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).