Saturday, August 31, 2013

Gore hon Ya Kale, Apne hon Sare,...

Bombay to Goa was not the first time when Usha Uthup sang in Hindi movies or under RD's baton.

It was in 1969 when Dev Anand asked Usha Uthup to sing for his forthcoming movie - Hare Rama Hare Krishna. Based on the movie script's requirement, RD planned a song with Lata Mangeshkar & Usha Uthup, but the song ultimately ended up using Asha Bhosle's voice. This was "Dum Maro Dum".

RD however used another situation in the same movie to introduce Usha Uthup to the Hindi film audience through possibly what was the first bilingual song in Hindi movies. Of course, her co-singer now was Asha. Quite possibly the way this other song was structured, Lata & Usha Uthup woiuld have been a total mismatch for each other. On the other hand Asha & Usha Uthup are able to complement each other perfectly -
with RD allowing the music to suddenly extend and pace up, giving Usha Uthup a free reign to do her vocals.

The phenomenal popularity of Dum Maro Dum to some extent overshadowed this song. While in the clubs, DJ's regularly play Dum Maro Dum, this song is rarely heard, for no fault of its music or vocals. Quite possibly it is just waiting - to be re-discovered:

Friday, August 30, 2013

Listen to the Pouring Rain...

And now let us continue back on the road from Bombay to Goa. This being the weekend evening, here is a medley of club classics - performed live in the movie by Usha Uthup (at that time Usha Iyer). The medley include some of the chart busters like "Listen to the pouring rain", "Temptation", "Fever", "I married a female wrestler" and "It's all right with me". 

Of course while the songs were chosen by Usha Iyer essentially, RD remodelled them in his own style. So if you hear has bossa nova rhythm in one, there is a well structured bongo element in another one (the one with Goan tune) to balance the same.

As the sequence starts with Amitabh walking in to the club, one can see a different avatar of Amitabh - much more confident then his earlier roles. Though at the time of shooting no one would have been knowing the importance of this sequence in his career, yet perhaps the destiny was getting him ready, because this club sequence ultimately leads into a fight between Amitabh & Shatrughan - and apparently it is this fight sequence that got the attention of those looking for the hero for Zanjeer.

However, it is time for us to start grooving with Usha Iyer & R D Burman:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Ram Ko Samjho, Krishna Ko Jano..

Another song, for Janmashtami - this time from the combination of Dev Anand, R D, Kishore & Anand Bakshi. This however is not a bhajan - though cast in that mould. Rather this one is a sermon - A sermon in the movie to those who had turned their back to the world in the name of the religion. However, the way Anand Bakshi portrayed the feelings of the protagonist of the movie, this can also be a sermon to all those who use religion for their own gains, without actually bothering to understand it.

This song from Hare Rama Hare Krishna, interestingly starts just when the first stanza of Dum Maro Dum ends. Apart from the fact that somehow Dev Anand was not sure about Dum Maro Dum, another reason for retaining only one stanza perhaps was his not wanting the sermon from the elder brother in the movie to be overshadowed by the menace against which he was shown fighting. 

He was however unduly worried. Despite the amazing music that Dum Maro Dum was made of, RD also ensured, by suddenly bringing a music slower in rhythm, and replete with Indian percussion instruments, that this song was so perfectly juxtaposed to the earlier one. This ensured people noticed this song too. Not that it really made much of a difference in last 40 years, because the following verse are still as relevant as they were when the movie was released:

Ram ko Samjho, Krishna ko Jaano,
Neend se Jago, O Mastano
Jeet lo Man ko Padh kar Geeta 
Man hi Hara, woh Kya Jeeta

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Kaa Kare Yashoda Maiyya...

Krishna Janmashtami is here!

Krishna - an avataar for all seasons! He believes in what he does and offers no explanations for any of his acts ! More important, someone who reciprocates love to each one in his life in a manner as if Krishna was his/her alone! 

Of all his relationships, it is his relationship with his foster mother Yashoda that seems to be most fulfilling. Separated from his parents on the night he is born, here is a child, naughty though, seeking love and protection, and yet it seems as if it is Yashoda who gets her nirvana as she mothers, pampers, scolds Krishna - knowing fully well of this relationship being temporary in nature, because Krishna is the one whom the world seeks. 

Similar was the relationship in Amar Prem - between the character of Pushpa & Nandu, and when situation demanded, RD & Anand Bakshi together rose to the occassion - apparently tweaked by SD - and created a Krishna bhajan which epitomises this relationship - fulfillment of Yashoda for a playful Krishna.

Again set in raga Khamaaj, which has been used by RD quite liberally in Amar Prem, and with the use of instruments like flute, santoor, Guitar (would suggest to hear the pause before the beginning of the third stanza, picked up by a note of guitar) & Dholak used in the optimal manner, set a perfect tone for Lata Mangeshkar whose singing takes it into a different realm altogether - a classic for all seasons - just like Krishna:

Aa tohe main gale se laga lu
Lage naa kisi kee najar mann me chhupa lun
Dhup jagat hai re, mamata hai chhainya
Kaa kare yashoda maiyya

Happy Janmashtami to everyone..

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Dekha na, Haye Re Socha Na..

Bombay to Goa is one of the most beautiful routes for driving your car - and perhaps with lesser vehicular traffic and more patience, in late 60s could have been more safe also.

Bombay To Goa, made in 1972, was a comic caper centered around the journey through this route. However, unintentionally & unknowingly, the movie changed the route of Hindi Cinema – to some extent. Actually, it could also have been a route changer for the entire country as a whole. Why? Read on.

It is said that originally Mehmood wanted to caste a particular person for the role of the hero in this movie. However, the intended choice was not an actor at all. He was also not interested in acting career & turned down the offer, as his choice of career at that time rather was something more high flying - literally.

Amitabh was the next choice, who had already made a guest appearance as a fight master & trainer in Mehmood’s previous movie – Garam Masala. For Amitabh, who had not been able to deliver a single solo hit till then, this turned out to be a movie which at least did better than average business.

More important, this was the same time when Prakash Mehra, having been rejected by all top heroes for his next movie based on Salim-Javed’s script, was looking for a hero. Apparently, Javed Akhtar, after seeing this movie recommended Amitabh for the hero’s role in Zanjeer – and rest is history. Zanjeer actually set the trend of Hindi Cinema as the movies went from soft & mushy hero to someone who could take the villains & establishment head-on – The Angry Young Man.

And yes, if the talk about Mehmood’s original choice is true, then while I am not sure about the fate of the movie with that person as a hero, there surely could have been a twist in the nation’s history, because that person was Rajiv Gandhi - the elder son of then Prime Minister of India – Mrs. Indira Gandhi.

With this small prelude, let me give you the most popular number of Bombay to Goa – another chart topper created by Pancham - popular then and popular now, even in the remix format - always getting the guys rocking on the dance floor:

Monday, August 26, 2013

Aayo Kahan Se Ghanshyam...

Buddha Mil Gaya - a 1971 classic thriller-comedy directed by Hrisihikesh Mukherjee saw Majrooh & RD combining to provide another musical treat. Of course RD could not resist using Kishore again, for the romantic numbers - this time for Navin Nishchal.

The movie was a whodunit with well shot sequences of murders that actually managed to scare the audience. Since a good thriller is one which should keep the audience on a roller coaster ride, each of these homicides were followed by a song sequence. In order to soothe the frayed nerves of the audience, a bhajan which runs like a strand through the movie was a perfect idea and suited the movie.

RD composed the bhajan in Raga Khamaaj and used Manna Dey's voice for Om Prakash - the main protagonist & the key suspect in the movie. Majrooh, while penning the verse, also managed to provide a hidden meaning to otherwise a simple bhajan, thus deepening the mystery that lies behind the character portrayed by Om Prakash.

Main naa kahu kachhu mose naa rutho
Tum kud apne jiyara se puchho
Bitee kaha pe kal sham,
Aayo Kahan se Ghanshyam

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Waadiyan Mera Daman..

"Dosti" produced by Rajashree Films & directed by Satyen Bose, was one of the biggest hits of 1964. It also won 6 Filmfare awards, including the best film and the best story. It also got L-P their first Best Music award edging out Shankar-Jaikishan for Sangam & Madan Mohan for Woh Kaun Thi.

Ironically the main stars of the movie Sudhir Kumar & Sushil Kumar were never heard again. At the same time, another actor with not such a major role in the movie, and who had just entered the Hindi film industry in that year, went on to become quite successful as an actor as well as a producer - on the film screen as well as TV screen.
This was Sanjay Khan, who later teamed up with RD for two of his directorial ventures - Chandi Sona & Abdullah.

But much before these movies, in 1968, RD composed music for one of the movies starring Sanjay Khan & Nanda - Abhilasha. Abhilasha was also the first movie where Bhupendra joined RD's team as a Guitarist - and thus completed a troika with RD & Manohari Singh. Unfortunately the movie did not do too well, but some of the compositions of this movie stand out, which I would like to play here - starting with this song sung by Rafi in his inimitable style:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Ek Insaan Hoon, Main Tumhari tarah..

Jisne Sab ko Racha, Apne Hi Rang Men, Uski Pahchaan Hoon..

In 1964, a movie was being made, based on the story of two handicapped young boys who meet each other coincidentally and then surmount the adversities of their life together.

This was the time when a music director duo - as admitted by themselves - were struggling in the industry, despite the mega success of their first venture together, and they accepted this movie just in order to at least stay afloat.

While composing the music for this movie, they realised that, the character of one of the protagonists in the movie is supposed to be a good harmonica player, and hence they needed someone who could play harmonica for the music. RD was well known for his prowess as a harmonica player - as was seen in Hai Apna Dil To Awara.., and they roped him in.

Vindicating their faith in him, RD played some of the most delectable pieces of Harmonica, in almost all the songs - and thus was created the music of Dosti - a movie from where that struggling duo of Laxmikant Pyarelal took off and never really looked back.

Much later Pyarelal not only acknowledged RD for this movie but also called his skill with Harmonica unparalleled in Hindi film industry. Here is one of the songs from the movie, with poignant verse from Majrooh, superb composition of LP, mellow voice of Raf, all combining together with RD's harmonica to create a mood of melancholy and anguish:

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Hai Apna Dil....

"Hare Rama Hare Krishna", released in 1972, was the first movie where RD independently composed music for Dev Anand & Navketan Productions, and it created songs which are nothing short of cult classics.

Of course, even before this movie, RD had been a part of Navketan, since he had worked as an assistant to SD for their earlier movies which included Guide & Jewel Thief. But much before all these, in 1958, there was one song where RD & Dev Anand came together. The song, again an evergreen one, was sung by Hemant Kumar and composed by SD.

So where was RD?

Well, he was the one who actually played Harmonica which was the key instrument used for this song. So here it is, with so young Dev Anand wooing..oh! so angry & yet so beautiful Waheeda Solvaa Saal:

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Phoolon Ka Taron Ka..

Please pardon me for using a bit of a cliche on the occassion - but on this day of Raksha Bandhan, I can not but resist the temptation of putting up this evergreen anthem for brother-sister relationship.

The song has two version in the movie - one sung by Lata (with one line by RD) and another by Kishore Kumar. It could be the poignancy of the situation in which Kishore has sung, but there is so much more affection & depth in his version. So here it is:

Monday, August 19, 2013

Ek Hi Khwab Kai Baar..

Minimalistic in music?

Bahut Door..still had some interludes, but this one from Kinara really is one which brings out the real flavour of a poem - romantic yet very conversational - something that only Gulzar could think of as a lyricist & a Director, and only RD could weave it around such a lovely 'dhun'.

Add to that the palpable & clearly visible chemistry between Dharmendra & Hema Malini, and it adds up to a love that is so much more beautiful than anything picturised on Hindi film screen. A real life romance is made up of verse like these..

Mej par phool sajate hue
Dekha hai kai baar
Aur bistar se kai baar Jagaya hai tujhko
Chalte phirte mere kadmon ki vo Aahat bhi suni hai

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Bahut Door Mujhe Chale Jana Hai..

RD's music was special!

Not just because he could identify the situations & introduce such varied beats from all over the world, weaving them well in hindi film music's grammar. When the need arose, he also created some amazing numbers - that were minimalistic in music and depended purely on the melody that his singers could create together.

For example, on a cloudy weekend with a forecast for some rain, this number from Heera Panna which can be a perfect recipe for romance: More so because of the musical effect of the sound resembling water dropping on smouldering hot surface.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Duniya Men, Logon ko..

Another Cabaret! Another RD & Asha combination!!

This time, however, instead of Helen, its Mumtaz, while breath rhythm is used by RD for RK.

Breath Rhythm's creative utilisation in "Piya Tu... "was something that RD introduced in one of the Durga Pooja songs in 1969 and then used it at least in two Hindi songs. One was Piya Tu..and the another was in the same year in Apna Desh, where RD used his own voice to Rajesh Khanna .

The song was another runaway hit. In fact, though RD lost out to Be-imaan for the music award, as a measure of his music's popularity, in 1972, of the top 19 songs of Binaca Geet Mala's annual list, RD had composed 8 of them - with Dum Maro Dum topping the chart, and this one coming 7th.

Enjoy another great composition with superb Sax piece mixing into Tango in the interlude. The clip this time is of RD & Asha performing on an old DD show (though seemingly doing a lip-sync).

And just to showcase the difference that Helen used to make to any cabaret, here is the clip from the movie, with Mumtaz trying her best and yet somehwere falling short when it comes to putting dance floor on fire..

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Piya Tu.....

Losing out to Shankar Jaikishan, however, was not new for RD.

Just the year before, despite his superlative scores in Kati Patang & Caravan, he lost out the best Music Director award to Shankar Jaikishan for Mera Naam Joker. And yet, his this composition for Asha Bhosle's sizzling cabaret number on Helen got her the Best Female Singer award.

Its worth listening to the way the composition has been structured. Begininng as a plain club dance movements, with just a hint of sax in each beat, slowly getting down into a melancholic sound of yearning, building up the tempo with the rising breath rhythm, before blasting into a full-fledged medley of beats - that is a mix of Latin & Jazz. Even each of the stanzas builds up a tempo that descends only with singer's voice mixing into percussive beats.

This was a song that was a chart-topper then and remained one till now. So enjoy..

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Duniya ne Humko Diya Kya..

Filmfare, for the same year however, awarded a song that worked not only as the title song for its movie, but went on to become the anthem for a whole generation that was weaned on Beatles & Hippie culture.

This song also created a star sensation out of a new-comer and remained her identity forever. The singer of the song, who won the award for her singing, won accolades from everyone. In fact Kishore Kumar went on to say that the song was powerful enough to bring a dead person to life.

Starting with lead guitar riffs - played by Bhupendra,and Transicord played by Charanjit Singh - the song slowly build up a psychedelic mood, before it explodes with Asha Bhosle's sultry & husky voice. And just to think, the Director of the movie had almost rejected the song thinking it may not be popular. It was only at the insistence of the music director that the song was retained - though in bits & pieces in the movie. It is only in a LP that you get this full song. Anyways, as they say - rest is history.

So here it is - the song that got Asha Bhosle best female singer award from Filmfare in the same year when Amar Prem was released

Monday, August 12, 2013

Jeena To Hai Usi Ka..

Amar Prem should have been a strong contender for the Filmfare Awards - at least in the music related category. It was a tough choice though as the other movies released in 1972 with good music, included Pakeezah, Jawaani Deewani, Shor, Lal Patthar, Parichay, Mere Jeevan Saathi & Hare Rama Hare Krishna!

But inexplicably, the award for best music, best lyrics & best male singer went to Be-imaan for "Jai Bolo Be-imaan ki!". In fact, Pran - who won the award for Best Supporting Actor for Be-imaan, was so upset with the omission of Pakeezah from all the awards, that he refused to accept his award.

Amar Prem got the awards - but for its screenplay & dialogues. Of course, "Pushpa, I Hate Tears" - or "Gaaiye Na, Aap Ruk Kyun Gayin??" do to some extent define the movie even now. The dialogues were written by Mr. Ramesh Pant - who, in 1971, had penned the lyrics for Adhikar - 1971 where RD had composed the music!

There were a number of songs from Adhikar which went on to become very popular - including this apt song picturised on Pran - perhaps the first quawali picturised on him - though not the last one.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Raine Beeti Jaye..

Amar Prem, however, was not about Kishore Kumar & Rajesh Khanna alone.

The movie, essentially being a woman oriented movie, had ample scope for RD to create something memorable with Lata Mangeshkar - and he does not let the fans down a bit.

The situation of the song showcased here was nothing new for Lata Mangeshkar. Yet, the way the composition takes off with the sound of Santoor & Flute, after her initial alaap, trascends you into a different mood altogether.

Aided by lovely verse - including a very simple but brilliant wordplay on Shyam & Shaam - makes this song rise above so many other songs of similar mood that Lata Mangeshkar has sung.

Shyam Ko Bhoolaa,
Shaam Kaa Waadaa
Sang Diye Ke Jaage Radhaa
Nindiya na aaye
Raina Beeti Jaye

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Chingari Koi Bhadke..

First Aradhana..then Kati Patang..and finally Amar Prem!

If ever there was still any doubt left about the brilliance of RD & magic of Kishore's voice, Amar Prem put an end to that.

Released in 1972, this movie from Shakti Samant, was based on a Bengali short story which was also made into a movie in Bengali, with Uttam Kumar in lead.

This was also an opportunity for both, RD & Kishore, to showcase their talent in compositions based on Indian Ragas. They used it to the hilt..and how!

Take this song for example. Based on Raga Bhairavi, the song starts with a very different kind of guitaring followed by the flute in a manner that not only recreates the atmosphere of a boat in the river, but also adds depth to the listener's understanding of the feelings portrayed by the actors on-screen. Other instruments used in the composition include Iranian Santoor, which was played by Pt Shiv Kumar Sharma, while the flute was played by Pt. Hari Prasad Chaurasia!

Enjoy this always-sounding-fresh song - with some amazing verse by Anand Bakshi..

Friday, August 9, 2013

Chanda o Chanda...

With Eid around the corner, the Moon is anyways in limelight. Continuing from my previous post which was also about the Moon, or rather about the query posed to the Moon, here is another lovely composition of RD.

The verse, again by Anand Bakshi, are posing a question - a different kind of this time though. This is more of a Lori, which appears in the movie twice - once on heroine Radha Saluja , sung by Lata - and later on Mehmood, which was rendered by Kishore, though Lata pitched in to conclude the song.

Movie was also from 1971 - Lakhon men Ek, where the music seemed to be the only redeeming feature of the movie - this song being the leader of the pack - in this version sung by Kishore Kumar.

Chanda o Chanda, Kisne Churayi,
Teri Meri Nindiya

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Koi Aur Duniya Men..

Moon as a backdrop!

The hero singing Anand Bakshi's verse, composed to RD's tune, in Rafi's voice!!

Theme - him wondering is there anyone more beautiful than his lady love!!!

Sounds familiar? If I ask you to guess the song what would be your answer?

Alas, this is not, however, 'Maine poochha chand se' from Abdullah with Sanjay Khan & Zeenat.

This is from an earlier film, Pyar ki Kahani, released in 1971. Perhaps a precursor to what RD & Anand Bakshi created in 1980 for Abdullah, this song has Amitabh posing something similar for Tanuja. The composition does have a much different feel to it - a short prelude and largely guitar based; romantic enough & yet not as intoxicating as the one in Abdullah which has a long prelude with a mix of Santoor & Sax. To some extent the interludes, depicting some kind of stress, also take away the focus from romance. 

Yet, if the answer "nahi, nahi, nahi" could be for Zeenat, it surely would have been for Tanuja - one of the most vivacious actresses on Hindi film screen - a list which according to me consists of three - starting at Geeta Bali & stopping at Kajol.

So here it is:

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Ae Meri Topi Palat Ke Aa..

Can RD & Kishore's combination ever be enough? No!

So, please forgive me if I got stuck in this groove for last 2-3 days around Kishore Kumar's birth anniversary. However, now is the time to move on to other facets of Pancham's music. Yet before that one question: Which was the first song where Kishore sang on Pancham's tune?

Of course, every one knows the answer - Jaago Sone walon, Suno Meri Kahani - from Bhoot Bangla - Pancham's second movie as a music director. This is incorrect though, if we go by what Pancham himself told in an interview to Filmfare.

In 1951, at the age of 12 years, while speaking to his father during Sachin Dev Burman's visit to Calcutta, he made Sachin da hear a few tunes that he had composed by then. A couple of years later, while listening to a song, he suddenly realised - "My God, that's my tune". He wrote to his father, who admitted that yes, the song was based on Pancham's tune. 

This was the song,  picturised on Dev Ananad and sung by Kishore Kumar for Funtoosh - a Navketan movie released in 1956, directed by Chetan Anand. 

The interesting part is to find Sahir in a very different kind of mood when he writes:

Ae meri humjoli
Tu bhi gair ki ho li
Tu bhi de gayi dhakka, 
Auron ke sang ghoome
Ithalaye aur jhoome
Dekhun main bhaunchakka
Ae meri dilbar, Idhar Nazar Kar
Na ja bichad kar na ja

Does it not sound almost like a precursor to Champi tel Maalish? Interestingly, that is another song where the original tune is now being credited to Pancham. Well, more about that later. For the time being enjoy Ae Meri Topi Palat ke Aa..

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Umra Bhar Lekin Dost Saath Chalte Hain..

Friendship Day!
Kishore Kumar's birthday!!

 Can there be a better occasion then this, to play this song - with such profound verse about friendship by Anand Bakshi:

Daulat aur jawaani
Ek din kho jaati hai
Sach kehta hoon
Saari duniya dushman ho jaati hai
Umra bhar dost lekin saath chalte hain

O Hansini...

When words are inadequate to woo, here is what I resort to:

One of my most favourites!

Lovely play of simple words by Majrooh, amazing composition of RD, superb piece of Sax - by one of the finest saxophone players of the country and also one of the most trusted member of Pancham's team - Late Manohari Singh - and that sublime rendering by Kishore Kumar - this is what romance was made of in early 70s - or for that matter even now!

 So here it goes:


Saturday, August 3, 2013

O Maajhi Re...

Burmans - RD as well as Sachin had a special affinity to the songs with boats & 'mallahs'.

One can not forget SD's Mere Sajan Hain us paar from Bandini Or Jewel Thief's Rula ke Gaya Sapna Mera - where the music in sync with the waves, moving boat, and imaginative use of sounds like ship's horn create a melancholy of impending separation.

RD, Gulzar &Kishore combined to utilise one such situation in Khushboo to create a gem that sounds as fresh today as it was 38 years ago:

Paaniyon me bah rahe hai kai kinaare toote hue
Raasto me mil gae hai sabhi sahaare chhute hue
Koi sahaaraa majhadhaare me mile vo
Apanaa sahaaraa hai

Tum hi to layi ho Jeevan men mere..

Kishore Kumar - RD Burman!

For most of us, who grew up in 70s, this was a combination that rocked!

With Kishore Kumar's birth anniversary on Sunday, for next few days, I would like to showcase a few of my favourite songs of this combination.

Let me start with a song that normally gets overshadowed by other more popular songs from this movie. Nonetheless, some hauntingly woven interlude, and the composition & voice both complementing each other, this is a song where RD & Kishore are in one of their finest form. 

Here it goes: