When late Manmohan Desai’s favorite singer Mohammad Rafi Sahab expired, an alternative had to be found. Late Kishore Kumar had also declined to sing due to some issues. Thus Shabbir Kumar, who sang in the same style as Rafi Sahab, sang for the first time for Amitabh Bachchan. The movie is also significant in Amitabh Bachchan’s career as he was fatally injured during a fight sequence.
Movie: This song appears in the 1983 hit movie Coolie (Porter) directed by Manmohan Desai and produced by Ketan Desai. The movie starred Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor, Rati Agnihotri, Shoma Anand, Waheeda Rehman, Kader Khan, late Satyen Kapoo, late Nilu Phule, Suresh Oberoi, Puneet Issar, late Sajjan, etc.
Zafar Khan (Kader Khan) is besotted with Salma (Waheeda Rehman) and wants to marry her despite her and her father’s (Sajjan) refusal. He returns from a 10-year imprisonment to find Salma blissfully married to Aslam Khan (Satyen Kapoo). Zafar kills her father and tries to convince her again, but she refuses. Zafar tries to avenge himself by flooding the region, where Salma lives nearly killing Aslam and injuring Salma. Salma loses her memory as a result of the injury. Iqbal, Salma’s son is also separated from her. Zafar abducts Salma and in front of the world, he treats her as his wife. He also adopts an infant from an orphanage in Kanpur for Salma to raise as her own, on the advice of a psychiatrist. He names this boy as Sunny. Iqbal is united with his maternal uncle Nathu (Nilu Phule), who has lost his wife and son in the flood. The uncle raises Iqbal as his own son.
Years later, Iqbal (Amitabh Bachchan) and his uncle work as coolies. Iqbal is considered the leader of the local coolies. Sunny (Rishi Kapoor), on the other hand, is a budding reporter and gets into trouble for publishing the photograph of the editor’s (Mukri) daughter Deepa (Shoma Anand) as the mother of 7 newborn babies. He not only loses his job, he is made to eat the unsold newspapers with Sambhar, as if that was a solace!
Sunny again meets Deepa when she runs away from home. She is also running away from the police. He refuses to help her. But she strikes a deal with him. She has run away from home and her parents had proclaimed an award of Rs.5000 for the person, who brings her back to them. She tells him that he takes her back to them and they split the prize. The first time it works and he is not recognized by the editor since he is wearing the getup of a Muslim old man. The second time the editor advertises that if a South Indian brings back the girl, there will be a special prize for them. Iqbal also sees the ad and sees the girl near Sunny’s mobile home. At that time, Sunny is practicing being a South Indian inside his trailer in front of the mirror. It is at this time that both the men sing this song.
Song: The music of this song was composed by Lakshmikant-Pyarelal and the lyrics were penned by Anand Bakshi.
The short man addresses the tall one, “O tall one, don’t poke your nose into my affairs. Don’t touch this girl.”
The tall man says, “I saw this girl first.”
The short man replies, “I found this girl first and she is taking my name.”
The tall man replies, “Leave her. She is my prize.”
The short man insists, “O tall one, don’t awaken my anger. Don’t touch this girl. Tam dhi tam. Tam dhi tam. I came from Madras (Chennai) to Bombay (Mumbai).”
The tall man asks, “How did you become so tall on the way? Tall claims of a short man!”
The short man replies, “In this game, there is no short or fat. O tall one, don’t try to act smart with me due to your height. Don’t touch this girl.”
The tall man says, “I did not run away with this girl.”
The short man replies, “That will be decided by her father.”
Then they decide to split the prize in between them. But when the girl’s father tells one of them to get married to her, the short man says, “The prize is the girl herself. She is not money.”
The tall man replies, “Don’t touch this girl!”
Video: Cinematography is by Peter Pareira.
Amitabh Bachchan is wearing the dress of a porter and has Shoma Anand sitting on the front of his bicycle. Rishi Kapoor appears from in front of the cycle and begins the song. He is wearing the dress like that of a South Indian actor of the 70s. Rishi Kapoor sits on the bicycle handle and addresses Amitabh Bachchan in his song. Shoma Anand is sandwiched between them.
Amitabh Bachchan is still cycling and makes Rishi Kapoor jump off. Rishi Kapoor backs off dancing. Suddenly, Rishi Kapoor places his leg on the handle of the bicycle. Amitabh Bachchan has to stop it. Then Rishi Kapoor pulls Shoma Anand off the bicycle towards his side. Amitabh Bachchan gets down and pushes the bicycle towards Rishi Kapoor, who catches it.
Amitabh Bachchan having seen Rishi Kapoor distracted runs to catch hold of Shoma Anand’s hand. Rishi Kapoor tries to catch her. But Amitabh Bachchan keeps her out of reach. Both the men dance for some time. At that time, Rishi Kapoor finds it appropriate to cover Amitabh Bachchan’s eyes with a muffler and runs away with Shoma Anand.
In the next shot, Rishi Kapoor is seen with Shoma Anand on a horse carriage. Shoma Anand is driving it. But Amitabh Bachchan catches up with them. He is wearing a dhoti and shirt with the typical South Indian Brahmin getup. What’s funny about it is that he has applied the sacred ash like both Iyers and Iyengars.
All the 3 of them jump out of the carriage and stand on the road, while Rishi Kapoor and Amitabh Bachchan sing it out. Amitabh Bachchan throws some powder into Rishi Kapoor’s eyes and escapes with Shoma Anand. Next, Amitabh Bachchan is seen with Shoma Anand on an elephant. Amitabh Bachchan is wearing a dress like the one Rishi Kapoor was in the previous sequence.
Rishi Kapoor, on the other hand, is wearing a dress similar to that Amitabh Bachchan was wearing in the previous sequence. At the same time, Rishi Kapoor is on stilts to make him taller! Then Rishi Kapoor jumps onto the elephant and sits in front of Shoma Anand, facing her!
Soon Rishi Kapoor and Shoma Anand jump off the elephant and try to run away. Amitabh Bachchan follows them. He is soon seen waiting for them in the sidecar of a motorbike. Rishi Kapoor is seen driving a motorbike with Shoma Anand sitting at the back. Both Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor are wearing South Indian dresses. Amitabh Bachchan attaches the sidecar with the motorbike. Rishi Kapoor takes the bike into the home of Shoma Anand’s father Mukri.
Mukri and Shobha Khote, Shoma Anand’s parents, are waiting for them with arrangements of a wedding. Through dialogues, it is shown that her parents were planning to marry off Shoma Anand to the next person, who would bring her back to them. But both Amitabh Bachchan and Rishi Kapoor are uninterested in such a marriage. Thus they pick up their dhotis and hit a run for their lives.
Artists: The song is sung in playback by Shabbir Kumar and Shailendra Singh. Onscreen performances are by Amitabh Bachchan, Rishi Kapoor and Shoma Anand.
Cultural Influence: This is a highly hilarious depiction of South Indians, their culture, their dressing and music. The reality is nothing close to this representation. This video is worth watching several times each day and the fun will not wear off.