Composer C. Ramachandra was known to frequent the Green’s Hotel in Mumbai, picking up musical inspiration for his films, in the 40s and 50s. Chic Chocolate, born as Antonio Xavier Vaz, was a Goan trumpeter who led a Jazz band at the Taj Mahal Hotel and also occasionally led a two-trumpet show at the Green’s Hotel with Chris Perry, another Goan musician. Chocolate, through his band, Chic and His Music Masters, recorded more than 15 songs between 1943 and 1945 with Columbia Records and quite a few of these were covers of songs appearing in Hollywood films including a lot of Latin American tunes.
C. Ramachandra’s many trips yielded him an interest in jazz and swing music that he eventually introduced in Hindi cinema.
One such song that may have come from his association with Chic Chocolate was the song ‘Gore Gore O Banke Chore’, sung by Amirbai Karnataki and Lata Mangeshkar for the 1950 film Samadhi.
The song was an unabashed replica of the song ‘Chico Chico from Puerto Rico’ that was first heard in the 1945 Hollywood film, Doll Face. In the film, now in public domain in its entirety, Carmen Miranda performs it in an elaborately staged set featuring fruits that can rival Telugu director K. Raghavendra Rao’s unhealthy obsession with fruits in song sequences.
Here’s the actual footage of the song, from the full film (the song starts at 01:04:24).
And here’s a colorised version of the song (though the audio is not synced with the visuals)
The song was credited to composer Jimmy McHugh, with lyrics credited to Harold Adamson.
The tune was also made popular in the 40s by Edmundo Ros.
‘Chico Chico’ was subsequently also used in Tamil by composer R. Sudharsanam, in the 1951 film Ore Iravu, for the song, ‘Ayya Saami Aaoji Saami’. The song was sung by Carnatic musician M.L. Vasanthakumari.
There is also a Bengali version of the original in the early 50s. The song ‘Shono Shono Kothati Shono’ was composed by Debu Chatterjee and sung by Dhananjay Bhattachariya.
Despite C. Ramachandra copying his version in Hindi from ‘Chico Chico’, he could be credited for at least one original part – the antara of the song that extends the mukhda and is unique to Indian film music. The same antara was used by both R. Sudharsanam and Debu Chatterjee for the Tamil and Bengali versions, respectively.