Saturday, December 28, 2013

Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai - a tribute to Farooq Sheikh

I was intending to post another of Rajesh Khanna & Pancham song - as a run up to his birth anniversary tomorrow, till the morning came with the news about sad demise of one of the finest actors of Hindi cinema - Farooq Sheikh.

We have been fortunate in seeing him in his varied avtaars.

In his variety of roles - a disillusioned Muslim youth in Garam hawa, an innocent collegiate with sparkles to match Chamko Washing Powder in Chashme baddoor, a street-smart Casanova - like the proverbial hare - in Katha, a poor guy who loses his lady love to money in Bazaar, a guy who loses his principles to become rich in Saath-Saath...

On stage matching histrionics through voice modulation with Shabana Azmi in Tumhari Amrita; 

One of the most charming host on TV screen in Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai.. 

and finally him reciting Rumi to a spell-bound audience in the show conceived by our friend Jai & Taru Kapoor Talwar..

His career was on a track which was far different from the commercial movies where Pancham reigned - and hence there was almost no possibility for him to be in a movie with Pancham as the composer. Almost.. till Hrishikesh Mukherjee casted him in "Rang Birangi" - one of the best - or perhaps the only Hindi movie which was a take off on another Hindi movie - BR Chopra's Pati Patni aur Woh.

Here is a song from Rang Birangi with Farooq Sheikh & Deepti Naval sharing the screen together, not singing though, looking so adoringly at the romance of an aged couple - Om Prakash & Chhaya Devi. 

The song itself is a semi classical Thumri - so unusual from Pancham's normal style but composed perhaps with some assistance from the singers themselves - Pt Vasantrao Deshpande & Kumari Faiyaaz. The verse were by another unusual lyricist - a Hindi poet known for his satirical poems - Kaka Hathrasi.

Here is the song - a tribute on this page to Farooq Sheikh - for whom one can say - Jeena Isi Ka Naam Hai..

O Mrignayani..

Friday, December 27, 2013

Maanga Hai Tumhe, Duniya Ke Liye...

Rajesh Khanna
He was the first star of Hindi cinema to attain a success that could be called nothing but Super-stardom. 

Starting with Aradhana in 1969, he gave a series of solo hits – almost 15 movies, over next 3 years. Such was his success that Dharmendra, playing himself in Hrishikesh Mukherji’s ‘Guddi’, had to say – Aaj kal to sab sirf Rajesh Khanna ke fan hote hain.. 

All his hit movies had one thing in common - great music. From Aradhana, where he started his journey on the road to success singing to his heroine in an open jeep - a SD movie but with major inputs from RD to RD's sollo works in The Train, Amar Prem & Kati Patang - each of the movie carried within itself songs that added to his charisma and style.

Interestingly, and sadly, his first major flop after these many hits also had RD at his best. Unlike other flop movies though, the soundtrack of the movie went on to become much bigger hit - forever. Each of the songs has a special quality that RD alone could have come up with - specially this one - an Anthem for all the guys in love & wanting to serenade their lady.

This is a song, whose tune haunted RD so much one night that he got up at Four in the morning & composed the tune. True to the quality of the tune are the verse - penned by Majrooh after the tune was created, sung by Kishore in his inimitable matchless style. 

So here is the song on Rajesh Khanna, as part of a series on his birth anniversary on Sunday,with him singing to - oh, so beautiful (no wonder, one of my most favourite actresses) - Tanuja, in Mere Jeevan Sathi:

Yun to akelaa hi aqsar, Gir ke sambhal sakataa hoon main
Tum jo pakad lo haath meraa, Duniyaa badal sakataa hoon main
Maagaa hai tumhe duniyaa ke liye
Ab kud hi sanam faisalaa kijiye
O Mere Dil Ke Chain...

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Raat Christmas ki Thi..

Jingle Bells Jingle Bells..

During his lean phase of late 80s, RD collaborated with Gulzar & Asha for one of the finest albums of non-film Hindi songs - Dil Padosi Hai.

The album, true to the standard of all three artists, was critically well-acclaimed. In the years, when Hindi film music was going through one of its worst phase - of a factory style production, the album raised the bar with its content & style both. More importantly, it provided an outlet to RD's creativity - which was being denied to him due to the changing music scenes of those years.

Here is a song from this album that stands out with lovely freshly in romance kind of vocals of Asha, verse that are so different like what only Gulzar could come up with, a composition with superb orchestration & carol kind of chorus - giving the song that perfect Christmas flavour. 
After all, it was "Raat Christmas ki thi"...

Tum akele na the, mai bhi tanhaa na thi 
Mujh men sab khauf the
Tumako parawaah na thi 
Tum to kamasin na the
Main bhi unnis ki thi

Khubsurat thi woh, umr-e-jajbaat ki
Kyaa galat kyaa sahi
Marzi jesus ki thi

Though there is no video available, here is a link for the song:

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Kya Hua Tera Waada

Mohammad Rafi - a singer par excellence, absolute pure in sound with mellifluous rendering that was as much at ease while singing “Man tarpat Hari darshan” as with “Yahoo…”. 

Rafi’s “Illahi tu Sun le Hamaari Duaa” was the first recording, that Mehmood okayed in his role as the producer of Chhote Nawab, where RD made his debut. Rafi’s rendering of “Aaja Aaja” & “O Haseena Zulfon Wali” added the spring to Teesri Manzil, the movie that catapulted Pancham to the success, and never looked back.

Notwithstanding RD’s preference for Kishore & Manna Dey, his songs with Rafi kept creating waves, and the best example of this is the song that got Rafi back into limelight, and as a “Sone par Suhaga” also got him his National Award. 

The composition had all the elements that RD was known for – specially when it came to his teaming up with Nasir Hussain & Majrooh. Electric Guitar riffs (played by Bhupendra) that the song begins with and a lovely piece on violin, before the first stanza, by Uttam Singh (who went on to compose music later for movie like Waaris, Dil to Pagal Hai & Dushman) were woven wonderfully in the composition. 

Here it is, Kya Hua Tera Wada, from Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin:

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Mera Pyaar, Shalimar...

Shalimar was a movie about theft of a diamond by that name from an island. The movie had an international cast led by Dharmendra and Zeenat. Its Indian flavour resulted in a song like Hum Bewafa, which, with its emotional appeal and a melody based composition, became an instant classic and has remained so ever. 

However, in the bargain, and specially since the movie did not do well, it also overshadowed movie's background score as well as its theme song, which unfortunately icould get hardly a minute. 

However, this was a composition which, IMHO, was a true representative of what RD was capable of creating. Starting with guitar riffs - perhaps to create the effect of waves reaching the shore of the island, a very subtle pause that marks each stanza, Asha's voice reaching a crescendo before dropping down and then extending each of the stanza to the main song, use of essentially only guitar, bass & violin, and yet making it haunting - as a theme song ideally should be.

Listen to this over here, and if possible, use the earphones to get its real impact:

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Hum Bewafa, Hargiz Na The...

This is about one of the most underrated performers of Indian screen who turned 78 today.

A gentle person who could create the persona of a macho man - and bared his torso much before it became fashionable. A person who could not dance to save his life, yet you find his signature dance steps being aped vigourously by everyone. An actor who was as much at ease in a serious role as much in a comedy. An actor who despite delivering some of the biggest hits of Hindi cinema and a lot many stellar performances never got any award. 

Dharmendra - the guy who has always wore his heart on his sleeve.

RD did a number of movies which had Dharmendra as main lead, including those mega hits like Seeta Aur Geeta, Sholay & Yaadon ki Baraat. The song which I would like to showcase here on his birthday, is however from a movie which was one of the pioneers in international collaborations. Though it did not succeed as phenomenally as it should have, the background score created by RD, in 1978, was of the international standard. Of course, the songs also had a distinct RD impact- specially this one - a soulful number that RD, Anand Bakshi & Kishore Kumar created and turned into a timeless classic.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Matwali Aankhon Wale

There have been item numbers & item dancers - aplenty - on Hindi screen, but there has been only one who could be sexy, seductive and yet so graceful. Yes, this is about Helen, who celebrates her birthday today.

If Zeenat was lucky to have RD as composer for her initial movies, RD was lucky to have one of the best dancers of Hindi movies to dance on some such compositions of RD that seemed to be made only for her. 

O Haseena to Piya Tu Ab to Aaja to Mehbooba - the songs that RD composed for her were much more than just the dance numbers. Those fluid and sensuous moves of Helen, in sync with the variety and often innovative compositions that RD created - seemed almost heavenly.

Actually this teaming seemed pre-ordained - with RD's very first movie had Helen grooving like a doll with Mehmood to one of the evergreen compositions of Chhote Nawab - RD.

Here it is:

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Ab Jo Mile Hain...

I mentioned yesterday about how difficult it was to differentiate the voices of Mangeshkar Sisters - when they sang in tandem in Dulhan Maike Chali. It was all the more difficult because each of them, like a true playback singer, were trying to ensure that their voice was matching with the performer on-screen. Fortunately, each one was singing for only one of the characters.

Now here is a song, where there were two different performers on the screen - in two different kind of characters exhibiting two contradictory moods - and yet RD used only one singer. 

Ab Jo Mile Hain to - from caravan picturised on Aruna Irani & Asha Parekh had Asha Bhosle singing for both the actors. Starting seductively to match the on-screen persona of Aruna Irani wooing Jitendra, the song has a strong bossa-nova influence - perfectly matching the moves of Aruna Irani.

Half-way through, the seduction gives way to unrequited love and as the song changes the mood, one can not but notice that subtle yet distinct variation - in Asha's voice, in the lyrics and in the music. With Asha Parekh performing at her best, the song manages to bring out the pain that she is going through. 

No wonder, this song has remained one of the most popular one of Asha-RD-Majrooh combination.

Tu hai hawa, shola hu main,
Mil key bhee jo mil naa sake
Bujh naa sake tere bina, 
Tere bina jal naa sake

Listen to this here:

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Dulhan Maike Chali..

With the advent of 70s India was changing. It was becoming more modern and permissive - at least on surface. Zeenat Aman was the poster child of this era. 

Starting from her first movie Hulchul, she brought in a kind of glamour, which Hindi movie heroines were not generally known for. She was also one of the first heroines whom Indian male gaze looked at with lust. Ajnabee, Qurbani, Pukar, The Great Gambler, Dostana... the list is endless.

She was also one of the luckiest heroines - specially when it comes to Music. 
Starting from Hulchul (a songless movie though), there were a number of movies where Zeenat surely got her moves right - purely because the music was by RD. If Hare Rama Hare Krishna catapulted her into a zone which most of the newcomers can only dream of, movies like Yaadon Ki Barat, Heera Panna, Ishk Ishk Ishk, Ajnabee, the Great Gambler ensured her an everlasting presence in the memory of hindi music lovers.

On her birthday today, the song that I would love to showcase is from Manoranjan - a movie that brought out the chutzpah Zeenat & RD's combination was capable of. 
The song is also very special because it has three of the Mangeshkar sisters - Lata, Asha & Usha, singing in tandem - and actually it becomes difficult to differentiate their voices.

Another reason I love this song is about the inherent positivity about the characters, which Hindi movies seldom showed. In fact, never ever the Hindi movie have shown prostitutes with such joie-de-vivre (except perhaps Utsav) - absolutely unapologetic of their profession, as they mouth Anand Bakshi's lyrics while being rounded up by the police:

Suno ji suno unhe pakdo 
Jo jamane me gum bechte hai
Hamen chhodo 
sari khushiya
Is jamane me hum bechate hai
JKahe ko tu ro rahi hai
Dulhan maike chali 

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Kitne Aadmi The?

He was a struggler, trying to find a good role - despite his father having been in the film industry for more than a couple of decades - when he landed this role. Actually he was not even the first choice. Rather, this was a role that came to him due to the actor preferred first could not find dates to do this role.

The movie was a multi-starrer with actors of great calibre and well repute, among whom he had to ensure that his presence did not remain as just another actor. Fortunately for him, the role was meaty, of a kind, which Hindi movies had never seen earlier. Yet, the movie, when finally released, to take advantage of the long weekend coinciding with 15th August, was found to be lengthy, violent, and was trashed by almost every one. In fact, within its first week of release, it was written off as a flop - a complete commercial disaster.

Years later, this movie remains, one of the highest grosser of Hindi Cinema - and the first movie to have run for an uninterrupted period of five years in one theater. The actor, or rather the character he played, an evil personified, has retained the highest recall. He, of course, went on to create some more memorable characters and was rated as one of the finest actors of Hindi cinema. 

Amjad Khan aka Gabbar Singh of Sholay!

Wondering, Where does Pancham fits in? 

Well, one of the lesser talked about talent of RD was his penchant & attention to the details for a background score. Using different instruments, sometimes innovative ones, was a trick he often used to highlight the mood of a scene. In Sholay, apart from the four central male characters, Pancham's background score & Dwarka Divecha's photography further enhanced the impact of the movie.

Have a look at this scene from the movie - perhaps one of the most well-known ones!

The Banshee kind of wail (created through organ & cello) in the background, the highlighted sound of Gabbar's boots as he walks, a bit of guitar stumming, and then the rolling sound of the revolver, while Gabbar plays the Russian roulette with the life of his failed comerades! If Amjad played the character to the hilt - doing complete justice to the thought process that Salim-Javed had while scripting Gabbar, the music brought out the menace he was supposed to be, and helped in creating a character that is iconic even after 4 decades.

This was the magic of Pancham! 

Monday, November 11, 2013

Gori Tori Painjaniyaa

Hi All..back again after a brief break...

During this break, the country lost one of its finest & most versatile singers...and last of the male playback legends... Manna Dey! 
Manna Dey, had started his career as an assistant to SD Burman, and sang his first song for him. Quite possibly, that was one of the reasons, RD & him had a special bond. 

While RD's preferred singer seemed to be Kishore, it was Manna Dey, he banked more upon - specially when it came to bringing a variety - either for the composition or purely for balancing the movie's second male voice requirement.

As a result, he utilised Manna Dey's voice for a range of actors - from Mehmood, Pran & Om Prakash to Dharmendra & Rajesh Khanna. The versatile performer that Manna Dey was, he never sounded out of place for any one of them - be it Buddha Mila Gaya's Aayo Kahan se or Padosan's Saawariya or Seeta Aur Geeta's Zindagi Hai Khel.... 

However, my most favourite song of this duo is this one, where RD created a composition that perhaps Manna Dey alone could have done justice to.

Picturised on Rajesh Khanna, this is a classical raga based composition, a medley of Kaamod and Malhar. 

The song has RD creating magic with a fusion of Indian as well as western instruments. Apart from the traditional instruments, one can distinctly hear Veena & Pakhavaz as well as Violin. Since, it was a classical dance composition, the choreography was done by another legend - Gopi Krishna, who set the moves for Hema Malini. This confluence of talent also got something unusual from the lyricist Anand Bakshi also. As a result was created a song which is not only classical in composition, but also a classic by itself.

Here it is..

Ghar se nikalti hai tu, 
Girati sambhalti hai tu
Kuchh aise chalti hai tu
Thumak thumak ke 
Ghaayal jaise koyi hiraniya
Gori tori paijaniya

Monday, October 21, 2013

Kitna Pyaara Geet Hai..Yeh Goya ke Chunanche..

"To me, Pancham was an enthusiastic chef who enjoyed the unexplored exotica; and not just an efficient cook. Pancham's primary identity was that of an exceptionally gifted musician..."

Thus wrote Shammi Kapoor - the original rock star - about RD.

It is Shammi Kapoor’s birth anniversary today. Shammi Kapoor, whose Teesri Manzil - that RD composed five years after making his debut - not only catapulted RD in a different league altogether, but also was instrumental in creating a team which provided scintillating score for almost 2 decades - that of Nasir Hussain, Majrooh & RD!

Unfortunately, post Teesri Manzil, there was no movie that had Shammi Kapoor as a hero & RD as a composer. However, so impressed was Shammi with RD, that for his two directorial ventures, Manoranjan & Bundal Baaz, RD was the obvious choice.

Manoranjan, incidentally, was one of the only unapologetic comedy about prostitutes - which did not sermonise. About a romance between a prostitute - Zeenat Aman and a constable - Sanjeev Kumar, the movie, due to the prevalent attitudes and Adults only tag did not do really too well. To some extent, this also affected the popularity of its music - despite RD being in one of his best elements.

There were a couple of amazing melodies, specially one by Lata Mangeshkar. However, for today, as a tribute to Shammi Kapoor, right song to feature would be this one – which apart from Lata & Kishore, also had Manna Dey, rendering his voice for Shammi Kapoor. 

The composition, like the movie, also has a joie-de-vivre with superb emphasis on the percussion all through out - specially during the stanzas where the song picks up each time after a brief pause. Add to that the class of the performers off & on the screen, and yet the song has remained under-appreciated - just like the movie itself. 

For a Pancham fan, this is an absolute delight though, specially when you realise that this was RD's & Shammi Kapoor's last hit together.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Le Kar Hum, Deewana Dil..

There are a number of occasions where a song in the movie acts as a break for the movie - sometime on purpose & sometimes unintentionally. There are very few such moments, where the story moves on in rapid speed - while a song is going on.

Yaadon ki Barat had one such song where a lot more action was happening off the song-stage itself. A killing, a heist and amidst all this a stage performance by Tariq (who made his debut with this song) & Neetu Singh, in a guest appearance.

Keeping in mind all the paraphernalia around the song, the composition also had to be something special. RD manages precisely that..and how..

The killing of a henchmen, gets mixed into the song's initiation by RD's own typical hoot, followed by some amazing prelude comprising of percussion & guitar - a sudden lull - and then tempo starts building up again to a longish prelude, before the vocals by Asha & Kishore take over. Even the interludes - showing the main villain & his Mona darling as well as a heist by Dharmendra in progress - ensures that the pace does not falter a bit.

Add to this composition, the whole lot of instruments - specially the rapid beats on Conga drums, a variety of Guitars, Kishore's rendition, Asha's ending of each stanza with that throaty ha-aa.. and the very very sexily grooving Neetu Singh --- the song is an absolute magic in rhythm!

Just watch on..

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Aage Bhi, Hoga Jo, Uska Karam...

With Pooja nights over, let us get back to only one song at a time. The research was taking a toll on my time..

Since we were talking about Yaadon ki Barat, let me play its theme / title song.

The song has two versions in the movie - one sung by Kishore Kumar & Mohammad Rafi..and another sung by Kolhapure sisters - Shivangi & Padmini..under the lead of Lata Mangeshkar.

Years later, Padmini Kolhapure, who sang as one of the children in Nasir Hussain's biggest hit, was cast in the lead role in one of his biggest flops - Zamane ko Dikhana Hai.

On the other hand, one of the child artists in the version sung by Lata - has went on to become one of the biggest stars of the Hindi Cinema - and a heart-throb of millions - including my wife. 

So this song - not only for RD's lovely & evergreen composition..or Lata's superb rendition ( I love the way she carries the antaras into the mukhda)..

but also for my wife..and for her childhood memories with her brothers - as well as for her most favourite actor - Aamir Khan..who comes across not only very cute..but quite methodical even at this young age in this song..

Age bhee hoga jo usaka karam
Yeh din toh manaayenge har saal ham
Apane aangan naache gaayenge chanda sitaare

Monday, October 14, 2013

Aap Ke Kamre Men Koi Rahta Hai..

Almost forty years ago to date, Nasir Hussain released, perhaps his most ambitious, and most successful movie – in its own right a cult movie (my wife and her three brothers still sing the theme song with the same fervor) – Yaadon ki Baraat. 

Working on his favourite formula of Lost & Found – this time about three brothers, the movie also had some of RD’s most amazing compositions – which ensured a recall & a repeat value for the movie, forever.

One of the songs was very unlike a normal movie song for those times. A friend had remarked once: Pancham’s music was the celebration of life itself. That being the case, this song is a perfect example of joie-de-vivre. 

The sequence had a fair share of drama to begin with. Tariq, one of the heroes – who being a singer in the hotel, is entertaining the patrons with some serious jamming, before in a very formulaic manner, misses out reuniting with one of the lost brothers - Vijay Arora. The actual song starts after this melodrama – with Kishore Kumar & Asha Bhosle grooving to some excellent guitar chords.

What makes the composition different is the whole treatment – conversational in style as well as lyrics – with the singer also inviting patrons to join him in chorus. 

However, before showcasing this song, today being the Dashmi – last day of Durga Pooja, sticking to my promise, let me first give you the original Bangla composition. 
Bandho Dared Andho Kare , from black & white movie of 1970 -Rajkumari - starring Uttam Kumar & Tanuja, and sung by Asha & Kishore..

And now the song from Yaadon ki Baraat.

An absolute turnaround in the treatment as the composition turns into a full-fledged rock sound. While Kishore pitches in for both the heroes, once the final jamming starts, RD grabs the opportunity to pitch in with his own voice too. Since the song had Zeenat Aman as one of the characters, Asha brings in Dum Maro Dum – thus increasing the heat & the glam quotient of the entire composition. 

Enjoy this amazing number..

Agar main kahun jo dekha, nahee tha woh koyee kwaab
Pada tha table pe chasma, woh kiska janaab
Gore gale me woh muffler, tha kis hasin kaa
Jara haath dil pe rakh ke, hame dijiye jawaab
Aapke kamare me koyee rehata hai 

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Akaash Kane Deko..

With weekend, Pooja & Navratri celebrations are at its high - leaving not enough time for the posts.

Yet, would like to do a quick post:

This time one of the most popular numbers of RD, Kishore & Rajesh Khanna combination.

But first the Bangla composition - Akash Keno Dake - released around 1967, sung originally also by Kishore Kumar - the composition is a dead give-away of its Hindi version:

As I said, a dead give-away:
So here is the Hindi version - from movie Kati Patang. 

It might be my perspective or perhaps, Rajesh Khanna's performance, the theme of the movie & very very romantic lyrics, adding a different context to the song - but Kishore Kumar sounds much more soulful - as compared to the Bangla version. Even the composition & the structure seems to be having more punch, despite adhering to the basic tune - including the whistling.

Whatever it may be, the song remains one of the most popular songs of this combination. Here it goes for you all:
Ek ruthi hui, taqadir jaise koi
Khaamosh aise hai tu, tasveer jaise koi
Teri nazar, banke zubaan, 
Lekin tere paigaam diye jaaye

Friday, October 11, 2013

Bendhechhi Bina Gaan..

It was not only Pooja songs which RD later used in Hindi movies. In 1981, he composed music for “Kalankini Kankabati” – a Bangla movie having stellar star-cast that included Mithun Chakraborty, Sharmila Tagore, and the top most Bengali star – Uttam Kumar. 

Unfortunately, during the making of this movies, first the original director of the movie & then Uttam Kumar – passed away. As a result, despite being one of his best scores, it did not attain the kind of billing, it otherwise would have. 

This movie had a song, sung by Parveen Sultana – in semi-classical mode – Bendhechhi Bina Gaan. Listen to this song on, before I put across its Hindi counterpart from another superstar’s movie – which was one of his best works – but remained under-rated:

If Bangla movies were ruled by Uttam Kumar – there was only one superstar in late 70s to mid-80s in Hindi movie world. Yes, Amitabh Bachchan – whose birthday it is today! In 1983, Hrishikesh Mukherjee casted him, alongwith Rakhee & Vinod Mehra in “Bemisaal”. The movie – apart from a very fine story, superb direction & great performances, also had RD giving some really soulful music, which included this gem – picturised on Rakhee & Amitabh, and sung by Lata Mangeshkar:

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Phiro Eso Anuradha..

The album released for Durga Pooja of 1967 is an absolute treasure trove for those seeking to find RD's inspirations for some of his very popular Hindi songs. Apart from Ekdin Pakhi Ure Jabe Je, and Mone Pore Rubi Ray, the album had another number - a cult song amongst Bangla music lovers - Phire Eso Anuradha!

Phire eso Anuradha, Bhenge diye shob badha,
Priyotoma Monalisa
Tumi amar bhalobasha|

The lyrics - again penned by Sachin Bhowmick who used the name Anuradha in this song because of his special affection to his own screenplay for the movie Anuradha, means (thanks to the translation by Dr. Saikat Chakraborty – available on facebook):

Come back Anuradha, Breaking all the shackles
My darling, My monalisa, You are the one I love.

You spoke to me in that song, In that song, you told me, 
Giving me a flower from your hair,
That you'll be my bride, And the desert will then become like the sea. 

Why did you go away, tell me, why did you go?
Forgot about all this love, And forgot about all the wishes 
All those wishes.. 

Here is the song, sung by RD, in his inimitable way & voice:

This composition was used by RD in the movie “Jaise ko Taisa”, released in 1973. However, much later, in 1981, this composition also became the backbone of another of RD’s very popular songs. I would like to showcase this song here – not only because of it being more popular or for its profound lyrics - penned by Gulzar, not even because of the way Lata Mangeshkar has made this composition soar, but only because of the actress who appears only at the fag end of the song – one of the most beautiful & talented actresses in India – whose birthday happens to be today – Happy Birthday to Rekha.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Ek Din Paakhi Ure...

Udashir banshi aar keno keuto shone na
Konodin keu taar keno mon to bojhe na
Ghor chere konodin jeno she pothe na boshe
Ekdin pakhhi ure jabe je akashe.....

Ekdin Pakhi Ure Jab - this is the title of a biography of Kishore Kumar, written by Mukul Datta. This was also a poem by Mukul Datta, chosen by RD for one of his compositions in 1967's Durga Pooja album & sung by Kishore Kumar in his inimitable style.

Two years later, he used the same composition in a Hindi movie to create a song with two versions by both Rafi & Kishore, which appears five times in the movie. Of these five appearances, each was supposed to be the version sung by Rafi in his absolute pure-silken voice, Of these five appearances, each was supposed to be the version sung by Rafi in his absolute pure-silken voice, but for the insistence by RD which made the Director use Kishore's version - albeit once only with the first stanza and once a slower rendition of only the mukhda.

Yet, even after four decades, it is Kishore Kumar's sensitive & intense rendition which casts its magic on the listeners.

Let us first hear the original Bangla version

And now, it is the turn of Hindi version - an absolute in form Kishore Kumar rendering in his rich baritone on an absolutely mismatched  Bharat Bhushan.

For all those whose dil maange more, here is the full version of Kishore Kumar:


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Mone Pore Rubi Ray.....Meri Bheegi Bheegi Si..

Navratri – Nine nights of celebrating the power of & of seeking blessings from Devi Durga! For us brought up in Mumbai, during our teenage and just-out-of-teenage years, this was the time to get a chance to dance with some of the prettiest girls in the neighbourhood – those who otherwise would not have even given us the time of the day – and thus breaking our heart regularly.

I had observed a curious phenomenon during those years. There was a house across the road from my home – shut almost throughout the year – but would come alive about a month before Navratri. I could not only see lights in the night, but also a lot of shouting – sometimes seething with anger, and often with a lot of laughter. Seeing me concerned with such going-ons, once my father explained – Oh, this is the group called Kallol – and they are preparing for Durga Pooja. This was the first time I heard about the Pooja festival. Of course I had not realized the passion with which Pooja was celebrated by Bengalis till we moved in Powai about 13 years ago.

Much before that however, unknowingly, I and so many fans of Pancham’s music like me, had celebrated Durga Pooja through his music. Like the Diwali special issues in Mahrashtra where all noted writes make a special effort to contribute, in Bengal existed a trend where almost all the celebrated composers with their roots in Bengal, would create special albums for Pooja festival. RD also composed some of his masterpieces specially for Pooja – which later found place in some of his most celebrated tunes in Hindi movies.

Over next few days, till Durga Pooja, I will bring to you two of his creations each day – one which was composed for the festival & then its Hindi version.

Since I was talking of 1972, let me begin with one of his most popular songs in Hindi movies from a movie released that year. First the Bangla version. This song was apparently inspired by the unrequited love of Sachin Bhowmik – noted writer who also wrote this song. Composed in 1967, this was RD’s first Bengali solo – as a singer - & one of the most popular ones too.

So here it goes: Mone Pore Ruby Ray..

And now the Hindi version

Recreated for Anamika, RD retained the same raga but rearranged the music, to suit the movie sequence. 

The result – a song that brings out the longingness, loss and a sense of betrayal – with the combined creativity of Majrooh & RD which only Kishore could have sung & perhaps only Sanjeev Kumar could emote. In such a manner, a classic was born that has retained its charm & flavour even after 4 decades.

Tujhe bin jaane, bin pahchaane
Maine hriday se lagaayaa
Par mere pyaar ke badle mein toone
Mujhko ye din dikhlaayaa
Jaise birhaa ki rut maine kaati
Tadapke aahen bhar-bhar ke
Jale man teraa bhi, kisi ke milan ko
Anaamikaa, tu bhi tarse

Saturday, October 5, 2013


Hindi movies, generally have similar kind of structures to infuse a song - and a romantic song wherein the lead pair expresses their love for each other is one of the most common ones. The situations may change but the sentiments remain unchanged. It takes a genius like Pancham to create two different sounds for the similar sentiments - that too in the same year.

Aao aao jaan-e- jahan
Dil ne dhunda tumhe kahan kahan

Thus wrote Majrooh for Gomti ke Kinare, which was released in 1972, and which I showcased yesterday. 

The same year earlier had seen another release with almost similar sounding mukhda. Singers were also same: Kishore & Asha. 

The similarities ended there however. Anand Bakshi's lyrics was obviously different in verse despite the mukhda echoing the similar sentiments - as those penned by Majrooh. Cosmetically too, the on-screen pair & the situation was different, but the real change was in the mood & the treatment of the song. 

Unlike Gomti ke Kinare, where the treatment was softer, here RD made a composition which starts slowly, building up to a more sensuous note, juxtaposing perfectly with the teenage heroine Jaya Bhaduri, carrying a doll with her, before taking-off. 

Keeping with the theme of the movie, in order to present to the movie-buffs a sound that was truly representing a younger generation, the composition had rapid bongo beats, woven around soul-styled strumming of guitar. There was English flute too as well as sax to lift the interludes, thus adding additional character. Unlike the song from Gomti Ke Kinare, where the harmony was chorus driven, here the lead singers sang parallel to enhance the impact. As if that was not enough, RD made Asha Bhosle vary the octave that changes the whole complexion of the song.

The impact this song creates is romantic, soulful and yet seductive. No wonder, it has remained among Pancham's top-most compositions. Listen to it now: 
Movie - Jawani Diwani

Friday, October 4, 2013

Aao, Aao Jaan-e-Jahan..

From Canyons & deserts to the bank of a river – sometimes the inspirations move across the whole geography - like this particular song.

Ol Turkey Buzzard, Ol Turkey Buzzard
Flyin, Flyin high,
He's just waiting
Buzzard just a-waiting
Waiting for something down below the dive

Old Turkey Buzzard, sung by Jose Feliciano & composed by Quincy Jones, was the theme score from Mckenna’s Gold, running in background through the movie as a strand. Sounding ominous in its structure, it was made more so with its lyrics and powerful visuals of desert & canyons.

Pancham, always ready to experiment with whatever inspired him, took the basic structure of its two lines, made it into a harmony, composed a tune around it and turned it on its head totally.

Rather than the strong visuals of a desert, this harmony arrangement managed to convert it into a soft party composition - suiting perfectly the lyrics. Interestingly, while the basic theme runs like a mukhda, there is not really a definite mukhda in the song. The song starts with a stanza and continues into three different stanzas – each of them ending in a way into a tune that is akin to a mukhda.

It was an experiment that went right and created a really hummable composition. However, since the movie tanked, despite it being the last movie of Meena Kumari, this excellent composition, along with the other songs, never got their recognition.

Here it is now, from the movie – Gomti Ke Kinare, picturised on Mumtaz & Samir Khan (brother of Firoze & Sanjay Khan) – with lyrics from Majrooh (whose birth anniversary I missed out on 1st October).

Friday, September 27, 2013

Kuch Bhi Kar Lo..

Once upon a time, there existed a perfect world: A world where romance overshadowed all other emotions; a world where the hero remained young & energetic ever; a world where the lovely & beautiful heroines sang in a voice that sounded freshly in love, always!

Once upon a time, there existed Hindi movie world comprising of Yash Chopra, Dev Anand & Lata Mangeshkar . And then there was Pancham – with a remarkable capability to create such compositions which have remained young forever.

I began the week with a flurry of songs from Lata-RD combination. As the week is about to get over, it is becoming special - for the Hindi movie buffs - more so for those who are die-hard romantics.

A week which had us celebrating the birth anniversary of the youthful Dev Anand on 26th,  of the king of Romance Yash Chopra today on 27th and birthday of the queen of melody Lata Mangeshkar, tomorrow on 28th.

Here, at Celebrations with  Pancham, the best tribute to all of them would be this love-song from the movie Joshila.

Produced by Gulshan Rai, the movie had two young & beautiful actresses - Rakhee & Hema Malini - starring with not-so young - yet very, very, energetic Dev Anand - acting for the only time under the baton of Yash Chopra. If at all, all these creative minds together were not enough - the movie also had Sahir Ludhianvi penning the lyrics for the first time for RD's compositions.

This composition carries the hallmark of what Pancham was capable of - especially with vocal harmonization between Lata & Kishore while the beats continue to change.

It also brings out the flavor of a Yash Chopra romance, with his cinematographer Fali Mistry capturing the snow-capped mountains, lush green carpeted earth, lovely blue sky – and creating a visual of that world where the God was in heaven, everything was picture perfect & and the romance reigned supreme.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Ab Jayenge Kitni Door...

"I remember, a 13-14 year old boy, wearing khaki shorts and a white shirt had come to take my autograph. I remember, I was recording a song with S D Burman sahab when the small boy came and Burman dada told me he was his son - Pancham...and that he is learning to play sarod. This was the first time I had met Pancham!"

This is what Lata Mangeshkar said in one of her interviews about RD.

As compared to Asha, RD had a different - & I think almost reverential kind of - relationship with Lata. It reflects in the kind of songs he chose her voice for - songs which manage to somehow slip in right through to your soul. From his first movie "Chhote Nawab" to his swan song "1942 - A Love story" - she was there - at a number of milestones through this journey.

With Lata Mangeshkar's birthday coming up later this week, I would like to continue showcasing some more compositions where RD & Lata are sheer magic to the ears.

Let me start by this song - picturised on Saira Banu - looking so sensuously beautiful in what to me is one of her best ever performances, and the combination of Lata-RD radiates the youthfulness in a manner that makes you want to fall in love with her. No wonder Sunil Dutt does so.

Movie - Padosan

Lyrics - Rajinder Krishan