The urban mela (fair) is blatantly commercial and is put up with the intent of the stall-keepers making the maximum profit. When I was younger, and lived in a small town (Jamnagar) the sole Janmasthami Mela was more for the local craftsmen. There were food stalls and several small merry-go-rounds and wheels for rides. We walked about in dust, admiring the show, stopping to buy a bauble or a toy. The fair ended at the gates of the Krishna Temple. There were no dacoits or female dancers around, maybe just a few impoverished pickpockets looking for a salary hike. The only romantic encounter I had was when my heart beat fast as I watched the object of my affection (then) walk by. But our movies provide a lot of masala in shape of lovely songs and dances in the center of a mela. Here go some of my favorites.
Bikaner ki chunri odhe - Pran Jaye Par Vachan Na Jaye :
Jayashree T dances to this peppy song in a lovely colourful petticoat. I have not seen the movie, but she is apparently distracting the villagers while her gang members are setting something up while she boasts of wearing the best India has to offer in clothes and accessories.
Pyara hindola mera - Us Paar
Moushami Chatterji sings this cute song as Jalal Agha and Vinod Mehra stand by. She sings about her lovely 'hindola' a merry-go-round while the two smitten men look on.
Hai sharmaon kis kis ko bataon - Mera Gaon Mera Desh :
Laxmi Chhaya sings this beautiful song, through which she drops hints to the police (and more importantly - Dharmendra) about the whereabouts of the dreaded dacoit Vinod Khanna.
Le de Saiyyan odhni - Pavitra Paapi
Tanuja, Parikshat Sahni and Neetu Singh watch delightedly as Madhumati dons a red ensemble and dances to this lovely song. Madhumati begs her beloved to buy her a pretty sparkly odhni while he promises to sell everything he has, just to see dance.
Jhumka Gira Re - Mera Saaya
Sadhna distracts the villagers while her gang-mates go about robbing the crowds transfixed by her jhumka woes. Sadhna apparently has naughty reasons for having lost her earring.
Sajna sajna O sajna - Ek Phool Do Maali
Sadhna again, this time she sings unabashedly of her love looking pointedly at Sanjay Khan. There are no pickpocket mates around looting the onlookers. Just a girl telling a boy she likes him.
Ja re ja o harjai - Kalicharan
Reena Roy makes eyes at an unkempt Shatrughan Sinha in an attempt to let him know that she is 'willing'. Such a melodious song and Reena looks so lovely!
Tu raat khadi thi chat pe - Himalaya ki God Me
This is one of the two songs on my list where the hero also jumps into the fray. Manoj Kumar woos the girl, Mala Sinha with fulsome praise while she pretends to rebuff him.
Hai re Hai - Kashmir ki Kali
Shammi rocks a bhangra get up of a shocking pink lungi with a white kurta and sings about his feelings, his lady love Sharmila lets down her guard and lets him know she loves him too.
Ni me yaar manana ni - Daag
Padma Khanna and an unknown dancer do the honors in this scintillating song while Sharmila, Rajesh Khanna and Rakhee watch. The song is about a woman who wants to wrest her beloved away from her rivals. I don't know the name of the singer who accompanies Lata in this song - she is so good.
Chadh gayo papi bichua - Madhumati
Here is an oldie (thank god there are songs that are older than I). Vyjayantimala uses the folk euphemism of 'bichua' for love, while Dilip Kumar enjoys her unique way of admitting her love for him.
I am sure there are many more 'Mela' songs out there, but I adore these and can listen to them all the time. In these songs the women are unabashed about expressing their sexuality and flaunting themselves (except Maushami Chatterji in Us Paar - who is just being cute).