the value of the “opening statement”. And I some times spend more time on the opening sentence than the rest of the text. πŸ™‚
      Take care

      • I was ‘exposed’ to Indian movies while growing up in Nigeria. I had a couple of Indian teachers at school and some family friends. We called them Indian, in reality some where from Sri Lanka, etc. πŸ™‚
        Keep up the good work on the opening sentences.

  9. I am so fond of this song.. in fact the music composed in those days is such a blessings to our minds and ears.. beautiful number and there are many more in store… I am so glad that you take interest in hindi songs… many of them are just melodious…

  10. So that made me smile. Raj Kapoor is one of the most popular exports from India. My father-in-law who is a retired army man spent time in Russia during his years of service and heard many a Russian equate India to the land of Raj Kapoor and Mera Naam Joker.
    There is a certain simplicity and beauty to be had in those early films, in the mode of acting, the music and of course in the sensibility behind them. I am a fan. πŸ™‚ Lovely post.

    • To make a friend smile makes my day. πŸ™‚ Strangely enough after 8 years of Pakistan my parents only had the one record, bought in Amsterdam of all places. (Bilkul) I knew most songs by heart, but had never seen the images! Mera naam is one of my favourites, so when I looked it up on Google it was a revelation! And the simplicity and beauty you mention is similar to the “Golden age” Mexican cinema of the same time. Very weird.
      And yes I can understand “The land of Rajiv Kappor”. (Your father-in-law must have many stories to tell…)
      Chhers ma’amji

      • Amsterdam and Raj Kapoor. Indeed is an odd combination. The world never ceases to amaze you. I have a special place for all old (especially black & white and technicolour) movies. They just do not make them as they used to before. Cheers!

      • Yes, those old movies had a certain magic. I think they were “written” with more feeling and less Marketing. Today you can almost always tell when Marketing asked for a change in the story… πŸ˜‰
        Chhers back ma’amji.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s