60 years ago, when life was still simple and cars and motorbikes had not yet created a swag, much of the romance in Bollywood bloomed on bicycles. We would often see the heroine sitting in front, with the hero clasping her in his arms, while also manoeuvring the wheels. There are many such songs and scenes that will bring a smile upon your face, setting in a tone of nostalgia. .
Let’s track this interesting Bollywood Journey of Bicycles.
The “Golden Age” of Bollywood
Johnny Walker, one of the best comedians in his time, had some of the most epic cycle numbers from the Golden Age of Hindi Cinema. His song “Pyara Ruk Ja,” in Sitaron ke aage (1958) was instrumental in bringing out his playfulness. He’s trying to stop passersby and is so stubborn; he does not even hesitate in messing up with couples.
It’s the sweetest thing you’ll listen to and watch, don’t miss the video.
A couple of years later, he was seen in “Suno Suno Miss Chatterjee,” (1966) where he takes a funny hit at the actress, something we would call as ‘being cheesy,’ today. But then, he was Johnny Walker, and we seldom took him seriously.
Another lovely song, you’ll not wish to miss out
In 1961, Mehmood sang “Payaase Panchhi Neel Gagan,” riding in the open on his bicycle and looking up at the birds in the sky, thinking of uniting with his lover.
And it’s not just our heroes who have ridden cycles, our heroines have had their fair share too. In “Pukarta Chala Hoon Mein,” Biswajeet, the actor is seen driving an open gyp, stalking and chasing Asha Parek and her girlfriends, who are riding on cycles.
Another one, “Meere Peeche Ek Diwana,” is picturized on chasing girls. It features Raj Kapoor and Vyjayanthimala. This song is different because the leading lady is actually leading on the road as well, with Raj Kapoor following her like a Diwana.
Outings were planned with friends and of course, they took out their cycles. “Jab Din Haseen, Dil Ho Jawaan,” from 1958, is about friends, a group of girls and boys riding to the beach on their cycles. Looks like they had more fun than we can have with our SUVs today.
The “Masala Age” of Bollywood
The cycle romance kept blooming and came Amitabh Bacchan, who along with Shahsi Kapoor, followed in the footsteps of earlier actors and tailed behind girls on cycles in “Jannu Meri Jaan” (1981). The song became a blockbuster and so did the Jodi of Amitabh and Sashi Kapoor.
Bollywood was also transitioning during this time. The next decade would soon transition Bollywood into the age of technology, but before that some interesting masala continued to serve our dying appetite.
The “Romantic Era” Of Bollywood
In 1989, Salman Khan’s debut film, Meine Pyar Kiya was out and remains a favourite still. With his lead actress, Bhagyashree, he was seen romancing on a cycle, when a truck rolled her off the cycle, and Salu of course got a chance to come closer to her.
The tackiest song, as our generation would call it, I’m sure this one has skipped our attention and for the right reasons. But this is part of the cycle history and so do watch, “Chandi ki Cycle and Sone Ki Seat,” featuring Govinda and Juhi Chawala.
And then, it was in the year 1991, when Bollywood got its cycle-centric film, “Jo Jeeeta Wahi Sikander.” It was based around an inter-college cycling marathon, with Amir Khan romancing a hottie, but eventually falling for the shy and sensitive Ayesha Julkha.
Although this was the romantic age of Indian Cinema, bicycles no longer carried the same meaning as they did in the black and white times. The tinsel town had increasingly become fascinated with the big brother of cycles, the motor-cycles. The two started competing for attention. The likes of John Abraham made biked look fancier with a higher hotness quotient. (This is why not many video links will be provided from here on.)
But, whenever it came to innocent and simple romancing, Bollywood kept returning to the ‘cycles.’ Despite our increasing global and technical character, we continue to love cycles.
Remember how Ranbir and Iliana romanced on a cycle in “Barfi“? Not only Barfi, aka Ranbir escapes the clutches of police on his cycle, but also takes around his love interest cycling around Darjeeling.
Amitabh Bacchan also relives his young days, and feels liberated when he rode around Kolkata on a cycle, in Piku.
The Technical Age of Bollywood
The cycles now have a brand new look and so many features. From multi-gear cycles to those with head and rear lamps, they come in cool colours and ohh look so stylish.
This reminds us of “PK.” If you remember how Amir Khan descends from another world and lands on a bicycle with Anushka Sharma. Her’s even has a cute basket in the front.
And if you’re a Kareena fan, you should know, she has probably romanced maximum number of lead actors on a cycle. It began with her and Shahid in “Jab We Met,” with a repeat in Ra One, with Sharukh Khan and most recently, we saw her romancing Salman Khan on a cycle in “Bajrangi Bhai.”
Goes without saying that not only has Salman had a long history of cycle romance on-screen, we all know how much he loves riding casually on the streets of Mumbai, on his cycle. The latest in his repertoire was the bicycle stunt he performed in “Kick.” Maybe a little overdone, but it still has swag, doesn’t it?
The list may not have covered it all. if you have a bicycle number or Bollywood Cycle Moment, that’s your favourite, do share it in the comments section below.