Monday, June 30, 2014

Humko Zamane Se Kya...

"Khel Khel Mein" was released in 1975, and found RD at his creative best. If a taut screenplay, and crisp direction (Ravi Tandon) & editing made the movie watchable, the chemistry of a fresh lead pair set the screen on fire. For Rishi Kapoor & Neetu Singh, this was one of their early movies - and perhaps one of their biggest hits.

The movie itself was a suspense thriller, and despite this being a disadvantage for a repeat viewing, Rishi-Neetu's palpable energy & groovy moves on the effervescent compositions of RD kept bringing the audience back - in turn making the movie a runaway success.

One of my favourite songs from the movie is the sequences that had Rishi-Neetu prancing around on the streets, in drunken stupor. The song was about caring a hoot for the world. Naturally, RD had to add something extra to prove it. So while the composition has all his hallmarks - lovely guitar piece to set the rhythm, trumpets during those pacy interludes and the light beats for the pair to groove on, in one of his crazy moods, he uses street sounds like gargling, or zipping up of a trouser, with such a flourish - and yet it makes the composition so classy.

So listen to Asha and Kishore in one of the zaniest songs about love:

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Tu Na Raha..Kuchh Na Raha..

This blog began its journey last year on Pancham's birthday. Today, the Journey has completed its first year, and I am putting up its 125th post. A year that was personally fulfilling and enjoyable as I came across such facets & compositions of RD, which I had never known about. Hope you all have enjoyed it too so far.

On his birthday today, here is the 125th post containing one of my most favourite compositions. Keeping with the trend of last week - a roller-coaster ride of emotions featuring Asha Bhosle & Aruna Irani.

Aruna Irani has been one of the few actresses who could successfully perform across all the genres that a female actress gets to perform in Hindi cinemas. A heroine, a vamp with golden heart, an outright negative character, a mother - she has done all - and very efficiently.

She was also one of the few lucky actresses who got a good share of RD's compositions. One of the earliest one was from Bombay to Goa - a duet with Amitabh - created based on a strand from a Chaplin's composition. The song however was not retained in the movie. She also got a number of lovely compositions in Caravan. There were many other songs, but the song displayed today, I think, had one of her best performances - again as a Cabaret dancer.

The composition is a roller coaster ride of conflicting emotions & time zones - romance & melancholy - past & present. RD again used only the initial strand from "A Soldier's Story" from "The Good, The Bad & The ugly", and created an inimitable classic, that I never get tired of hearing.

To match the situation, Gulshan Bawra in his 2nd movie with Pancham came up with some lovely verse. Keeping in with the conflicting emotions, the composition is two paced - slower in present mixing so well with faster interludes of the flashbacks. Asha Bhosle carries off both the emotions with a panache, with her laughter, sobs, recitation, completely infusing the soul in her rendition. If this was not enough, the song is also special as it is one of the few songs where one can hear Pancham singing in his original voice - rendering vocals for Rakesh Roshan.

Why wait further.. so here it is:

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Dekho Mujhe Dekho..

Talking about the punch that Pancham's music carried, here is another song, with an insane performance - this time from - Hum Shakal.

No, though the word insane may misguide you, the song is not from the recent release of Sajid Khan. Rather, this was a Rajesh Khanna, Tanuja & Moushmi starrer of 1974. Not a major hit again, the movie had some lovely & lively numbers from RD - with Rafi & Kishore, both singing for Pancham in this movie.

There were two compositions, not as popular, however, which stand out. One of those was later chopped out when the movie was released in its VCD / DVD version. However, we will come to that song later.

Let me first play this - Dekho Mujhe Dekho, sung by Asha and picturised on Tanuja, performing as an insane woman. Both these performers, whenever demanded by a situation, have always performed at the level, which can be termed as sheer Chutzpah.

Fortunately for them, here they get the no-holds-barred backing of Pancham - who uses jazz & Blues to create a composition which is outstanding in its innovation. The rolling drums, sax, trumpet, organ, all are used at a scale which complement Asha Bhosle who modulates her voice so effortlessly in this difficult composition. Tanuja, of course, has always been one of my most favourite actresses, and she, with her on-screen so natural antics, take the song to another level altogether.

Look at the result yourself:

Udti Chidiya...

There was another Asha Bhosle number in Hum Shakal - this time a full fledged cabaret & picturised on Aruna Irani. Somehow, when the movie was re-released on VCD / DVDs, this number was done away with. Fortunately, there are a number of fans passionate about Pancham's legacy, and one of them restored it from the old VHS tapes & put it on youtube.

Of course, Asha Bhosle & RD were a potent combination when it came to cabarets. This composition is not an exception.

RD combines the sounds of Trumpets, Bongo & Guitar to create a space for Asha Bhosle to engage in her vocal calisthenics. Listen to the way the vocals go in a deeper octave at the end of each stanza, and then gets lifted in such an effortless manner, underscoring their own chemistry.

Now if only the choreography & the print could have been better! Yet, I am sure, the song is a treat for the fans of RD & Asha.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Kya Ghazab Karte Ho Jee..

Early eighties were the time when the first batch of star-sons arrived on the Hindi cinema screen. Sunil Dutt was not the first one. Rather, it was Rajendra Kumar, who had introduced his son Kumar Gaurav - through Love Story. Soon followed Sanjay Dutt in Rocky, Sunny Deol in Betaab & Suniel Anand in Anand Aur Anand. Barring Suneil Anand - who had his father to compete with in youthful energy - each one of these stars were well received. In fact, Kumar Gaurav received an adulation that was reminiscent of Rajesh Khanna's hay days.

Since all the movies were centered around youth & romance, it was natural for each one of them to have RD Burman - the only youthful music director - helming the compositions. However, to my mind, this was not the logic which made everyone go to Pancham. Rather, it was the super success of Love Story & its music, which made the ever insecure film industry look for the already proven formula & combinations - while launching these new kids on the block.

Of course, apart from Kumar Gaurav, the credit for the movie to be a big hit also went to its music. The songs of Love Story - sugar syrupy most of them, with Amit Kumar pairing with Lata for those romantic songs - were lovely, melodious, sounding sweet to the ears as intended, yet lacking that Pancham Punch.

Except this one - a seductive number penned by Anand Bakshi. Starting with the clicking of fingers, the song has Guitar chords soon striking a rhythmic pattern to match the lift of a Bossa Nova. The overall effect is a lilting melody, to which the verve of Asha Bhosle off screeen, and Aruna Irani on screen, add right dose of impishness.

I am sure you will agree too.

Saturday, June 7, 2014

Haan Yahi Pyar Hai...

Talking about achingly romantic songs where Pancham & Sunil Dutt collaborated, here is one more special from this combo – a couple of decades later. Oh, but this time Sunil Dutt was off screen, directing his son’s debut movie – Rocky.

After the runaway success of “Love Story” a couple of years ago, starring Kumar Gaurav, suddenly there was a spate of movies launching star-sons. Rocky was perhaps the second in that series. As a movie, it was not a patch on Love Story. Even the story line and the acting were far off the mark. Yet, if the movie could do well, the credit was chiefly to its music, which found RD in his full elements. In fact I find the composition of Rocky more interesting than the ones of Love Story.

There were six tracks in the movie, and each one had something that RD alone could have created. Be it Aa Dekhe Zara or Hum Tum Se Mile. Of course, the pick remained this lovely Kishore –Lata duet, picturised on Sanjay & Tina Munim.

This composition – wovern around Anand Bakshi’s lyrics - has a number of woodwind instruments, right from the beginning, including flute & saxophone, mixed so brilliantly with the varying chord of guitars throughout the song. One cannot but help falling in love with the way Saxophone is used – specially at the beginning & in the interlude before the first stanza. 

In fact the composition & the vocals by Kishore Kumar & Lata – almost in their 50s by the time this movie was released - sound more expressive (& fresher too) than the pair on-screen, when they sing:

Kya Yahi Pyar Hai
Haan.. Haan Haan Yahi Pyar Hai..

Friday, June 6, 2014

Kahna Hai Aaj Tumse Yeh Pahli Baar

He was a man with multiple skills, who knew his limitations and working around those, optimized his capabilities. Beginning his career as an Anti Hero, he was the original Angry Young Man of Hindi Cinema – much before the phrase became a synonym for Amitabh Bachchan. He also could portray the character of a lover – even a jilted lover – with ease. His sensibilities made him produce & direct movies that, within the grammar of a mainstream cinema, were socially relevant in their own way.

There was only one facet of his acting that remained under-utilised – and that was - comedy. Only one movie really offered him that opportunity, and surprisingly, he was not the first choice. It was only after the movie’s music director’s refusal to play the role, he landed up this role. The movie went on to be an all-time classic comedy, and notwithstanding the presence of a cast like Kishore Kumar and Mehmood, an equal share of credit also was to movie’s hero – Bhola, who was in love with his Padosan – Sunil Dutt, in one of his finest performances.

On his birth anniversary today, here is a gem composed by Pancham for Padosan. While Ek Chatur Naar, and Mere Samne wali Khidki went on to be super hits, the composition of this song is much more subtle and rhythmic – akin to a classical western. Beginning with the slightly echoing vocals, this achingly romantic song has Kishore Kumar’s vocals matching Pancham’s composition like a well-choreographed Waltz. Listening to that slight nano-secondish pause just about at the beginning of each stanza before the composition starts rising with a different tempo, it is easy to fall under another spell that only RD could create with his magical music.

So here it is, one of my most favourite numbers of Pancham, with superb verse by Rajinder Krishan:

Kab Se, Dil Ne Mere, Maan Liya Hai, Tumko Apana

Aankhe Meri Dekh Rahi Hain Jaagte Sote Yeh Sapana
Mere Gale Men Daal Rahi Ho 
Tum Bahon Ka Haar
Tum Hi, To Lai Ho, 
Jivan Me Mere, Pyar Pyar Pyar 
Kahana Hai, Kahana Hai, Aaj Tumse Ye Pahali Bar