Features

When Fifi Was A Four Letter Word!

A new song, Fifi, has just been released from Anurag Kashyap’s upcoming film, Bombay Velvet. For those not in the know, the song is essentially a re-working of the popular song, Jaata Kahan Hai Deewane, recorded by Geeta Dutt for Guru Dutt’s production, CID (1956). With Fifi, Kashyap can now lay claim to being the first to bring the song to the theatre for audiences to see.

That is because the original song was edited out of the earlier film, thanks to the Censor Board of the day. As to the exact reason, there are two versions floating about according to film historians. One says the Board objected to a CID officer (Dev Anand) being bewitched by a vamp (Waheeda Rehman). And the other one states that they objected to the lyrics of the song – in fact, one of the words – Fifi! A popular refrain in the song goes Fifi! Kuch Mere Dil Mein Fifi, Kuch Tere Dil Mein Fifi, Zamana Hai Bura. The Censor found the word suggestive and vulgar. And so out the song went. Ironically, the film’s music director, OP Nayyar, said it was just a random word they threw in because they could not find the right world to fit with the meter of the song!

However, according to Waheeda Rehman, on whom the song was picturised, it was not ‘Fifi’ that caused the problem. It was the line Jaata Kahan Hai Deewane, Sab Kuch Yahan Hai Sanam, which the Censor Board found suggestive. In a recent interview with Anushka Sharma, the leading lady of Bombay Velvet, she says that the censor board recommended that these lines be re-written and then the song be re-filmed, but that was not possible as by then, Dev Anand was in Switzerland. So out the song went.

Here is the song as recorded for CID…

I recall having asked Guru Dutt’s son, Arun Dutt,  years ago if any footage existed of the censored song. He shook his head saying that in those days, whatever they cut from the film, they disposed off. However, he did have some stills from the scene and the song, which he shared with me. So, here’s the closest we have to imagining what the original filmed song might have looked like!

Fifi

fifi2

fifi03

And here’s the version from Bombay Velvet. All I can say for Geeta Dutt purists is – Beware!

2 Comments

  • Thanks for this thread. I have looked so many places why we do not get any video version of the original song [and I think “Fifi” was a subversion of the word “Fifty”]

  • Full Credit for Killing this ‘Junglee Billi’ can be attributed to ? ? ?

    So, am Re-Posting my Write-up of Aug 2015 at RMIM newsgroup

    Desh Ka Pyara, Sub Ka Dulara – B V Keskar, I & B Union Minister (1952 – 62)
    =========================================================

    The man who shot dead C A T Cat, Cat Maine Billi

    plus many other filmi songs from All India Radio and from Films
    (Censors Board was under I & B Ministry), Also at WIKIPEDIA near you

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/B_V_Keskar

    A Short List of songs which ‘Died in a Action’ or ‘Got Wounded’
    ================================================

    C.I.D.: Jaata Kahan Hai Deewane – Died in a Action

    TAXI DRIVER – Pi Ke Dhandhali Karoon (the para) from
    Chahe Koyi Khush Ho – Died in a Action

    CHHALIA – Chhalia Mera Naam – Got Wounded

    ROOP KI RANI … – Suno Bhai Hum Ne Pa Li Hai (the film version) – Got Wounded

    Sudhir

    URL for Subject Write-up:

    https://groups.google.com/g/rec.music.indian.misc/c/YPjdpGt_eL0/m/La_ObN2WEAAJ

    p.s.: The word may be: IFFY (means: doubtful; questionable) and not FiFi

    Few years ago, there was a news item stating, that on Re-certification the
    Applicant can request Censors Board to Reevaluate prior cuts and get
    Approval for Restoration. It did mention that some films did get a nod.

    Let’s hope some ‘Filmi-Tarzan’ undertakes the almost impossible mission
    and RESCUES this FiFi / IFFY damsel from a forgotten store-room

Leave a Comment