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'Kajra Re' voted song of the year in South Africa
By Fakir Hassen, Indo-Asian News Service
Johannesburg, Jan 5 (IANS) Listeners of three radio stations catering for South African Indians have overwhelmingly voted the song "Kajra Re" from the Bollywood movie "Bunty Aur Babli" as the best of 2005.
Picturised on Aishwarya Rai, Amitabh Bachchan and his son Abhishek, the song has been very popular at Indian stage shows by local dancers, while various re-mix versions of the song are among the most favoured by club DJ's and patrons here.
Lotus FM, the Indian service of the national public broadcaster, South African Broadcasting Corporation, led the field when it placed a full-page advertisement in the weekly broadsheet Sunday Times Extra listing 50 songs in Hindi and another 50 in Tamil, calling on readers to submit their votes for the top songs with a prize of 30,000 rands on offer to the finalist who predicted the top three songs correctly.
The prize was won by 11-year-old Kimisha Singh of Durban.
Lotus FM received 3,570 votes for "Kajra Re", with its closest rival "Just Walk Into My Life", the song picturised on Ajay Devgan playing a mentally handicapped single parent of a young girl in the film "Main Aisa Hi Hoon", drawing 2,500 votes.
The two other radio stations, both locally based community ones, also found their audiences opting for "Kajre Re" for the top spot.
In KwaZulu-Natal province, where two thirds of South Africa's 1.2 million Indians live, Durban-based station Hindvani 91.5fm partnered with the country's largest Indian weekly, Post, for readers and listeners to vote for their favourites.
Post also published the lyrics of the song in its latest edition Wednesday, so that readers could "hum them at your pleasure, in the lounge, bedroom or even the bathroom!"
"There's no doubt that the guest appearance by Aishwarya Rai doing some stunning dancing in the song, and more especially the way the artists did it live at the IIFA Awards in Amsterdam, made an impact that affected listener's decisions," said Fazila Loonat, a presenter at Eastwave FM, in the sprawling mainly Indian township of Lenasia, south of here.
Ekbal Umarjee of Global Bollywood Music, the biggest distributor of Bollywood product in South Africa, told IANS that the DVD version of "Bunty Aur Babli" had been the top seller for the year, while the soundtrack of the movie had been beaten into second place only by "Salaam Namaste."
The song "My Dil Goes Hmmm" from Salaam Namaste was within the top five songs across all the radio stations.
But at the South African Bollywood box office, "Bunty Aur Babli" was only the fifth largest grosser, according to Mark Harrison, Bollywood product manager of Numetro Theatres.
Although he could not divulge exact figures, Harrison said that the other top grossers of 2005 were "Salaam Namaste", "Black", "Waqt" and "Bewafaa".