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


Sunday, September 22, 2013

Baahon Men Chale Aao

A Yaari Ho Gayi.. was an aberration as far as the choice of singer goes. RD usually managed to find the perfect voice to suit his compositions – specially when it came to female voices & choosing between Asha & Lata. 

Take Anamika for example. In this movie, Asha Bhosle rendered songs with variety of moods – a bhajan and an impish song for Jaya Bhaduri, a cabaret for Helen. For the most interesting composition in the movie, Lata was the chosen one. A soft sensuous song, the composition with its minimal use of instruments – mainly only Guitars & percussion instruments. Lata’s using soft & whispering rendition perfectly matches a coy Jaya Bhaduri, while Sanjeev Kumar’s attempt to ward her off & silencing her adds to the scene as well as to the composition.

Here it goes:

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Yari Ho Gayi Yaar Se..

A good composition demands - & deserves - a right singer, and most of the time, RD did manage to strike right combination for his compositions. Yet, there were exceptions. 

For example, this song from Do Chor: a movie starring Tanuja & Dharmendra. A particular sequence had the lead pair, being chased by the cops, finding themselves amidst a crowd of hippies. Good enough opportunity for RD to create a composition that could have rival a Dum Maro Dum, and yes, the song does have that influence. 

The song was quite popular, with claiming the 8th spot on Binaca Geet Mala for the year 1973. Yet there was something missing. To my mind, listeining to this song with a fresh mind, it was a case of a mismatch. One can only speculate about the reason for RD to choose Lata for a song that was tailor made for Asha. Not that Lata is not efficient in the song, yet the fact remains that , lending her voice to Tanuja for this song, somehow she just could not capture the uninhibition that Tanuja's performance is capable of - if you remember Raat Akeli Hai from Jewel Thief.

Looking at Tanuja's performance, one really does not wonder about the acting prowess & the lack of inhibition that Kajol has displayed. She was fortunate enough to inherit the right genes. 

Here is the song:

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Agle Baras Tu Jaldi Aa..

On a Ganesh Visarjan day, let me just fast forward the time line to this song centered around Ganapati Visarjan. Movie: Sunil Dutt's Dard Ka Rishta - made in 1982 which focussed on Lukaemia disease. The movie was close to Sunil Dutt's heart due to his personal tragedy of having lost Nargis Dutt to this dreaded disease, just a year ago. 

Unlike most of the other Ganapati songs from Hindi movies, this song, hence had a different purpose - bring out an impending tragedy & the sense of looming loss that the hero is facing, and yet keeping alive that hope & faith, which carries most of us through such personal tribulations. 

RD chose Hariharan, then relatively a newcomer and mixed the popular beats of Ganapati immersion festival with the sound that was infused with poignancy, thus matching the mood of verse penned by Anand Bakshi portraying the emotions of all the bhakts taking their idol for the immersion:

Kitani ummidein bandh jaati hai tumase tum jab aate ho
Ab ke baras dekhen kya de jaate ho, kya le jaate ho

Apne sab bhakton ka tumako dhyaan rahe
Mere dukh se tum kaise anjaan rahe

The song has remained timeless as I can even now hear some of the bands playing this song, as the processions to the immersion ghats move outside. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Jaago Sone Vaalo

Whenever Kishore & Pancham came together - and fortunately such were innumerable occasions - they infused soul in the music they created. Perhaps one of the reasons could be both being genius in their own right. While Kishore Kumar was a "harfanmaula", RD was no less. Add to it their rebelliouss nature that went against anything which was conventional. 

Listen to their first ever song together from Bhoot Bungla. This was RD's 2nd movie as the music composer - that too after 4 years of having composed the music for Chhote Nawab. Once again the producer was Mehmood, who this time also decided to venture out as a director. For one of the situations in the movie, Mehmood decided to re-create the ambiance of West Side Story, with the song choreographed in the style of a street fight. 

A prelude that is almost a minute long, leading to Kishore's trademark yodelling before he picks up the song & elevates it to a classic. The music has a haunting quality to it, with chorus adding to the impact.

Another reason to feature this song today being the death anniversary of Hasrat Japuri, the prolific lyricist & poet, whose only movie with RD was Bhoot Bungla. Please listen to these lines when sung by Kishore, and I am sure you too will be mesmerised:

Tootaa jo aaj, Dil kaa vo saaz
Rone lagaa ek bad nasib
Hansane lage duniyaa ke log
Koi huaa barbaad
Jaago sone vaalo 

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Dekha Na, Haye Re Socha Na..

After a week with Asha & RD, through their some not so often heard songs, it is time to get back on the road to celebrate Pancham Da's musical journey. What can be better than a song from Kishore-RD combination.

Again, on road to Bombay to Goa, here is one of the most popular songs of all time. Even after forty years of this song, its pulsating energy and infectious music can draw everyone on the dance floor - the moment this song gets played on a dance floor. The song has Amitabh Bachchan, perhaps for the first time, showing a flair for comedy, which later in his superstar years, became an alter-ego for his angry young man persona. 

It also has Kishore Kumar, singing only second time for Amitabh under Pancham's baton, displaying his zaniest antics with a plethora of funny sounds. Interestingly, the phrase "dole dole dole e e..." sung at the end of mukhda was not a part of the original rehearsal, but was improvised while recording. The reason: Dole was the nick name given to Amit Kumar - then about 18-19 years old, who happened to be present at the time of recording, and this was his father's way of acknowledging the fact.

Here it goes: 

Friday, September 13, 2013

Mera Naam Hai..

With the last week beginning with Asha Bhosle’s birthday, for last few days I showcased only RD-Asha combination. To round up the working days of this week, heere is another song - not so rare, yet a path-breaking one for both of them.

Picturised on Bindu, this was the first ever cabaret sung by Asha Bhosle. The situation demanded, unlike a normal cabaret, a constant much closer view of the performer on-screen, while singing. On the other hand, the song does not have a base metre at all, rather more of a conversation directed at the heroine of the movie interspersed with jazz kind of interludes, which makes it more difficult for lip-syncing. That the singer & composer have been able to pull it off with such ease is what makes Asha-RD combination so endearing and so refreshing.

The irony is, yet again, the other songs from the movie turned out to be so popular that this one lagged behind always. That does not take away the brilliance of the composition & singing though. Judge yourself:

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Munne Mere Aa..

An excellent composer tries to take the singer out of the comfort zone. It could also be a possibility that the singer inspires the composer to get out of comfort zone.

Only RD can explain what made him go to Asha for this song for Abhilasha - a movie that was released in 1968. That was the time when Asha was mostly singing the songs that needed a certain coquettish-ness. A song like Bandini,s Ab ke Baras under SD's baton was more of an exception. On the other hand for a situation like mother singing for her child - well, that was Lata's forte. 

Yet here you find Asha - lending her voice to Meena Kumari for a mother's song. The song appears twice in the movie - once as a part of a birthday celebration, & hence has a number of instruments. The version which is show-cased here is minimalist when it comes to instruments - as this version is sung as a lullaby - with lovely flute piece in between the stanzas, but making it that much more difficult for the singer. Despite her being out of her comfort zone, as it was then, Asha carries out the song with such absolute conviction.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Aaj Ki Raat..

Another Asha-RD combination. This time from the movie Anamika!

Produced by Tahir Hussain, Amir Khan’s father, Anamika was his 2nd production – the first one being Caravan. Once again, Anamika, saw RD giving some of the best compositions to lovely lyrics by Majrooh. Kishore's Meri Bheegi Bheegi Si, & Lata's Bahon Men Chale Aao were chart busters when the movie was released & have remained fresh in their sound till date. 

As has been the trend with RD, the more popular compositions also managed to hide some rare gems – and most of the time the singer to get that treatment was Asha Bhosle. Anamika was no different which had three superb numbers rendered by Asha. 

My favourite is, however, this cabaret. Picturised on a very sensuous Helen, the song had to do something special to match Asha-Helen-RD’s number from Caravan. And yes, it does – starting slowly with Bhupendra’s guitar riffs, the song moves on the generate some great beats – specially in between the stanzas, and Asha's effortless seductive voice complements Helen's movement on-screen, the way only she could have done it.

Enjoy this:

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Rishte Bante Hain Bade Dheere Se..

Another tribute to Asha & RD combination.
Another not-so-often-heard song - this time with Gulzar, in fact a Ghazal.
Created as part of an experimental album at the time when RD was in his low phase, the song still manages to create a haunting melody. Lovely verse by Gulzar, such mellifluous rendering by Asha ji, and a very interesting composition.  Listen to the prelude that begins with notes on Santoor and mixes into Guitar while Madal takes care of the percussion. As Asha's voice on double track takes the pitch higher before fading out into the interlude, a jugal bandi of flute (or is it a bass of a Saxophone?) & Sitar weaves a spell. 
Really, there is not one factor alone that can be given credit for such a lovely song. 
Ironically, yet the song was lost in the otherwise factory level mass-produced kind of sounds that late 80s were witnessing in movies. RD did try composing some such sounds, but since he was not getting the creative satisfaction, his heart was not in that kind of work. It showed also, and as result, after a series of flops, this  was one album which RD, Gulzar & Asha worked together listening to what their heart wanted to say.
After all, Dil Padosi Hai..
रिश्तें बनते है बड़े धीरे से बनने देते
कच्चे लम्हें को ज़रा शांख पे पकने देते

एक चिंगारी का उड़ना था की पर काट दिये
आँच आई थी ज़रा आग तो जलने देते

एक ही लम्हें पे इक साथ गिरे थे दोनो
खुद संभलते या ज़रा मुझको संभलने देते

Monday, September 9, 2013

Dil Churane Aayi Hoon Main..

This lovely dance number from The Great Gambler, was overshadowed by Do Lafzon ki, inarguably, one of the most romantic numbers in Hindi movies. As promised in the previous post, this is one of the songs I would love to showcase here, as part of tribute to her on her birthday, for a few reasons:
One, for the lovely use of Trumpet (& a bit of sax) in the mukhda music of the song; 
two, the way she starts the song, and picks up the song even at the end of each stanza; and
third, again the mukhda that seems to have been written, unintentionally probably, to portray what her singing has been able to do:
O Deewano, Dil Sambhalo, Dil Churane Aayi Hoon Main
Tum Na Mano, Aag Pani men Lagane Aayi Hoon Main..

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Aaja Aaja, Main Hoon Pyar Tera...

Asha Bhosle!
An artist par excellence who, alongwtih her elder sister, ruled the Hindi movies music for decades. Hers is the voice which, singing under the baton of RD, could rock an entire generation - or perhaps a few more to come, with her rendition of foot-tapping numbers. Yet, RD also made her sing some such songs which were more of the domain of her elder sister.

She is turning 80 tomorrow, and it is a fitting tribute to her as a singer and to RD as a composer to feature a few of her songs over here over next few days.

The first one to feature - a song from Teesri Manzil, a duet with Rafi.

The composition finds RD in his full elements - creating the kind of sound that was yet new to the industry - with a 73 second prelude starting with a rocking combination of Guitar & Drums at a furious pace, before suddenly slowing down to the sound of vibraphone and other instruments, halting for just a beat leading into the vocals of Rafi.

However, what is worth noticing is that while Rafi carries out his portion competently, the song actually comes alive only half way through when Asha picks up the vocals (while on-screen Asha Parekh sets the dance floor on fire) taking the song to an altogether different level. It almost seems as if this song was made for her alone.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Tum Meri ZIndagi Men Kuch Is Tarah Se Aaye

Ever wonder what makes a composition popular? Their structure, the arrangement, the instruments, the rhythm, vocals! So many permutations & combinations, excelling in which, could take a song to the top of the popularity chart.

On the other hand, there some compositions which are sheer unlucky! 

RD had his share of a few such compositions, including the one I am bringing to you now. This tune was first composed & recorded by RD  with Hemant Kumar & Geeta Dutt for his first signed movie Raaz, with Guru Dutt, which got shelved. He again tried this tune for a song in late 70s for Mukti, but somehow it did not click well.

Yet in between there was another movie where he tried the same tune, with lovely composition & arrangement, for a duet. The irony! The movie did well, all the songs went on to become evergreen hits, but not this one. In fact, it was not even heard at that time, because for some reason, it was not retained in the final version of the movie: Bombay to Goa.

Here it is now, without a movie clip though  - a  song, inspired from a theme created by none other than Charlie Chaplin for his movie Limelight, but composed in his own inimitable way by RD:

Monday, September 2, 2013

Dilbar Dil Se Pyaare..

Aruna Irani was the heroine of Bombay to Goa, and had a couple of songs in the movie - one of which was not retained in the movie at all. Since, this was a road movie, perhaps the script could not find situations where her talent for dance could have been utilised.

However, she might not have had anything to complain because just a year back, despite Asha Parekh being the heroine of the movie, it was Aruna Irani who walked away with some of the best compositions that RD had created in that year.

Come to think of it, It could have been a coincidence, but Aurna Irani, over the years, did manage to get some very unconventional songs from RD - be it a parody or a song full of melancholy or a classical composition. I will take you to those later, but for now, here is Lata & RD combining to create a track that sounds fresh even now.

Hear the beats, and the piece on rabab, and the sax, and Lata stretching & modulating her voice just enough to create the yearning - all that which goes into making this song from Caravan very special.