Friday, July 25, 2014

Phir Bhi Mera Man Pyaasa

In the last post I wrote about the troika of Anand Bakshi, Pancham & Kishore creating special compositions for Rajesh Khanna starrers, and the effect that flute created in Main Shayar Badnam.Well, as they say, "Mauka bhi hai, dastoor bhi aur mausam bhi". In the season of rain, how could I not play this one - a gem of a composition, from Mehbooba, based on Raga Shivranjani, with such beautiful verse that meets Kishore at his best.

The song was to be used in the movie at two different occassions - once for the heroine and again for the hero. Since the movie was based on the theme of reincarnation, love and classical music & dance, Pancham used a confluence of Dholak & Flute, while complementing the chords of a Guitar - his favourite instrument. The composition also was challenging as it required the singer to display a wide vocal range, and yet having that thehraav for staying true to the notes.

Pancham's natural choice for female version was Lata. However, when it came to male version, Kishore Kumar flatly refused because not being trained in classical music, he found it difficult. I am sure Pancham could have gone to Rafi, but he did not. He insisted, and finally Kishore Kumar relented on one condition - that he will only practice and replicate whatever Lata will sing. This is what he finally did, practising for a week, listening to Lata's version.

Picturised in the rain, the song starts with a bit low key humming and guitar chords, just like a brief calm before the impending storm. That is what Kishore Kumar creates - a storm with this song. Even now, when I listen to this song, and the goosebumps that I get every-time he raises his pitch in between the stanza, making it sound so simple, it seems unbelievable that anyone else could have done better than Kishore da in this song.

And the verse! Sumitra Nandan Pant had written - "Viyogi Hoga Pahla Kavi, Aah Se Upja Hoga Gaan". It required a real empathy with emotions and mastery over language to come up with something like -

Ae Dil Deevane

Khel Hai Kya Jaane
Dard Bhara Yeh
Geet Kahan Se
In Hothon Pe Aaye
Door Kahin Le Jaaye
Bhool Gaya, Ya
Bhool Ke Bhi Hai
Mujhko Yaad Zara Sa.
Phir Bhi Mera Man Pyaasa

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Toota Khaali Jaam..

Armed forces & poetry rarely go together but he had the distinction of having been part of both. In the pre-partition days, he began his career in navy while post partition he joined army. These, for him, were only the stop-gap arrangements, as his passion lied in poetry & Hindi movies.

He did come to Bombay in between his two stints with forces, but could not succeed. He finally bid adieu to Army forever, and decided to take head-on the challenge of writing for Hindi movies.

It took some time for people to recognize his creativity, but thereafter he went on to become one of the most prolific song writers - writing across four decades for diverse generations - from Jab Jab Phool Khile to Bobby to Sholay to DDLJ - he was in fact part of the biggest blockbusters of Hindi cinema. Without compromising on aesthetics & creativity, he yet managed to strike a chord with the changing mood of the audience. Interestingly, while he was nominated record 40 times for Filmfare, he won it only 4 times.

Anand Bakshi – one of the most popular lyricists, whose birth anniversary was last week on 21st July.

He first teamed up with Pancham for Teesra Kaun. Something was missing though till a few movies later Kishore Kumar joined them for Kati Patang. The troika of magicians was complete which, through their craft & creativity casted a spell that the music aficionados are still intoxicated with, even after so many years.

This team created a number of excellent songs together but there was something special about what they created for the heartthrob of millions of girls in early 70s – Rajesh Khanna. Kati Patang, Amar Prem, Ajnabee, Apna Desh, Mehbooba, Namak Haram, Humshakal and many more, and each one with some of their best efforts. My favourite though is this one - profound verse about life through the eyes of a poet on his final journey – written in a bit of a haiku style, with last line of each stanza adding more depth.

The music is minimalist with that unmistakable Pancham touch, with emphasis on flute. Listen to that brief flute piece just before the last line of each stanza, and you will know what I mean. And of course, there was Kishore Kumar, going full throaty taking your soul deeper into the melancholy. Listen to it now:

Mere ghar se tumko kuchh saamaan milega

Deewaane shaayar kaa ek divaan milega
Aur ek cheez milegee 
Toota khaali Jaam

Friday, July 4, 2014

Do Ghadi Bahal Jata Hai, Dil Deewana..

RD's first movie with Rishi Kapoor was Zahreela Insaan in 1974. The movie, though not a hit, will always be remembered by RD afficiandos. For, it featured one of the best songs from Pancham & Kishore combination - and also perhaps one of the most romantic songs of all time - O Hansini.

Rishi was launched in 1973 in Bobby - one of the most successful love stories of all time. The movie was a big success and apart from creating two overnight sensations - Rishi & Dimple, it also gave the halo of stardom to a new singer - Shailendra Singh, chosen by Raj Kapoor to be the singing voice of Rishi.

Ideally, Pancham should have given all the songs of Zahreela Insaan to Shailendra, and perhaps he would have. However, a strike by the musicians during those times led to RD getting Kishore Kumar to sing O Hansini.

I am not sure if Shailendra would have been able to do justice to the ethereal composition of O Hansini. I am sure, though, he must have regretted forever, missing out on singing this number.

Listening to another composition from this movie however makes me feel that there is nothing for Shailendra to complain about. Though overshadowed by the Kishore classic, this composition was much different from what Pancham was known for. It was also a difficult number - specially the beginning of the stanza - for any newcomer. A wholesome credit to Pancham to trust Shailendra, and to Shailendra for executing it so well, specially when he had to match the caliber of Asha Bhosle, who adds that lilting sensuality to the song.

This is also one of the few compositions where Pancham has used Sitar. You must listen to the interlude before second stanza, where the lovely sound of Guitar & Saxophone give way to Sitar & tabla, changing the structure, yet maintaining the mood so effortlessly.

Here it is:

Mere dil se ye nain mile rahne do janeman

Ki do ghadi bahal jata hai, dil diwana