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.