Yamma yamma – R D Burman/Mohd. Rafi– Rahul Dev Burman – Amitabh/Shashi | Shaan (1980)


The first post for today is the analysis of the song, Yamma yamma, from the Bollywood movie Shaan (1980). The song has been analyzed on the basis of its context and visualization.

Movie – Shaan (1980)

The song, Yamma yamma, was featured in the Sippy Films’ crime action movie Shaan (1980), produced by G P Sippy and directed by Ramesh Sippy. The movie starred Shashi Kapoor, Amitabh Bachchan, Bindiya Goswami, Parveen Babi, Johnny Walker, Mazhar Khan, etc.

Ravi (Shashi Kapoor) and Vijay (Amitabh Bachchan) are cheated by Renu (Bindiya Goswami) and her uncle (Johnny Walker) and land inside the lockup. Their elder brother, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Shiv (Sunil Dutt) gets them released and pulls them up for their wayward ways. But for the young men, it is a regular thing and the lectures do not affect them. To find the girl, who had cheated them, they decide to contact a poor street-smart differently-abled Abdul. In the next shot, Abdul (Mazhar Khan) is seen singing his introductory song.

Through Abdul, the brothers locate Renu and her uncle. Renu and her uncle compromise with the brothers and the foursome join hands for future ‘projects’ in cheating people. During one of these ‘collaborations’, they are in the process of stealing a queen’s necklace when they meet Sunita (Parveen Babi). Sunita steals the necklace and deposits it in Vijay’s coat pocket. He does not get caught when everyone is searched. Vijay is given a lift by Sunita in a car and they leave together.

The police follow them and they have to stop when the road they had taken ends at the seafront. It turns out that Sunita had gotten into ‘someone else’s’ car, of the same color. Sunita and Vijay are let off. The reason the necklace did not catch the police’s attention was that Vijay had transferred it from his pocket to inside his walking stick! They divide the loot with his other friends. From then on, they form a team of 6 to loot people.

Ravi and Renu are in love, so are Vijay and Sunita. Everything is going fine. But soon, Shiv is killed by the goons and the happy lives of the 2 brothers go for a toss. The brothers enlist the help of Abdul once again to find the person, who killed their elder brother. Abdul is mysteriously killed and Shiv’s wife Sheetal (Rakhi) and their daughter are kidnapped by the bad guys, to stop Ravi and Vijay from investigating their brother’s death further.

Rakesh (Shatrughan Sinha), who saved Sheetal and the kid once, is also a victim of the bad guys’ criminal activities. They had killed Rakesh’s wife (Padmini Kapila). With Rakesh on the good side, Ravi and Vijay’s team gets stronger. In the meantime, the bad guy Shaakal (Kulbushan Kharbanda) is a sadistic criminal and kidnaps Sheetal and her daughter. The good guys gang up and with the help of one of Shaakal’s cronies, land on Shaakal’s island to rescue the hostages and sing this song at this point.

Song – Yamma yamma

The lyrics of the song, Yamma yamma, were penned by Anand Bakshi and were set to tune by Rahul Dev Burman (R D Burman).

The song goes thus, “Yamma yamma yamma yamma, this beautiful scenario. Life is expected only till tonight. Tomorrow, who knows where we will be? And where will you be?”

Video – Yamma yamma

The cinematography is by S M Anwar. Dance choreography is by P L Raj.

The video opens with a large bonfire blazing in the middle of a large cave-like room and Helen beginning to dance. Some male and female dancers appear from the entrance, wearing gypsy dresses. Among them are Parveen Babi and Bindiya Goswami.

Kulbhushan Kharbanda is watching them, smiling. Amitabh Bachchan, Johnny Walker and Shashi Kapoor also enter, dancing. The leading male actors sidle up to their own female partners, in the movie, and continue to dance.

Johnny Walker also performs as he strums a string instrument. He and Parveen Babi look a bit disappointed, perhaps because they have not been given parts of the songs to lipsynch. But Amitabh Bachchan, Helen and Bindiya Goswami are enjoying the dance.

Obviously, Shashi Kapoor is enjoying the dance to the maximum. Shatrughan Sinha is moving about hidden alleys inside the bad guy’s den, looking for the hostages. Johnny Walker dances with Helen.

Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor play the violin. Soon, the song rises to a crescendo and ends abruptly with the video, as Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor come together and stand back-to-back.


R D Burman and Mohammad Rafi sang this song for Amitabh Bachchan and Shashi Kapoor. Helen, Parveen Babi, Bindiya Goswami, Johnny Walker, Kulbhushan Kharbanda, Shatrughan Sinha and other actors are also seen in the video.

Cultural Influence

I love this Mohammad Rafi and R D Burman croon. It’s a fun song, with a lot of philosophical edge to it. The song and the artists are ammmazing (intentional spelling). The video is watchable for the same.


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