A Bollywood actor playbacks for another

When Raghuvir Yadav playbacks for Madhavan in the latter's new Hindi film, he will perhaps make Bollywood history.

For, never before is an actor known to have sung for another actor in the Hindi film industry.

The folk Bihari song "Ramji ke paas hai sabke liye masala" in "Bawarchi" will introduce the film's hero, a Bihari cook in London.

Laughs music composer Vishal Bhardwaj: "The minute I got the idea for the song I somehow thought only of Raghuvir Yadav. Not too many people know he's a superb singer. You'll catch him humming and warbling all the time.

"The lyrics by a Chandigarh-based poet, Munna Dhiman, and the whole folksy ambience demanded a raw, unpolished and emotional voice. Raghuvir fits the bill completely."

Incidentally, this is the second Hindi film song on culinary delights with a Tamil connection.

Years ago, the song "Aaloo ki bhaji baingan ka bharta", filmed on Sanjay Khan and Raakhee in "Bewafaa", had been choreographed by, of all people, Kamal Haasan!

In truth, most stars don't really sing, they just provide a few intonations to lend glamour to the number.

The earliest actress to provide interjections in a song sung by a professional singer was Saira Banu in the 1960s flop "Aman". The song? "Aaj ki raat yeh kaisi raat" by Mohammed Rafi.

Sharmila Tagore also did her bit in the Rafi hit "Aasman se aaya farishta" in "An Evening In Paris".

Sridevi squeaked and squealed as Jolly Mukherjee sang "Chandni oh meri chandni". The most recent accidental warbler is Kareena Kapoor in "Dev".

Actors who have actually rendered whole musical numbers in films are rare.

This includes Nutan ("Ae mere meherban" in "Chabili"), Govinda ("Meri pant bhi sexy" in "Dulara"), Hema Malini ("Peene walon ko" in "Haath Ki Safai"), Shabana Azmi (all the songs of Muzaffar Ali's "Anjuman"), and, of course, Amitabh Bachchan in song after song from "Silsila" to "Aetbaar".

All these amateur singers provided playback for themselves on screen.

But now Raghuvir Yadav and Madhavan are set to break new ground.