Thursday, April 17, 2014

Kaanp Rahi Main...

Namak Haram was released in 1973. This was indeed a good year for Pancham - with 19 releases. His compositions for the movies like Yaadon ki Baraat, Aa Gale Lag Ja, Namak Haram, Heera Panna & Anamika were instant hits & remained chart-toppers forever. On the other hand there were movies like Bandhe Haath where it took a long passage of time before its music got appreciated.

There were also mixed fares like Joshila - produced by Gulshan Rai (whose first production was Johny Mera Naam and whose son Rajiv Rai went on to make movies like Gupt & Mohra) and directed by Yash Chopra. The movie had that rare combination of Sahir & Pancham, yet except Kishore Kumar's outstanding rendition of "Kiska Rasta Dekhe", none of the songs really got the due recognition.

For example, this cabaret number, picturised on Padma Khanna. With a long prelude and longer interludes, the song is remarkable for its varying pace of composition as well as the vocal - which were rendered by Asha Bhosle. Listening to the number, one really wonders the reason for its not getting the kind of popularity which some of his other cabaret compositions could garner. Perhaps, again the reason could be that the movie itself turned out to be a dud - despite having Dev Anand, Hema & Rakhee as the lead cast.

Anyways, here is the number. I recommend that you must listen to it with earphones, to really enjoy the jamming of instruments in this not so often heard composition of Pancham:

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Diye Jalte Hain...

While talking about Aap Ki Kasam &  Bandhe Haath I touched upon the downfall of Rajesh Khanna on one hand & rise of Amitabh Bachchan on the other. As is the wont, these coincidences of life also led to all kind of talks about their animosity. 

Strange as it may sound, the audience never really knows the truth about such talks. the fact however is that much before the success or lack of it resulted in spoiling relationships, both had co-starred in roles that had depicted great friendships - amidst all trials & tribulations of the stories.

The first one was the all time Hrishi da classic - Anand and both had really done justice to not only their roles, but to the movie also. It must have been their chemistry together that made Hrishikesh Mukherjee cast them again in what went on to be amongst his best works  - Namak Haram.

Namak Haram was loosely based on Jean Anouilh's French play Becket, made into a movie in 1964 starring Richard Burton & Peter O'Toole. These roles, in Namak Haram, were reprised by RK and AB.

Though the movie worked around class clashes and labour struggle, (and seems to be as relevant & concurrent even now as it was in early 70s), with Hrishi Da as Director & Gulzar as the writer, there were enough opportunities for a musical score. All it needed was a genius that could create classics out of those.

Using some lovely and poetical verse crafted by Anand Bakshi, and the magical voice of Kishore Kumar, this is precisely what Pancham did. He wove a magic spell & created such compositions that even four decades later each of them is as memorable, as hummable and as fresh sounding as it was then.

And the pick of the songs was this one - mine & my wife's one of the most favourite songs. If the verse are profound, the musical treatment is scintillating & unique. The interludes has Guitar, Tabla & Flute, while the vocals work purely on reso-resso, Tabla and perhaps santoor - that too at the end of each line only. More than the instruments, the composition relies solely on Kishore Kumar, and his voice touches the soul deep within - even now. 

So here it is - Kishore Kumar's heart warming rendition as an ode to the friendship:

Jab Jis Waqt Kisi Ka
Yaar Judaa Hota Hai
Kuchh Na Poocho, Yaaron Dil Ka
Haal Bura Hota Hai
Del Pe Yaadon ke Jaise
Teer Chalte Hain

Is rang-roop pe dekho,
Hargiz naaz na karna
Jaan bhi maange yaar to de dena
Naraaz na karna
Rang ud jaate hain
Dhoop dhalte hain

Daulat aur Jawaani
Ek Din Kho Jaati Hai
Sach Kahta Hoon, Saari Duniya
Dushman Ho Jaati Hai
Umr Bhar Dost Lekin
Saath Chalte Hain

Diye Jalte Hain
Phool Khilte Hain
Badi Mushkil se Magar, Duniya Men
Dost Milte Hain

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Tu Ne Chheen Liya, Dil Ka Chain Piya

Bandhe Haath's music had some more gems which people started relishing only after the movie's flop status became irrelevant, and Pancham's own stock had risen high.

One of these was a number sung by Lata Mangeshkar, for a very oft-repeated situation of heroine dancing around the hero. The location was also quite cliched - Chhota Kashmir of Aarey Colony in Goregaon.

The lyrics & the composition though are sounding much more fresher. Majrooh uses the imagery that is provocative while the composition adds the lovely lilting silken touch to it. The heroine - Mumtaz - in love, tries to express her emotions to the sombre looking Amitabh, with her usual sparkle & froth, also suiting her role as a dancer in the movie. Lata too pulls out all stop in her singing to match her step by step.

Interesting to note are two aspects - one, the interlude before the first stanza has a tune on saxophone while the interlude after the same stanza has that same tune in Saxish mode but this time on Guitar; and two - the subtleness of the percussion which add to the lilting mood.

On a lighter note, looking at the clumsiness of AB's performance in the romantic scene, specially in another typical to-kiss-or-not-to-kiss scene of those years, it is clear as to why he hit the bull's eye only after getting into the avatar of the Angry Young Man - with romance always at the back-burner.

Anyways, listen to this lovely number from Bandhe Haath: